Despite a series of coronavirus cases that have sidelined coaches and athletes alike, despite the challenges of living and training in a bio-secure environment, and despite travel restrictions that have threatened to derail whole campaigns before they have even started, both the Springboks and the Blitzboks have finished the year at the top of the respective World Rugby rankings.
It's been 12 years since South African rugby boasted such an impressive haul of silverware, as well as being the top-ranking teams in both codes. Back in 2009, the trophy cabinet housed the World Cup, the British & Irish Lions series trophy, the Tri-Nations title and the World Rugby Sevens Series trophy.
As 2021 draws to a close, the Boks can be proud of the fact that they've built on their success at the 2019 World Cup by winning the recent Lions series in SA. Similarly, the Blitzboks should be pleased with their title victory in the truncated 2021 World Rugby Sevens Series, as well as their success in the first two legs of the 2021/22 season.
Rolling with the punches
Again, it's important to note that neither team has had everything their own way. The Boks finished the 2021 season…