Has Meyer Missed a Trick?

With injuries having played a massive role this year one can excuse a watered down Bok team… or can we? One thing that has been obvious during the Currie Cup is the emergence of young players. Yes it was a watered down version because a lot of the Boks were missing but in the final the Sharks were almost full strength and the “young guns” from WP pulled them through.

We have a plethora of young talent coming through and someone like Eben Etzebeth has proved that by announcing himself on the world stage even. Meyer has chosen his squad to tour Europe but I can’t but help feel he has missed a trick. He has still stuck to his “guns” as he likes to point out. I do applaud the man however for picking Rhule. The kid has been in sublime form for the Cheetahs. Yet overall I feel Meyer is still lacking in vision.

Where is Ludik, Groom, Reinach, Jordaan, Whitehead and the likes? These guys have proved themselves this season. We have had a terrible time at scrumhalf. Pienaar offers stability but after him who do we have? Yes we have Hougaard and Vermaak but they have no form to speak of. Yet Groom and Reinach have proved that they can play an all round game. Plus Reinach has clearly inherited his dad’s pace! Hougaard’s future is not at scrumhalf and will never be. If anything he will always be an impact player or wing. On this tour one could have picked both Groom and Reinach to gain some experience. So why didn’t he? Simple, he still plays favourites.

At centre we have been thin this year. Jean is holding the ship together, not just in the midfield but also as captain, Frans Steyn is injured and we seem to be short on genuine inside centres. So then Why not take Someone like Whitehead or Serfontein with? They are definitely the future! Ever since the departure of Fourie we have also been lacking for a 13. Juan de Jongh has shown he has the temperament but unfortunately his size under Meyer will always count against him. Unfortunate really since he showed South Africa what he can produce on the big stage. Frans and Jean are not the answer as a centre pairing. So why not give Juan his chance and bring someone like Jordaan on tour who can only benefit from it. Why not even take someone like Catrakilis along?

At full back Ludik has been in sublime form. The kind of form that would make anyone stand up and notice… unless you are Meyer. Meyer’s blind faith in Captain Niknaks is bordering on insanity. He offers nothing from the back. Yes he is solid but his one on one defence has never been great and he has no attacking skills to speak of. His only claim to fame is kicking, which Meyer seems to prize above all else. I would play Taute there and Ludik as backup… plus if you really have to you have Lambie. Zane doesn’t even need to feature… at all… ever!

I also feel Meyer missed a trick With Deon Fourie. Our only fetcher in the group is Francois Louw, and no matter how much Meyer wishes it, Coetzee will never be in that mould. Why not then pick someone like Fourie who has been a revelation at 6? I can only think size once again… which is sad really. And what about someone like Anton Bressler or even Jaco Kriel from the Lions? Don’t get me started on the Keegan Daniel debate. The man would be a shoe-in anywhere else.

The other trick that Meyer has missed is in his player “32”. In the group we have one genuinely world class tighthead in Jannie. Pat Cilliers is still on probation. Why not pick another tighthead in the group instead of Heinke van der Merwe, another loosehead. We basically have have three looseheads, one tighthead and one all rounder in Pat Cilliers. CJ doesn’t count because he can’t scrum on his best of days!

However the biggest trick Meyer has missed is in the naming of his match day 23, and here is the team to take on the Irish:

First XV:

15 Zane Kirchner, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Jaco Taute, 12 Jean de Villiers (captain), 11 Francois Hougaard, 10 Pat Lambie, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Juandré Kruger, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.


16 Schalk Brits, 17 CJ van der Linde, 18 Pat Cilliers, 19 Flip van der Merwe, 20 Marcell Coetzee, 21 Morné Steyn, 22 Juan de Jongh, 23 Lwazi Mvovo.

Zane at 15 should not even feature in the team or bench. Taute isn’t a 13, his defence is shoddy there. Francois Hougaard has not done enough to warrant a starting berth at wing, his form is shoddy. Having CJ on the bench and not Guthro makes no sense and never ever will no matter which universe you find yourself in. Having Morné Steyn on the bench can only mean one thing… Lambie will get substituted… very soon in the game. I confess I would be very surprised if we beat the Irish with this team, especially is Lambie gets taken off.

A better combination would have been as follows:

First XV:

15 Jaco Taute, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Jean de Villiers, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Patrick Lambie, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Duane Vermuelen, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Eben Etzebeth, 4 Flip van der Merwe, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Tendai Mtwarira.


16 Schalk Brits, 17 Guthro Steenkamp, 18 Pat Cilliers, 19 Juandré Kruger, 20 Marcell Coetzee, 21 Jano Vermaak, 22 Elton Jantjies, 23 Francois Hougaard

I only pick Vermaak for lack of a better choice. There is so much potential that Meyer left at home its actually scandalous. I read that he bemoans the fact that we lose so much talent overseas but it is easy to spot why. If someone keeps on picking the talentless above the talented, then don’t expect the talented to stick around.

16 thoughts on “Has Meyer Missed a Trick?

  1. I think most people would prefer your team selection instead of HM’s. I definitely do!
    But the thing is, we as bok supporters, will never ever be 100% satisfied with the team our bok coach picks, doesn’t matter if it is HM now or whoever in 5 years time. We all have our favourite players, and we all have different opinions on who should be in and who should be out.
    BUT, at the moment it feels like the country is united in their selection choices, i.e. Msteyn out the team completely, and ditto for crusty. The only plausable explanation for those 2 still in the starting team and on bench is that they are HM’s favourite bulls players. Zane is ok to have as back up, but steyn? Everyone is screaming for him to take a break and get his confidence back. Then he can start competing for his old spot again through super rugby.
    Oh well, lets hope the coach knows something we dont. There must be a reason he’s the bok coach, and not me right?

    • Why not you? Have you tried coaching? As you say, the one thing people agree on is the one thing Meyer ignores. Captain Niknaks and Steyn should be dropped. But so too should Hougaard and Vermaak. Hougaard is playing his worst rugby ever. Vermaak just simply hasn’t played rugby… so how does that justify his choice? And if Meyer is planning for the future as he says, then why in the hell doesn’t he pick future players in most positions? He sings one tune but does another… reminds me of Divvy in a way

  2. I think with your back three there might be issues with inexperience if you have both Taute and Mvovo there. Mvovo under the high ball is shaky. So I guess Meyer went with his only alternative by picking Zane at FB, but then there would definitely be place for Mvovo.

    So it should be either Zane and Mvovo or Taute and Hougaard. We don’t have enough experienced wingers anymore. God forbid Habana and JP are injured a the same time!

    De Jongh should have been OC. See the Irish back finding holes in our backline again.

    I’m not confident in this side. With O’Connol back to lead the Irish, it will be a tough battle in the forwards and I think Etzebeth will be up for his toughest challenge yet.

    Ireland to win by 5.

    • Not so sure about Mvovo. He is fearless under the high ball. All Zane does is slap backs. We will miss Habana in that role. Isn’t Basson over his injury? Taute is also good under a high ball too so. All in all having JP, Taute and Mvovo at the back Is better than Zane, JP and Hougie. Hougie is to short

        • Ja but one stuff up does not a summer make. Morné stuffs up all the time. And we all know what Mvovo is capable of. Plus that stuff up seemed to be a communication error between two players. Anyway I would still give Mvovo his shot. He deserves it

  3. Vermaak is a quality scrummy and he an Elton could have formed a formidable partnership. He should have stayed at the Lions one more season, and he would have got a whole season of SR and CC. Bad rugby decision on his part. If you don’t play the majority of games how can you expect to play for the international team. I also agree that atleast one young scrum half should have been included in this squad, Reinach, Groom, or Bondesio. Get them familiar with the Bok setup.

    • I agree, vermaak was playing brilliant rugby for the Lions before he left for the Bulls. Since then he hasn’t been the same player, and definitely doesnt deserve to be in the squad at the moment. You’ve got Pienaar and hougie in there as scrummies, so take one more one guy to develop for the future

  4. General, I think we make too much of this, “wait until they’re a bit older” thing. What about James O’Connor, 18 on debut, Jonny Wilkinson -19, George North – 18, Tom Prydie – 18, Matthew Tait -19. I could find more!

  5. i really don’t like your nagging tone. i think your reasons are misguided. when you have to aim for a result you don’t roll the dice. there needs to be balance between youth and experience. ask the all blacks. they keep piri weepu although he is not at his best. and there are others in the ab team there more for experience than for the x factor. but they have balance. so settled combinations make sense.

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