It was not long in the first half(just over 5 minutes), when I knew we will be ok .The French made a mistake and the Boks could choose, either a scrum or a line-out. As one man I saw the complete Springbok team look over to the side where their Captain was coming from, out wide, his normal place. He was their leader, he would decide! I thought back at the previous evening, there was a television show on TV about our new captain’s career. I did not count how many times he said the following “I was not good enough, but I decided to work harder”, but it was A lot. A strange calmness came over me , I did not know if we will win or lose , or what the score will be , but I knew , at least something was sorted ,this team belonged to Warren Whiteley.
Very honestly, Warren Whiteley will never be a superstar, while he is a very good nr 8, there has been lots of better nr 8’s before him and there will be a lot better after him. He is not really big , even looks a bit awkward when he runs , he is pacey , but will not really run over anyone , in short , very average looking. However he has something that 2 of his predecessors have, he is and will always be a great Captain. Without trying to get into an argument Francois Pienaar and John Smit was never the best in their positions, Tiaan Strauss and Bismarck du Plessis was streets ahead of them, but both these men were blessed with the ability to be Captains of Men. I really do belief that is why both won the World Cup, when there teams was by no means world beaters, in both those years the All Blacks was irresistible, but we won the Cup.
All 3 of these men have things in common, they are extremely humble, and they would rather speak about their team mates, than about themselves. The team is and will always be more important than them, at various occasions Francois Pienaar was not chosen, when he should have been chosen, Johan Smit had to play prop when he was a hooker, and Warren Whiteley should have played ages ago .When these 3 men starts talking, you will just hear how they talk about their coaches and fellow players, and even if it sounds a bit soft, their ability to really love their mates, coaches and more than anything the love of the game. Because of these trademarks, their fellow players respect them, and will and did follow them, through the gates of hell, if that is what it takes.
I do not have to gift of seeing into the future, I do not even know if they will win again, but one thing I do know about this team. They will play with passion and hart. They will play for each other, and more than that, they will play for their Captain!