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by Baylion

When will Johan Goosen break?

August 30, 2012 in Uncategorized

People often quote: “If you’re good enough you’re old enough” but surely some sense of responsibility needs to be shown by the men in charge?

Johan Goosen has played 10 Currie Cup games (nine in 2011) and nine Super Rugby games and so far he has been subbed injured seven times, twice he was out of rugby for a while, once for two weeks and once for four months. In 37% of the matches he played he was subbed injured!

Whether it was small injuries or not, whether he was replaced as a precautionary measure or not is irrelevant. Fact is, he was injured and in one stretch in the Currie Cup he had to be replaced three games in a row and two games later he was out for two weeks.

Now he has been called up into the Bok squad after returning from long-term injury and having played just 50 minutes of one Currie Cup match where he was clearly not match-fit yet. Does this indicate any concern for the player’s well-being?

While one kan take Naka Drotske’s concerns with a pinch of salt as he himself played Goosen through injuries it is no excuse for a Bok coach to ignore warnings about a player’s lack of match fitness, which clearly showed in his first game back, and is the height of selfishness and self-indulgence.

Surely it must be a matter of concern that a talented young flyhalf is being played into the ground before his career has really started?

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Heyneke Meyer’s Vision

August 30, 2012 in Uncategorized

It’s not Heyneke Meyer’s lack of vision that concerns me, on the contrary, it is his vision that disturbs me.

On the one hand he claims that it’s about coaching, not picking but then immediately contradicts himself with his actions. His “bigger is better” approach to selecting players and the cavalier way that he discards players whom he cannot coach into playing to his “structures and game plans” must be a matter of concern.

With the music blaring from the Johan Goosen Bandwagon, the indecent haste with which he pulled Johan Goosen into the squad over the objections about his match fitness from his provincial coach sends a clear message to any aspirant Bok flyhalf – the position is filled, don’t bother to apply. Morne Steyn and Johan Goosen will be the Bok flyhalves under Heyneke Meyer, provided he can “coach” all the creativity and individualism out of Goosen and turn him into a Morne Steyn clone. And provided the injury-prone Goosen remains fit – Steyn never seems to get injured.

From the way he is treating Pat Lambie I can only assume he’s waiting for his “real” fullback backup (Jaco Taute maybe?) to get over his injuries before he is rushed into the Bok squad to be “coached” into a Kirchner clone and Lambie is discarded too.

I’m not a Keegan Daniel fan but I cannot help feeling sorry for him and I think against the Wallabies his mobility could have been utilised rather than another slow ball-carrying storm trooper. However, he was never going to be a long term Heyneke Meyer selection, he just doesn’t have the physical attributes to fit Meyer’s vision of the Super Bok and his game doesn’t fit into Meyer’s “structures and game plans”.

While the Blue Bulls contingent in the Bok is deminishing with every squad selection the replacements generally fit into the “bigger is better” mould:

Keegan Daniel
HEIGHT     188 cm
WEIGHT     100 Kg

Duane Vermeulen
HEIGHT     193 cm
WEIGHT     108 Kg

Francois Louw
HEIGHT     190 cm
WEIGHT     114 Kg

In selecting Juan de Jongh (smaller) to replace JJ Engelbrecht (bigger) he goes against his whole “bigger is better” philosophy and one can only wonder what his blue eyed boy did to be discarded after being in the squad for five tests and only 10 minutes on the park.

It’s with interest that I note that not a single player who started in Mendoza against Argentina on that fateful day lost his place in the Bok squad, which tells us something about where Meyer is trying to take the Boks.

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Have the Lions got their mojo back?

August 29, 2012 in Uncategorized

Last week against WP the Lions started to show some fight again after having the stuffing knocked out of them by SARU and the rugby unions voting to kick them out of Super Rugby. This week they need to take it a step further and put on a convincing display against Griquas.

Griquas has been struggling to cope with the losses of key players such as Riaan Viljoen and Sarel Pretorius and have struggled to maintain more than 40 minutes of good play in a match and with the threat of potential relegation looming one can expect them to come out fighting.

Griquas has a number of ex-Lions players who would like to prove a point against the union that discarded them and they have a number of ex-Bulls players who would want to show that they are more than journeymen so the Lions just cannot afford to take it easy.

I am a bit confused with some of the changes made by Johan Ackerman this week but with two injuries (Roodt and Adriaanse) and two key players returning from injury (Rhodes and Hollenbach) some changes were expected. What wasn’t expected was the decision to move Josh Strauss to lock rather than bring in one of the u/21 locks, either Paul Willemse or Ruan Botha, but as the u/21s are struggling to convert close matches into wins the decision seems to be an effort not to disrupt them too much while using the opportunity to rotate some players as well as make space on the bench for the returning players.

The Lions backline remains the same as last week except for Ross Cronje starting in place of Michael Bondesio while up front CJ van der Linde gets a start and Martin Bezuidenhout returns to the bench after some time in the club ranks.

The changes should give the Lions a bit more mobility round the park and up the tempo even more than normal. This Lions side should have more than enough oomph to put away Griquas at Ellis Park, hopefully with a bonus point to retain their top of the log position.

An interesting match up could be that of Willie le Roux versus Andries Coetzee, two players who made the step up to Super Rugby look easy, and I would like to see JR Esterhuizen get the ball in space – man, is he quick! It is great that the Lions have pace out wide at last.

Lions by 15.

Fri, 31 Aug 2012 19:10
Coca-Cola Park, Johannesburg

Golden Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 JR Esterhuizen, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Butch James, 11 Anthony Volmink, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Willie Britz, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Joshua Strauss, 3 CJ Van der Linde, 2 Bandise Maku, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg (captain).

Substitutes: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 Ruan Dreyer, 18 Michael Rhodes, 19 Cobus Grobbelaar, 20 Michael Bondesio, 21 Alwyn Hollenbach, 22 Deon Helberg.

Griquas: 15 Willie le Roux 14 Jannie Boshoff 13 Jean Stemmet 12 Walter Venter  11 Rocco Jansen 10 Francois Brummer 9 Marnus Hugo 8 Leon Karemaker 7 Wesley Wilkins 6 Marnus Schoeman 5 Martin Muller 4 Ligtoring Landman 3 Lourens Adriaanse 2  Ryno Barnes (captain) 1 Steph Roberts

Substitutes: 16 Matthew Dobson 7 Ivann Espag 18 Frikkie Spies 19 Justin Downey 20 Jacques Coetzee 21 Marnitz Boshoff 22 Matthew Rosslee

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Lions Player Loss Updates

August 28, 2012 in Uncategorized

Latest: 19 Year Lions old utility forward Etienne Oosthuizen has signed a two year contract with the Brumbies, according to Die Beeld. Oosthuizen is one of the Lions top young locks and was named Lions u/19 Player of the Year and he played Super Rugby, Currie Cup and Vodacom Cup for the Lions. Although he was in the u/20 Boks practice squad this year he didn’t make the team for the JRWC and he can still qualify to play for Australia in three years. The move hasn’t been confirmed by the Lions yet.
http://www.beeld.com/Sport/Rugby/Jake-lok-jong-Leeus-slot-na-Brumbies-met-kontrak-20120913

The Lions player exodus has started and can be attributed, in part at least, to SARU’s decision to kick the Lions out of Super Rugby. How can it be good for SA rugby that one union gets irreparably damaged to artificially advance another?

“The Golden Lions Rugby Union this afternoon announced that a few of its junior and senior players have not renewed their contracts after 31 October 2012. These players have elected not to renew their contracts following the uncertainty leading up to the Vodacom Super Rugby 2013 decision. The players received great exposure at the Lions and we wish them well in their future endeavors. The players will remain part of the group until 31 October 2012. These players are: Jacobie Adriaanse, Caylib Oosthuizen, Paul Willemse and Ruan Botha.”
From the Golden Lions Facebook page.

Losses so far:

12 Jul 2012: Grant Hattingh – Bulls (although he was only on a short term contract till the end of Super Rugby)
14 Aug 2012: Rudy Paige – Bulls
24 Aug 2012: Jacobie Adriaanse – Llanelli Scarletts (Wales)
25 Aug 2012: Caylib Oosthuizen – Cheetahs
27 Aug 2012: Paul Willemse – Bulls
28 Aug 2012: Ruan Botha – WP
11 Sept 2012: Josh Strauss – Glasgow Warriors (Scotland)
14 Sept 2012: Etienne Oosthuizen

Rumours & rumours of rumours:

Elton Jantjies – WP (It’s an open secret that WP wants him but he has also been linked to the Bulls)
Jaco Taute – Bulls or Sharks
Derick Minnie – Sharks
Bandise Maku - Kings or WP
Callie VisagieKings or WP
Warren Whiteley - Kings
Butch James – Sharks
Pat Cilliers – WP
Alwyn Hollenbach – Sharks
Franco van der Merwe – Cheetahs
Michael Rhodes – WP

A source (but not the only one): http://www.sudrugby.com/transferts/

BTW there’s also a rumour that Heinrich Brussouw is going to the Brumbies.

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Springbok Stocktake

August 28, 2012 in Uncategorized

With just about everyone at Heyneke Meyer’s throat, myself included, I thought it might be the right moment to do a stocktake of our player stocks and reserves to see what Heyneke Meyer has available to work with and I must say it’s not very encouraging. Our cupboard is fairly empty and our backups not particularly awe-inspiring and in certain positions we are running on empty.

These lists are not meant as “potential Bok” lists but merely as available backup although I left out players who, in my opinion, shouldn’t come near a Bok jersey even if the cupboard is completely bare, players like Brok Harris, Sias Ebersohn, Dewalt Duvanage and others. The Springboks and bench columns are as per the last test against the Pumas.

  Springboks Bench Back up
1 Beast Mtawarira Dean Greyling
JC Janse van Rensburg
Steven Kitshoff
2 Adriaan Struass Tiaan Liebenberg Craig Burden
Bandise Maku
Willie Wepener
Deon Fourie
3 Jannie du Plessis Pat Cilliers CJ van der Linde
4 Eben Etzebeth Flip van der Merwe Anton Bresler
Hendrik Roodt
5 Andries Bekker Juandre Kruger
Franco van der Merwe
Steven Sykes
6 Marcell Coetzee
7 Jacques Potgieter CJ Stander
Josh Strauss
Jean Deysel
Pieter Labuschagne
8 Willem Alberts Keegan Daniel Duane Vermeulen
Warren Whiteley
9 Francois Hougaard Ruan Pienaar Jano Vermaak
Sarel Pretorius
Charl MCLeod
10 Morne Steyn Elton Jantjies
Johan Goosen
11 Lwazi Mvovo JJ Engelbrecht Lionel Mapoe
12 Frans Steyn Francois Venter
Meyer Bosman
13 Jean de Villiers Juan de Jongh
Robert Ebersohn
Johan Sadie
14 Bryan Habana Gio Aplon
Odwa Ndungane
Akona Ndungane
15 Zane Kirchner Pat Lambie Willie le Roux
Andries Coetzee
Louis Ludik
Riaan Viljoen
Hennie Daniller

 

    Injured                    
We have a number of Boks as well as potential backups out injured. Not necessarily a complete list

1    Coenie Oosthuizen
2    Bismarck du Plessis,  Chiliboy Ralepelle
3
4    Michael Rhodes, Rynhardt Elstadt
5
6    Schalk Burger, Heinrich Brussouw , Derick Minnie,  Jaco Kriel
7    Siya Kolisi,Ashley Johnson, Boom Prinsloo, Arno Botha
8    Pierre Spies, Nick Koster
9    Pieter van Zyl
10
11  Bjorn Basson
12
13    Tim Whitehead, Waylon Murray
14    JP Pietersen
15    Jaco Taute, Joe Pietersen
    In the wings
This list is by no means complete and is not a “future Boks” list. If the list is a bit biased to the Lions it’s purely because I am not too familiar with the young stock from the other unions.

1    Ruan Dreyer
2    Callie Visagie, Malcolm Marx
3    Frans Malherbe,  Marcel van der Merwe
4    Paul Willemse
5    Ruan Botha
6
7    Pieter-Steph du Toit , Grant Hattingh
8
9    Louis Schroeder
10    Demitri Catrakilis, Handre Pollard
11   Anthony Volminck, Clayton Blommetjies, Raymond Ruhle
12    Jan Serfontein
13    Paul Jordaan
14
15

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Don’t underestimate the Wallabies!

August 27, 2012 in Uncategorized

All and sundry seems upset with Heyneke Meyer’s failure to get the best out of the Bok side, and rightly so. While we haven’t lost a test under Meyer yet we need to look at the opposition we played and our “progress” in the five tests so far. Unfortunately our performance seems to be going backwards.

vs England:
Although England is ranked fourth we played a weakened England side missing something like 11 players. FFS, they pulled in a guy who was in Joburg for a wedding!

First test: The Boks won a relatively close affair.

Second test (+): The Boks won comfortably although they allowed England back into the game in the second half.

Third test (-): Playing dire rugby and Steyn misfiring with the boot saw us scratch out a draw.

vs Argentina:
The Pumas are ranked 8 in the world and have never beaten the Boks.

First test (): While we won easily enough we weren’t convincing for a top team against the number 8.

Second test (-): We cannot even blame jetlag for this result as the Pumas travelled back and forth across the Atlantic.

The Wallabies:

We might feel fairly confident that we should beat a Wallaby side that lost twice to New Zealand, the last time a whitewash. In addition their Super Rugby sides were, for the most part, fairly poor.

But it would be a mistake to discount them as a force. While they lost against Scotland with a weakened team they ended up beating the Six Nations champions, Wales, 3-0 during their winter tour, albeit in close matches.

Their two test losses to New Zealand is more an indication of the All Black’s strength rather than the Wallabies’ weakness and, keep in mind, the All Blacks only outscored them 2-1 and 1-0 in tries.

So it would be a serious mistake for South Africans to underestimate the Wallabies.

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Fantasy League Feedback

August 26, 2012 in Uncategorized

Champions League:

http://gameplan.jacarandafm.com/jacarandagameplan/
League code: 8443718752259

In the Rugby Championship fantasy league the Boks’ draw against Argentina caught most of us offsides and, combined with the limited number of tries in both matches, the round scores are relatively low for most players.

I notice only one regular blogger in the Top 25, Alisdair Fraser in 15th spot – Congrats! Kitchener is bubbling under in 29th spot with Die Kriek in 36th (long time no post Kriek!)

Rugby Championship fantasy league standings for Chapions League

Rugby Championship fantasy league standings for Chapions League

 Lions CC Champs:

http://fantasy.etana.co.za/curriecup/
League code: 5608436852928

In the Currie Cup fantasy league the number of tries scored in the various matches, 16 in total, help keep the round scores high even though some of us were caught out by the Bulls emphatic win over the Sharks.

I’m quite chuffed to have overtaken Kitchener (#4) and wesvulvan also jumped a few spots to #3. It helps if you have eight of the try-scorers in your side :)

Currie Cup fantasy league standings for Lions CC Champs

Currie Cup fantasy league standings for Lions CC Champs

 

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Does size count with Heyneke Meyer?

August 25, 2012 in Uncategorized

I get the impression that size is more important than skill with Heyneke Meyer.

Flyhalf: At flyhalf Mornetjie is his blue-eyed boy while both Elton Jantjies and Pat Lambie warmed the bench in the last two tests without seeing a minute’s game time. In Jantjies’s case Mornetjie had a horrendous time on the field and later Meyer’s excuse was that it was the wrong time to bring Jantjies in for his first cap. I’m not sure what his excuse is for not giving Lambie game time.

However, everyone seem to expect HM to call up Johan Goosen shortly now that he’s fit, but then Goosen is much bigger than both Jantjies and Lambie and he will still gain some weight too.

Morné Steyn
HEIGHT     184 cm
WEIGHT     91 Kg

Elton Jantjies
HEIGHT     176 cm
WEIGHT     88 Kg

Johan Goosen
HEIGHT     184 cm
WEIGHT     87 Kg

Fullback: At fullback Meyer’s first choice in Zane Kirchner with Lambie as his backup. But then Kirchner is bigger than Lambie and it will be interesting to see how soon Heyeneke Meyer calls on Jaco Taute once he’s fit again, leaving Lambie out in the cold.

Zane Kirchner
HEIGHT     184 cm
WEIGHT     92 Kg

Pat Lambie
HEIGHT     177 cm
WEIGHT     87 Kg

Gio Aplon
HEIGHT     175 cm
WEIGHT     80 Kg

Jaco Taute
HEIGHT     187 cm
WEIGHT     95 Kg

Centre: Heyneke Meyer’s preference of JJ Engelbrecht over Juan de Jongh should come as no surprise – JJ is bigger.

JJ Engelbrecht
HEIGHT     190 cm
WEIGHT     94 Kg

Juan de Jongh
HEIGHT     177 cm
WEIGHT     84 Kg

Hookers: Funny enough, HM went against the trend to call up Craig Burden but considering the alternatives: Deon Fourie (smaller), Willie Wepener (not very good), Callie Visagie (injured) and Hercu Liebenberg (also not very good), he had no choice but now that Bandise Maku is back I’m sure he can expect a call-up soon if he shows that he’s match fit over the next two weeks.

Craig Burden
HEIGHT     184 cm
WEIGHT     98 Kg

Deon Fourie
HEIGHT     177 cm
WEIGHT     98 Kg

Bandise Maku
HEIGHT     183 cm
WEIGHT     104 Kg

So it seem size does matter to Heyneke Meyer.

Other positions:

Flanks: Surprisingly CJ Stander has not been called on but then, Jacques Potgieter is bigger.

Willem Alberts
HEIGHT     191 cm
WEIGHT     119 Kg

Marcell Coetzee
HEIGHT     190 cm
WEIGHT     106 Kg

Jacques Potgieter
HEIGHT     194 cm
WEIGHT     115 Kg

Heinrich Brussow
HEIGHT     181 cm
WEIGHT     102 Kg

Siya Kolisi
HEIGHT     186 cm
WEIGHT     99 Kg

CJ Stander
HEIGHT     190 cm
WEIGHT     106 Kg

Number 8: With Spies and Kankowski unavailable Duane Vermeule should be a shoe-in not that he’s back.

Pierre Spies
HEIGHT     194 cm
WEIGHT     108 Kg

Ryan Kankowski
HEIGHT     195 cm
WEIGHT     108 Kg

Keegan Daniel
HEIGHT     188 cm
WEIGHT     100 Kg

Ashley Johnson
HEIGHT     185 cm
WEIGHT     105 Kg

Duane Vermeulen
HEIGHT     193 cm
WEIGHT     108 Kg

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Darren Scott Interviews Kevin de Klerk on Ballz

August 24, 2012 in Uncategorized

Yesterday’s interview with Darren Scott after the meeting with SARU:

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What happened to the R225,000,000?

August 23, 2012 in Uncategorized

In an interview with Darren Scott on Ballz (http://www.ballz.co.za/sport/louis-luyt-talks-about-the-state-of-the-lions-rugby-union/627) former GLRU president Louis Luyt claims that when he left about 12 years ago the GLRU had R85,000,000 in the bank and no debts (according to Wikipedia Louis Luyt left in 1998). Today the union is virtually bankrupt and some estimates put the current debt as high as R140,000,000.

What happened in the 10 years or so that the union went from R85,000,000 in the black to R140,000,000 in the red, a swing of R225,000,000 in a matter of 10 to 12 years? The actual amounts may be different but that is irrelevant, the fact is that, not so long ago, the Lions had a lot of money and  now they are deep in debt.

Note 1: It is mentioned on LionsWorld that the a major part of the R85 million was invested overseas and that when the Rand Dollar exchange rate went from about R13 to the Dollar to about R7 in early 2003 the investment’s value was halved. This accounts for about R40 million but still doesn’t explain the rest.

Note 2: In GumaTac’s application to liquidate the Lions they claimed that the Lions’ total liabilities exceeded its total assets by R48.6-million in 2007, which ballooned to R73.9-million by December 31 2010. So, by 2007 the R85 million was already gone.

Where did all this money go? What did the union management during that time do to waste what is not a small fortune?

A lot of blame for the position the Lions find themselves in at the moment is laid at the door of Kevin de Klerk and the current Lions management, which is a bit myopic considering that de Klerk only stepped towards the end of 2009 and Ruben Moggee was only appointed as acting CEO in 2012.

When Kevin de Klerk was asked to step in in 2009 the union was in turmoil and saddled with these massive debts, unpaid franchise partners and unenforceable player contracts. His tenure as president has been marked by a struggle to keep the union afloat financially, with threats of liquidation and lawsuits for unpaid partner fees.

Not being in the Lions inner circle I can only go on what appears in the news and from comments on Lions forums by people who are closer to the action, considering that not all information is shared on public forums.

Some of the steps taken to try and turn the union around was

- to take in an equity partner in the union’s professional arm, Lions Rugby (Pty) Ltd, previously fully owned by the GLRU.

- to drastically reduced their contract player numbers, many who haven’t played for the province in years but who were still being paid, in order to reduce a massive salary bill.

- to stop attempts to recruit additional high profile players and work on bringing players through the ranks.

- to boost the Lions profile and brand, especially to supporters both past and present, through TV programmes such as Lions4Life

- to attract more people and families to the stadium with pre-game activities and entertainment, although poor performances in Super Rugby didn’t help.

Unfortunately three years haven’t been enough as some chickens took a bit longer to come to roost. Eventually the years of mismanagement, player discontent and desertion and poor performances on the field has caught up with the Lions and they face a bleak future with limited funds and no top class competition.

The task of the Lions management now turns to damage control and rebuilding of a union, not merely winning a competition or two.

Edit: I changed the title to reflect the magnitude of the problem and to prevent one getting stuck on the R85 million