'Right now, I am the chump': SA journo swallows loss to Wallaby 'wimps'
Confident South African rugby journalist Mark Keohane has praised and applauded the Wallabies for their win over the world champion Springboks following a week where he labelled them “wimps” that would be “walloped”.
Keohane boldly predicted the Springboks would reverse their troubles in Australia, where they haven’t won since 2013 and have pulled just four wins from 27 outings against the Wallabies in their backyard.
However, the resilient Wallabies rallied to beat the world’s number one side 28-26 on the back of seven penalties goals to Quade Cooper and a try to Andrew Kellaway to continue the Springboks troubled record Down Under.
There was something just not right about @Springboks today. They scrambled but not with the intensity of @lionsofficial … I reckon Boks are like that boxer who first has to get hit & bleed before we see their best
— Mark Keohane (@mark_keohane) September 12, 2021
The recently reinstated Wallabies flyhalf Cooper completed his 10th win over the Springboks in his career, and he holds a 7-2 record when playing the South Africans at home.
Keohane had attributed the Springboks poor run of results in Australia down to former coach Allister Coetzee, despite the run of results stretching over Heyneke Meyer’s and Rassie Erasmus’ tenures as head coach.
“The Boks back then lacked an identity in they forgot their own DNA and wanted to be a combination of Australia and New Zealand in how they played,” he wrote before the match.
He explained that the Springboks had now re-found their identity, built on “rugby intelligence” among other factors, which would separate them from the teams of the past that had failed in Australia.
“Kolisi’s Boks have an identity, which is founded on strength, rugby intelligence, physicality and breathtaking counter-attack ability.”
After the seventh-ranked Wallabies, who had just succumbed to a run of three defeats against the All Blacks, handed the Springboks their second loss of the year Keohane described himself as “the chump”.
“Right in this moment, I am the chump,” he wrote.
“But as Australia proved so heroically, it takes just 80 minutes to go from chump to champ. Next Saturday can’t come soon enough for me.”
The rugby writer could not fault the officials for the proceedings at Cbus Super Stadium on the Gold Coast, with the Springboks own kicking woes and set piece to blame for their defeat.
“There can be no complaints about the match officiating because it is not the reason the Boks lost.
“The Boks lost because they missed 10 points on offer and they couldn’t control their own set piece with the last action of the match.”
Writing for the Daily Maverick, rugby writer Craig Ray credited the recall of Cooper as a “masterstroke” by Dave Rennie, and wrote that the Australians showed “more street smarts” in their tactics to defuse the Springboks’ aerial game.
“South Africa were lacklustre, ill-disciplined and sloppy. Australia were the better team and showed more street smarts,” Ray wrote.
“They effectively blocked Bok kick-chasers, and although Wallaby players appeared to be “changing lanes” to impede the chasers, they got away with it and so they continued to do it.”
Under the spotlight by the South African press was Handre Pollard, who came under fire for three missed place kicks that left eight points begging.
Ray highlighted Pollard and Am as two players who let the side down and offered performances well below their usual standards.
For SuperSport, Gavin Rich wrote that it was a game of “narrow margins” and that the Springboks could have, and should have, won had a few more penalties fallen their way.
“It was a game of narrow margins – Wallaby captain Michael Hooper should probably have been penalised with just over a minute to go, those dominant Bok scrums should probably have netted penalties, and the Boks could have, and maybe even should have won,” he wrote.
“But that has often been the story when the South Africans are in Australia and they will go into the return game in Brisbane on Saturday facing a severe test of their mental strength as they go out to end what is becoming a bit of a hoodoo for them.”
The two sides will face off again in Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium, where the Wallabies hold a strong record, this week, and, for Quade Cooper, a return to the venue he spent most of his career playing on.
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