High road or the low road
The Boys are back in town! If that old chestnut wasn't blasting out of the speakers in every bar in every town, it should have been.
The performance against the Fijians was outstanding – the great running rugby was a sight for sore eyes after Tri-Nations tedium. The Boks did well to capitalise and score six good tries against a side that has grown in their own way, who are not just sevens specialists anymore, but big-hitting defenders too.
The three "D"s – defence, defence, defence – was the order of the day. A few big hits, lots of cover tackles and some solid double-ups would have pleased Gary Gold, Dick Muir, Rassie and their ever-growing league of ancillary recruits. Seriously good and well done.
The game after was a page turner, and the people who watched it live reckon there just can't be any Irish left in Ireland, such was the vocality and the spirit that was in evidence at Eden Park. Lots of big efforts from the men in green – and my Irish eye was smiling too.
It probably means we have to play the Wallabies in the quarters, although the pool stages are not nearly over, so I don't want to be presuming anything at this stage. It is, after all, a World Cup and there is extraordinary pressure on the participating teams.
As always the naysayers were in full voice, saying that this is now an impossible task for the Boks, as they will have to beat both the Wallabies and the All Blacks to win.
What a load of rubbish – old takkie at best.
This is team of players who have won Tri-Nations, Super Rugby tournaments, Currie Cups, Lions tours and World Cups already, so a tough win will be an even better achievement and one to strive for.
I know there are critics who say the Boks won the 2007 RWC because of the bounce of the ball (or the pass of the ball) – also rubbish! You play what's in front of you. For example, does Federer win less of a Grand Slam tournament if he beats a No 3 seed than a No 2? No. You win and keep winning whoever you play, and then you are the champion. That's how it works.
So, we have to beat the Aussies. Brilliant – bring it on! The players can go to bed at night saying that if they beat the Wallabies, the All Blacks and whoever is left, then every little man speaking out against their incredible achievements, will have to concede and chew animatedly on their hats.
High road to the final? Too much to chew on now.
What about we concentrate on beating Namibia and then Samoa, who have been great so far, and then concentrate on playing who is in front of us, and winning. That will be good enough for me.