Coach must be given credit for Boks' revival
What a difference a year and proper preparation make.
The Springboks this year are unrecognisable from last year's mess that was without any idea of how to approach the task at hand.
Their optimism is also peppered with caution. Northern hemisphere teams sometimes appearlistless and disinterested but that cannot detract from the strides made by Allister Coetzee's charges.
The Rugby Championships will be an accurate barometer of the Boks' growth but they are in a good space after their whitewashing of France.
The Boks clearly took lessons from the disaster.
Repelling the French for 25 phases in Durban, keeping them tryless in Johannesburg and watching Raymond Rhule continually seeking out to tackle Louis Picamoles despite the France No 8 running over him signified the commitment and attitude the Boks have shown this year.
Then there's the Boks' fresh approach to conditioning and defence.
Coetzee took responsibility for the shambles that was 2016; it would be unfair to deny him his dues in the success.
And when Elton Jantjies was selected ahead of Patrick Lambie, and then showed a level of game management, flair and confidence not seen in his game for years, he clearly had the full backing of the coach.