With kind permission of the Cape Times, rugby365.com reproduces this John Scott pearl of wisdom - how the Springboks will keep on winning, even when the scoreboard suggests otherwise.
Springbok coach Peter de Villiers has introduced an entirely new dimension into rugby. He said after his team's alleged defeat by the Wallabies last Saturday that "in my opinion the only place we lost tonight was on the scoreboard".
This immediately cheered up the Boks, who thought they had lost finish and klaar. De Villiers was making the point that South Africa had actually won the match on the field, just not on the scoreboard. The Australians were also pleased, because they had won on the scoreboard.
It was a win-win situation. He was prepared to concede it was nice to win on the scoreboard, too, but for the moment winning on the field only was the only way we could win, having lost eight out of the last nine Tri-Nations Tests on the scoreboard.
In this sense De Villiers, affectionately known as Snor because of his large moustache, is at odds with one of the great South African rugby legends, Boy Louw.
"Louw's command of English was even less perfect than De Villiers's, and when someone questioned the manner in which the Boks had won a Test, he replied: "Looks at the scoreboard."
In those days the Springboks used to win on the scoreboard, too, and looking at the scoreboard was not the depressing exercise it is today. It was also Boy Louw who said: "When South Africa plays New Zealand, consider your country at war."
Well, South Africa plays New Zealand in Port Elizabeth on Saturday, and the stadium will be full of warring South Africans supporting the All Blacks, perhaps because there are not enough blacks in the Springbok team, thought the All Blacks have a lot of whites, too.
On the other hand, the local All Black supporters may be so tired of supporting a team that doesn't win on the scoreboard that they have switched allegiance just to see what winning on the scoreboard feels like.
At this point, some may ask how you win on the field and not on the scoreboard. Snor's explanation of the Boks onfield win was this: "We should have had more points, the way we played. We just didn't score them... We had at least three opportunities in the first half where we should have scored points."
He also said: "We are making great strides towards the World Cup, just not on the scoreboard." And: "Only the scoreboard stands between us and success."
That bally scoreboard! It should be banned. It's clearly become the cause of all our rugby misery.
At least one person is pleased about Snor's positive attitude, All Black assistant coach Wayne Smith, in whose interests it is that South Africa win only on the field and not one the scoreboard. He commented: "He's a clever man. He is much more shrewd than people give him credit for."
The big positive about last Saturday's match against the Wallabies, apparently, is that we could have lost by far more. The Wallabies scored only one try, whereas in Sydney they scored five.
We didn't score any, but that is beside the point when you are winning on the field.
This Saturday I shall watch the match against the All Blacks with a strip of masking tape across the TV screen to hide the score. It's the only way to ensure that the Springboks play winning rugby.
With thanks to the Cape Times
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