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1 Step forward – 2 Steps back for Meyer

November 27, 2012 in Uncategorized

From the get-go I’d like to say that I’m not Heynecke Meyer’s biggest fan but it looks like he’s here to stay so regardless whether I dislike his game plans & player selections, I’ll just have to suck it up & get behind Springboks. But one of the most frustrating things for me as a Bok fan is how HM seems to be taking 1 step forward – 2 steps back. His latest 1-2 step: Next year

I just read an article about how HM admitted that he made a few errors regarding player selections & how certain players surprisingly impressed him… How he’s looking forward to 2013 where he’ll hopefully have a bigger pool of players to select from because he was starved of the likes of Burger, Bismarck, Smith, Bekker, Spies etc. in 2012. Now that’s all beer & biltong but then HM goes on to say that he would like to continue with Jean de Villiers as captain of the Bok team.

Here’s the thing, I’ve been a JdV fan from the first minute I saw him play & I think he’s been one of our best 12’s we’ve ever produced. He should & will be regarded as one of our modern Bok legends along with the Smits, Matfields & Fouries that played in our glory years of last decade. Having said that, I do feel that he’s past his best and has been for a while now. He has shown flashes of what he can do but we’ll need much more than that from one of the senior players of the team.

I understand that Meyer didn’t have a lot of options for Bok captaincy in 2012 & therefore Jean was a logical choice but surely he’ll have more options come 2013? In fact who’s to say that JdV will even be available to lead the team considering his injury history? But the most important question HM should be asking himself is: Does he really think that a then 34 year old de Villiers will be able to compete with younger & probably better & faster centres & still lead his team come the 2015 Rugby World Cup? I’m sorry but I don’t!! So shouldn’t HM be looking at someone else he can use as a long term captain? And shouldn’t HM be looking at more options at 12 & 13’s to nurture into his squad & game plan while he still has the time? I mean besides Francois Steyn & Juan de Jongh, who else has been tried? Taute, who HM sees as his future fullback? JJ Engelbrecht?  Shouldn’t a Whitehead or Venter, Brache even Serfontein be given a shot. Now maybe HM will call up some of these guys but what are the chances of them getting any game time, hell even a guy like de Jongh (arguably SA’s best 13 this year) struggled to get game time this year. What will happen to him once Steyn is fit again?

Meyer should be shrewd enough to know that when he picks a captain, he also picks a guy that’s going to fill a playing position for most of the time during a game & his coaching tenure, so it’s not just leadership qualities that he must consider. I’ve noticed that lately we’ve had the problem of picking a permanent Bok captain that’s got great leadership qualities & the respect of his peers & coaches alike but unfortunately he’s usually not the best in his position. John Smit was a prime example of that. It looks like Meyer is going to continue that trend of picking a captain past his glory days & that’s a shame… even if that player is one of my favourite Boks of all time.

I’m outy.


8 responses to 1 Step forward – 2 Steps back for Meyer

  1. Well, Meyer not once indicated that Jean is his captain until 2015. At first it was only for the June Tests. Then for the RC, then for the EOYT. And now he said that he was impressed enough with Jean in the squad for him to be considered for the captaincy next season.

    The word is “considered”. There will be twelve long weeks of Super Rugby next season in which a lot can happen before the start of the June tests.

    If Meyer wanted Jean to continue to 2015 come hell or high water he would have pushed for Jean to take a sabbatical a la Richy McCaw.

    In 2008 we went from being the World Champions to being nilled at Newlands by the All Blacks as well as losing both in NZ and in Aus. Yes, we did manage to win in Dunedin for the first time ever, but the 22-0 whitewash at home that followed showed just what a flash in the pan victory that was.

    Heyneke played it safe in his first season sticking with what and who he knew. Given the little time he was given with his team that looks like the sane thing to do.

    I’d say loosing to the English, Scots or Ireland in the EOYT would have been taking two steps back. Losing against a settled All Black team and a underestimated Wallaby side away in your first year as coach is not taking a step back. It’s a natural turn of events.

  2. The title of my blog & this post wasn’t referred to this year’s results dude coz if it was it probably would’ve gone along the lines of: unacceptable but the only way is up.. or something like that.

    if you actually read my blog you’ll see what i dont get is why pick jean as your captain especially if it’s just for a year or 2 & the chances are that he wont even play in the RWC. i just dont get that & if you read my post, you’ll see that jean is one of my favorite players. i mean aren’t we suppose to be working towards the RWC 2015??

    And even if meyer wants to give JdV a rest or sabbatical, he’ll have to get past WP / Stormers coz unlike in NZ, SARU doesnt have a central contractual agreement with players.

    • Yes, we are working towards the WC2015 and beyond, but Meyer is not as obsessed with it as some of the other coaches are.

      One of my posts from more than a year ago actually covers this issue.

      A World Cup can be won or lost by a single knock on or dubious call by a referee. It is not worth pinning the success of fours’ hard work on something as fickle as a WC playoff match.

      We forgave Jake White for all the crap that happened between 2004 and the beginning of 2007 just because he was able to beat Ireland, Argentina and England. But we forget P Div won us a Tri Nations and a Lions tour just because his team wasn’t able to beat Aus down under. (I know it was in New Zealand, but it’s still in a part of the world where we regularly got beaten)

      Meyer does not want his tenure’s success to be dependant on winning the WC. If we don’t win in England in 2015, it must be seen as a bridge too far for a very successful group of players. Not as a disastrous end to a disappointing era.

      Of course we want to win the WC, but we also want to win the RC and be a force to be reckoned with in the seasons leading up to the WC as well.

      Maybe Jean will not be able to captain the side in 2015, but he definitely is the best man for the job at the moment and might still be that guy next year.

      After that, the right leader will put up his hand and, if things go according to plan, he’ll take over a settled group of players with a winning culture.

      This, in my opinion, is a far better call than appointing someone that doesn’t have the experience in a time where the team is yet to find each other like this year just so he can captain the side for four years come hell or high water.

      • well said dude.. & i understand what you’re saying or the points you’re making.. but i still feel that meyer does have other candidates he can look at especially when you take into consideration at what point of jean’s career he’s currently in.

        • The best alternative so far has been Strauss, but he is involved in a tight battle with Bissy for the Nr. 2 spot. Then there might be Schalk, but I never really saw him as a good captain. It will be interesting to see what AC does next season regarding the Stormers’ captaincy.

          Then there’s Keagan Daniel, but as good as he was this year, I don’t see him lifting any of the current loose forwards out of the team. This really leaves only Jean for the moment.

          • i would consider vermeulen as well.. & like de la rey said here below, if francois louw can move back to s.a, he’ll be a perfect candidate..

  3. I still think HM would like to make Arno Botha the next bok captain and he needs time to play more senior rugby.

    We also have Mapoe and young Jordaan in the 13 channel. Then there is also Sadie if he can get his mojo back at the Tahs.

    Serfontein still needs to up his game. He had a good u/20 WC but has failed to impress in the past CC in the games he played. But he is still very young and can improve a lot. He does seem more like a crashball runner than a ofloader though.

    HM will have a though time next season for choosing a captain. Only Flo if fit is a captain and an automatic selection. So staying with Jean until either Flo move back to SA or Arno steps-up might not be the worst choice.

  4. rather flo than botha for me.. but you right, he’ll have to come back to sa..
    oh & i dont think we have that big of a problem at 13 with de jongh there & with mapoe & jordaan you mentioned but 12 is bit of a concern for me..

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