Boks not quite ready to win Rugby Champions, says former wing

Cape Town - Former Springbok wing Odwa Ndungane feels the Boks aren't quite ready to win the Rugby Championship.

Ndungane, who played nine Tests between 2008 and 2011, spoke exclusive to Sport24 this week.

The 37-year former Sharks flyer said the Boks had showed encouraging signs in the 2-1 series win over England but warned that the Rugby Championship would prove a sterner test.

“To be quite honest, the 2018 Rugby Championship is not going to be easy for the Springboks. We have to be patient with what we have at the moment and can’t underestimate the impact the losses had on the team last year,” Ndungane said.

“South Africa did well to win the three-Test series against England, but still have a long way to go. The way the Boks started the first two Tests against the English wasn’t ideal and, if they do the same against their opponents in the Rugby Championship, it won’t be as easy to launch a comeback.”

He added that it would be imperative that the Rassie Erasmus' charges win all their home games in the competition.

“I don’t care if it’s New Zealand or whoever else - you have to win on home turf. I would love to believe the Boks can win the Rugby Championship this year, but realistically I don’t think they can do so yet,” he said.

Ndungane said Bok fans should look at the bigger picture - which is next year’s Rugby World Cup.

“As a relatively new team, they still have a long way to go. I believe the Springboks’ biggest goal should be in terms of the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan. It will prove the ultimate gauge in terms of how far they have developed as a team.

“For now, the Rugby Championship will be a good acid test for the Springboks, but doing well at the World Cup will be the main prize...

“The All Blacks will always be a difficult team to beat because they have created such a strong winning culture. Are the All Blacks beatable? Yes, definitely. But they don’t lose often because they have buy-in from everyone and know they can go in on match-day with the ability to beat any opponent.”