Originally Posted by katman
I agree it's a little disappointing. But it's World Cup year and our top Bok players are completely spent. You must remember that we have a very tough domestic competition in the Currie Cup (which Aus doesn't have) followed by the Super14 (in which our top two Bok-feeder teams, Bulls & Sharks, contested the semis and finals) followed immediately by three internationals in consecutive weeks followed by 4 Tri-Nations games followed by the WC. No break since the beginning of the year. No other country has it this bad in the build-up to the WC. There is no way we would ever be able to take close to a full-strength squad to France without some kind of rest and reconditioning break.
And this touring team only has 2 new caps (tighthead prop Jannie du Plessis and flyhalf Peter Grant). The rest are all existing Springboks. So I wouldn't write them off too quickly.
Also, no one threatened IRB action when England sent a third team to SA a few weeks ago, for exactly the same (World Cup) reasons. Or when France sent their second stringers to NZ. Even the Welsh team that toured Australia now weren't full-strength. Ditto for the Irish in Argentina. And Graham Henry's "squad rotation" policy for the All Blacks the past 2 seasons is well known (and widely praised). Seems the rules are a little different when you're the All Blacks.
I think it's a little different with the all-blacks, as they have probably 45+ world class players that could play in their team. I was speaking about this earlier at home to my dad (another rugby fanatic) about the difference in reaction between the South African under strength team in comparison with the Irish and Welsh 2nds and the French 3rds that played recent games. The big reason I think there has been the uproar is that the Tri-Nations have always been regarded as probably the most elite of competitions with the exception of the world cup, and now it's importance has been questioned by the decision to play a sub-par South African team (by their standards). If the Tri-Nations are something that can be disregarded by a team to increase their chances of playing well for another competition, this obviously raises some eyebrows about the integrity of the comp. At the same time, I realise the schedule for the Bok's players has left a bit to be desired and this is something that management must address if they are serious about their world cup chances. I'm not particularly shocked or disgusted by this decision; especially as it'll increase our chances of having a win against the Boks!