The Springbok Showdown was billed as South Africa’s answer to North vs South and a chance for new Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber to gauge the readiness of the nation’s players after more than six months without play.

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The ‘Green vs Gold’ fixture ended in a comprehensive 25-9 win to the Siya Kolisi-led Green side, but the spectacle itself left much to be desired. The game was marred by errors and was described as ‘difficult to watch’.

In just the second week of professional rugby for the country, South Africa’s players struggled for combinations and consistency in the new-look teams with a lack of a time to prepare. The uninspiring contest led fans to pour water over the Springboks’ Rugby Championship hopes, with some suggesting this showed why the team should not travel to Australia.

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One Springboks fans online claimed that the ‘future doesn’t look bright’, another suggested ‘the standard was shocking’ in a game that was ‘never going to be a classic’.

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South African journalists offered some explanations to dampen the fans disappointment, with Brenden Nel comparing the clash to a Super Rugby pre-season game.

With more rugby under their belt, he wrote, the players will be better in three weeks time. It seemed many fans were expecting a North vs South type fixture that was held after 10 weeks of Super Rugby Aotearoa which had created unrealistic expectations for players who’d only notched 80 minutes of rugby the week before.

Jon Cardinelli wrote the game was ‘very much a pre-season hitout’ where the players were untried and learning new combinations while Craig Ray wrote this is confirmation SARU needs to pull the pin on this year’s Rugby Championship.

Speaking on the post-match broadcast, Springbok legend Schalk Burger said that ‘no one’ stood out from the contest, which he found difficult to digest as a viewer.

‘No one stood out, it was a hard watch throughout.’

‘Siya and his boys defended well and the difference between the teams was that his side took their chances while their rivals did not.’

The amount of kicking in the contest was widely criticised by fans but captain Siya Kolisi said that the side operated like it was a test match, leading to a 6-3 scoreline at halftime.

The players will get the chance to find better form when they return to their club sides next week for South Africa’s resumption of Super Rugby.

Super Rugby Unlocked commences next Friday, including the four current Super Rugby franchises, plus the Cheetahs, Griquas and Pumas to prepare for the proposed Rugby Championship, which Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus said a decision will be announced no later than October 10 on whether they will take part in.

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