September 18, 2012 in Uncategorized
This is really a tough & frustrating time to be Springbok supporter, well for me it certainly is. Albert Einstein once said “insanity is doing the same thing over & over and expecting a different result” and even though you can’t directly relate that quote to rugby (because of the different variables & elements in sport), it damn sure comes very close when talking about the Boks’ current game plan.
Maybe I’m being too hard on Meyer coz at the end of the day it’s the players that run on the field and have to do what the coach tell them to do. But the argument can be turned around by saying the coach has to pick the right players to execute his game plan on the field. So who really is to blame? The coach? The players? Or if you want to sit on the fence (which in this case is quite reasonable) Both? I’m going to blame (with a bit of tongue in the cheek) our game plan & I’ve got 2 reasons why:
- We don’t have the right players or wait, let me rephrase. The right players for our kick & chase game isn’t playing
- The game plan is way too predictable governed by a way too predictable & out of form flyhalf – And I don’t have to tell you that the nr.10 is one of the most influential players on rugby field… even though I just did.
Reason nr.1: Back in 2009 when we ruled the rugby world that year, we also employed a kick & chase game but back then we had a scrummy who’s box kick (or kicking in general basically) was 1 of the most accurate in the game, a left winger who wasn’t scoring tries but who’s ball-chase & work rate was second to none, we had a ball stealing fetcher that made the McCaw’s & Pocock’s look like amateurs & a nr.13 who wasn’t just one of the best in the game but who’s defensive organisational skills were world class & we had a 15 who could drop the ball from 40+ meters or make something magical or terrible out of nothing but at least he was doing Something.
Now if you’re half the passionate bok fan I am, you would know exactly what players I was talking about. At the moment only 2 of those players are in the current Bok squad albeit playing in different positions and another one has been ignored by Meyer albeit he did just came off an injury. Also add to reason nr. 1 that not only did we have a very experienced team, we a team that did the basics well & who’s defence was brick wall like especially when we kicked the ball to the opposition & they decided to run it back at us. Another VERY IMPORTANT aspect to the Boks’ 2009 game plan was that they had much more balance as to when to run or kick. Right now, we honestly do not have any of that and by that I mean the necessary skill & personal to execute a successful kick & chase game. Rephrase again: The personal that has the necessary skill to execute a successful kick & chase are not playing or off form.
Reason nr.2: Morne Steyn (in my opinion) just had one of his worst games in a Bok jersey against the AB’s. I think one of the most difficult parts of coaching, is getting the balance right between sticking with your tried & tested players & replacing them when they’re not playing well. A coach will always have ‘his’ players he wants to work with but when ‘s the right time to replace that player when he doesn’t perform to the standard the coach expects from him? 3 games? A rugby tournament? A rugby season? Ofcoz there are other variables to consider as well when dropping a player, to name a few: His role in the team, his role on the field, where is he in his career & ofcoz the alternative options you have as coach.
So let’s look at those 4 points when looking at Morne Steyn:
- His role in the team: Steyn is currently one of the senior players in the team but in a backline consisting of guys like Frans, JdV & Habana, his locker room & on-field experience wouldn’t be missed as much
- Role on the field: Tactical kicking, scoring points, communication – basically what every South African flyhalf has been taught before they could even afford the rugby boots they get for free now
- His career: Steyn has won every trophy a SA player can win except for the RWC while breaking numerous records on his way. If he doesn’t play another rugby game again in his life, statistically he’ll be easily considered South Africa’s greatest flyhalf. Look for yourself: http://www.sarugby.net/playerprofile.aspx?id=20495&category=&leagueid=0
- An alternative: And what an alternative we have. Goosen has the potential to be a great Bok, everyone knows that, including his incumbent coaches & all he needs is, GAME TIME, patience & coaching. Jantjies & Lambie are also options but it’s clear that Meyer doesn’t think so.
When looking at those 4 points, Meyer doesn’t have any legitimate reason why he can’t drop Steyn, well maybe for pride & stubbornness.
In conclusion, I know it’s wrong to blame one player in a team sport especially when that player has won some big games for his teams in the past. And trust me there are a couple of other players I feel doesn’t belong there, needs to be dropped or needs a positional change but I think dropping Steyn right now is the very first thing we need to do followed immediately by dropping Kirchner. Meyer himself said that he thought our forwards played very well in Australasia & if the backs had executed better, we could’ve won so it should be pretty simple then: REPLACE SOME BACKLINE PLAYERS!! Any of them, all of them!! Something needs to be done!! There’s a saying in sports: you don’t change a winning team. Shouldn’t the opposite apply when you’re losing?