Nice work Fikile

Mere hours to the start of the Rugby World Cup, and well under 24 of them to the announcement of the Bok side to take on Wales in their first game … That announcement takes place at 07h00 on Friday – Auckland time … So around 22h00 tonight SA time …

I was interviewed last week by Ben of The Bounce website and @followthebounce Twitter fame, on my thoughts going into the Cup …

Below are three of the questions put to me. For the rest of the interview CLICK HERE …

TheBounce: Many think that the Boks simply don’t have enough quality to defend their title. If they were to do it though, in what particular areas of play would they have to be extra special?
Tank: Stop, rewind four years, Play. No fancy-schmancy for this lot. Great defence, excellent positional kicks from Du Preez and both Steyns, lineout dominance, an accurate boot from Steyn (M), and the pack needs to hold it’s own come scrum time. I am not convinced they will, but the Boks could definitely win this tournament playing this way.

TheBounce: The Boks have a similar predicament when it comes to flyhalf. Who would you like to see start, Butch or Morne?
Tank: Lambie? How different would the situation be if the Boks had actually played Lambie on that EOYT last year? Instead he carried bags, and now we are stuck with the 2007 game plan … Not that it was ever going to change, to be honest. I am not sure we should be comparing these two with SBW, Nonu and Smith, but for the game the Boks are going to play in New Zealand, there can be only one … Morne Steyn.

TheBounce: How would you like to see John Smit utilised in this tournament?
Tank: Hooker would be a good start. My oath, but these coaches have made a complete pigs ear of Smit’s career in the last few years. And Div might well be remembered as the coach who changed Smit from being remembered as a Bok great to being remembered as a failed tighthead. Which is sad, but I still think Smit should have stood up for himself a little more. As per the above answer, the bed has been made. Smit will have to start (especially the early games), and Du Plessis will come on as an awesome impact player.

My point being that it might not be pretty, and the Boks might have to get used to “Playing no rugby” but this has been the plan from day one. And as yet another cliché goes: “Failing to plan, is planning to fail” … If the plan fails, we can debate the merits of the plan then, but at least the Boks have a fairly set plan in place.

As such, expect to see Smit at hooker, Steyn at flyhalf, Habana on the wing and Steyn at fullback when the team is announced … The Rugby World Cup is not the time to start experimenting – something Graham Henry clearly does not believe in – and that might very well be the All B lack undoing ….

I really was chuffed to see the comments coming from Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula, who is in Wellington for the Boks’ opening match.

For those who missed it …

“Mense, ons moet altyd die span ondersteun. As ons verloor, verloor ons saam. As ons wen, wen ons saam. Vorentoe Die Bokke!”

Mbalule also suggested that the RWC was not the place to address the issue of transformation and that the only focus should be on supporting the Boks and enjoying the game of rugby.

“We have created platforms and forums for us to engage in these debates like the forthcoming Sport and Recreation Indaba. This is not a space of debate it is an arena of battle to conquer the world. We can’t polarise the nation when we are supposed to be united around one cause and that is why I’m confident that the people of our country will ignore such people.”

“And as for the share of the commercial revenue derived from rugby merchandise, they must not wait for the World Cup to raise their selfish interests and or drive their agendas.”

It’s just so refreshing, given what we have seen before. I love the fact that he raises the point about people using the limelight of the World Cup to sneak a cheap shot in. That’s so easy to do, instead of doing the hard graft and raising these points at designated times, and on designated platforms.

1 more sleep. That is all …