With one test left in the Tri Nations, some interesting times indeed for our beloved Springboks. I think that the next 5 months will be crucial for our campaign next year and Pdivy can hopefully salvage some pride. What people don’t realize is that we are attempting a Grand Slam and this year sees New Zealand and South Africa attempt this feat for the first time in it’s history at the same time.
Interestingly enough Australia has only accomplished this feat once in 1984, the All Blacks in 1978, 2005 and 2008 and SA 1912, 1932, 1952 and 1961. The worrying factor for us Saffas would be the last time we actually accomplished this feat which is near to 40 years ago. Many have also argued what Pdivy should do by resting his key players but I have my own definition.
Too much rugby:
Many post has been done about this topic. Our players have too much rugby that they play during a year. So where does this leave our players. Obviously we cannot send an inexperienced team to the land of the pale face. We have to send a team, based on their performance in the Currie Cup and to a latter extent the Super 14. We should give some of our players a decent break from rugby, guys that will play an integral part in retaining the trophy next year.
The Currie Cup is still a breeding ground:
Who says we need Super 14? Ok actually we rely on it too much. So much in fact that we ignore the talent at our disposal. Now there will be some of you that say that a certain player is better then another, yet again forgetting that our judgment is clouded by provincial bias. I still think that if the Springboks are to improve in the coming years, that they totally change the format of the competition to 6 teams. No disrespect to the Leopards and Pumas but they are way out of their depth. This year has already seen some great players come and put up their hands. They should be considered for the Tour no matter what idiot thinks that they should not.
Fitness is key:
Like Bafana Bafana did before the WC, they went on a camp. The problem is how do you single out 30 players? Solution is simple. Saru needs to step in before the Super 15 kicks off and have all the unions do an extensive fitness programme. Everything should be co ordinated by some guru in the field and should focus on certain aspects like conditioning and mental preperation. Although all the unions have this, we should have one big indaba, come together and skut jou biscuit.
Inexperience will cost us:
When Jake White started in 2004 he had a plan of creating a squad who’s core would form the base of his team. Percy Montgomery was bought back from Wales, Os Du Randt out of retirement and he chose his captain and stuck with him. Consistency is what won the World Cup. De Villiers you feel is a tad to late with this plan but could bring in young players who will carry the legacy of the Springbok further then 2011. One has to remember that many of our top players will retire after the World Cup so replacements has to be found. They say Flip van der Merwe is good but just how good is he? This is just an example but because my bias will favor someone like Steven Sykes or Alistair Hargreaves this question can be answered by different individuals, with totally different answers. So like teams with a general know how of the sport do, they recruit the youngsters while there is still many experienced players around them, thus they create a cycle that will continue once the experienced retires and the youngsters take up their role.
The importance of victory over the Home nations:
It is important that South Africa win all their games and that is just a fact. We must have one of the most sophisticated fanbases in the world. Critics, Media and Politics all rolled into one big stuff up create a team that can ether set the world alight or play poorly. In order for us to win the Autumn test we have to send a team filled with youngsters who’s form in the Currie Cup paid off. We have to make sure that these players know what they are playing for and that their hard work pays off. We have to win to ensure that we go into the WC prepared for anything.
We also need to start looking for players who could replace Victor Matfield, John Smit, Fourie Du Preez and Bakkies Botha.
Selecting 28 players at this stage in time is way too much and too far ahead. I would say though that players that have caught my eye thus far is Patrick Lambie, Lwasi Mvovo (Sharks), Bjorn Basson(Griquas), Elton Jantjies(Lions) and JJ Engelbrecht (WP). So based on this they should be looked after.
All in all we are in quite a predicament. Do we send over a inexperienced side and lose out on a Grand Slam, do we send our strongest possible team, achieve the Grand Slam and stand a chance of burning out our players or do we mix them up, youngsters with experienced players?
“I support my country and my country supports me”
I will post a team a bit later on