Although Erasmus’ 2018 side lost seven matches‚ four of those defeats were by five points or fewer while they famously won 36-34 in Wellington to become the first national team to beat the All Blacks at home in since the 2009 Boks.
That result alone was enough to dispel any negative thoughts about the Boks’ trajectory in 2018.
They also demolished the All Blacks for 60 minutes at Loftus Versfeld before falling away to allow the world champions an unlikely win.
But the sheer brilliance of that first hour in Pretoria was a window into what Erasmus’ Boks are capable of becoming.
The final 20 minutes however‚ was an indication of how much growing they still have to do.
But in all‚ this was a season of optimism‚ from the emergence of a group of electric newcomers such as wings Aphiwe Dyantyi and Sbu Nkosi‚ lock RG Snyman and centre Lukhanyo Am‚ to the rebirth of stalwarts such as Willie le Roux‚ Faf de Klerk and Handre Pollard.
Erasmus’ decision to make flank Siya Kolisi the Bok skipper was as bold as it was beautiful.