South African sports fans are a ferocious bunch.
Their dissent was audible throughout the country in the aftermath of last weekend’s embarrassing defeat at the hands of Japan at the Rugby World Cup.
It only took a few minutes for the various social media channels to explode with memes poking fun at the Bok squad as they got to grips with a loss against a minnow side who had their plan brilliantly masterminded by one Eddie Jones.
Perhaps humour was the best way to deal with the shock of a two-time tournament winner falling victim to a side considered to just be making up the numbers in Pool B.
The several stages of dealing with grief mean that the humour after the initial shock was replaced with anger and outrage as the calls for Heyneke Meyer and some of the senior leadership within the squad to fall on their swords.
By Monday morning it had not simmered down. They bayed for blood. The speculators came out with every single plan imaginable to try and fix the problems. Team selection and probable starting lineups flooded my Facebook timeline.
There were mixed reactions when the match day side for today’s clash against Samoa was announced. What, no Lood de Jager? Is Heyneke mad? How does Jean de Villiers stay in the starting lineup?
But in true South African spirit it seemed that all it took to get everyone to calm down was a day off from work thanks to the Heritage Day public holiday. Of course that meant an opportunity to get the coals burning and to chuck some meat on the fire.
It was a perfect chance to christen the new braai – purchased thanks to a birthday voucher contribution from soon-to-be-wed friends Byron and Calyn – at our little house.
It went down a treat. In fact, we got so involved in other topics that rugby barely even featured in the various conversations.
By yesterday afternoon there was optimism surrounding South Africa’s rugby fortunes. The memes replaced by selfies of people in their Springbok jerseys, clearly over the disappointment of the loss.
You’d best believe the the Boks will want to restore some pride and get their campaign back on track. If the loss hit the fans hard imagine the dent it would have had on morale within the squad?
Perhaps it was the perfect catalyst to ignite their campaign or maybe the side just want to avoid being the butt of jokes around the water-cooler next week.