The worst thing that could possibly happen to the Boks happened in the last 10min against Australia. While everybody celebrated what was an unusual 10min in any test, and were distracted by a beaming Captain in front of his family, few cared examine what had happened in the game before those moments.
We were behind. And we could have been really behind if two key refereeing decisions had not gone our way. The first was the high tackle by Hougaard that went unsanctioned. He should have been Yellow carded which would have had a big effect on our game especially as the Ozzies had just scored….The second was a disallowed try because the referee was on the wrong side of the ruck. The Ozzies scored fair and square but the whistle had already gone. It could well have been a very different last 10 minutes.
It is easy to blow a side away in 10minutes when they believe that it is not their day. The Ozzies are lacking mental resilience, that is all. Ask Beale. They played the better game and were broken mentally in the dying minutes. There is a big difference between losing the mental game and losing the tactical game. So what broke them mentally? I think they saw who represented the Bok bench. It should be remembered that the Ozzie side is a young side and many of the players would look up to the big names that had just run onto the field. I think it was too much for them and they lost self belief. This was accentuated by the fact that not one player that came onto that field had any doubt about how the game was going to end. We have never feared Australia and Saturday was not going to be the first time.
Which brings me to this Saturday’s game. We have a different view about New Zealand. We fear them. Everything Heyneke says about this being a dead game is rubbish. He knows we have to get as many wins against them before the World Cup next year. He knows he has NEVER beaten them and that will not be good for his mental preparation going into next year. Unlike previous years, the NZ side are also showing no signs of having peaked too early. They are an exceptional side that are mature, settled and very well coached. Not much attention has been paid to the fact the they travelled to Argentina and dismissed them in a way no other side has managed to do in recent times. We nearly lost our game when we played them there but we were lucky (again).
We have to win this game which is why no big changes have been made to the side. And this is why I believe Saturday will not be close at all. There is absolutely no chance that the All Black coach would allow us to get a sniff in ahead of the World cup. Some would argue that with the wealth of experience that we have in the side, that that should be enough to counter any threat both physical or mental. I disagree. There is mental fatigue in many of the players. And there appears to be favouritism. Why is Lambie still on the bench? What more must he do? Do people not realise he single handedly changed Saturday’s outcome? Suspect mental conditioning will be fully exploited by the All Blacks on Saturday. There are no cracks in the All Black side. They do not fear. IN fact, even worse…they believe while we hope. The mental condition of the players will be fully tested on Saturday. I do not believe that they will be able to hold. I just hope we do not end up on the receiving end of a 10min spell…Please don’t forget that Wayne Barnes is blowing the game and we are not known for communicating well with him.