Social Media has been alight with Springbok substitution conspiracy theories after their final minute loss to the All Blacks in Pretoria on Saturday.
Springbok Substitution Conspiracy Theories
South Africa 30 New Zealand 32
South Africa: Tries: Jessie Kriel, Damian de Allende, Cheslyn Kolbe Conversions: Handre Pollard (3) Penalties: Pollard (3)
New Zealand: Tries: Aaron Smith, Reiko Ioane, Scott Barrett, Ardie Savea Conversions: Mo’unga (3) Penalties : Barrett (2)
Before take a look at a look at some of the Springbok substitution conspiracy theories, we consider a few other important points.
Springboks home record against the All Blacks
This was the 50th Test between these two great rugby nations on South African soil. The Springboks have won 25 and the All Blacks now have 24 victories, with one draw. The record at Loftus Versveld illustrates a dominance by the All Blacks at this venue. Six games played, five won by the All Blacks.
The Springboks have moved forward
The competitiveness displayed by the Springboks this season has been a significant improvement over the last number of years. Two poor displays against Argentina and Australia, both away from home, were the two blots on their copy book. If South African rugby fans are honest with themselves, they would have paid a good price over the last five years to walk away from a Rugby Championship with a one-all result against the All Blacks, an away win and a points difference of zero.
“For 70 minutes we did a lot of things right, but we had some soft moments and against the No 1 team in the world you can’t afford to do that,”
said Siya Kolisi, Springbok captain.
“That’s probably where we lost it. I don’t think we deserved to lose but they really stuck to their game and perhaps we switched off for a split second.”
There is obviously still a lot to do to be a true Rugby World Cup contender, but there is a lot more to their game under Erasmus that we saw in the Meyer and Coetzee eras.
“I’m definitely happy with the progress and the growth we have shown,” Erasmus said. “South African rugby fans are not stupid and there will be criticism of this defeat, but we have shown growth and we will cling on to that.
The Springboks came into the game with a plan to disrupt the All Blacks and put them under pressure. In Wellington, they strangled the All Blacks with their intensity and grim defense. In Pretoria they used cross-field kicks placed behind the All Blacks wings to put them under pressure and to prevent them from shooting up on defense. This worked well, especially in the first half.
Angus Gardner Average at Best
In the clip below, we have included the official SANZAAR video clip of the highlights. The pass from Codie Taylor should have as a bare minimum have been sent upstairs to be reviewed.
The latitude he allowed at the ruck was also very disappointing, with side entry not being well policed at all and Shannon Frizzel had a field day.
On the flip side of the quality of refereeing argument, Springbok flank Pieter-Steph du Toit should probably have been yellow carded and conceded a penalty try for lazy under the Springboks poles with the All Blacks mounting a very strong attack.
Springbok Substitution Conspiracy Theories
Many South African rugby fans have put forward their conspiracy theories after the Springboks conceded a healthy 12 point lead in the last six minutes of this Test match to lose by two points. Comments ranged from incompetence by Rassie Erasmus, pressure from the media and quota/transformation requirements.
There could be questions surrounding the substitution of Malcolm Marx, but no one knows how Marx himself felt. Frans Malherbe was replaced by Vincent Koch after he let the sideline assistants know that he felt tired.
Damian de Allende looked very uncomfortable leaving the field in the final minutes with looked like a possible leg injury. Willie le Roux left the field in a rush with 15 minutes to go, running into the tunnel with a Doctor in tow. This was not quota/transformation requirement as some would believe. He needed to go for a Head Injury Assessment, which he failed and was not allowed to return to the field.
One of the better Springboks on the day was Faf de Klerk. He had to leave the field not because he was told to. He left because he had to. He was suffering from cramp and could not continue.
There will be those who cannot accept defeat. This is unfortunate, but the doomsayers will have their moment in the sun. Do they acknowledge the improvement in the quality of rugby the Springboks are delivering at the moment? No. Mingling with fans after the game came as a bit of a surprise. Players were being thrown onto the rubbish heap by number and not by name. The negativity prevails, yet fans still buy tickets.
Quotes and photographs courtesy of SA Rugby.