Springboks embody the human spirit against Wallabies
The Springboks embodied what the Human Spirit is all about when they won the Nelson Mandela Plate for the first time since 2009 in their 28-8 victory over the Wallabies in Cape Town on Saturday. The 20-point winning margin in their penultimate Castle Lager Rugby Championship match is the biggest against the Australians at Newlands Stadium while they have also now won nine of their last 10 matches.
Absa, proud sponsor of the Springboks, and South Africans supported the team with the same passion the team demonstrated at Newlands Stadium. The Boks set the stage following their 38-12 win in Brisbane at the beginning of the month to reclaim the Plate.
The Plate has been contested by the two teams since 2000 and resides with the team last to win it outright. If a series is drawn the Plate is retained by the holders. In beating the Wallabies, the Springboks have now ensured that the Rugby Championship will come to an exciting climax in the final match against the log-leading All Blacks at Ellis Park in Johannesburg this comi Saturday.
Excitement in the Mother City was tangible ahead of the crunch match as the Boks faced one of their traditional foes. With the Wallabies keen on improving their record at the stadium with the picturesque backdrop where they last won a match in 1992, supporters were in for a spectacle. On the big game day even the Cape Town weather held out to ensure the match was played in ideal conditions for a mouth-watering match. Supporters dressed in Springbok attire and draped in South African flags flocked to Newlands Stadium for what would become the 50th Test to be played at the historic venue.
The day also marked two special milestones for Springbok players with prop Jannie du Plessis and flyhalf Morné Steyn earning their 50th Springbok Test caps. Going into the half-time break the Springboks had a firm grasp on the match with a 23-3 lead and as Western Province flanker Siya Kolisi came on from the replacement bench the crowd gave him an emphatic welcome with a collective roar.
The Human Spirit is about setting high standards and the Boks showed this as they were not completely satisfied with their performance despite the victory. Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer said his charges were left disappointed with their display on the night. “You could see after the game they weren’t happy but they know there is still a long way to go,” Meyer said. “If you look it is only a year-and-a-half and I am very happy with what the guys are achieving.”