November 29, 2010 in Uncategorized
To be honest, I did not think the Boks would win on Saturday. Its not that I’m unpatriotic or anything. I just felt that what I had seen so far this year from PdV and co. that the Boks did not have the coaching and leadership (from a managerial point) to succeed. I am glad I got it wrong. No matter how badly the Boks play, or how much the coaching staff or players irritate us or upset us, we still want the Springboks to win. Even the most hard lining-anti-PdV rugby supporter would agree with that. Its still the Springboks, its still the Green & Gold, its still the pride of a nation.
Sports Billy gave a pretty accurate account of the Springboks vs England. Very little can be said about the Springboks: they dominated the line outs, with Bakkies Botha, Victor Matfield, Jaun Smith and Pierre Spies as possible jumpers, could it be any other way? They tackled hard and ran hard, very seldom running one man on his own. The cleaners where fast to the rucks and not only the forwards but the back got into the think of things. The Boks did not kick so aimlessly as the last couple of tests and there was almost always a few players chasing the ball down. We even held our own at scrum time.
But right there is the interesting point to ponder on: why did we do so well against an excellent scrumming nation like England. That front row dominated the Aussies, gave the All Black a very hard time and somehow did not do much, if anything against us. You want to tell me doc and the beast somehow got everything right. I’m not so sure.
Please don’t misunderstand, our pack scrummed well. Very well, actually. I think they had a couple of tricks to initially put the English off their dominance at scum time: delaying their setting and engaging. Maybe a little of parallel movement so that they couldn’t get a good hit. The fist few scrums on England ball resulted in free kicks and a penalty. The poms complained, the ref then warned the South African scrum but by that time they had already lost their dominance in the scrums.
I also think the English had a little mental misfire or overload. They gave away so many stupid penalties. As disciplined as they were against Australia and the All Blacks, so undisciplined were they against the Boks. In my previous blog I mentioned the thing that I thought was important to win a World Cup, the most important having a great defence but with that goes patients and discipline. This is a young English team and there is enough time for this to develop before the World Cup in New Zealand next year.
The Springboks on the other hand, are not in such a good place. Yes, the winning bonus and the positive end to the tour and the year helps but not much else has changed. Same predictable game plan, same defensive patterns, same coaching philosophy, same old story.
Next year might be as unsuccessful as this year, and being a World Cup year, is more than unacceptable. Unless Pieter de Villiers has some kind of enlightenment the Boks will play the same game plan. You can’t bludgeon your way through a WC. You need more than just experience, you need a good game plan and structures, and back up plans, and adaptability, and things I don’t feel this coach will bring to the table.
Again, can we replace him? No, we cant. No coach, not even Jake White, could do much with this team now. The new coach should have been given the year end tour to work in his philosophy and find some measure of where he had the team and what needed to change.
I think as South African rugby supporters we must bite the bullet and give PdV our support. Even if its just because there is no one else until after the WC in September 2011… or atleast put our voices behind the Boks.