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The first weekend in which SA and New Zealand properly locked horns in Super Rugby brought home a sobering reality all the more disturbing because of the familiarity of the discourse. That reality is that while the Kiwis play with tempo and flair and tend to find a way to win whatever the circumstances, SA remains the rugby land where physicality and a bludgeoning approach is the bottom line. Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus said recently he was pleased with the form the local Super Rugby derbies are taking. He said they were more like Test matches and that would serve the Springboks well in this World Cup year. I wonder what he’ll say after a weekend where the message writ large was that matches against New Zealand teams involve a significant lift in tempo for which the derby matches just don’t prepare the local sides. To be fair to the Stormers, with slightly better execution they could have pulled off a significant away win against the Hurricanes. But that they butchered a gilt-edg...

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