Under-fire Boks to beat Wallabies

SA Rugby Magazine’s betting guru, MoneyManSA, has advised punters to stay away from the Rugby Championship showdown of the Springboks versus the Wallabies.

Ordinarily, he told me, you would be debating the margin of victory, so poor are the 2016 vintage of Wallabies. The fact that we’re debating whether or not the Boks would win, he added, said everything about head coach Allister Coetzee and the Test-standard quality of his assistants.

Coetzee is a likeable bloke and among the most inoffensive coaches you’ll find in the industry. He was a quality player and blossomed as the backline coach in Jake White’s 2007 World Cup-winning squad.

Coetzee, for me, has never convinced as a head coach with the capacity to outthink the more astute and technically articulate opposition coaches.

My view, before Coetzee’s appointment, was that he was not the right coach for the Boks and that 2016 would be a miserable year in the first of four very forgettable Bok years.

It’s been worse than miserable so far. It’s been embarrassing and painful to watch the very same players who flourished as Lions in Super Rugby look clueless and inept in a Bok jersey.

Coetzee’s starting combinations have been picked on historic form and his own call, with very little reward for form.

Nothing has changed for this Saturday. The midfield has never played as a unit and defensively the 10-12-13 axis is more featherweight than heavyweight.

Francois Hougaard’s selection on the wing is one made on occasional cameos four years ago from a very talented rugby player, whose career has stuttered more than soared because there has been too much confidence in his ability as an X-factor athlete but not enough in his command of being a specialist scrumhalf or wing.

The Bok backline, on the surface, is heavy in attacking potential but lacks collective presence as an attacking unit. Defensively, the individuals are more band aid than plaster cast.

The Bok pack is decent, without being exceptional. The tight five is strong, but the back row is secondary in quality as a unit to Australia’s.

But, and here’s the saving grace, this is an Australian team at a low, devoid of confidence and recently belittled and humiliated home and away to New Zealand’s All Blacks.

This is an Australian team that has lost four successive Tests at home this season and is yet to win in five starts.

The Wallabies scored one try in 160 minutes against the All Blacks and conceded 10.

Why are we even questioning whether the Boks will win?

Are Coetzee and his bandits that poor that they can’t knock over this Australian mess?

Surely not?

The Boks by 10 because against this current Wallabies team, I’d pick anyone to take it by 10 or more.

Read Keohane on www.sarugbymag.co.za and on twitter.com/mark_keohane

Photo: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images