Mon 16 Nov 2020 | 09:51

'Cowards': Boks under the spotlight after Pumas' shock win

'Cowards': Boks under the spotlight after Pumas' shock win
Mon 16 Nov 2020 | 09:51
'Cowards': Boks under the spotlight after Pumas' shock win
SHARE

SPOTLIGHT: The world champions South Africa surprised many last month when they announced their decision to withdraw from what would’ve been the Rugby Championship.

ADVERTISEMENT

Instead, Argentina, New Zealand and hosts Australia would contest for a Tri-Nations title.

It was revealed that the Springboks wouldn’t travel to Australia due to challenges with COVID-19, with player welfare one of the reasons cited.

Another issue was the lack of game time that players had had, with players only having played a few weeks of Super Rugby Unlocked, the South African domestic competition for this year, at that stage. The national side also hadn’t played together since the World Cup Final in November last year.

Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus, who was head coach of the Springboks for last year’s World Cup victory in Japan, said that his players would need 400-500 minutes of game time before they’d be ready for Test match rugby.

The decision was at least initially labelled a “great call” by South African fans on Twitter, with the Springboks set to take on the British and Irish Lions in South Africa next year.

Story continues below…

ADVERTISEMENT

'Cowards': Boks under the spotlight after Pumas' shock win

However, the decision has since come under scrutiny with the Pumas, who were in a similar boat to the Springboks, having registered an historic 25-15 win over the All Blacks last Saturday.

All Blacks legend John Kirwan joked about the “mitigating circumstances” that the Argentinians had faced in preparation for the Tri-Nations, with COVID-19 having impacted them significantly. In late September, it was reported that more than a dozen players had tested positive for the virus.

The squad arrived in Australia on October 6 after having quarantined for 14 days.

ADVERTISEMENT

The Pumas then played two warm-up matches against a Rugby Australia XV, which included non-matchday Wallabies. Pete Samu, Joe Powell and James Ramm all featured, but the visitors won both matches in convincing fashion.

But the dominant performance against the All Blacks last weekend was particularly impressive and has seen fans on Twitter discuss the Springboks withdrawal just as much as the win itself.

'Cowards': Boks under the spotlight after Pumas' shock win

But other fans have been quick to diminish any comparisons between the Pumas and the Springboks, two sides who faced similar yet different challenges.

'Cowards': Boks under the spotlight after Pumas' shock win

The unique Super Rugby Unlocked season does continue this weekend, with the final round of fixtures set to be played. The competition is set to go down to the wire, with the Bulls currently sitting atop of the standings.

As for the Argentinian national side, they’ll face the Wallabies in Newcastle this weekend, in a pivotal Tri-Nations clash.

@RugbyPass

PV: 21
ADVERTISEMENT
'Cowards': Boks under the spotlight after Pumas' shock win | Rugby365