Dear Heyneke

May 20, 2013 in Rugby, Springboks

Dear Heyneke

You know when you were named as the chosen one for the Springbok Rugby Coach job, I was very happy. Ja, I felt sorry for ou Divvy, but he was the maker of his own destiny, like Morgan Mandela said in that Invictus Movie.

So, last year, when you started picking Bulls players like Jaques Potgieter and JJ Engelbrecht, and gave them Springbok caps ahead of players who have shown their worth in the past and were much better in their positions, I started wondering what’s in your head. Are you a zombie?  Then we see poor Lambie on the bench every single game, while Zane Kirchner keeps running on as full back. I wondered, is Heyneke the only one who sees value in NikNaks other than Simba?

Last year ended pretty okayish for you, with some nice wins in the Northern Hemisphere. But now, we are in a new year, and as much as we love beating the Brits, we love nothing more than beating the All Blacks and the Aussies. We hate nothing more than losing to Argentina or some other third tier side.  We want you to win. Like that song goes, We wanna win.

So Heyneke, I just though I would point out some players to you who I think you should really look at, just in case you were so intently watching your Bulls team this season and have not noticed any other players around.

Loosehead prop: Coenie Oosthuizen. Ja, not the brightest bulb in the christmas tree, but he has again showed that he is not a tighthead prop, he is a loosehead prop, and a bloody dangerous one at that.

Flank: Lappies Labuschagne.  Heyneke, I know you love Steggies, and JacPot and we all love Arno, and Siya and Marcel has been ok, but you want a Springbok? Pick Lappies.  I tell you, that guy is genius, he is a great looseforward and we need him. Pick him. Make the non Bulls supporters believe in you.

Scrumhalf: I know I said I want to point some players out I think you might have missed. But I also want to point some out you need to forget. Francois Hougaard.  I think the ink on his arms are confusing him. His R8 went stR8 to his head. Yes, we do not have much options at scrumhalf, but Jano will have to do, with Piet van Zyl as under study and Ruan “Honniball” Pienaar to keep the ship steady.

Centres: I won’t mention Jan Serfontein, because I think he is just another one dimensional crash ball player and thus perfect for your side. I want to mention Robert Ebersohn and Juan de Jongh though.  Our only decent outside centres. Except for Andries Bekker, but he seemingly is not available. Please pick them.

Wings:  Habana and JP are still top class players. Stick to them, but you need some youngsters to back them up.  Willie le Roux, although not a youngster is a game changer who can slot in anywhere, Raymond Rule has been looking better every year and Sergeal Peterson should get a ticket as well.  Don’t forget about our pocket Rocket, Aplon.

So ja, you don’t have too much of a difficult job this year.  Pick your guys you have in place and get these guys into the side.  Get away from kicking our posession into the All Black’s hands and you will maybe feel the thrill of what it is like to beat the All Blacks, like Divvy had in 2009.


Met Uysh!

56 responses to Dear Heyneke

  1. Lappies has been performing for 3 years now and deserves the call up, he could very well be the next Juan.

    Doubt Willie and Robert will get called up with Lambie already on the bench.

    • Wasnt Lappies still the Shimla VC captain last year before injuries got him into the squad?

  2. Exactly

    • Willie isn’t good enough at 15 to be the Cheetahs first choice 15, but you would play him there for the Boks?

      • Willie is wing becuase you either make him wing and have a rock solid fullback with a big boot which causes the back three to click. Or you make him fullback and play Benjamin there and you dont have the solid player at the back. The back three won’t click!

  3. Thats where I would play him

  4. It seems like the international wingers like Habana don’t cost games like the one against the waratahs and even good players have their off games like Will against the same Cheetahs. Does KB,O’ Corner,Dagg,Zane,Lambie and Steyn kick with both feet???

    • Habana’s spot tackle that was read by Barnes is a 8/10 attempt. le Roux’s decisionmaking tends to be a 5/10.

      KB kicks off both feet. He prefers right, but he gets decent clearance of both. O’Conner the same. Dagg too. Zane also gets decent distance of his wrong foot. Lambie gets about 10m less on his left than his right. Morne Steyn is similar to Lambie in that regard. Ruan Pienaar kicks about the same off both feet.

      Israel Folau did not make the Wallaby team at 15 because he can only kick of his right foot.

  5. Name said on May 20, 2013

    I think Sias Ebersohn had a great season so far

  6. Willie at Fullback Uysh!

  7. Sorry I need to leave work now I will respond tomorrow thanks but all valid points and flaws 95% of our current boks have to

  8. You are 100% and make many valid points I just think with Willie the last few weeks excluding the last game he knew creatively Burton didnt offer him or others outside oppurtunities so that 50-50 call became more apart of his game then if for example the Goose was playing, the thing is Willie has things you cant teach yet he can still be coached so for me pick the player with things that you will never be able to teach such as gass and x factor rather than players who can only be coached and dont offer these unteachable assets, but I do hear where you are coming from

    • The thing is, he’s not THAT quick. He’s relatively fast, but Jean de Villiers ran him in off an intercept last year.I dont think he will run a top 5 40m if you take all 5 franchises. Probably not even a top 10.

      He doesnt have the step that an Aplon has to freeze you and go around you.

      Passing game: He has a decent pass to him, but he cant pass the ball if he’s running straight. You will always see him run diagonally before he tries to pass.That can be coached out.

      Kicking game: He only kicks off his left foot, which isn’t a problem if your playing 14. He tends to kick short chips that came off a lot of the times earlier in the competition. Since then all the teams have employed a sweeper that waits for the short kick, thereby changeing his game-breaker into something that concedes posession 80% of the time.

      Defense: I wouldnt back him to tackle Savea 1 on 1, but I would back him to make the tackle 90% of the time if he’s on the drift. He will concede metres on the hit. But if the ball has reached his channel they’ve probably allready conceded 20-30 meters so you wouldnt worry about it too much.

      I wouldnt drop JPP to pick WIllie. Nor would I drop Habana on the other side. I wouldnt find him a spot on the bench, since Hougaard covers wing.

  9. hell, looking at Lambie pre-Heyneke vs Lambie post-Heyneke, the player must trust in what got him to being a Bok and not just become a robot. I doubt Le Roux will have such issues and i would rather have the ability in the team that can allow you to turn around a 15-20 point deficit, even if you lose a game or two along the way. last year we could not beat a poor All Black side as we primarily relied on penalty kicks when they played shockingly – imagine what Le Roux could have done in that game.

    lets be honest, our forwards will front up 19/20 games so we should never be overrun. Creative genius is also not just restricted to the final 10 mins so Le Roux will win you far more than he will lose

  10. When did Willie become this wild loose cannon you are talking about sure he takes calculated risks a reason Naka selects him week in and week out and also gives him free licence to range where ever he sees fit,Willie is not willy nilly throwing the ball around, he is highly skilled and often sees things before they happen alot of Willies mistakes can be put down to others not having hes anticipation,in a Springbok inviroment he will be alot more conservative but will have the skill set to make something out of nothing ala Joe Roth one of the worlds most gifted attackers also shot down by Australian “old school”coaches like Dwyer saying he will cost you more than he wins you, well we all remember Eddie Jones being more a half full more than half empty kind of a coach gave Joe his gap and we were privilaged enough to see him in full flight…..Willie is that guy, dont let some french or Japanese club show us something we couldnt see for ourselves

    • Guess loose cannon is not the right word… Renegade maybe? I dunno, guess my vocabulary a bit limited. But you can see it with players when they have that x factor, that unpredictable nature, going outside the usual gameplan and having no fear. I totally agree with you assessment of willie there king, calculated risk yes, but that attitude of not being scared of the possible failure is what sets up the magic.

    • If you give me a few hours i’ll try and figure out how to put in screenshots from the Canes game. This weekend against the Reds he was just poor so there is no sense in taking that game.

      At the same time sit back and think where you would pick WIllie. He’s not good enough at 10 to play 10. Boland had him there as backup to Elgar Watts, but he doesnt read space on the outside correctly and tends to go lateral. He’s a decent 15 at provincial level, but he doesnt kick of both feet, so he’s not the ideal international 15.

      That means you have to pick him on the wing. He plays 14 for the Cheetahs, which, based on the above, he is supposed to thrive on. He’s decent out of the air, and he’s got gas.

      Now think back to his last 3 or 4 games. How good was his WING play? Because for the Boks he will not get the ball at 10. At international level you dont see right wingers play 10 of phase ball. You see 10’s playing 10.

      I didn’t call him a loose cannon. I said he takes risky decisions that sometimes end up costing his team the match. Decisions that a more conservative player would not have taken, and by inferment not have cost his team the match.

      • Willie has never imposed his presence at higher level as an flyhalf, and isn’t even considered for it in his existing franchise, so obviously that wouldn’t even be an option. Recalling old days with boland wouldnt help the conversation either. And if im not mistaken, didn’t he take man of match honors 3 or 4 games ago? And didn’t see him make a meal out of it when his team beat one of the top ranked teams over the weekend either….

  11. No I wouldnt but I sure as hell wouldnt want to count on alot of our current Boks if we were 4 points down 2minutes left either

    • So if the Cheetahs miss out on the playoffs because le Roux cost them the game against the Canes, how would you feel about le Roux then?

  12. Don said on May 20, 2013

    We don’t beat the All Blacks that often but when we have in recent years, Heinrich Brussow has been the open side flank. Makes you think doesn’t it? Dear Heynecke believes he is a one trick pony which is so far from the truth as he defends superbly, cleans out with the best of them and also takes up the ball well. He also has natural skill. Lappies Labuschagne should also be in the squad as he has everything: lineout ability, speed, defence and skill. Potentially a Springbok great.

    • So if he picks Willie, and WIllie takes the risky option, and it costs the team the game. You would be fine with that? Even if it means not winning the trophy?

      • Sorry, that reply went to the wrong post.

        On Heinrich Brussouw, he isn’t on form yet. I don’t know whether its because he is afraid of conceding penalties, but he is not the player he was.

        Case in point: Since the Cheetahs have returned from their overseas stint he has yet to steal a legal ball. He attended 6 rucks against the Reds (vd Walt did 9), 9 against the Canes (vd Walt did 16) and 2 against the Kings (vd Walt – 11)

        In those 3 games he lost possession 2 times at the ruck/maul (1 each Reds and Canes) and conceded 3 penalties (2 against the Reds and 1 against the Kings.

        His tackle count has been good, but was never the highest. He gains an average of 5-6m per carry and carries the ball 5-6 per game.

        So far this year Robert Ebersohn has a better track record at the breakdown than Brussouw.

  13. Or if he won the Boks the game ?Willie is the type of player who would all ready be a legend in Aus were creative players get rewarded ,we are so scared to see a player express themselves we dont know what to do with them hence the horrible spectacle Springbok rugby has become to watch,Willie is dynamic and brilliant and one step ahead of Heynekes robotic zombies so he probably wont ever get selected because they cant control hes thoughts….could anyone ever predict what Larkham,Carter or Ella were going to do ?There is also a reason why certain countries have an aboundance of great flyhalves while we struggle to find 1 despite us having much more numbers than our 2 counterparts,Aus could pick Oconner, Beale,Cooper,Barnes ,tamoa,Lealiifano and a couple others why??? because they are taught from an early age to create express and attack while we are taught “dont make mistakes otherwise we throw you away like Gaafie and every other poor bastard that did that….

    • So if he picks Willie, and WIllie takes the risky option, and it costs the team the game. You would be fine with that? Even if it means not winning the trophy?

      • Dont know about King, but i wouldn’t place a loss on one or two risky moves that didn’t pay off. Do you blame habana for the entire loss when he goes for interception and it doesnt pay off while you celebrate and cheer when it does? Risk is usually taken in dire circumstance, last gasp attempts and so on, and it is the team as a whole that has put them in that situation. There is more of a chance that you can pull it off with risk than there is going through the motions and hoping the opposition would tire out and let something slip. If he was to effect the entire game with a total bad performance, only then would i be pissed.

        • If the game is close, and 1 player makes 1 mistake that directly leads to 7 points and the team lose by 6,

          On Habana, if its 1 on 1 and he went for the intercept, I’d be pissed. If he went for the spot tackle and the inside player spotted him (like Barnes in the Tahs game) thats a defensive gamble you take. The Stormers were in trouble in any case and Habana was effectively defending at about 12/13 at that stage.

          • Habana was just a example, but i do see your point. If a player takes risk in last minutes when they are ahead, then thats just stupid, even if it does pay off. Unnecessary risk would exploit a bad risky player very quickly. But to blame the loss on risk that cost the team 7 points in the 30th minute, then thats just harsh judgement. Meyer should embrace necessary / creative risk, not just willy nilly stupidity.

  14. Hahn said on May 20, 2013

    I couldn’t agree more. That Cheetahs Loose forward trio have been outstanding. Even Vd Walt at nr 8 has probably been one of the best in that position the whole season. He makes plenty tackles every game and links well with the backs. He does a lot more than the “great” spies does. Lappies deserves his chance and I hope that Meyer gives Juan de Jongh a chance. He is probably one of the best tacklers in the game when he is on form and not many people can get over him or outside him. Francois Louw also deserves his place remember. He had a brilliant year last year as a springbok. You cannot just forget about him on the flank. My loose forward trio would be Louw, Lappies and Alberts at 8, whilst Vermuelen is injured, and when not injured Alberts can shift or can go to the bench as an impact player.

    But we will see. The tests against Italy and Scotland are perfect for blooding guys like Lappies and Van Zyl. But I doubt he will.

    • Yes, Flouw must definitely be in the mix. I understand Duane might be ready for the June test period, so a loose trio with him, Flo and Lappies will be great!

      • Sounds great, makes my mouth water! Free running Lappies, fetching Flo and bashing up Duane. Sad that we will probably be seeing Spies fake dodging players and then just falling into high contact… We can then only yearn for the Spies of the past….

  15. Le Roux’s last MOM comments probably ensured he wont get into the group: “i love it at the Cheetahs where i can express myself and not be frustrated by a structure game plan…i dont mid what number is on my back as long as i am in the game”

    does not sound like Heyneke’s type of player

    • Ja nee eina, that could hurt his chances, but when you’re playing like he is doing at the moment, coaches would be kind of stupid not to take a chance with a loose cannon like he is. We have seen great careers built from being a bit crazy and stubborn. Franna, Quade, Michelak. Guess this scares meyer (and a few other coaches) too much. They may be regretting their oversight….

    • Get the quote right please…

  16. @MU, Adendorff was also my player of the torney and where is he anyway, I think the Bulls are missing out on the loose trio of Adendorff,Botha and Spies. Small-something was also the better attacking centre but I’m also impressed with Serfontein as with Robert.
    9.Jano,van Zyl(is improving his kicking) and Cobus/Pienaar
    10.Morne and Lambie
    11.Habana??,Lwazi and Rhule
    14.Petersen and Le Roux(he gets off the D ala Habana style)
    15.Riaan Viljoen??

    • Glad someone agrees with me, thought I was being over critical. Adendorff currently plays for the Bulls VOdacom cup side.

      I realise what everyone says about Habana coming off the D but it has paid off plenty in the past. I also don’t think he does it without permission. He has the ability to read the game and when it is on it is on, he should go for it. He just needs to make sure that when he goes for it, it is on, instead of leaving space.

      On full back I would stick with Zane if he is not injured. He is safe. I don’t like Viljoen that much. If he is injured, I would pick Steyn at FH and Lambie at FB. (And now all the Sharks are gonna kill me)

      • The problem Adendorff has is the amount of players in front of him at the Bulls. On the openside they will play Dewald Potgieter and Stegman above him. The Bulls have exceptional loosies at u/21 level this year.

        I agree with you on Lambie at 15. I also think the Sharks need to give him a rest. He looks mentally fatigued. I think we are going to see a 10-15 of: Morne, Habana, Jean, JDJ, JPP, Zane.

        With Hougaard and Lambie on a 5/2 bench.

        If Lambie starts in Zane’s spot we will probably see Jantjies and Robert come onto the bench with a 4/3 split. A lot hinges on whether Ruan is brought into the mix, since he covers 10 for you.

  17. JPvV said on May 20, 2013

    I do not really agree with your comment on Sergel. I know he’s fast, real fast and can pounce on any loose ball and nobody will catch him to the white wash, but against teams like NZ and Aus the margin for error would be so much less. I just feel he is really inexperienced (I know he is still young) at his all round ability and not ready for international rugby. I’d like to see him being invited to a training camp aimed at getting him in the mix for the future but defensively he is poor and he needs to get his tackling ability right. Playing in super rugby is doing him really good and hopefully he can play another season in SR.

    • I think that’s sort of what I wanted to say about Sergeal. He must be pulled into a training squad or a bigger group, not necessarily the match 22 yet. So I agree with you.

    • I like sergeal as an option in the larger group, to mix and get the feel of what it means to be a bok. Still blerrie young, leave him to develop with the baby boks, and he will make his bok debut in near future. With Jan i see something a bit more involved with the bokke, seeing he already played a year with the babies, talent like that doesn’t need to keep on through with the age groups, but also not to be thrown into the deep end when things get tough either. Put him up against weaker opponents to get his feel and see how things develop. Im sure he will shine and take on the big guns with ease later on.

  18. I have a suspicion Schreuder is going to be part of the larger group. Heynecke wants right footed scrumhalves. That leaves you with van Zyl, Schreuder, Reinach, Jano, Hougaard and Venter. Schreuder joined up at the Cape Town camp, and with Reinach out that spot opens up.

  19. Like most of the choices, but for me Jano is not the man for scrumhalf though, rather Piet who can get any flyhalf to respond, with Pienaar being the steady ship to lean on when it takes experience. Reinach is also better option, hopefully recovering quickly enough. Jan is also not only crash ball material, it just seems thats the bulls strength they are playing towards. He can search the gap better when given more freedom, like he did last year with the babyboks. Hopefully bulls crash ball tactics also employed by meyer wont kill his talent.

    • Jan never impressed me even under the Junior Boks. I never saw him create something with space. He was a crashballer even then. Yes, he was player of the tournament, but not my player of the tournament. Adendorff was. Agree it might be the way the Bulls are playing, but then by the time he plays for the Boks, he will be so used to just doing that, that he can’t do anything when space opens up, just like Meisiekind.

    • Jano’s boot helps the Bok game plan. I know he is not the greatest scrumhalf but his game fits nicely in for the Boks. I love the explosiveness of Piet and even Reinach, but their kicking game might not fit in with Heyneke’s game.

      • Piet was in the Bok mix last year. He’s struggled for form this year, and if he has a good run over the remaining weeks he probably will get a Bok lookin.

      • Its confusing when you select one player on his qualities that fits in with meyer’s and the bokke gameplan, but then lament the other for the exact same reason…. Centres in my opinion must be masters of the halfgap, tacklebreaking when the line is tight, rather creating the space for the wingers. Thats the diff between meisiekind and jan. Things just dont “open up” just like that anymore when you consider a professional defensive structure.

        • True, it is confusing. I do think though if you can get quality ball from your 9 and 10, as set up by the forwards, your centres can create something with the ball. Its true that in today’s game the space is limited but that is where quality ball from 9 and 10 comes in, and with a very decent 12 you can exploit that space.

          I have seen Wynand even in open games, with only a prop about 10 metres away from him, ignore the space and run into the defense. It becomes a mindset.

          Jan Serfontein might prove me wrong yet, but I do not believe he is ready to start in the 12 jersey regardless of the game plan or coach.

          • Barring injuries, he’s not going to be in the 22 for the June tests. He’s going to represent the Baby Boks.

          • Yip agree, we already saw what wynand had to offer. Sadly it has stereotyped him into the crash ball because he never developed further from what was expected of him in a one-dimensional (although sometimes effective – only in 2009) gameplan. This is where i hope jan can break away in his own. Haven’t seen a player yet that managed not to get sucked in, but here’s hoping…

  20. Willie le Roux is the South African Andre Taylor. There is a reason Taylor has yet to crack the All Black nod.

    • Let’s be honest here. SA rugby fears the type of player NZ rugby loves. They don’t like players who can perform in space. Taylor has had an off season this year, while Willie has been in great form for a few seasons already.

      So please do tell why Taylor is not cracking the nod? I’d take a guess and say Dagg, but that’s just me.

      • Well last year I wasn’t so sure, this year I think he’s been figured out and that’s the reason for not being in form. Dagg’s kicking game is superior, but then you would still have expected Taylor to come into the mix as backup 15. However, the All Blacks used Barret as backup at 15.

        I’m going to get slaughtered for this, but here goes: This is le Roux’s first big season at this level. He played decently last year but was rather inconsistent and had a tendency to leave the D line.

        At international level you play structured rugby and you have less time and space. That means unless your bashing it up, your 10 takes the ball at 10, since you want your best decision maker to receive the ball. Everybody raves about le Roux not because of the job he’s doing as a winger, but because of the fact that he pops up everywhere.

        The irony of the matter is le Roux only really started to consistently shine when Goosen got injured. That’s when he started taking more and more ball at 10 off phase ball. For the Boks he wont get to do that. He will be stuck on the wing and forced to play a gameplan that does not suit his style. He’s not good enough to make it at 10 at that level, nor 15 for that matter.

        This weekend he was poor, the weekend against the Canes he was poor as well. The weekend against the Kings he had a 50/50 weekend. Savea’s try was from a poor le Roux kick with no one on the D. If he did that and he cost the Boks the game, would you say : “Oh well, at least he tried” or would you wonder what the hell he was doing there?

        • Is this your anti-Willie post?

          • No :) This is just part of what convinced me to do a post on why I dont think he is ready to play for the Boks yet.

            Its not really going to be an anti-Willie post. Its more a case of I don’t think that his decisionmaking is good enough at this stage. Also, the things that make him so great for the Cheetahs, won’t be there for the Boks.

            I have the same problem with Jan Serfontein (and from what I’ve heard Jan is attending camp with the eye on the future, not June Internationals. He’s going to join the JWC squad). He’s vastly improved over the player he was a year ago, but there is still a few things he needs to sort out.

            Its like I dont think JJ Engelbrecht is mentally ready to start at 13 for the Boks. Give him another year or so, and he’s going to be huge (which is doubly bad for me due to WP losing his services)

            I’ve been really impressed with Robert this year. Originally I thought his form was a fluke due to the mix of teams the Cheetahs faced, but the confidence he gained from that has made him immense.