The Springbok campaign in this year’s Rugby Championship has been dogged by a series of uncomfortable questions about the national rugby side’s seeming inability to close out matches.
A try by Warren Whiteley in the dying minutes in the first game against Argentina spared red faces at Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit. The question was how they got themselves in that position. It was probably answered a week later in Salsa, where a determined Puma side emerged victorious.
A fortnight later in Brisbane, the Boks were 14-3 up against the Wallabies, but folded to go down 23- 17. Again, questions were asked but remained unanswered in the following week’s 41-13 hammering by the All Blacks in Wellington.
In round five, Bok flyhalf Morne Steyn scored all the points in an 18-12 defeat of a rampant Australia at Loftus Versfeld. Once again there were no cogent answers offered. At Kings Park today, the Boks end their campaign against an All Black side already crowned champions.
Another big loss by South Africa will make the nagging questions that much sharper. And this time, those questions will demand answers on the problem areas of the scrum, the centre field and an erratic defence.