Our boys withstood a late New Zealand onslaught in Hamilton on Saturday to take us to a white knuckled, heart racing, nail biting triumph 32-29. Yes ladies and gentleman, that victory means that we have finally brought the cup home, we are the Champions. Man I was so proud to be a South African!
Our boys scored two tries, to Fourie de Preez and Jean de Villiers, Morne Steyn added 13 points from close range penalties, conversions and a drop goal. But the most effective scoring difference for the bokke was the amazing boot of Frans Steyn who landed three penalties from inside his own half, the longest from 60 metres. I’m sure a lot of jaws dropped in the New Zealand quarter as Steyn cleared the posts, especially flyhalf Dan Carter’s who would have given his eye teeth to be able kick that far. Well done Frans!
The Boks not only clinched the Tri-Nations title but also won the Freedom Cup and the Nelson Mandela Challenge plate and for the first time since 1970-1976 they have beaten the All Blacks in three successive Tests. Well done on this amazing achievement.
On more of a sour note- New Zealand confirmed their reputation as bad losers when Springbok centre Jaque Fourie was cited and suspended for four weeks for an alleged spear tackle on Ma’a Nonu. Kieran Read shoulder-charged Bryan Habana without the ball, sent him flying into the barriers, and he was not even cited, never mind suspended. Now I don’t know about you, but in my books that is clearly a yellow card offence.
This brings me to my next gripe. What is with the refereeing at the moment? Now I refrained from making a comment last week, on a clearly biased refereeing outcome, as Australia did deserved to win the game and I didn’t want to seem the sore loser. But come on, Nigel Owens was blatantly out of line this weekend, penalising South Africa on marginal “infringements”, then allowing New Zealand to get away with the exact same thing, 5 min later! In some cases the linesman had to intervene for us, as the ref was clearly not going to! Although this was a fantastic victory and we should be happy for our boys, the bad decisions made, both on the field and off, have left a sour taste in my mouth.
What it does prove though, is that the bokke are definitely made of the right stuff, they came face to face with adversity and controversy, but still managed to come out on top.
At the end of the day, there is nothing sweeter than that.