South Africans across the globe are up in arms over South Africa’s first match in the 2015 Rugby World Cup; blaming everything from coach Heyneke Meyer’s lineup to the individual performance and the referee. Some have even gone as far as blaming the actual supporters for the Springboks’ weak form.

But many are simply overlooking the fact that Japan played a masterful game. According to Oom Rugby, Japan’s success can be attributed to their:

  • one second scrum
  • long distance bullet lineout throw
  • one person defence rocket with the defence line closing behind
  • individual bullet defence tackles
  • accurate prediction of our game

So perhaps we as South Africans need to simply give credit where credit is due, pull up our socks and vow to play a better game next time. And as supporters, shrugging off our negativity and getting behind the boys in green and gold should be a given.

Japan has made a great effort in the last decade or so to ‘up their game’. They have, for instance, spent a significant amount on acquiring foreign talent for the Japanese National Rugby League (JNRL) – this includes South African talent. With this in mind, some may argue Japan’s victory represents South Africa’s contribution to the development of the game worldwide. Considering this is Japan’s second win in the history of the RWC, it’s a plausible theory. And a silver lining is better than no lining, after all.

Some noteworthy South African players and coaches who have played a part in the JNRL:

  • Munukata Sanix Blues: Jacques Potgieter
  • Kubota Spears: Grant Hatting, Keegan Daniel and Lionel Mapoe
  • Kobelco Steel Kobelco Steelers: Allister Coetzee, David Williams, Andries Bekker, Jacque Fourie and Thinus Delport
  • Suntory Sungoliath: Fourie du Preez, Schalk Burger, Danie Rossouw and Justin Downey
  • Toshiba Brave Lupus: Francois Steyn
  • Toyota Verblitz: Ruan Smith
  • Yamaha Júbilo: Dewald Potgieter
  • Panasonic Wild Knights: JP Pietersen
  • Kintetsu Liners: Pierre Spies and Damian de Allende
  • NTT Docomo Red Hurricanse: Heinrich Brussow, Wimpie van der Walt, Eben Etzebeth and Handre Pollard
  • NTT Shining Arcs: Willie Britz, JP Nel and Elton Jantjies
  • Honda Heat: Marcel Coetzee and Bjorn Basson
  • Toyota Industries Shuttles: Ryan Kankowski, Andries Ferreira and JJ Engelbrecht
  • NEC Green Rockets: Jaco van der Westhuyzen

The boys have already made us proud in their performance against Samoa, and everyone is looking forward to the big one against Scotland this weekend. The beer is already on ice, the biltong’s been served and we’re waiting with baited breath to cheer on the Bokke.

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