Oh the joy of a Bok smile!

Gone were the Steyn and Kirchner scowls, in were the Le Roux and Habana smiles. Tank Lanning suggests a potential new Bok dawn that sees the team actually enjoy their rugby in is eNCA.com column.

Oh the joy in seeing the Springboks smile again … No more the scowls seen from the likes of Frans Steyn, Francois Hougaard and Zane Kirchner … But more the joy of being able to entertain your country while practising one of the national sports …

“It was a great feeling for me because I just want to play good rugby so that the people can enjoy themselves,” said Willie le Roux on the air of expectancy from the crowd every time the 23-year-old touched the ball during his Bok debut in the 44-10 victory against Italy at Kings Park on Saturday. How special is that?

A great moment in the Test for me was seeing born again Bryan Habana giggle when spotting his wife going through the match programme on the big screen, instead of watching her hubby in action.

Yes rugby runs in this country’s veins, hence the Springbok results defining the morale of many people, but as I have long said, it remains a mere sport, with a loss not even close to being able to prevent the sun from coming up the next day.

And yes, these guys are paid a lot of money, but like actors and all performers, that money should go to not only to getting a win at all costs, but also toward entertaining us on a Saturday afternoon.

And entertain they did. Sure it was against a stuttering Italian side, and it was only for the first and last 20 minutes of the game, but I really did sense the emergence of a new dawn … A dawn that sees the team aiming to win games through scoring points, rather than not lose them by preventing the other team from scoring points.

I used to form part of a small minority, with most people asking for, and happy with, just the Saturday afternoon win. But having seen the groundswell of unhappiness from Western Cape rugby fans at the very defensive style of rugby being employed by the Stormers (and this even when they were winning last year), I think more and more people are upgrading their thinking to also wanting to be entertained.

And to my mind, the biggest step to making this transition, from a player’s point of view, is being encouraged to enjoy oneself out there, and being allowed to use one’s God given skill (and training) to play the situation as you see fit. And yes, you are allowed to smile if you try something wild because you see an opportunity in your own 22, but it does not come off …

We seem to have become stuck in a fairly conservative rut that sees us holding onto experience, rather than blooding youngsters keen on playing a more entertaining ball in hand game that is much more fun to play.

Let us see the moving of players to pastures filled with Euro and Yen as an exciting opportunity to blood the scintillating new talent coming through, rather than the death knell they currently carry.

To Willie le Roux, JJ Engelbrecht, Jano Vermaak and Trevor Nyakane – Thank you, and may there be many more!


  1. 100% Tank – they did look as if they were enjoying themselves. Now for HM to relax. One just had to look at Hansen, Gatland and the Italian coach.
    Someone needs to tell Engelbrecht that there are 14 other players in the side whether he plays for the Bulls or SA.

  2. So true Tank – now maybe the message can get through to the Stormers staff and team! I was in a box last Saturday and of the few people there only one was watching the game – the rest were entertaining themselves!

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