Well as we know the Sharks got thumped on Saturday. I think there were very few people in this country that over-reacted to the loss… unless you are a staunch Sharks supporter. The fact that the chiefs won is more down to the fact that they were the fresher team than the better team. In fact, if the Sharks were given an extra week I have no doubts that the title would have been theirs.
The first few minutes the Sharks were in the game, but then one could see the engine start to sputter as the tank was getting empty. The outcome was almost inevitable, but there were a few (including myself) who thought they might pull off another Newlands.
Later in the day the Springbok squad was announced. Once again it wasn’t all that unexpected, but it did make me angry unlike the Sharks loss. The Sharks had an excuse, they were mentally and physically at their limit. Heyneke has no excuse for sticking with a Bok fake in the form of Morné Steyn. He is the biggest eye-sore in the squad, the word that makes me cringe, almost like a kick in the gonads. He was only ever adequate as a player, but now his adequacy has left him (kicking). Heyneke states he will coach him back to his “brilliant best”. The thing is he was never brilliant or the best, just adequate. What does that say about the younger generation coming through, the guys with truck loads more talent than Morné? Sorry you’re not a Bull so bugger off? Sounds like it. Meyer managed to turn the fortunes of two players in theEnglandtour, namely Habana and Olivier, in the space of a few games. Morné by contrast has only got worse. So no, I don’t think Meyer will succeed in sorting Morné out. He is more interested in his pink boots.
The other lucky Boks in my opinion are Jacques Potgieter, Jean de Villiers (I know we need a captain but his rugby has been bad the last while), Pierre Spies, Jano Vermaak, Flip van der Merwe and Zane Kirchner. I know Jacques is a hustle and bustle type player. He has no regard for his body and gives his all. But if you want to play him you will have to drop someone like Marcell Coetzee because you need a hard running flank that can get over the advantage line while damaging the defender, ala Willem Alberts, because we all know (and the Bulls supporters too) that Spies will never and can never do that. Jano Vermaak is lucky. He hasn’t played rugby all season but still gets picked above someone like McLeod, our best scrumhalf of the Super 15. That just proves that form means squat and being a Bull means everything. Books can be written about the useful impact players like Pierre Spies, Zane Kirchner and Flip van der Merwe make on a rugby field. It will be a one sentence book and if you combine the three it will be a three sentence book.
Jean de Villiers… one of my current heroes. This season he has been indifferent. If you would like to point fingers at a backline that fails to get away then I feel it should be aimed at this man. He was once a magician in the midfield and with Jaque Fourie at his side they were one of the best combinations ever. Jean will have to pull up his socks and improve on his game. His vision seems to have diminished, his once great distribution game is fast becoming myth. At least he still has more to offer than Morné.
The only true vision Heyneke has produced in the naming of this squad was getting Pat Cilliers in at the expense of Werner Kruger and finally picking Kolisi, who actually earned his position and wasn’t gifted it for wearing a baby blue or pink jumper this season. But the issue of picking Pat raises another. If Werner Kruger was dropped because of poor form (and being useless), then why wasn’t Morné offered the same deal? Why did Werner have to fall on the sword instead of getting coached better?
Forwards: Willem Alberts, Andries Bekker, Pat Cilliers, Marcell Coetzee, Keegan Daniel, Bismarck du Plessis, Jannie du Plessis, Eben Etzebeth, Dean Greyling, Siya Kolisi, Juandre Kruger, Tendai Mtawarira, Jacques Potgieter, Chiliboy Ralepelle, Pierre Spies, Adriaan Strauss, Flip van der Merwe.
Backs: Jean de Villiers (c), JJ Engelbrecht, Bryan Habana, Francois Hougaard, Elton Jantjies, Zane Kirchner, Patrick Lambie, Lwazi Mvovo, Ruan Pienaar, JP Pietersen, Frans Steyn, Morné Steyn, Jano Vermaak.