South African Rugby
Springboks prepared for 'Mission: Impossible'
August 28, 2013
Duane Vermeulen and the Springboks must step up from their form in Mendoza, Brenden Nel writes © Getty Images
South African rugby critics have labelled the Springboks' tour to Australia and New Zealand for The Rugby Championship matches as "Mission: Impossible".
Brenden Nel wrote for supersport.com that South Africa's tight 22-17 victory against Argentina in Mendoza showed how much work lay ahead of the side if they were to achieve wins over both the Wallabies and the All Blacks for the first time since 2009. Nel suggested that South Africa "might as well just hand over their flight tickets and concede the games" as they have not beaten Australia in nine games at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, where they play the Wallabies on Saturday week, and they haven't won at Eden Park in Auckland since 1937. But he sensed a chance against an Australian team struggling to find its game plan, saying South Africa had also played poorly in Argentina in 2012 before suffering close losses in Australasia.
"The most worrying aspect was the performance of individuals on defence - their inability to adapt to both the referee and the way the opposition attacked them at the breakdowns," Nel wrote of the Springboks' performance against the Pumas in Mendonza.
He suggested that Australia flanker Michael Hooper would have taken notice of that feature of the game, while writing that things were not likely to be any easier against All Blacks captain Richie McCaw.
"Mendoza provided a stark reminder that while things go well at home, away from the comforts of South Africa you have to be at your best in every game," Nel wrote. "That is nowhere more true than in the next fortnight in Brisbane and Auckland, where this Bok team will face an acid test against the odds.".