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Nation unites behind Proteas, Bokke as both sides battle England

Springboks prop Steven Kitshoff during training session.
Springboks prop Steven Kitshoff during training session.
Image: Steve Haag/Gallo Images/Getty Images

At 10.30am the Proteas take on Englan in Mumbai, India, in what is expected to be a fierce ICC World Cup clash. 

Almost 10 hours later, action swings to Paris where the Springboks will engage the Brits in a semifinal.

Both Proteas and their English counterparts come into the Saturday match bruised. 

England have lost two of their first three matches at the tournament.

While their opening match against New Zealand could have gone either way, it was their shock 69-run defeat to Afghanistan that set the tongues wagging.

Many pundits did not expect the defending champions to lose to the ninth-ranked team. 

The Proteas resoundingly won their first two matches, but then floundered in a match they had no business losing against Netherlands.

They went down by 38 runs in what became reminiscent of the 13-run loss in Adelaide in 2022 which sent the Proteas crashing out of the Twenty20 World Cup. 

After winning the toss and choosing to field, the Proteas blossomed to take four wickets for 50 runs in 15.1 overs.

Sadly that was as far as it could go.

What followed was not pleasing, resulting in the Proteas conceding 32 extras, including 21 wides. Batters did not help the situation either as they failed to rise to the occasion. 

That below-par performance reignited the “choking” chorus.

Granted, it’s too early to raise serious concerns as the boys still have six more games to play before he knockout phase, but then how else do you explain it when a team bowls out Australia in 40 overs to win by 134 runs, only to lose to Netherlands?

Complacency, maybe? However, we back our boys to bounce back on Saturday and technically that should not be difficult given the depth of our batting line-up. 

As for the Springboks, we expect them to carry on from where they left off in that edge-of-the-seat victory against hosts France in the quarterfinals.

We call upon the whole nation to rally behind our teams.

England are likely to be on a revenge mission after the 32-12 hammering at the previous World Cup final in Yokohama, Japan, four years ago.

But the Boks are likely to prevail as the core of that 2019 side is still there.

These include the captain Siya Kolisi, diminutive second try scorer Cheslin Kolbe, kicker Handré Pollard who scored six penalties and two conversions; as well as the official player of the match on that night, number eight Duane Vermeulen.

We call upon the whole nation to rally behind our teams.

Put on those Springbok and Proteas jerseys and cheer the boys. While they are playing far away from home, technology enables them to gauge how much support they have. Go Bokke! Blossom Proteas. Your victory is our victory.   


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