We're back on track, win or lose
Two Saturdays ago I managed to convince the cleaner at a pub in Rome's "senatro historica" at 9.15am to let me in, I waved my wife and kids goodbye - they were off to the Colosseum - I had more serious business.
Almost 31 years to the day since the flower bomb test set me on a path of love and commitment that I have been on ever since, my Boks were back in NZ and with only the sound of the Italian commentators and the hoover to contend with, I was in Roman bliss.
To say we were dominant would be understating it. We absolutely took it to them in the first 40 minutes. Willem Alberts, Duane Vermeulen and Flip van der Merwe were mammoth in the tight exchanges. We hit them backwards from the outset and completely disrupted their rhythm. Our lineout drive worked a treat and as a collective result we won over the ref who was open to penalising them. We gave ourselves every chance.
As I said in my previous post "The revolution must start now" rugby is a game of momentum. We had created great momentum.
But we kicked awfully out of hand. And it wasn't only the badly executed kick that led to Israel Dagg's try that I'm talking about. There were three or four occasions where we had the momentum, had broken the gain line or won turnovers and to move it was the only option, we kicked instead. As the game wore on New Zealand were gifted the initiative by aimless kicking from the base.
Most unfortunately -- with the writing on the wall at half time -- we dithered with our substitutions and it was in this that the game was lost. The brave and only half time decision was to get Johan Goosen and Pat Lambie on to the field. Instead we took 20 and 35 minutes to make those changes, by then too late.
Thankfully the selectors have seen the light, albeit slowly. Goosen must now be given time to settle. I am talking about the time Steve Larkham was given to find his feet before he became the most effective No 10 in the world at the time - two seasons. This young man has everything, we need patience. Not that I really think it will be required. What he also needs is to be able to play to a pattern that suits him and to be surrounded by those able to play that game. Frans Steyn at 12 and a plethora of wings could play. But the sooner we select a running, counter-attacking fullback; a genuine outside centre and a 'service-first' style scrumhalf àla Garth Wright, Aaron Smith or Heinie Adams, the better.
If our pack can maintain their momentum and ascendancy from Dunedin - with Heinrich Brussow and Siya Kolisi when fit again added to the squad, possession from all phases will be assured. Then all that is required is Paul Jordaan, JP Pietersen, Willie le Roux, Robert Ebersohn, Jaco Taute, Lionel Mapoe added to many of the current crop and off we go. Francois Louw's very positive contribution in disrupting All Black ball also put the fetcher role back in vogue and quite rightly so. He did Brussow and himself a great service.
We can dominate if we change our style (only slightly) and we pick the personnel to do it. I am more encouraged as of Wednesday's Bok squad announcement than I have been in two seasons -- the revolution is on track. Viva Heyneke Meyer, viva the Boks, we are now on a path. Be brave!
Steve Morris presents supersport.com's exclusive weekly video feature Working the Blindside, which looks ahead at the weekend's upcoming games. View his videos here. And follow Steve on Twitter @SteveMorris73