Despite the Springboks’ loss to the All Blacks in this years’ 2015 IRB World Cup semi-final, South Africa generally had a phenomenal sporting weekend. The Proteas emerged ever-victorious in their Freedom Cup ODI Series quest against India in their backyard; where they often prove to be a difficult team to beat at home.
SA Rugby’s Simon Borchardt stated in his recent column that the Springboks require more head and less heart in semi-finals. This could easily apply to the Proteas as well regarding their ICC World Cup exit earlier this year against the same southern nation. The Boks ultimately played some great defensive rugby against a very skilled and attack-filled New Zealand side. With All Blacks try-scorer Jerome Kaino in the sin bin, and a half-time 12-7 lead, their temperament of getting the job done before the full-time buzzer seemed to be the Boks’ only downfall of the game. The men in green will try and obtain a consolation bronze medal when they take on Argentina this week for the 3rd/4th place IRB World Cup position.
On the topic of more head and less heart, both the Proteas young superstars in Quinton de Kock and Kagiso Rabada proved in the now-concluded ODI series in India that they indeed do have “more head and much more heart”. De Kock’s first ton of the series in the first ODI under scorching temperatures of 38 degrees immediately showed his temperament for the forthcoming outings against the sub-continent giants; ending the series with 318 runs in 5 innings averaging 63.60 which included two centuries.
On the other hand, his Proteas cub-teammate Rabada too showed the cricketing world he is one worthy of taking his team to victory despite any sticky situation when his captain AB de Villiers entrusted him with the ball in the final over of the first ODI; taking two wickets and ensuring the Proteas a 1-0 series lead. Rabada ended the ODI series on top of the bowling stats with 10 wickets in 5 matches; averaging 24.10 and an economy of 5.12. One could safely claim that these two are the next Makhaya Ntini and Mark Boucher of the future!
Words by Mandilulame Manjezi