Boks lack bite

Look through that Springbok side. Where have all their world-class players gone?

There are slim pickings these days, with Bryan Habana, Francois Louw, Eben Etzebeth and Adriaan Strauss raising their hands to be included in that category, although all four have waned in production this season.

Take the case of Etzebeth, a massive man, well over 2m and 120kg, with all the courage, power and athletic ability to be a force on the global stage.

He’s a lock with a good blend of nasty and skill, and he’s also young at 24, already capped 50 times and someone who promised great duels with Brodie Retallick.

Leg injuries have been Etzebeth’s curse and he hasn’t regained all the zing and menace which made him such a dangerous player. Maybe if it’s a little damp for the test in Christchurch, that will suit him and his mates, but it may only prove to limit the All Blacks’ winning margin.

I think New Zealand is looking for a true test.  A beautiful game is one thing, but we’re missing the edge-of-our-seat feeling that good contests deliver.  

The problem is they are facing an All Black side in rare form with players who are heading for Hall of Fame votes. It’s a side which has grabbed chunks of confidence in every outing this year, stayed largely injury-free and been given strong direction, as well as an expressive licence.

Right now, it is the All Blacks’ turn to put most under the blowtorch and they have earned and learned that right.

A check of the records will demolish any overconfidence, with their last test against the Boks a tough two-point semifinal victory at the World Cup. There was a two-point loss in 2014 and the biggest winning margin since Hansen became coach has been 16 points. But right now, the All Blacks are soaring at a different level, while the Boks will be checking their flight times home to safety.

Every match is a new game, and the Springboks will take this from the All Blacks if there is any complacency.  As the last AB home game of the Investec Rugby Championship, everyone will expect the All Blacks to win, but you just know the Boks will come and mess things up for at least the first half.


– Wynne Gray, NZ Herald

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.