Springbok Flyhalve: A 3 Horse race!

February 25, 2013 in Rugby, Springboks, Super Rugby

Well well! What a weekend of Super Rugby! Apart from the dull encounter up North in Bulls country and the snooze inducing encounter down under in Brisbane, this weekend’s “kick off” of the Super Rugby season really provided some much needed quenching of thirsts accross continents!

One thing is for sure, and that is the South African teams have a lot of work to do to match the intensity and raw speed of the New Zealand teams.  In Australia, only one team really stand out and that’s the Brumbies.  Sorry Quade, either go back to boxing, or get Genia back on your inside. Frankly, you are perhaps better at boxing than at Rugby without him!

And how about those Kings, hey? Love them or hate them, for me (with egg in my face) they earned a certain amount of respect for the way they played and kudo’s to the supporters filling a stadium, where Ellis Park would most probably have been as quiet as a….well, come to think of it, is there anything as quiet as Ellis Park right now? I still believe the venue is at the root of the Lions troubles…and perhaps a lesson to be learnt by some that perhaps encapsulating the festive vibes from what the 2010 Soccer World Cup stadiums provided may in fact assist with the longevity of the unions. Traditions unfortunately do not fill the pockets nor pay the bills. Feet do.  And pardon the little stab, Luke supporters, but what does he do on the field while someone like that Jacques Engelbrecht chappie is warming the bench? Does he still think he is a quota player or what?

Little Catrakilis was also quite impressive by not missing nearly as many kicks at goal than Elton Jantjies, for who, at this stage it must be both quite a distant memory and dream for playing for the Springboks.  Kicking like that will never, ever earn you a recall to the Springboks, and most likely nor to the Stormers. Now, he may have been going through a difficult time with the passing of his father, which was touted as one of the reasons for him being so woefully off form, but we’ve seen in the past the Elton struggles a bit on the big stage and frankly if he wasn’t emotionally ready for this game, he should not have played. I’d venture to say the Stormers would have been better off with Coleman at 10 than with Jantjies.  And why Jaco Taute wasn’t used when it was clear Jantjies is not making the cut, only the people who knows why we never attempted drop goals in the 2011 RWC Quarter Final, knows.

But as for the other flyhalves on show this weekend, its clear that no one’s name is currently written in ink on the coveted Bok 10 jersey.  Morne Steyn made early in roads and restaked his claim was a massively impressive performance with the boot on Friday. His tactical kicking was accurate, goal kicking sublime, and his decision making was quite good.  Heyneke Meyer was perhaps orgasmic after that performance with the boot, but when Lambie all but destroyed Morne’s performance, he probably suddenly sat with a problem in hand, rather than a solution.  And the second half performance by Johan Goosen showed why he should not be counter out of the running as yet; he may have had a slower start than the other two, but my oh my, has he got what it takes to leave both of them biting in his dust!

I was thinking of some way to record the readers’ assessment of the 3 flyhalves performances each week, and maybe by the mid way mark before the June tests, we might have an idea who the readers think the front runner is.  Vote on the poll on the right who you think was the past weekend’s top performer.  At the end we’ll see who is leading and then the question is, will that match with Heyneke’s assessment? Well, we all know what his affinity towards kicking is, and with solid experience behind his name, I do believe Morne is currently perhaps a little hoof infront of Lambie.  Goosen perhaps a few yards behind, but beware of that final stretch!

 Vote now!


52 responses to Springbok Flyhalve: A 3 Horse race!

  1. @Baylion, just a bit of a stumble after the gates. Remember its a long distance run, Goosen still in it!

  2. Is it a two horse race now?

  3. First time read here for me, great stuff. I am definately a Johan Goosen fan! Please follow this link to check out my Team of the Week – http://www.therugbyblog.co.uk/super-rugby-team-of-the-week-round-2

    Thanks a lot!

  4. Hey Uysh, good post as always. Some might say it is too early to tell. Then add in the fact I am a Cheetahs fan and an Old Grey boy and my opinion will come as no surprise … Goosen is still head and shoulders above. This kid was out for months and once that rusty came off we started to see the fire in him. Lambie can thank his lucky stars that he came up against Goosen first-up ;)

    • Welcome back, Hulk! I actually think one could tell if a player is woefully off form at the start of the season and then that player can regain some form during the season. However, with all 3 of them on such sublime form at the moment, it’s difficult to see that they will lose that form. They are not the type of players that have one good game, one bad game. They are either poor to average the whole season, or very good to great the whole season.

      Too early right now to tell who will be or should be picked, but I somehow doubt that majority opinion will change over the course of 17 weeks…

  5. Wow you say distribution was AVg i suggest you watch the game again. his passing is crisp and leads the receiving player onto it. Lambie on the other hand has a wind up pass and is often above or behind receiving player. In both Game the Flyhalve were the success of the teams play and not once were the Sharks dominant of the Cheetahs and once Goosen shook of f his rust his side dominated. Well their back dominated atleast. Lambie was never able to quell the advance of the Cheetahs, where Steyn turned the Stormers every time they started to advance or gain territory that is the sign of a good Flyhalf!

    • Well, you are always welcome to disagree but in principle I never watch a game twice. First impressions is what lasts. Also, consider that tactics will differ according to the opposition, so it will be interesting to see if the Sharks implement the same tactics.

      I did think Morne’s distribution was average. His backline once again hardly featured, although they receuved 22 passes, none of those passes were into space and no one managed to break the line. The Sharks on the other hand had 3 line breaks in the backs and Lambie passed 15 times. The difference is that Lambie attacks the gain line, getting his team front foot ball, while Morne still refuses to run and just passes the ball to the next guy or kicks it. Lambie himself went over the advantage line a few times andhad a line break while Morne is mostly stationary.

      In any event, that’s my opinion and you are welcome to disagree.

  6. Goosen almost won it for his team on Saturday, but I still am concerned about the conditions he is exposed to. He again came to the fore when his team was in trouble and he again excelled. But how effective is he really?
    When your team is as far behind as the Cheetahs were you can afford to throw caution to the wind and make a few dummy and skip passes, take the opposition on and take a few risks. It either pays off or you lose a match that seems lost anyway. And, also, it’s not as if your team has any title aspirations so there’s not so much risk going into the match in the first place.
    The Cheetahs gives Goosen a lot of freedom, which is good, but there’s no way that Goosen plays under nearly as much pressure as is the case with Steyn and Lambie.
    Steyn on Friday played in match where every decision he makes is one made under pressure. His team has a (somewhat small) realistic chance of making it to the playoffs but they’re playing one of the favorites for the title. He had to be effective from the get go because any soft points conceded would be hard to gain back.
    Goosen never had this kind of pressure. For the Cheetahs beating the Sharks will be a huge positive, but losing wouldn’t be the end of the world because the Sharks has title aspirations and the Cheetahs just want to finish better than the Kings. So he can afford to throw a few passes never mind if the pass is on or not just to impress a few onlookers. Neither Steyn nor Lambie has this kind of luxury.
    Having said that, Lambie was effective and Steyn still has some ground to make up in his race for the Bok number ten spot.

    • So you are saying that the Cheetahs just want to go and end above the Kings, nothing else really matters to them?

    • I don’t think I agree with you regarding the pressure on Goosen and the Cheetahs aspirations. I think it is actually opposite for Goossen. BECAUSE he is such a great player he takes all on himself to get the Cheetahs successful. He works extra hard and can’t rely on guys like Jean de Villiers, Zane Kirchner, Hougaard etc to take the pressure off. Everyone in his team looks to him and asks “What do we do?” And for his age, that is a LOT of pressure to handle.

      Don’t you also think he is under more pressure because he knows he has to prove his worth as a Springbok 10, whilst playing in a team that is not one of the favorites?

      The Cheetahs only want to finish above the Kings? I doubt it. I am convinced they thought they could beat the Sharks this weekend, and they could have to be honest. I also think they will fancy their chances against the Stormers and the Bulls. I dobt ending second last in the competition is what they are aiming for, the want to improve and at least aim for top 6. No one can be happy about their season if they finish out of the top 6.

      • Agreed. Should be interesting to watch Goosen vs. Cruden this weekend.

      • My only problem with Goosen is his tendancy to have a shocker first halve and a brilliant second halve. Its not what you look for in a Bok 10.

        • Remember he has been out for 4 months before this game… let’s see how he goes on tour.

        • provincefan, you are basing that assessment on this single game. Goosen proved so much last year already and, as The Dutchman says, you can really put his first-half performance down to rust.

    • Goosen played behind a pack that was going backwards. There were more pressure on him than any other SA no.10 and he excelled when he shed the rust. I can assure you the Cheetahs believe they can win every game in SA, and it might be true if their defense and scrum step up their game.

    • Bloues, I have been away from these pages for a while and it seems in that time that you have taken to smoking dagga ;)

      I will pretty much reiterate with others have responded with … you are bitterly mistaken about the Cheetah’s aspirations. They think they can and should win every game. The fact of the matter is that they are an “almost there” team. What I mean is that they are in fact always a hairs breath away from making the playoffs when you consider how many games they JUST lose. They have a long way to go but that cannot be a team that is ever happy to lose!

      As a result, and given the national pressure Goosen is under to be the biggest thing since – well, anyone – I would say the pressure on him is SEEMINGLY insurmountable – but not for this young lad. He has big cahoonas!

  7. Goosen is definite number one still, even with Lambie outshining him (still think Lambie is a better fullback, bit of unpredictably at the back and good range on tactical kicks). Steyn is second choice after a good showing, hopefully they can manage him better this year (totally burnt out by end of season last year). Elton was dismal, but given the fact he was thrown in after no game time with a new team and acceptable excuses on a personal level, i wouldnt write him off, he does well when settled with a good pairing either side of him (loading off some pressure to James and playing his best games last year with the Lions come to mind), so put him on third place, for now……

    • If Jantjies slotted his goals, I would not have had anything critical to say about him, except perhaps his defense, which is something I agree he can get used to in the squad system. The kicking though, is inexcusable, however, it seems Allistair is giving him another go, and while Taute busted his nit, Pietersen will be there as backup if Elton fails again, fortunately this time.

  8. Personally I think Steyn did kick brilliantly but his distribution again was avg. The Bulls never looked like scoring a try and never did legally.
    Lambie and Goosen 2nd half was way above Steyn.

    Jantjies was way way of the boil and should rightly be in 4th possition right now. He might improve though.

  9. Just a quick comment on Luke Watson. Before his injury he played seriously well with very good runs and very nice offloads. With Watson at 7 and Engelbrecht at 8 and the one guy whose name I don’t remember at 6, it looks like a very strong loose trio to me..

    As a Bulls supporter I’ve always liked Morne. When in form he has that Midas touch that can wins big games – this is something none of the others have yet shown. Still I don’t see him being around to the next World Cup, except maybe in the same way Steven Donald came in for AB’s. I just hope Lambi and Goosen gets exposed to a big final or a decisive test to win Super Rugby or 4 Nations – whoever is the guy with the BMT to win those big games should be the Bok 10 to the next World Cup. Not good enough to tag along with the team and be ok, but to do what Wilkinson did in 2003 or how Morne won Super 14 and Lions series ect..

    • Agreed, Watson was good in the 30 minutes he was on, Wimpie van der Walt will most likely move to the bench with Engelbrecht starting at blindside, Watson and Cornell du Preez (also with a dark beard) will stay and interchange between 7 and 8 as they did on Sat night.

      • Which posters do you have more of? Watson or Kallis?

      • Luke wasn’t much of a captain the first 30 when he was on, yes a couple of good bursts that you would expect from a loose, but after the first try by Sergeal, he didnt keep the guys calm and to keep to the plan, and the Force ran in two easy tries. Strauss was a better captain, looked much more seasoned and composed and thrived under pressure in the midfield. Led by example, not only by running hard as Luke did, but led the defense and kept the Force out the rest of the game. Engelbrecht and du Preez also did even more damage when given the ball, putting my faith more in them to make the breaking runs.

        • Oh dear Wes.

          How odd that you actually have an opinion about the Kings game….

          You have been very vocal as a Kings bashers on these pages….don’t know why you would make the time to watch a game of a team you loath..

          I on the other hand was proudly supporting my home team, block 215, row 8. :-)

          • Please show me where I have been anti kings on “these pages” ? waiting patiently thanks

          • Wesvulcan not you Wesley.

          • Shutup Lucas

          • Was there as well H&P. Block 202, row 3, seat 10 boet. You dont get it do you? Rugby is rugby. green grass, 4 lines, ball and 30 players. Always a supporter of the players and the game, but will voice and stand against admin corruption, no matter where it occurs. Its not about “bashing”, its about what is right and what is wrong.

          • You are right Wes, I don’t get it…. You are quick to bash one and all involved in EP rugby, but there you are to enjoys the fruits ……the fruits being top class rugby in our city.

            I suppose you were hedging your bets – if the Kings lost …you would have said “told you so”
            And if the Kings win you get the enjoy the game in our stadium and the party afterwards…..

            It’s a win, win for you I suppose

          • Ai shame, one and ALL in EP rugby nogals? Show me where… Never hedging bets, always said goodluck to the players and would never relish in anyone’s loss, always congratulating if one would win and try to constructively comment and voice opinion like any rugby pundit in SA would if someone wasn’t doing things right. Guess you are one of those that would boo at the opposition and expect anyone not playing / cheering for / supporting your team to go die in a hole instead of having fun with the rest of the rugby atmosphere…

          • And by “our” stadium, i hope you mean everyone in SA as a collective, since its all of ours tax money that was spent building it, where everyone, local / foreign guests, has the right to tread in a civil manner, adhering to all the rules of general public conduct. Or does it say “Kings forever or f#ck off” at the stadium entrance?

          • And guess I should flash my ANC member’s card at any state facility I go to… And a affidavit for good measure of how i proclaim my undying love for the government and country, promising that i have never doubted them / spoken in a bad light about them / their achievements (or lack thereof).

        • Oh dear Wes, you seem to be selective in your recollection, let me refresh your memory: These are extract of some of your comments on my posts in the past:

          On August 22 you said “Thinking the Kings would even have the opportunity to keep these good players here just because of a SR spot is very naive.” Well the inclusion is 100% responsible for the retention of Sergal Peterson….but ok, let’s move on

          On 20 Aug you commented about EP rugby : “Anything that grew from political bullsh#t and sold to SA rugby with some clever lies and bribes will spoil your appetite for pizza entirely”

          I then replied “ I am very much looking forward to having my pizza in a Box at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium next year”

          Your astute response: “Oh yes, i myself will be enjoying the fruits of our gracious and generous rugby liberators that has, through their “hard work” and “dedication”, brought back top flight rugby to the Eastern Cape. But it must be said that i enjoy my fruit squashed, stomped and blended by the boots of those who deserve to be there”

          and you followed it up with this gem “ …..Now they are the laughing stock, and I, as a proud PE resident with admiration and awe for our beautiful stadium and rugby culture, is (sic) embarrassed (sic) by how these “administrators” shit on everything”

          And no Wes, I don’t boo anyone, I respect the teams to much for that, I also don’t post comments like the ones above…., about any team

          • 1. Sergeal is ONE great future star that has shown his loyalty, and good to him too. Not all would be as gracious, proof is how other players outside EP has signed for them as well. Money talks, and when your team doesn’t do well, so does winning…

            2. All those comments regarding the Kings getting blended and bashed was reference to the franchise and the administrators. They don’t have the right to my respect.

            And given time, my comments may still become true. Remember when the Lions beat the Cheetahs last season in their first game? No? It’s okay, nobody does, everyone would only remember the bad, and they were dropped. Een swaeltjie maak nie n somer nie boeta….

          • Lets simplify it then Wes, are you hoping the Kings fail or succeed?

        • As for your other 2 rants’
          I say “our” stadium just like Durban resident call Kings park “their” stadium, and Cape Town residents call Newland “their” stadium.
          It’s a manner of reference, as the NMB stadium is the Kings home ground, you read way too much into that Wes.

          As for your ANC comment, ….well no comment

          • Figure of speech or not, your criticism of me going to enjoy rugby at a public facility is without basis.

          • Ai ag ou H&P, you have drawn me into a argument I cannot win because you know what the say about playing chess with a pigeon? Simplest answer i can give to someone i have explained my position to before, but still doesn’t get it: As a union, seeing the way they slithered their way in, i hope they fall on their arses. But for the players to take this mess the admin has created and to make something of it to save their own individual careers, i say best of luck to them.

  10. Well, Goosen played for the first time in 4 months and it only took him 40 odd minutes to find form. :) We all know who I pick in this race.

  11. Good assessment.
    Elton Jantjies showed why he should never play for the Springboks. Anything beyond 35m is a stretch to far for him.

    Morne Steyn had a great game and Lambie was good also. Johan Goosen will get better as he already proved in that second half against the Sharks.

    • Guess the 50m slotted penalty on half time by elton against the all blacks last year was just a fluke….

  12. Way too early to reach any conclusions. This was the first match of the season.

    Only Steyn and Catrakilis dictated their teams’ fortunes as flyhalves.

    Lambie had a good goal-kicking game but was largely forgettable for the rest, especially once the Sharks went to sleep, and Goosen only settled once the Sharks went to sleep.

    • Not making any conclusions. Merely measuring the week by week performance. I’m sure a few Sharks supporters will differ from you on Lambie :D

      • Of course Sharks supporters will differ. He was given a 9/10 rating on the Sharksworld web site and they also believe he played well on the EOYT.

    • A Largely forgettable game? are you F**king serious? what you smoking? and no, i won’t add any bloody smiley faces to this comment. he was superb, his tactical kicking was spot on and he had the cheetahs at sixes and sevens. yes the Sharks went to sleep in the second half but it was largely due to a Cheetahs fightback (as they so often do against even the best opposition) come on man, stop this

  13. Hey, look i am a Bull fan all my life, but i dont think Morne should be the National Flyhalf. The Bulls Rugby is really not what we want, we might win many games locally , but in NZ and Aus, nope !!!

  14. For me its a horses for courses situation:

    Goosen has this tendency to have a shocking half and a good one straight after. Last year (against the Canes i think) was a similar story.If he sorts out his tactical kicking he will be the no.1 choice by far.

    Lambie is probably our best allrounder at this stage. His tacticaql kicking was decent and he’s decisionmaking good.

    But at the moment (much as it pains me to say it) Morne Steyn was probably the best flyhalve of the weekend. If he can maintain the kicking form (and not just goalkicking) there is no reason why he shouldnt be the Bok number 10.

    • I think you are mistaken with Sias Ebersohn against the higlanders. Goosen had a very good season last year before he got injured against the higlanders in scoring a try.

      • Nope. Hurricanes vs Cheetahs.

        Highlights don’t show it but there were passes 2m behind players, missing the entire backline. And not just 1 or 2 times. I couldnt believe he was still on by halftime. Was wishing Naka would bring on Sias. But he did turn it around the second half.