Who would have thought the Springbok rugby emblem held in such high esteem and even awe in some countries would one day be under threat. Recently I met some rugby crazy Fijians and just the mention of the Springboks gets a tremendous response - respect and admiration.
My personal opinion is that a compromise will be reached between the Springboks and Proteas on the same jersey. The Luke Watson incident has certainly received major reaction on all fronts. Do we just forget? I remember Luke's father as one of the best South African rugby players never to don the green and gold. The 1974 British Lions led by Willie John McBride were mystified by his exclusion; Cheeky Watson had a blinder against the Lions when playing for Eastern Province. So there are deeper issues. I would like to hear what our readers think.
There is one constant in life and that is change. South African rugby struggled to keep up to the highs of 2007. After an outstanding away from home win against New Zealand the Boks were very disappointing at home, having done all the hard work. We did see the huge potential of the Boks in the last game against Australia when the boys focused on playing good attacking rugby. I still maintain we have the players at the moment to become the only side to win the World Cup 3 times but this will be determined by a number of factors. And as highlighted by the Luke Watson saga, other political issues, coaching and the administration of rugby need all to be positive.
A team to watch for in 2011 will be Australia who are rebuilding, have very good young players coming through and most importantly a very astute coach. Rugby also needs change in the Super 14 format. The introduction of the talented islanders on a limited basis could create lots of interest as they are exciting to watch but importantly help the development of the game on the global scale. We all saw how successful and popular the acquisition of Freddie Micalak was for the Sharks. The international flavour is what the competition needs in order to become the premier rugby competition at this level, though it will face tough opposition from the northern hemisphere with big budgets. Just like soccer the financial strength is north.
Well done to the Sharks on finally winning the Currie Cup, something they richly deserve after being the best South African team in Super 14 for many years. The final against the mighty Bulls produced a game of a very high standard.
As we head towards Christmas we have another South African team coming to the Australian shores, the arrival of the South African cricket team the Proteas! Good luck to them and may we see exciting cricket.