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by Hanjo

Another Promising Player

August 7, 2013 in Uncategorized

The Griquas announced their team to run out against the Sharks earlier this week, notably new recruitment Howard Mnisi is named at inside centre and I for one am very excited about his inclusion. He was named on the Cheetahs bench close to the end of the 2013 Super Rugby season and the explosive centre might yet become a permanent feature of the Griquas midfield, and might give opposition defences a few headaches if he manages to live up to his reputation.  – Team Announcement

 

For those of you who haven’t seen Mnisi in action before, here’s a glimpse of what he’s capable of. – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uu3ht2kBJfA

Howard Mnisi
Position: Center
Nationality: South Africa
Height: 186 cm (6′ 1″)
Weight: 96 kg (212lbs)
Date of Birth: 13 Jul 1989
Place of Birth: Elukwatini, South Africa
Schooling: Standerton High School, NMMU Madibaz
Main Team(s): Cheetahs, Natal Sharks, Griquas
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Kings Announce Huge Signings

October 3, 2012 in Uncategorized

The Kings confirmed the signatures of another three players.

Lions and Springbok hooker Bandise Maku

Maku started his top flight career at the Bulls before moving to the Lions for the 2011 season, He has played over a 100 senior matches at his time at the two above mentioned unions, he has also represented SA under Peter de Villiers. He will add huge value and add to the Lions’ exodus of players.

Argentina scrumhalf Nicolas Vergallo

Vergallo has been playing as first choice Argentine scrum half during the ongoing Rugby Championship, A world class player was previously signed to high profile French club Toulouse. He has 30 national caps to his name.

and  versatile Blues back Hadleigh Parkes to their ranks.

I see some comments suggesting Parkes isn’t a big name signing, but I disagree completely. For those of you who suffer from memory loss, Parkes partnered Ma’a Nonu in the midfield during the Blues’ 2012 season, he also started a few games at fullback. He has 13 Blues caps to his name and two tries. a strong 100+ kg direct runner who seemed to impress in the 13 jersey.

 

– All three these signings will add huge experience and value to the Kings’ cause. The Kings found out about their inclusion into Super Rugby 2013 on 16 August 2012, that’s roughly 45 days ago. Since then along with the three above mentioned players they have also signed Demetri Catrakilis, Andries Strauss and Steven Sykes.

They seem to be on the right track toward building a squad for 2013.

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Our Final Outing at the 2012 T20 World Cup

October 2, 2012 in Uncategorized

So I know the title of this post is slightly misleading as the Proteas are still in with a slight chance of making the semi finals of the 2012 T20 World Cup if they beat India later today. At the same time, this late gasp qualification would only be possible if Australia manage to beat Pakistan in the earlier fixture today.

 

Pos Team P W L Pts NRR
1 Australia 2 2 0 4 1.712
2 Pakistan 2 1 1 2 -0.426
3 India 2 1 1 2 -0.452
4 South Africa 2 0 2 0 -0.650

 

Currently we find ourselves bottom of the log, with every other team having won at least one of their previous games. Australia are still unbeaten at this stage (2 from 2) while Pakistan went down to India and Pakistan in return got the better of the Proteas.

There hasn’t been much written on the blogs about the T20 world cup and I can only assume it is partially due to the way the Proteas have been playing. – We came through the initial group stages relatively easy but unconvincing. Since then (as the Super 8’s started) we followed up a poor batting display against Pakistan with some great bowling which very almost saw us defend a very average total, we actually went into a position where commentators accepted Pakistan were beaten, however, some very strange decisions from Captain AB de Villiers saw Pakistan claw their way back into contention and snatch the win.

Against the Aussies however, it was less pretty, we batted first again and this time were unable to contain the explosive Shane Watson. The Aussies made it look easy when they chased down our total with more than two overs to spare.

 

There have been quite a few non performers for us, Richard Levi, Jacques Kallis, Albie Morkel are probably top of the list. While Morne hasn’t been able to emulate his IPL form.

In our last game Albie was rightfully dropped, but was strangely replaced by Wayne Parnell, the man responsible for a 32 run over vs England weeks earlier. Parnell dropped catches and was once again unsuccessful.

Here’s our tournament stats thus far:

South Africa batting averages
Player Mat Inns NO Runs HS Ave BF SR 100 50 0 4s 6s
F Behardien 4 2 1 49 31* 49.00 48 102.08 0 0 0 4 1
JP Duminy 4 3 1 90 48 45.00 68 132.35 0 0 0 7 3
AB de Villiers 4 3 0 76 30 25.33 55 138.18 0 0 0 3 3
HM Amla 4 4 1 71 32* 23.66 63 112.69 0 0 0 8 1
RE Levi 4 4 1 62 50* 20.66 60 103.33 0 1 1 7 0
F du Plessis 1 1 0 13 13 13.00 11 118.18 0 0 0 0 0
JH Kallis 4 2 0 18 12 9.00 25 72.00 0 0 0 1 1
RJ Peterson 3 2 2 35 32* - 23 152.17 0 0 0 6 0
JA Morkel 3 2 2 9 9* - 6 150.00 0 0 0 1 0
J Botha 4 - - - - - - - - - - - -
M Morkel 4 - - - - - - - - - - - -
WD Parnell 1 - - - - - - - - - - - -
DW Steyn 4 - - - - - - - - - - - -

 

South Africa bowling averages
Player Mat Inns Overs Mdns Runs Wkts BBI Ave Econ SR 4 5 Ct St
JP Duminy 4 2 3.0 0 9 1 1/5 9.00 3.00 18.0 0 0 2 0
DW Steyn 4 4 13.0 0 56 6 3/22 9.33 4.30 13.0 0 0 1 0
JH Kallis 4 4 8.0 1 49 6 4/15 8.16 6.12 8.0 1 0 0 0
M Morkel 4 4 12.4 0 81 3 2/16 27.00 6.39 25.3 0 0 0 0
J Botha 4 4 9.4 1 66 1 1/10 66.00 6.82 58.0 0 0 0 0
RJ Peterson 3 3 9.0 1 64 3 2/15 21.33 7.11 18.0 0 0 2 0
JA Morkel 3 3 7.0 0 60 2 1/8 30.00 8.57 21.0 0 0 1 0
WD Parnell 1 1 2.0 0 24 0 - - 12.00 - 0 0 1 0

 

Now looking at the batting department first, it is most notable that Johan Botha has not yet faced a single delivery.

Also, Both Levi and Amla have good looking averages which look much worse if you take away the runs they scored against Zim.

Our best players with the bat have been Behardien, Duminy, AB, Amla and arguably Peterson(he looked in phenomenal form with the bat in our final outing)

Ou most economical bowlers have been Duminy, Steyn, Kallis, Morne and Botha. while our most successful bowlers wicket wise have been Steyn, Kallis, Morkel and Peterson.

Players who have had very limited or no opportunity like Lopsy, Ontong and Faf are the most likely to replace the non performers.

For our final outing, we can’t afford to screw up again. I would select the following line-up

1. Hashim Amla – Amla has struggled, but he has been in great form prior to the start of the tournament, and can’t be too far away from a Big one.

2. Richard Levi – I would keep gambling with Levi, I know many feel he has had enough opportunities, but this might be our final game, one final opportunity to see if he can score some runs or throw away his place in the national team seems perfect. with Faf, AB and Behardien in the side, we can easily if Levi Fails, bring in a new ‘opener’.

3. AB de Villiers (c) – AB has been good with the bat, not at his best, but not bad either, I feel he should give himself more time in the middle. if Levi is first to fall, I would bring in AB, if Amla is first to fall, Behardien or Faf would make more sense.

4. JP Duminy – Always delivers

5. Farhaan Behardien – Top performer with the bat, average wise.

6. Faf du Plessies – Faf has not had a decent opportunity yet, he was in spectacular IPL form, and he adds a very valuable spin option (which we never use for some reason)

7. Robin Peterson – he needs some time in the middle, has shown signs of being in form with the bat.

8. Johan Botha – absolutely ridiculous that he hasn’t yet faced a ball in this tournament.

9. Dale Steyn – Dale is also a very underrated batting option while he has been spectacular with the ball.

10. Morne Morkel – Morne is a machine, he showed against the Aussies that he has the potential to completely starve destructive batsmen of runs and then remove them, if only he could consistently do this.

11. Lonwabo Tsotsobe –  Lopsy is untested in this tournament, and while the tracks have been mostly spin friendly, I am disappointed we didn’t bring another spin option along, a Roelof vand er Merwe or even Tahir might have been ideal. but seeing that we’ll have to stick to our traditional strengths, I’ll bring in another bowler. would love to see what Lopsy could bring to the table.

 

– So a very big call to drop Kallis, but in all honesty he has been no where, take away his bowling spell against Zim, and his bowling stats also look average, he looks like all the years of choking at major tournaments is simply playing on his mind, he went out cheaply almost every game – seeing arguably the best all round player of his era so hopelessly out of form is just too much. – Maybe one day a test world Cup is introduced and kallis can put up his hand, but it seems the pressure of scoring quickly has him throwing away his wicket, while his bowling pace suggests he could have been a very good option in this format of the game, he isn’t delivering. He and Albie displayed some of the worst T20 bowling I have seen in a long time.

Watching how successful the Sri Lankan pace attack was yesterday has given me hope that good pace bowling can still win you matches in this T20 world cup.

So what do you guys think?

Source for stats: http://www.espncricinfo.com

– And it’s all over – the Aussies only chased the 112 they needed to qualify for the Semis, knocking out South Africa in the process. So the title of this post becomes an accurate prediction, Australia ended on 117/7 – losing by 32 runs to Pakistan

 

 

 

 

 

 

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by Hanjo

Get a Grip

September 21, 2012 in Uncategorized

On 16 August 2012 SARU announced the inclusion of the Southern Kings in Super Rugby 2013 at the expense of the Lions.

Most South African rugby supporters were unhappy with the decision, seeing that the Lions have clawed their way into our hearts over the past view years, Despite under performing for the bigger part of the past decade, The Lions played an exciting game, have fielded some crowd favourites and were basically the definition of an underdog.

So how could you not love the Lions, I always watched the Lions games with great interest, I enjoyed their play(no matter how frustrating the past couple of years have been) , I also admitted to the Lions being somewhat of a ‘second team’ for me.

I’m simply trying to state that I share the disappointment of the average neutral South African on the Lions’ exclusion, I however look at the Kings’ inclusion as a neutral and I have to ask, how can one not be excited?

Now recently The Kings have signed Demetri Catrakilis, Andries Strauss and Steven Sykes – three relatively big names in SA rugby, who  bring invaluable experience with them. – however, when these signings were announced the general reaction was negative still, people were quick to call the promise of transformation by Kings management a sham.

They insist signing players from other unions(white players at that) counters transformation and development. In the same sentence they are mocking the kings and predicting the Kings will be humiliated at Super Rugby level, which then automatically has me questioning the objectivity of these people…

I just urge South Africans to leave their racist agendas in the past(where it belongs). Transformation has been around for roughly 18 years in SA in different fields, with relative success. However a realistic view would indicate that the playing field is yet to be levelled.

So within 2 months of the announcement of their inclusion, The Southern Kings have signed three relatively big names(here’s a more in depth look at their transfer activity) and are currently dominating the first division of the Currie Cup(which I know can not be compared to Super Rugby or even the Premier division) , They have also asked the South African Rugby Union (SARU) to allow them to use more than the two allowed foreign players in next year’s Super Rugby competition.(another sign of them being actively busy preparing a squad)

Kings president Cheeky Watson told Eyewitness News Sport on Thursday that they’re in talks with a further nine players, both local and foreign. (Once again I can only applaud them for their willingness to sign the necessary talent)

Watson also stated that they are in talks with South African players based in Europe and a few players in Argentina.

Read more here

Amazingly the general response to the above  article and the Kings’ activity was once again negative, People are criticising the fact that they are looking at overseas options(something I suggested they do in talks with Baylion in the comments section of a previous post)

I think people are naive:

– Expecting the Kings to have a team capable of competing at Super Rugby level, without adding at least another 10 players to their squad – is ridiculously naive.

– Expecting the Kings to field a transformed team by the start of Super Rugby 2013(which will be able to compete at the highest level) – is ridiculously naive.

– Expecting the Kings to only consider locally based South African players for their 2013 squad – is Strange and makes no sense(take the Western Force as an example, They were granted a request to be allowed a couple extra foreign players in 2013, as they are in a building phase, Since then they have signed All Black Alby Mathewson and Sias Ebersohn. who will both no doubt add huge value to their squad)

– Not being aware of the Kings academy, but persistently criticising the Kings for their lack of development – Is simply uninformed and naive.

– Claiming that you won’t support the Kings in 2013 or even hoping they won’t succeed simply because Cheeky and Luke are in the picture – is Naive and childish

– I would just love for the general Rugby Supporter to be objective, support any South African Franchise, realise SARU screwed the Lions just like they initially screwed the Kings, acknowledge the effort the Kings are making, Give credit where it is due and Get a Grip…

 

 

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by Hanjo

How Far are the Kings from Being Ready for 2013?

September 14, 2012 in Uncategorized

Now that the Signatures of Cheetahs hard-hitting centre Andries Strauss and Sharks enforcer Steven Sykes have been confirmed. I think we can safely say The Southern Kings are taking a few steps in the right direction.

These are two top profile signings. I mentioned in a previous post that they perhaps need some centre recruitment and it is very refreshing to see management who are able to identify the obvious areas of concern

I had a look at their stocks in a previous post, trying to see what a Kings side would look like, were they to run out today. I started with the forwards, but never got around to writing part two, so no more delaying.

It seems there’s still quite a bit of negativity(from the public) surrounding the Kings as a team, most likely due to the way they have been included into Super rugby, at the expense of the Lions. The latest bit of unwarranted criticism being thrown around by the average SA rugby supporter touches on the fact that The Kings promised to develop ‘their own players’ and ‘build a team’ and the fact that they are now merely ‘poaching from other unions’ , people also seem to have an issue with the fact that these new faces have ‘all’ been white.

Now, I have explained this about a million times, and it is rather obvious why the Kings need to recruit players but I’ll be considerate and explain it once more. The Kings were confirmed as 2013 Super Rugby participants not too long ago, by that time Super Rugby 2013 was just about 6 months away. Now while transformation and player development is high on their priority list, their top priority(short term) is to be competitive at Super Rugby level, trying to avoid the promotion/relegation match that’ll be played at the end of the 2013 season, while also proving the critics wrong. The only way to get a competitive team ready for the 2013 season is to recruit the necessary experience and skills.

So now that we’ve cleared that up – lets take a look at their current squad.

Kings

The Kings will join the 2013 Super Rugby season at the expense of the Lions. Their 2013 provisional squad is based on the players representing the Eastern Province Kings in the domestic 2012 Currie Cup First Division competition.

Kings transfers 2012/13
POS 2012 SQUAD OUT IN PROVISIONAL 2013 SQUAD
PR N/A N/A Substituted on Charl du Plessis (from Boland Cavaliers)[52]
Substituted on Schalk Ferreira (on trial from Western Province)[53]
Kevin Buys
– Charl du Plessis
– Jaco Engels
– Schalk Ferreira
– Lizo Gqoboka
– Clint Newland
– André Schlechter
– Wayne Swart
HK N/A N/A Bobby Dyer
Hannes Franklin
Frank Herne
LK N/A N/A Substituted on Samora Fihlani (from Border Bulldogs)[54]
Substituted on Steven Sykes (from Sharks)[55]
Rynier Bernardo
David Bulbring
Samora Fihlani
Darron Nell
Barend Pieterse
Steven Sykes
Wayne van Heerden
FL N/A N/A Substituted on Thabo Mamojele (from Leopards)[56]
Substituted on Wimpie van der Walt (from Italy San Gregorio)[57]
Boetie Britz
Cornell du Preez
Thabo Mamojele
Mpho Mbiyozo
Devin Oosthuizen
Wimpie van der Walt
N8 N/A N/A Thembelani Bholi
Jacques Engelbrecht
Luke Watson
SH N/A N/A Substituted on Scott Mathie (from England Sale Sharks)[58] Boela Abrahams
Danie Faasen
Scott Mathie
Falie Oelschig
Reynier van Rooyen
FH N/A N/A Substituted on Wesley Dunlop (from Blue Bulls)[52]
Substituted on Demetri Catrakilis (from Western Province)[59]
Demetri Catrakilis
Wesley Dunlop
Shane Gates
Louis Strydom
Justin van Staden
George Whitehead
CE N/A N/A Substituted on Andries Strauss (from Cheetahs)[60] Siyanda Grey
Tiger Mangweni
Lonwabo Ntleki
Wayne Stevens
Andries Strauss
Matthew Tayler-Smith
Scott van Breda
WG N/A N/A Substituted on Michael Killian (from Lions)[61] Michael Killian
Norman Nelson
Jongi Nokwe
Paul Perez
Marcello Sampson
Andile Witbooi
FB N/A N/A Substituted on Ntabeni Dukisa (from Border Bulldogs)[54] Ntabeni Dukisa
SP Marais
Mzwandile Stick

The table above perfectly displays the Kings’ squad and their new signings.

Their Prop stocks are seriously impressive, Veteran Tight head prop Clint Newland probably tops the list for me, He has 35 Super Rugby caps and quite a bit of experience playing in Europe, The giant 1.96m , 132kg man will look to anchor the Kings scrum in 2013. Not being too clued up on all the other prop options, I would most likely start with the mobile Jaco Engels on the loose head side, He used to be a very impressive ball carrier in his Blue Bulls days.

The Hooker position will also be filled with quite a bit of experience, Hannes Franklin has played rugby all over SA. Having accumulated some Super Rugby experience at the Lions

Steven Sykes will take up the # 4 jersey, while there are some interesting options who could partner him, David Bullbring or Joe Snyman(if the latter is still on the Kings’ books) are very good options. both fairly young and relatively experienced. Wayne van Heerden is a player with Super Rugby experience who excites me, Bullsbring is probably the line-out specialist among them and might .

The Loosies will all be determined depending on the combination the coaches opt for, With Luke used predominantly in the number 8 jersey these days, it gives you the option of playing another open side flanker, I have not seen all their options in action, but have seen a bit of Wimpie van der Walt which suggests he’s a live-wire flanker who’s good at disrupting ball, a strong carrier, very quick and a strong defender – here’s a clip on him

On the other side I have gone for Cornell du Preez, another good ball carrier, I do however believe the Kings might benefit from signing a quality experienced blindside flanker.

 

1. Jaco Engels

2. Hannes Franklin

3. Clint Newland

4. Steven Sykes

5. David Bulbring / Wayne van Heerden

6. Wimpie van der Walt

7. Cornell du Preez

8. Luke Watson (c)

The Kings signed forgotten ex Sharks scrum half, Scott Mathie after he spent some time in Europe, He’s only 29 years old, and might still have some rugby left in him. They have a couple of young options, but might opt for the experience of Oelschig.

The signature of Catrakilis has made him an obvious choice to start as pivot, He has been in great form for WP in the ongoing Currie Cup. Most Province supporters, I have spoken to, saw Catrakilis as the most promising youngster among the current batch of young Fly halves in Cape Town.

Andries Strauss is a very solid defender and actually reminds me of De Wet Barry, who just happens to be the current Kings defence coach.

I have never seen Siyanda Grey play, but his record speaks for itself. having played 3 Nations Cup games and scoring 6 tries and being named player of the tournament. He has been plagued by injury last year and only returned to the field recently.

The Kings have players like Killian and Nokwe who have Super Rugby experience, but they also have promising outside backs like Sampson and Perez who might be preferred in the starting line-up. SP Marais has also been exceptional for the Kings.

 

9. Falie Oelschig

10. Demetri Catrakilis

11. Marcello Sampson / Jongi Nokwe

12. Andries Strauss

13.  Siyanda Grey

14. Paul Perez / Norman Nelson

15. SP Marais

 

16. Frank Herne

17. Kevin Buys

18. Darron Nell

19. Jacques Engelbrecht / Mpho Mbiyozo

20. Scott Mathie

21. Wesley Dunlop

22. Tiger Mangweni / Michael Killian

 

I think we can all agree that this team would probably struggle against most opposition in the tournament. I believe they have a pack of forwards however that would be able to hold their own, quite a bit of experience up front and as many pointed out, their inexperienced backline might be the only area of concern. inexperience can easily result in sloppy defense, Strauss in this aspect will be invaluable for them.

One can only speculate just how far this team and their current squad is from being ‘finalised’. It was reported that They are still searching for some “tall locks” earlier in the week. It is a pity the Southern Kings weren’t included in the Premier division of the Currie Cup, as that would’ve given us a good idea of their progress.

Will be very interesting to see who the Kings’ next signing will be.

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Can SA Rugby Afford to Lose Josh Strauss to Scotland?

September 13, 2012 in Uncategorized

Full name Joshua Zac Strauss
Date of birth 23 October 1986 (age 25)
Place of birth BellvilleSouth Africa
Height 2.00 m (6 ft 6 12 in)[2]
Weight 114 kg (17 st 13 lb)[2]
School Paul Roos Gymnasium
University Stellenbosch University
Rugby union career
Playing career
Position Flanker / Eighthman
Professional / senior clubs
Years Club / team Caps (points)
2012- Glasgow Warriors
Provincial/State sides
Years Club / team Caps (points)
2007-2008
2008-2009
2010-2012
Lons-le-Saunier
Boland
Golden Lions
13
3
23
(10)
(5)
(20)
correct as of 18 May 2012.
Super Rugby
Years Club / team Caps (points)
2011-2012 Lions 30 (40)

Josh announced his departure from the Lions two days ago, with the news that he has signed a three year contract with Scottish side Glasgow Warriors, along with this announcement it has also been confirmed that due to being constantly overlooked by Heyneke Meyer and the Springbok selectors, Strauss will look to fulfil his dreams of test/world Cup rugby with Scotland.

Josh, who is 25, probably has about 5 years of professional rugby left in him, assuming he isn’t affected by serious injuries. Among the players who have recently donned the Springbok #8 jersey under Meyer , Pierre Spies(27), Duane Vermeulen(26) and Willem Alberts(28),  one can safely say only Alberts won’t make the next World Cup, as he’ll be 31 at the time, Spies will be pushing his luck at 30 and both Duane and Josh will be 29 in 2015.  In terms of other specialist #8 options in the country, young CJ Stander(22) is also leaving for Europe, Ryan Kankowski(26) left for Japan, Ashley Johnson(26) joined London Wasps while Keegan Daniel(27), based locally, will also be 30 by the time the next World Cup comes around.

I can’t help but feel we are rather short on quality options based locally. With some of the above mentioned players not exactly setting the world a light at test level the past couple of seasons.

Josh will join fellow South African and promising Tight Head prop WP Nel in Scotland, Nel is believed to be eligible to play for Scotland already(qualified by way of a grandparent)

Other than being an exceptional ball carrier and all round loose forward, Josh is also able to play lock, having done so in his most recent Lions outings. He also has great captaincy skills, having captained the Lions to their first Currie Cup trophy in 12 years. in saying this, The Springbok Captaincy remains an area of concern, as current Bok Captain, Jean de Villiers, is unlikely to be around in 2015.

South Africa has always been known for the wealth of loose forward depth we have, It is then unlikely that we’ll struggle to find suitable replacements in this position. I do however rate Josh as a Special player.

Should we face Scotland in the next few years, will we regret running out against top class players like Josh and WP , who in all honesty should be in the current Bok squad ? Can we afford to let quality/form players give up on the dream of playing for the Springboks?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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by Hanjo

Time to Throw Caution to the Wind??

September 11, 2012 in Uncategorized

Seeing that there is absolutely no way that we are going to beat the All Blacks on Saturday, we might as well throw Caution to the wind..right?

On the one hand I want Meyer to stick to his plan, his troops and his ignorance and as a result get smashed by the All Blacks. I know this is a very unpatriotic, sadistic, vindictive and selfish desire I have but somehow I feel in the long run, it will benefit SA rugby.

I figured, if we follow up the Draw against Argentina and the loss against the Aussies by a hiding against NZ, maybe, just maybe, Meyer will realise that something is seriously wrong with SA rugby at the moment. – I’m not even sure what it is exactly, We’ve all identified the obvious areas of concern, persisting with out of form players, being unable to make up his mind about his pecking order, calling up players who are most likely not match fit, leaving Lambie on the bench for the full 80, ignoring certain players since the start of his tenure(Aplon and Brussow) , etc.

While all the above may be worrying, I suspect there might be more to the lacklustre performances we’ve seen from the Springboks. Our players seem genuinely clueless, unsure of what to do next, having no idea of when to pass, kick or run… it almost appears as if they are denying their own basic instincts. – taking the obvious wrong route deliberately – This to me suggests being in disagreement with the gameplan, valuing the process of proving the coach wrong higher than results. – OR I might just be a little paranoid

I saw a sarcastic comment on Sport24 which made me think, The comment read “here’s a list of players who improved under HM:” the comment was followed by a nothing, It made me think, who is on form at the moment? Bryan Habana has been playing great rugby and so has Etzebeth, but other than that everyone seems to have disappointed us, to a certain extent. This to me is a worrying sight, We can only hope Meyer is aware of the issues that is causing this general slump, and working hard to fix it, but the pessimist in me can’t help but doubt it.

 

On the other hand I would just like to throw caution to the wind and see what decent/exciting team selection would do to our chances and the general mood in the camp.

From our squad, assuming both Jannie and Pat are fit for the weekend, I would select the following team, as controversial as it may be.

1. Beast Mtawarira

2. Adriaan Strauss

3. Pat Cilliers

4. Willem Alberts

5. Juandre Kruger

6. Francois Louw

7. Marcel Coetzee

8. Duane Vermeulen

9. Francois Hougaard

10. Johan Goosen

11. Bryan Habana

12. Francois Steyn

13. Juan de Jongh

14. Jean de Villiers

15. Pat Lambie

 

16. Tiaan Liebenberg

17. Frans Malherbe / Jannie du Plessis

18. Flip van der Merwe

19. Jacques Potgieter

20. Jano Vermaak

21. Morne Steyn / Ruan Pienaar

22. Lwazi Mvovo / Zane Kirchner

While some may argue Alberts at lock is going against the principles of rugby, It gives you another loosie on the pitch, something that can only do us good, seeing that we have been struggling at the breakdown against Argentina, England and the Aussies(NZ will be an even bigger challenge)

We will also for the first time under Meyer start with a specialist openside flanker. Although Louw’s match fitness is also questionable.

I would start Pat as he is more of an allround player, which will help seeing that Beast has not been carrying his weight in the loose. The loss of Etzebeth in the line-outs is a serious issue, but I do believe the added option of Louw does slightly soften that blow.

In the backs, I would shift Hougaard back to SH after Ruan’s shocker against the Aussies, keep Mvovo on the bench after he looked slightly out of depth when he came on, bring in Juan de Jongh, who is a player with test experience, Jean can then move to the wing(where I feel he is better suited until he regathers his lost form – as recently as the English series still, Jean thrived in the 13 jersey, looking devastating with ball in hand)

I would bring in Lambie at the back, a move long overdue and bring in Goosen at 10, this I feel is the most crucial change, as I still believe Morne is playing too deep, kicking too often, too inaccurately and directly causing our backline to become impotent. Alternatively Lambie could take the 10 jersey with Frans or even Ruan at the back – which may already make a big difference.

On the bench I would prefer a specialist SH(thus Jano Vermaak), I would also be tempted to include Ruan instead of Morne. Mvovo takes up the final spot on the bench, where Zane is also an option.

I’m not sure this team would have any chance of winning against NZ either but I do rate their chances of an upset higher. I would rather watch us get beaten by the All Blacks while playing exciting rugby, building toward something, than waking up after the game, realising we’ve lost anyway.

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by Hanjo

Springbok squad for the Australasian leg of The Castle Rugby Championship has been announced.

August 29, 2012 in Uncategorized

Vermeulen, Goosen added to Bok squad
 August 29, 2012
DHL Western Province No 8 Duane Vermeulen and Toyota Free State Cheetahs flyhalf Johan Goosen are the two uncapped players that have been added to theThe squad of 28 for Tests against Australia in Perth (September 8) and New Zealand in Dunedin (September 15), was finalised on Wednesday.Apart from the inclusion of Vermeulen and Goosen, there were recalls for DHL Western Province midfielder Juan de Jongh as well as loose forward Francois Louw, who has captained Bath in England.De Jongh was part of the squad for the first Test against Argentina in Cape Town while it will be Louw’s first involvement with the Springboks since last year’s Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer has confidence in the squad that has been selected, even though injuries, unavailability and retirement have robbed the Springboks of more than 800 Test caps worth of experience.

“We were not happy with our performance in Mendoza and we are making no excuses for what happened there, but we take full responsibility and have to look forward and get ready for our next tough match, against Australia in Perth,” said Meyer.

“Untimely injuries to Bismarck du Plessis, Chiliboy Ralepelle, Pierre Spies, JP Pietersen and Bjorn Basson have already hit us hard in the past few weeks. This again provides opportunities for other players to put up their hands.

“We were very keen to give Siya Kolisi an opportunity on this tour, but he is also out injured, alongside a list of other injured or unavailable forwards that include Gurthrö Steenkamp, Heinrich Brüssow, Schalk Burger, Juan Smith and Ryan Kankowski.”

Commenting on the four new players in the squad, Meyer said: “Injuries meant we could not use Duane and Johan earlier in the season, but both have played Absa Currie Cup rugby since their return and after consultation with their respective provincial medical teams, we’re confident that they are ready to travel with us.

“While Duane and Johan are medically fit, their provincial coaches felt it necessary that they get more game time in the Absa Currie Cup this weekend, but as we don’t have a lot of time to prepare and we need as much time with them as possible to get them used to our structures and game plans, the decision was taken to select them for the tour.

“I regard both of them as world class rugby players. If it wasn’t for injuries, Duane would have been a Springbok long ago. I also believe Johan has a long career ahead of him at Test match level and we will expose him when and how we feel it will benefit the player and the team best.

“Both Juan and Francois played at the Rugby World Cup last year and are experienced players. Juan covers both positions in the midfield and we opted for Francois because he is a specialist openside flanker, in the absence of Schalk, Heinrich and Siya, that can cover blindside and No 8 as well, while he is also a very useful option in the lineout.

“I’m also very excited with the quality of young talent coming through – Eben, Marcell and Johan are all still Under-21 and that bodes well for the future of Springbok rugby.”

The Springbok squad will assemble in Johannesburg on Thursday and is scheduled to depart for Perth on Saturday evening.

The squad is:

Willem Alberts (The Sharks) 13 caps
Andries Bekker (DHL Western Province) 26 caps
Craig Burden (The Sharks) uncapped
Pat Cilliers (MTN Golden Lions) 2 caps
Marcell Coetzee (The Sharks) 5 caps
Juan de Jongh (DHL Western Province) 10 caps
Jean de Villiers (capt, DHL Western Province) 77 caps
Jannie du Plessis (The Sharks) 35 caps
Eben Etzebeth (DHL Western Province) 5 caps
Johan Goosen (Toyota FS Cheetahs) uncapped
Dean Greyling (Vodacom Blue Bulls) 2 caps
Bryan Habana (DHL Western Province) 79 caps
Francois Hougaard (Vodacom Blue Bulls) 20 caps
Zane Kirchner (Vodacom Blue Bulls) 17 caps
Juandré Kruger (Vodacom Blue Bulls) 3 caps
Pat Lambie (The Sharks) 13 caps
Tiaan Liebenberg (DHL Western Province) 1 cap
Francois Louw (Bath, England) 10 caps
Tendai Mtawarira (The Sharks) 37 caps
Lwazi Mvovo (The Sharks) 6 caps
Ruan Pienaar (Ulster, N-Ireland) 56 caps
Jacques Potgieter (Vodacom Blue Bulls) 3 caps
Frans Steyn (The Sharks) 51 caps
Morné Steyn (Vodacom Blue Bulls) 39 caps
Adriaan Strauss (Toyota FS Cheetahs) 14 caps
Flip van der Merwe (Vodacom Blue Bulls) 16 caps
Jano Vermaak (Vodacom Blue Bulls) uncapped
Duane Vermeulen (DHL Western Province) uncapped

 

– It is interesting to compare the newly named squad to the previous one that toured to Argentina – The 26-man Springbok squad to Argentina: 

Forwards (15): Willem Alberts, Andries Bekker, Craig Burden, Pat Cilliers, Marcell Coetzee, Keegan Daniel, Jannie du Plessis, Eben Etzebeth, Dean Greyling, Juandré Kruger, Tiaan Liebenberg, Tendai Mtawarira, Jacques Potgieter, Adriaan Strauss, Flip van der Merwe

Backs (11): Jean de Villiers (captain), JJ Engelbrecht, Bryan Habana, Francois Hougaard, Zane Kirchner, Patrick Lambie, Lwazi Mvovo, Ruan Pienaar, Frans Steyn, Morné Steyn, Jano Vermaak

– JJ Engelbrecht and Keegan Daniel have been dropped and replaced by Duane Vermeulen and Juan de Jongh respectively. Slightly strange seeing that neither of these players have had much time on the field, also take into account that JJ has been preferred to de Jongh under Meyer since his very first Bok squad was announced, did he simply change his mind now? is JJ injured? Meyer states that de Jongh covers both centres, but de Jongh had the ability to cover both centres back in June when we faced England too. – what causes one player to overtake another in Meyer’s pecking order? I guess we will never know

Daniel being dropped I also support, seeing that he never fitted into Meyer’s gameplan, here at least, Meyer can point toward the return to fitness of Duane as a justification…. Meyer also called up Louw as an addition to the squad, saying he is a specialist open side option, we have been facing both England and Argentina without a specialist open side option, and paying dearly. – I guess this confirms Meyer’s horses for courses claims.

I would be very surprised if Meyer started both Vermeulen and Louw on tour. specially seeing how Coetzee and Alberts have been doing fairly well. but on the other hand, Vermuelen is the only specialist number 8 in this squad, with Louw the only specialist open side option. It will be interesting to see how Meyer accommodates his loosies.

The squad certainly has a better feel to it, but will Goosen leadfrog the the unused Lambie to claim a bench spot? will both Louw and Vermeulen overtake Potgieter to claim(at least) a bench and starting position respectively? or will these new additions to the squad also be left unused? are they merely a tool to fool the average Bok supporter into believing Meyer has seen the light?  – this all remains to be seen.

 

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by Hanjo

Amla in a League of His Own ?

August 29, 2012 in Uncategorized

Yesterday during the thrashing of England, Hashim Amla became the quickest player to reach 3000 ODI runs ever – reaching this milestone in 57 innings , 12 outings less than, previous record holder, legendary destructive West Indian Batsman Vivian Richards.

The fact that most in the know predicted Hashim would only ever be a test batsman, at the start of his international career, makes this achievement even more impressive. He has taken ‘proving your critics wrong’ to a whole new level.

The humble opener now has an ODI average of 58.28, which is edging ever closer to that 60 mark(which is pretty much unheard of)  it is also comfortably the highest ODI average by any batsman from the major cricket playing nations. It would be very hard for anyone to argue against Amla being the best ODI batsman in the world at the moment. just to put it into perspective, recent great ODI opening batsman like Chris Gayle(39.43), Matthew Hayden(43.80), Sachin Tendulkar(44.83), Sanath Jayasurya(32.36), Adam Gilchrist(35.89), Graeme Smith(39.11), etc. all have averages well below 50.

 

List of 10 fastest players to 3 000 ODI runs, in terms of innings (player, country/team, number of innings):

Hashim Amla (RSA) 57
Vivian Richards (WIS) 69
Gordon Greenidge (WIS) 72
Gary Kirsten (RSA) 72
Virat Kohli (IND) 72
Graham Gooch (ENG) 77
Kevin Pietersen (ENG/ICC) 78
Navjot Singh Sidhu (IND) 79
Brian Lara (WIS) 79
Boeta Dippenaar (RSA) 79

Sport24

Hashim Amla:

Batting and fielding averages

Mat Inns NO Runs HS Ave BF SR 100 50 4s 6s Ct St
Tests 62 108 9 4946 311* 49.95 9578 51.63 16 23 627 6 56 0
ODIs 59 57 5 3031 150 58.28 3275 92.54 10 18 301 15 21 0
T20Is 8 8 0 115 33 14.37 105 109.52 0 0 11 3 3 0
First-class 153 254 24 11690 311* 50.82 36 57 121 0
List A 114 110 7 4682 150 45.45 13 29 41 0
Twenty20 38 37 1 775 88* 21.52 668 116.01 0 3 90 11 8 0

ESPNcricinfo

Is it then perhaps safe to say Amla is in fact in a league of his own?

 

In other Cricket news – apparently English Test Captain Andrew Strauss is set to resign which will see Graeme Smith complete his hat-trick? 

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by Hanjo

I’m just another fickle Bok Supporter who feels Heyneke Meyer is seriously out of his depth at Test level

August 27, 2012 in Uncategorized

If for a second you thought that this might be one of my usual patriotic posts where I criticise the fickleness of the general Bok supporter, you’d be mistaken.

The past weekend I had to endure one of the most painfully lack lustre Bok performances I’ve (probably)ever seen.

After some fireworks and a slightly strange interpretation of the national anthem, the game kicked off without any ‘pitch side audio’ , Steve Walsh was left quiet, the whistle could hardly be heard(by the viewer) and it all just felt like I was left partially deaf.

The game already had a strange feel to it, a message appeared at the bottom of the screen to inform the viewer of the teams’ respective jersey colours, there was also a strange and incorrect justification that popped-up after the first penalty was conceded, “joining ruck incorrectly” was the ‘reason’ given for the obvious offside penalty against the Springboks.

The first half flew past, and The Springboks left the field trailing 13 – 3, none of the Supersport in-studio usuals had anything to say(literally) – I guess the first half also left them thinking “dafuq did I just watch”

The second half was seriously poor, all round, Argentina continued with their dirty tactics, trying to piss our players off and partially succeeding. Our backline still kept running into the opposition and they seemed to lack faith in each other’s abilities or perhaps players like Frans Steyn and Jean de Villiers were both so surprised to see the ball that they had absolutely no idea what to do with it, Zane at the back was seriously average on the day, he joined the line on a couple of occasions only to run into direct opposition and kill all the momentum we had.

At a certain stage close to the 60min mark, I actually started rooting for Argentina, now before you judge me, they were technically the only team that played rugby on the day. – in classic ‘no clue’ mode, we kicked at poles from our own half but opted to kick for touch from more kickable positions at certain times.

a favourable bounce after a charged down kick from Frans Steyn saw him dot down and save his teammates and more importantly Meyer a red face.

In the closing stages, The Springboks had some ball and the opportunity to steal a win, sure they didn’t deserve to win, but “a win is a win”, would have been much easier to swallow than the draw. But on the other hand the draw displayed a more accurate picture of the current state of South African rugby.

In those closing minutes we saw Morne Steyn 1. still on the field(yes, Lambie was left on the bench for the full 80 again) and 2. kicking possession away when a crucial score was needed.  – I have never played Fly half at any level before in my life, but surely any idiot could tell you the odds of scoring with the ball is much greater than scoring without it. – this again pointed to a lack of faith in the backline or simply some dark plan by Meyer and Morne to destroy SA rugby.

During the game it was also painstakingly obvious that Morne was playing too deep, which resulted in lateral attacking and getting stuck behind the advantage line.

I don’t care what Meyer has achieved at the Bulls or how much respect he demands, all I know is that he is currently failing as Bok coach, a draw against England on home soil and now a draw against Argentina away is worrying results in his 5 game reign. This is a man credited for creating one of the most ruthless and feared provincial teams ever, a man who took SA rugby at Super Rugby level to new heights. a Man Bok supporters ‘knew’ was the obvious choice to replace Divvy, a Man most felt should have been appointed 4 years ago already.

The above had me thinking –  just like, in recent years, we’ve seen  Wynand Olivier, Ashley Johnson, Keegan Daniel, Ryan Kankowski, etc. dominate at Provincial level, but fail to make a similar impact at test level, does Meyer perhaps fall into a similar category as a coach? is he simply a great provincial coach who just isn’t meant for Test rugby? unable to make the step-up? I hear some of you say it’s simply too early to make such an accusation and while I actually agree, I have no doubt we would’ve won the past five games comfortably under Divvy.

– In Divvy’s final game we were a Springbok team who everyone felt only lost to the Aussies due to some dodgy officiating(whether the officiating was dodgy or not is besides the point) . my point is merely that Springbok supporters felt we were clearly the better team, not just on the day, but on paper too. Looking at the current Springbok team I can’t help but feel we’ve gone backwards.

– I am usually very quick to call for calmness rather than fickleness, but I have a strange feeling about this Bok team under Meyer. He seems to accept a mediocre result without changing anything, almost hoping it’ll solve itself.  – as an example, Morne Steyn had a brilliant game in our first outing against Argentina, and even with him at his best, we couldn’t score the much needed 4th try with plenty possession. – Morne seemed unable to get the backline away, but his good game with the boot and his crosskick that created a try covered up the worry most Supporters had about the Fly half position, however Meyer being coach should not be fooled like the general public by a good showing, he should be aware of the issues before they happen. – We constantly criticised Divvy for not being a thinking coach, for being one dimensional in his game… at the moment we are seeing exactly the same from Meyer, why even change the coach if the gameplan will remain the same or worsen? at least Divvy was funny.

 

 

 

 

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