It was in the Springbok World Cup documentary, Chasing the Sun that the phrase 'superior discontent' was first coined by now head coach, Jacques Nienaber. It is a term that most South Africans can relate to in one way or another. Its the Saffa way to bounce back and dig deep, to keep pushing. It is a trait well illustrated by the men in Green & Gold.
Hearing those words, one immediately casts their memory back to the 2019 World Cup final. The Springboks defended more than 20 phases of English attack in their 22m for almost 10 minutes. It is a simple refusal to be defeated, to get up and make one more tackle, hit one more ruck. You heard it from Bongi as he said this is where the line is drawn, this is where we don't back down and behind that line is all that we care about, nothing gets past. An in bred South African resilience.
The Springboks in particular operate best when it becomes personal. They thrive off of the adversity and being written off. We know Rassie was showing videos of the Boer War the night before the 2019 final to make it personal. They had to look for reasons to make it personal against Japan in the quarter-final. The adversity of the 7/1 split and the hater, it just feeds the beast.
You can just imagine their week build up to the Scotland game. Rassie throwing on a kilt, hitting up a session on the bag pipes in the corridors at 4am, waking up Eben & RG. Making them detest the Scottish. You can see the team being told that Scotland think they can win, that Finn is going to do a number on their backs. It was evident in the ferocity with which they defended, a defensive effort that saw them contain one of the best attacking backlines in World Rugby to a mere 3 points.
The Boks displayed their superior discontent as they dismantled the All Blacks at Twickenham mere weeks ago. Had it not been for a stellar try from Cam Roigard when the Test was already dead and buried, they'd boast a clean sheet over the last two games. The sheer physicality on display from the pack and the bomb squad is immense. It has the ability to consume opposition as the war of attrition slowly turns to favor the Green & Gold machine.
One must remember that Jacques Nienaber is in fact one of, if not the best defensive strategists in the game. Going in hand with that, is the fact that defence is what will win you a World Cup. The ability to put it all on the line, to work as a team and to go to the dark places, is exactly what is required to win those small margins and battles in the game.
This Springbok side has begun to pick up momentum, they look to be peaking at the right time. They have a game against Romania to torque up their engines before a titanic battle against the Irish awaits to determine who will top the pool. Make no mistake, the Springboks will be making it personal against the Romanians this weekend. They will only turn their attention to the Irish thereafter. Both sides will know exactly what is coming their way. Stopping it on the other hand, is easier said than done.