The Springboks showed heart to eke out a 33 – 31 win over a fired up Argentina in Salta over the weekend, despite being destroyed in the scrums.
However, the iron men of the Springbok scrum from yesteryear must be turning over in their graves as the Bok forwards got shoved around by the Puma’s.
One can only imagine what a man like Jaap Bekker, who took on the All Black front row in 1956, would have thought of the sight of Guthro Steenkamo and Jannie du Plessis being bullied at scrum time.
This is what was written about Bekker after the second test in New Zealand in 1956:
“Jaap Bekker had a massive game. He was vital in the Springbok plan to subdue the All Black front row and took terrific punishment in the process.
Bekker got concussed midway through the game but did not leave the field until the last minute when it was clear that the Springboks have won”.
The sight of a Bok scrum heading backwards at a rapid rate of knots was something that was just never going to happen to the 1995 Springboks either.
Kobus Wiese, the giant Bok lock famously told his prop that he can go up or he can go down but there is no ways he is coming backwards during the 1995 World Cup.
The pride of the 2014 Boks was at stake by the time Bakkies Botha and a new front row got onto the field in Salta on Saturday.
Bakkies personally starting to sort things out with some hard tackles that hurt the Argentines, and a few shoves off the ball, just to show the Boks were not intimidated by the fiasco up front.
Nick Mallet, the former Bok coach called the scrums humiliating and had this to say on Supersport.
“I know psychologically when a South African pack gets dominated in the scrum, there’s very little testosterone that gets distributed to the other parts of their game.
The guys looked a bit shell-shocked. The whole front row were getting humiliated. It became a bit embarrassing, and suddenly the big ball-carriers weren’t looking good.
In South Africa we have this idea of picking loosehead props as ball-carriers, but they’ve got to be scrummagers first and foremost.
Gurthrö Steenkamp hasn’t been first-choice prop at Toulouse and here he was really shown up.
Jannie du Plessis also had a hell of an afternoon. I haven’t seen a Springbok scrum go back like that in years”.
While the All Blacks breathed fire and brimstone in their victory over Australia at Eden Park, the Springboks whimpered their way to victory in Salta.
Things improved when the Beast and Frans Malherbe came onto the field, but the real test of the Bok scrum will come against the All Blacks – who will show no mercy if they can exploit a weakness in the Springbok team.
Lets hope the spirit of Jaap Bekker will be revived when the Boks take on the All Blacks on 13 September in Wellington.