Watching Jacques Engelbrecht bulldoze his way over a couple of Brumbies defenders this morning reminds of one of Springbok rugby’s greatest sons.
We haven’t seen Schalk Burger play for more than a year now and I hope the ‘Incredible Schulk’ returns because I miss him and his mop of blonde hear flying into rucks like a Japanese kamikaze fighter pilot.
But after watching another spirited performance by the Kings, we may see another emergence of a flanker that can spur the Springboks to greater heights.
Although Engelbrecht did not start the match, he showed exactly what he’s made of when came on as a substitute.
The Kings forwards effectively kept their team on par with the Brumbies and Devlin Oosthuizen, Cornell du Preez and Wimpie van der Walt (great game bud) were colossal at the breakdown .
But for me, seeing Engelbrecht galloping down the touchline, bashing Henry Speight and Nick White like a bunch of U13B defenders heartened my rugby-loving spirit in the knowledge that the Boks may just be in good hands once the 2015 RWC kicks off in that shithole of a country.
Even though this draw is huge for the Kings, it’s important for SA rugby to realise just how much depth there is.
Watching the Club final where both teams were coached by ex-Boks in Robert du Preez and Adri Geldenhuys (they played that first Test after isolation) illustrates this point while the Varsity Cup provides an extra pool to draw from.
The problem is not our players; it’s the coaching, which may be a direct result from the isolation years. Mclook referred to this when the Junior Boks played the All Blacks in 1992. “Kick and charge” was the order of the day – while the concept of placing the ball as a “bridge of forwards” protect their man seemed alien to our players during those dark days.
Hopefully as the years past, South African rugby will evolve as our coaches become more dynamic in their approach.
I’m not a huge fan of Alan Solomons personally (he’s my younger half-brother’s godfather) but I admire he’s coaching skills. I still remember him walking around triumphantly at the post-match dinner after his UCT first XV beat Stellenbosch at Newlands in 1988. No-one gave him a chance – which he ultimately thrives upon. You find this in the psyche of most lawyers.
Well today, the same scenario was played out down in the Australian capital. Once again David stood up to Goliath and I would love to be a fly on the wall when Jake and Alan get together for a chat in the former Bok coach’s office.
I know Matt Sexton is the coach but we all know who’s really calling the shots. You can draw many parallels with this Kings class of 2013 and the Stormers ‘Men in Black’ campaign of 1999.
From the all black outfits to the King’s branded juice, Solomons is at the forefront of building a brand in Eastern Cape rugby.
Today the men from Nelson Mandela Bay can rightfully stand up and be Kings for a day.