And so the rugby world order wobbles precariously on its axis once again as the All Blacks bludgeoned the Springboks into utter humiliation in Albany.

It's New Zealand, England (until late next year) and then only god knows who is third and fourth in the global pecking order after South Africa's 57-0 thumping in the Rugby Championship last Saturday.

In some respects, it's the sort of rude awakening the Black Machine gave Australia before the Wallabies reacted in Sydney in the 54-34 hiding although they won the respect of avid fans in the 35-29 loss in Dunedin a fortnight later.

That the Aussies drew 23-all with the Boks means the two sides have something to prove although France, Wales and Ireland may put their argument across at the next World Cup.


It is obviously too early to write an epitaph for the Boks although the recent result makes for a sorry inscription for a proud rugby nation of more than a century.

ABs coach Steve Hansen has reshuffled his pack for the away games against Argentina, South Africa and Australia but can the Boks bounce back like the Wallabies did to restore some credibility?

Only the irrational will think not although the debate will continue on whether it was a case of are the ABs that good or the Boks simply so deluded about their prowess.

"We'd like to believe this was a once-off thing ... where they were very good and we were very bad," Boks skipper Eben Etzebeth told the media scrum on arrival at Johannesburg airport.

The Boks' demise has certainly opened up a can of worms on why the old foes have entered the twilight zone of mediocrity.

The knives are out with armchair critics itching to stick the blade into anyone from a player, coach to administrator and turning it very slowly for maximum torture.

The social media is alight with remarks about players who are out of their depth.
First five-eighth Elton Jantjies couldn't buy a trick against the ABs despite a lion's share of possession and territory in the first half.

Hooker Malcolm Marx, it seems, couldn't chuck a side of beef into a refrigerated truck, let alone a ball in the lineouts.

Winger Raymond Rhule apparently looked like he couldn't pick a Sugarbush from a field of wild flowers in the veld of Western Cape, never mind his counterpart, Reiko Ioane, on a rugby park.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that coach Allister Coetzee's neck is on the chopping block, awaiting the outcome of the remaining test against the ABs at Cape Town on October 8 although his head could roll if they succumb before that to the Wallabies in Bloemfontein on October 1.

For a nation that won the World Cup in 2007 it's understandable that the Boks faithful feel they are at their lowest ebb in international rugby although, to be fair, losing to Japan in the last World Cup was the turning point.

With the touring British and Irish Lions removing an air of invincibility shrouding the All Blacks and then the Wallabies coming close to it and the Pumas doing enough in their 39-22 loss in New Plymouth early this month, fans' expectation wasn't unreasonable.

Not scoring at all against the ABs is where they have torn the script in a forgettable Boks plot.

The crux of the argument appears to be on the impact of the quota system to address perceived imbalances in South African rugby.

Is the undoing of the Boks a direct consequence of politics in the country where the government about five years ago enforced rugby and cricket teams to ensure at least 50 per cent of squads should comprise non-white players?

Some of the graduates of the quota system are class acts such as Bryan Habana and Tendai "The Beast" Mtawarira in the squad.

Amid outcries of counter-Apartheid, the likes of Jantjies and Siya Kolisi entered the fray under the tutelage of former coach Heyneke Meyer.

Jantjies and Kolisi went on to push veterans such as Heinrich Brussow and Handre Pollard to the bench or out of the squad.

The defeat at the hands of Japan in 2015 saw Meyer bow out despite following the letter of the law but his departure only started a lolly scramble among coaches.

Coetzee, Kiwi John Plumtree and Johan Ackermann were among those touted as Meyer's successor but the lure of a Hurricanes stint proved too strong for Plumtree to turn down.

Some see Ackermann, who led his Lions franchise to losing Super Rugby losing finalists in July, as not cutting the mustard in the quota stakes.

In the eyes of some that left Coetzee to assume the mantle of Boks coach by default after a so-so stint with the Stormers.

During his reign there's conjecture players such as Rhule, Courtnall Skosan, Trevor Nyakane and Bongi Mbonambi, were products of the qouta system.

Conversely the "transformation" process had driven off talent such as Brussow, CJ Stander, Johan Goosen, Patrick Lambie, Francois Steyn, Pierre Spies, Francois Louw and Bismarck Du Plessis, offshore.

Two wrongs don't make a right.

To impose a quota system at the top end of the pyramid is counterproductive although Kolisi and Jantjies, who is allowed to have a bad day like Beauden Barrett, are success stories.

In hindsight, it's apparent Meyer and Coetzee also are victims of a system that endorsed them to start a renaissance of sorts.

Segregation in South Africa created horrific injustices in every facet of life for indigenous people but addressing disparities in sport must begin from the young, the future of tomorrow.

Quota players shouldn't bear the indignity of making up numbers in a system that champions political agenda over results that destroy a nation's integrity.

It should always be best players for the job regardless of colour or creed. If there are two players of equal calibre then by all means the quota can come into play.

Former All Black coach Laurie Mains, who coached in South Africa 15 years ago, prophetically predicted the erosion of the Boks as a super power last year.

"For my money they're gone, with racially selecting teams. They're not going to cut it," Mains had forecast.

It's hard to argue with that.