Wrongfully labelled ‘one-trick ponies’, the Springboks will make light work of the British & Irish Lions in the looming Test series, according to former England back Austin Healey.
The former England and British & Irish Lions wing lavished praise on South African rugby in a column for the Telegraph, highlighting the lack of respect for the world champions’ technical expertise and making the logical argument that South Africa should be included in the Six Nations.
Healey argued that there is a lot riding on the first Test between the Springboks and Lions and should the host nation come out victorious, they will whitewash the tourists 3-0 in the series.
“In my view, South Africa still do not receive enough credit for the nuances in their game,” Healey wrote. “We all know that they come out and bash you, that they are immensely physical.
“They are so good at winning the tiny battles that go on around the pitch in every second the ball is in play. There is a determination that they will beat their opposite man.
“When you play against them, everything is a struggle. Their hardness defines them, but they have subtlety as well.”
Healey made the argument that with the four big South African clubs – the Sharks, Stormers, Lions and Bulls – entering Europe through the United Rugby Championship, the Springboks should be included in the Six Nations in place of Italy.
Italy have finished as wooden spoonists in 16 of the 22 Six Nations seasons, since entering the tournament in 2000 and have not avoided last place since finishing above Scotland in 2015.
“I wonder how seriously that is being weighed up,” Healey wrote. “It would be in the South African autumn every year, when they have traditionally been involved in Super Rugby, and would make a lot of sense to me.
“There is no doubt that their quality would enhance the competition. Winning a grand slam would become a phenomenal achievement. People keep complaining that Italy are not getting any better and should be replaced by Georgia, but Georgia would be in the same boat.
“Although the flight to South Africa lasts around 12 hours from Europe, the minimal time difference means there is no jet-lag and the acclimatisation process is much easier than going to Australia and New Zealand. All things considered, I think the South African union has a lot of big decisions ahead of it.”
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