Springbok’s forward approach smothering the game?


20 more phases then Ruan will pass the ball to us….

Heyneke Meyer has done very little this year to confirm the belief the Springbok supporters had in him, when he was announced to take over from Peter de Villiers as Springbok coach.

The record shows that to date, the Springboks won 6 matches from the 11 tests to date, a success rate of 54.5%.  It seems quite average, in fact, poor, for someone who stated publicly that he believes in only one kind of Rugby: Winning Rugby.

The approach was clear from the first series against England. Bash the ball up with the forwards, kick for territory and bash it up once again until you win a penalty, or happen to bash it over the try-line.

Heyneke wanted us to believe that the kind of Rugby he has in mind and that the Springboks are playing is played all over the world and that it is just a matter of doing the right things at the right times, which will come with experience.

In Meyer’s defense, experience, or the lack thereof, has been a major issue for the Springboks this year due to the gaps left by John Smit, Gurthro Steenkamp, Bismarck du Plessis, Bakkies Botha, Victor Matfield, Danie Rossouw, Pierre Spies, Heinrich Brossouw, Juan Smith, Schalk Burger, Fourie du Preez and Jaque Fourie.  Some moved to greener pastures, others were injured.  Frans Steyn also got injured, another experienced player who sat out a part of the Rugby Championship. Others were simply just overlooked. Such as De Jongh, Aplon, Brussow, and Lambie for most of the Rugby Championship.

I did a previous post where I compared the massive decline in experience in the Bok camp to that of the New Zealand camp.  YEs, there is reason to believe experience has had a major impact on the Springboks performance this year. And perhaps, just perhaps, the expectations of the fans was by far higher than what was realistic…although those expectations were not given a sense of realism with Meyer making statements like that he only knows winning rugby…

Now, Meyer’s idea of winning Rugby seems to be centred around the very same approach we have seen the whole year fromt he Springboks. bash it up hard with the forwards, kick for territory….you know the sequence….everybody does, and yes, most notably all our opponents do….

And in the light of this approach, and the criticism of our Springbok flyhalves (let’s face it, all of them got flack for their performance, save for Goosen) I wondered just how much ball the Springbok flyhalves did have to work with.  It is something that bothered me on Saturday as I watched the Springbok test against Scotland.  I was excited to watch Lambie play and hopefully settle into the squad, but hardly saw him play.

The statistics confirmed this for me.

I also compared this to the game against Ireland, which shows the same trend.

I did the same for New Zealand against Scotland (it is after all the same opposition) and it shows something very different.

I then did the same for when the Springboks played and won against Australia at Loftus, and again, the statistics seem to indicate a totally different approach than what we saw against Ireland and Scotland.

One last time, I did the same analysis for when we lost against New Zealand in Dunedin, but missed so many opportunities, and it becomes quite apparent why it seems that our backline is impotent…

Yes, you guessed it.  The ball is hogged by the forwards.  This is Heyneke’s master plan, the plan that supposedly is played all accross the world, including New Zealand….well, no, its not. Even Australia who also is struggling with a lack of experience, is not playing a game where the forwards use the majority of the ball…














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