A week has passed since the Springboks opened their 2015 Rugby World Cup push with a surprising loss to Japan. The South African national team is one of the sport’s most successful teams. Japan entered the game with only one win in 24 previous World Cup matches.
There was no question that the defeat was an embarrassment for South Africa. The team’s coach, Heyneke Meyer publicly actually apologized to the nation for the loss. The Springboks’ captain, Jean de Villiers, warned that the loss could potentially break the country apart. This shows just how serious South Africa takes their rugby and how shocking this loss truly was.
All eyes were on Springboks as they entered play against Samoa yesterday, in the north of England. No one in South Africa new what to expect despite having one of the best teams in the world. There was no hiding that there were doubts about the Springboks chances following the loss to Japan; doubt is not a word commonly associated with South Africa when it comes to rugby.
“Before the Japanese match, I wouldn’t have been worried,” said Paul Fields, a South African fan who had journeyed from London that morning to support his beloved team. “But after how we played, you just can’t tell what’s going to happen.”
Despite the doubts, the passionate Springboks fans came together to cheer on their team. The 42,000-person stadium turned into a sea of green and gold, with South African fans outnumbering the Samoans by a ratio of 10 to one. For all intents and purposes, this was a home game for South Africa.
The Springboks got off to a slow start, adding some additional stress to the lives of the South African faithful. But the team soon got it together and finished the match strong. The electric atmosphere in support of South Africa helped push the Springboks towards a decisive victory by a score of 46-6. South Africa will face Scotland next, which will likely the toughest challenge yet.
Information courtesy of NY Times.