Saturday was another one of those Bok performances that leaves you three shots of hard liquor deep before the final whistle, because what else can you do but drink?
The English defeat will always be remembered for the controversial Owen Farrell tackle in the dying moments, but the referee can’t be blamed for what was a lacklustre display against a well-organised Welsh team.
It’s amazing what a win against the All Blacks in their own backyard does perception-wise, because if you compare 2018’s numbers against those of the two years before, it isn’t always pretty.
Sport24 crunched the numbers, but first a little recap:
The Boks beat England in a three-match series in June, beat the All Blacks away from home for the first time since 2009 and, along the way, they provided enough encouragement to suggest that they will be in good shape for the World Cup in Japan next year.
Saturday’s 20-11 loss to Wales in Cardiff, though, was about as poor as the Boks have been all year at a time when they should be hitting their straps.
A rather ominous reminder that the Boks have just four matches before kicking off our 2019 Rugby World Cup campaign against the All Blacks in Yokohama on September 21.
Now numbers only tell part of the story, but let’s see how the two shape up with regards the last three years of test rugby:
Erasmus 2018: 14, Coetzee 2017: 13, Coetzee 2016: 12
Erasmus 2018: 7, Coetzee 2017: 7, Coetzee 2016: 4
Erasmus 2018: 50%, Coetzee 2017: 61.5%, Coetzee 2016: 33.3%
I think that Coetzee’s torrid 2016 results meant that the team’s performances the following year were put under increased scrutiny, but it was also the nature of many of those losses, some by record margins, that led to fans turning against the former coach.
An overall win record of 44% isn’t going to make people look back and wonder, either.
Back to the comparison:
Erasmus 2018: 37, Coetzee 2017: 39, Coetzee 2016: 20
Average tries per game
Erasmus 2018: 2.64, Coetzee 2017: 3, Coetzee 2016: 1.6
Erasmus 2018: 330, Coetzee 2017: 296, Coetzee 2016: 329
Average points conceded per game
Erasmus 2018: 23.57, Coetzee 2017: 22.7, Coetzee 2016: 27.4
Rugby Championship finish
Erasmus 2018: 2nd, Coetzee 2017: 3rd, Coetzee 2016: 3rd
End of year tour
Erasmus 2018: 2/4, Coetzee 2017: 2/4, Coetzee 2016: 0/3
Win percentage at home
Erasmus 2018: 66.6%, Coetzee 2017: 66.6%, Coetzee 2016: 66.6%
Win percentage away
Erasmus 2018: 37.5%, Coetzee 2017: 42.8%, Coetzee 2016: 0%
Those numbers don’t take into consideration the quality of opposition faced, but it’s clear that Rassie could have used at least one more win from the overseas tour.
Losing to Argentina in the Rugby Championship is also always going to reflect poorly on the coach.
Whoever you support, next year’s World Cup is undoubtedly the most ‘up-for-grabs’ tournament in years. The almighty All Blacks are beatable, a number of northern hemisphere teams look impressive, and on our day we can give anybody in world rugby a run for their money.
To win a World Cup, though, you need to string together a few of those days back to back.
To finish, here’s Fiji defeating France over the weekend, in what was a major upset:
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