SA by 10, but I’m still unhappy
November 9, 2012 in Uncategorized
It’s no secret that SA sports fans, and rugby fans in particular, are very hard to please.
It’s been a long time since I’ve been happy with a Springbok team, and I’m not talking about 1 or 2 differences I’d like to see, I’m talking 4 or 5.
Leading up to the previous World Cup there were too many out of form players, guys who could have been replaced if PDiv had thought to do so beforehand. He stuck with his team though, a 50-50 gamble he took that didn’t pay off. Playing players back to form at international level is not advised and I think PDiv missed a big trick there.
Then came HM, and his obsession with size. Baylion wrote a good post a couple of months ago in which he compared the sizes of players in certain positions which has proven to be very true when it comes to HM’s choices. Lambie, De Jongh, Daniels and others have all had to take a back seat while bigger (and arguably less talented) players have been first choice. This has continued into the end of year tour.
So let me get onto this weekends team. First off, I actually don’t have too much of an issue with Kirchner at 15, but only because I have so many other positions in the backline I want changed that it’s good to keep a few consistent. Kirchner hasn’t been poor, he just hasn’t been great. He doesn’t offer the flair of a Gio Aplon, but then again, he doesn’t do too much wrong either, so he can remain. Many might argue for Taute, Ludik or Aplon at 15, and any of those would be great.
Problem 1: Taute over Juan de Jongh. Clearly a size issue here. Taute is out of position at 13 while de Jongh is a natural. Would like to have seen Taute on the bench (where he can then cover 13 and 15) and de Jongh starting.
Problem 2: Jean de Villiers. I have nothing but respect for Jean de Villiers but lets face, he’s not getting any younger. EOYT’s are used by many coaches to blood youngsters and since Jean isn’t going to make it to the next World Cup, we might as well try out a few youngsters who could possibly replace him. Add to that the fact he is a bit low on form and there isn’t much reason for him to be there, apart from as captain. He was also an injury concern before the team selection.
Problem 3: Francios Hougaard. I am a big fan of his but his form is not something many people are talking about at the moment. Mvovo did make a mistake in that 1 game, but is 1 mistake enough to allow an out of form SCRUMHALF (he doesn’t play wing often) to take his place? Hougaard on the bench makes more sense as he can then cover scrumhalf and wing, so starting Mvovo would be a better choice for me. He is also better suited as an impact player in my opinion.
Problem 4: Flouw. Not selecting another fetcher is the real problem here as Flouw is a quality player, but 2 days ago he was still an injury concern so rushing him back into the team is not a wise move. Having a different fetcher start and bringing Flouw back on the bench would be in his best interests.
Problem 5: Steyn on the bench. Clearly he is not an impact player, especially in recent form, so what is he doing on the bench apart from providing cover incase Lambie gets injured? I would much rather see Jantjies on the bench for a few reasons. Steyn has been overplayed to the highest degree in the past 2 years and it is clearly affecting his game. Jantjies has done well in a struggling Lions team, but it would be nice to see what he can do when he’s playing for a team that is likely to be dominant.
Well thats 5 problems but I’d like to raise another issue as well: the squad selection. Groom and Reinach were ignored in favour of Vermaak. Jano Vermaak was in the form of his life a few years ago at the Lions, but since moving to the Bulls he has hardly seen any game time. How can form youngsters be ignored for the EOYT while a guy who has played 10 games in 2 years is selected ahead of them? There seems to be no young centers in the squad, despite the fact that we currently have an abbundance of talented youngsters.
Anyways, despite these problems we should easily overcome an injury depleted Irish team. Even with our own injuries we have managed to (somewhat) easily replace certain stallwarts.
One more thing before I sign off, I don’t think HM has any racial issues. I think that his team selection is mainly based on size and that is why guys like de Jongh, Aplon, Jantjies, Kolisi, etc are not being selected.
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