Well the game against the All Blacks in Soweto was lost. The All Blacks won quite easily in the end, after it threatened to be a close game.
Their were two differences between the sides on that day. The one is that when the All Blacks had the opportunity to score then they did. The other was that when South Africa had the ball the All Blacks used dirty tactics to slow our ball or win it.
Please don’t get me wrong, the All Blacks deserved the win and were the better team, but the one thing I do have an issue with is how they manage to get away with playing dirty so regularly. No daylight in tackles or holding on to the tackled player. McCaw always slowing the ball down by lying on the wrong side, etc. The one thing the All Blacks are masters of, and will probably always be masters of, is the bending of the rules on the pitch.
Now the All Black fans might take offence to this but the All Blacks are cheats, and bloody good at it. We deserved to lose the game against them because what the Boks couldn’t do in the second half was adapt to the spoiling tactics employed by the All Blacks. Once the All Blacks realized that just playing the game wasn’t working they changed tact in the second half and it worked.
That shows up one of the big problems in the Bok game. Their is no deviation from a plan. There was no switch in tactics when we were being outsmarted. When Heyneke and the media talk about us being behind in development then the only thing that comes to mind is smart rugby. On an equal footing, playing fair rugby, I believe the Boks and the All Blacks are almost equal. However when it comes to using your brain we are far behind.
Two people should shoulder the blame for the All Blacks getting away with “murder” on Saturday, actually three to a degree. Ruan Pienaar mostly, he hardly “pointed out” the issues to the ref. Scrummies are meant to be chirpy fellows, however Ruan is, in my opinion, too quiet and more could have been done from his side to point out the problems ala Joost. He should have been like a Kevin Putt on Roland’s shoulders. Jean is the other culprit. He was also not trying his best to point out the obvious spoiler tactics used.
To a lesser degree I blame Roland. I have reffed and the one thing I can tell you is that it is difficult to spot everything. You have split seconds to make decisions. However to miss that many obvious transgressions so often… I think he was concentrating on other things a little too much. As a ref I have experienced this. You go into the game with a mindset. Sometimes that mindset can be to focus on particular areas of the game. This sometimes impacts your ability to spot other transgressions as you are not as focused on them.
All in all we deserved to lose. Meyer has been weighed and measured in this tournament and as the national coach I have deemed him wanting. He seems short sighted and prone to knee jerk reactions. He can’t decide on a team but the one thing he has proven is that he has favourites and that he has players he would rather not want to pick.
Lambie and co can be felt hard done by a man who believes he has all the answers even if evidence of their talent and form stares him right in the face. He is steadfast in his decision that Lambie is not a rugby player of note. I would have started with Lambie at flyhalf in every game.
Another person who should be singled out as a failed favourite is Taute. The kid can go far, of that there is no doubt. But his inexperience as an outside centre was showed up by the All Blacks. His defence was rubbish at best. Someone like de Jongh who has given anyone no reason to doubt in his abilities, should have played. He tackles like a demon, he has a vicious step and hand off and more importantly knows how to defend in the centre channels. Taute is a fullback, 13 is not his position.
When you look at the All Blacks one will see that they value skill and creativity. Israel Dagg is not a heavy chap, Cory Jane only weighs about 88 kilos or so. Yet they are chosen on formand the skills they possess. Dagg made Taute look like a fool on two occassions. Our coach is so besotted with size he seems to forget that a level of skill is needed to play the game. That doesn’t bode well for the players like Lambie, Aplon, de Jongh, Daniel and co who have all the skills but lack the “size” requirement.
Anyway I will now take a stab at the match day 22 that Meyer will most probably pick for the tour to the northern hemisphere.
Meyer’s too obvious match day 22:
15 Zane Kirchner, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Jaco Taute, 12 Jean de Villiers (c), 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Duane Vermuelen, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Andries Bekker, 4 Eben Etsebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Tendai Mtwarira.
16 Tiaan Liebenberg, 17 Coenie Oosthuizen, 18 Flip van der Merwe, 19 Marcell Coetzee, 20 Francois Hougaard, 21 Patrick Lambie, 22 Juan de Jongh.
Here is the team as I would like to see it:
My pick for match day 22:
15 Jaco Taute, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Jean de Villiers (c), 11 Brian Habana , 10 Patrick Lambie, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Duane Vermuelen, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Andries Bekker, 4 Eben Etsebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Tendai Mtwarira.
16 Tiaan Liebenberg, 17, Coenie Oosthuizen, 18 Flip van der Merwe, 19 Marcell Coetzee, 20 Sarel Pretorius, 21 Elton Jantjies, 22 Francois Hougaard
I would also like the following guys to tour with the main team:
Tim Whitehead, Keegan Daniel, Rynhardt Elstadt, Jean Deysel, Wille le Roux, Paul Jordaan, Marnus Schoeman, JC Janse van Rensburg, Jan Serfontein, Francois Venter, Ryan Kankowski, Joe Pietersen, Martin Muller, Raymond Rhule, Pieter Labuschagne, Craig Burden, Pieter Steph du Toit, Lwazi Mvovo, Bjorn Basson, Siya Kolisi (if not injured)
I’m sure there are a few other that we can add to that list.