‘Celtic nations no match for Boks’

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Makazole Mapimpi in action against Scotland in 2021
  • Post published:March 14, 2022

The Springboks playing in the Six Nations would all but kill off any hopes that the Celtic nations have of winning the competition.

So says former Scotland coach Matt Williams, who believes Scotland, Ireland and Wales will wilt trying to compete with the Boks on the highveld.

Speaking during a Virgin Media Sports discussion, Williams was responding to Shane Horgan’s cries after Italy’s 32-22 loss to Scotland in Rome. “On the evidence of [Italy’s defeat], it’ll be another 36 games before they win a game in the Six Nations,” Horgan said.

“Unless there’s fundamental change, the drumbeat for South Africa to be in this [competition] is going to get louder.”

Williams added: “The problem with international rugby is that it is the result of long-term athletic development. You can’t develop the group required at the national team – it has to be done before they get to the national team.

“I’m going to say something here, disagreeing with Shane. If South Africa come into this competition, the Celtic countries will face not winning, possibly ever, the competition again.

“That cannot happen. The Welsh, the Irish, and the Scots cannot enter into a competition that is traditionally theirs, where they say, ‘The chances of you winning this in the future are almost nil’.

“How are Ireland, Scotland, or Wales, going to go down to Pretoria at altitude in the summer and win?”

But Horgan hit back: “I think it would become very difficult to win a Grand Slam under those circumstances but that’s not the point. There will be a drumbeat that will continue, which says ‘How can we continue with one nation that loses every single game?’ … and it can’t continue.

“Unless it’s changed, someone will say, ‘To make this more competitive, we’ll get South Africa in there’.”

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