'Large stench of mediocrity': Springbok fans show extreme levels of confidence after Lions squad named
South African fans were delighted following the announcement of Warren Gatland’s 37-man British & Irish Lions squad, with sentiment reaching extreme levels of overconfidence over their side’s chances on the upcoming Lions tour.
Despite not playing a game since the 2019 Rugby World Cup final and further concerns over whether the Springboks will get a warm-up test, many of their fans believed they had little to fear from the Lions with predictions of a 3-0 Bokwash trumpeted with alarming regularity.
South African journalist Mark Keohane led with a bold 3-0 prediction after seeing the squad, taking aim at ‘pensioner’ Alun Wyn Jones and claiming the Springboks have nothing to fear. He wrote there is a ‘lack of all-round potency’ within the Lions with the potential for ‘things to turn nasty’ for captain Jones on the field.
— SA Rugby magazine (@SARugbymag) May 6, 2021
That view was similarly shared by a number of confident Springboks fans, claiming there was ‘no way’ this Lions squad is defeating the Springboks.
One fan claimed there is a ‘lack of grit & hardness’ in the team, another claimed the Springboks would ‘sort’ the Lions out with ‘brute force’.
Haisuka there's no way this Lions squad is defeating the Springboks
— Kevin Malone? (@Athenkosi1998_0) May 6, 2021
Springboks 3 – 0 Lions ?https://t.co/XqZPabMhmr
— Sims Lusu (@Sims_Lusu) May 9, 2021
I think the Springboks could very easily go 3-0 based on squad picked. Lack of grit & hardness in this team, just can’t see them beating the World Cup winners in their back yard.
— TOBIN (@richardtobin04) May 6, 2021
— Amon_L (@Amon_Lempaka) May 6, 2021
— Wiesner Vos (@WiesnerVos) September 6, 2020
— Eddie Bradley (@DrEddieBradley) May 6, 2021
3-0 Springboks. Large stench of mediocrity in that Lions Squad. Let all the selection squabbling commence.
— Jack Sutherland (@JackSuth17) May 6, 2021
Springboks are going to thump the lions. 3-0 won’t even be close
— Byron Krause (@byronkrause) May 6, 2021
The prevailing view from South African fans is at odds with the preparations their team has, which is perhaps the worst ever in test history in the midst of the global pandemic.
Without test rugby in nearly two years, the Springboks have no idea how their top players will turn out at the highest level without top competition for so long.
Franco Smith, Jesse Kriel, Willie le Roux, Makazole Mapimpi and Malcolm Marx have all been playing lollipop rugby in the Japan Top League, where game speed is high but defence is close to non-existent.
Handre Pollard has returned from a long ACL layoff with Montpellier, and has little time to find top form heading into the Lions series. The 2019 World Player of the Year Pieter-Steph du Toit is coming back from a horror 2020 where multiple surgeries were required to save his leg.
Etzebeth required surgery for a broken finger but looks the most likely to be back in time. Jager has been hit badly, with three shoulder surgeries before suffering a broken leg, while Snyman suffered an ACL injury minutes into his Munster debut last year.
On top of all this is doubts over whether they will play a test before the series starts, with tests against Italy and the USA in doubt over Covid-19 concerns and new head coach Jacques Nienaber having yet to oversee a match.
Lions fans were ready to bring Springboks fans back down to earth, calling their predictions ‘delusions of grandeur’.
Worcester Warriors’ Namibian import Anton Bresler called out SA Rugby magazine for posting ‘garbage’ about whether the Springboks had anything to fear.
So much disrespect shown in the months leading up to this series. Springboks haven’t played a game together since November 2019. Delusions of grandeur if you think they’ll walk all over the lions.
— Calvin Sacks (@calvin9sacks) May 6, 2021
Seriously now, who’s gone ahead and agreed to post this sort of garbage? ?
— Anton Bresler (@Ants00bresler) May 6, 2021
This week the Lions squad that is to tour South Africa was announced and it was an interesting selection from Warren Gatland. It looks as though Gatland has gone for power to go up against the physicality of the Springboks.
— jamie fenton (@jamie189227) May 8, 2021
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