Boks face fight for respect

Another limp showing in Christchurch this Saturday could see the Springboks suffering their heaviest Test defeat since 2011, writes JON CARDINELLI.

The Boks have battled in 2016, losing three of their six Tests. Traditionally, they have battled in New Zealand, winning just three matches during the professional era.

The question is not if the All Blacks will beat the Boks in Christchurch this Saturday. The question is by how much.

The All Blacks smashed Argentina 57-22 in Hamilton last week. Over in Brisbane, the Wallabies beat the Boks 23-17.

Former Bok coach Nick Mallett subsequently described the Boks as a 'B-division side'. Former Bok captain Jean de Villiers said that he feared for the team in the next match against the All Blacks in Christchurch.

In New Zealand, former All Blacks scrumhalf Justin Marshall wrote a column titled, 'Our second best could roll the rest'. Marshall believes that New Zealand rugby is in prime health, and that an All Blacks 'B' side could beat the best South Africa has to offer.

The Boks will, unfortunately, face the strongest available All Blacks side in Christchurch this Saturday. One cannot see the Boks finishing within 10 points of such a superior side. Indeed, another limp and rudderless performance could see the Boks sustaining their heaviest defeat in five years.

In 2011, the All Blacks thrashed a second-string Bok side 40-7 in Wellington. The Boks have not suffered anything close to a 33-point defeat in the subsequent years.

Between 2012 and 2015, the Boks lost by 10 points or more on just five occasions. Three of those fixtures involved the All Blacks. The 16-point defeat to New Zealand at Soccer City in 2012 was the biggest.

In June this year, Allister Coetzee's team became the first Bok side to lose to Ireland at home. In August, Coetzee's charges became the first Bok team to lose a Test in Argentina. Unless they produce a much-improved performance in Christchurch this Saturday, the same group is likely to sustain South Africa's heaviest defeat in five years.

Some have gone as far to say that the Boks will concede 50 points. It would come as a surprise, though, as the Boks have only conceded 50 points or more on three occasions. They lost 55-35 to the All Blacks in 1997, 52-16 to the All Blacks in 2003, and 53-3 to England in 2003.

The current All Blacks side is certainly a team to be feared. Since Steve Hansen took the head coaching reins in 2012, the All Blacks have won 55 of their 60 matches for a success rate of 93%. They have scored 50 or more points in nine of those 60 Tests.

Photo: David Rogers/Getty Images

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Jon Cardinelli