That was unexpected. I was at the AB v Boks game at Newlands last year and that was a thrilling match. One the Boks could've / should've won, except for the fact that the AB's just seem to have no clue how to lose, so when Francois Louw coughed up a simple ball with 2 minutes to play I fully expected this to be another close-but-no-cigar match. Fliiping delighted the defence held out though. A heroic loss is sometimes more gutting than getting smashed.
A couple of random thoughts from this Bok supporter.
On the plus side:
Good aggressive effort from especially the pack ensured that the AB's didn't always get the go-forward they have managed in the past.
Faf de Klerk is turning into a fabulous nuisance. He'd irritate the hell out of me if I he played against us.
Nice to see we can actually set up some running rugby tries.
Willie le Roux pitched up big time. Yellow card notwithstanding, one of his best games in the Bok jersey for quite some time.
On the minus side:
Boks leaked 6 tries. As impressive as the defence was, especially in the last 20 min, that's still a lot of tries. Had Barrett kicked a touch better, this would be yet another loss for us.
We still don't have a convincing midfield combination. They are ok, but nothing that really asks questions of the defence.
Jessie Kriel... I am not a fan.
On the realistic side:
The Boks had a good day and took pretty much every chance that came our way. The AB's made a few more mistakes than usual - whether caused by Bok pressure or simply being too used to having it all their own way I don't know - but the net result was a narrow win for the Boks. On current form , with current skill sets, the Boks remain a good few steps behind the AB's. While I am super chuffed with the result, this Bok team have a long way to go to consistently being a realistic challenger against the AB's. And I mean that in a really positive way. The team has made good strides under Rassie and there are some promising signs, but we are not close to being back towards the top of the rugby tree... yet.
Thoroughly looking forward to the return game in Pretoria in 3 weeks time. I expect a hugely motivated and ruthless AB challenge up at one of their favourite SA grounds. The Boks will need to be at their best.