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Bok Exodus: Good or Bad?

April 22, 2013 in International, Rugby

Bye Bye Bokkie....

Bye Bye Bokkie….

I am losing count of the number of Springboks who have signed overseas contracts since Heyneke Meyer has become the Springbok coach.  Up to last year still, Ruan Pienaar, Francois Louw and Frans Steyn was the only real candidates for overseas based selection while one or two other not so noteworthy players were also selected as stop gaps during the Northern Hemisphere tour.

News has now broken that JP Petersen and Zane Kirchner will also be leaving. Two key roles in the Springboks squad.  I am left wondering what we have left.  Very recently Andries Bekker has signed for Japan, Juandre Kruger also signed for somewhere in Europe, leaving our lock stocks a little bare, and Bekker was not even being considered for the Springboks, having been one of the top locks in SA this season so far.  Read the rest of this entry →

The Goose with the egg shell legs…

March 19, 2013 in Rugby, Rugby Championship, Springboks, Super Rugby

 

No golden eggs for this Goose! Just laying!

The Springboks and Cheetahs have been dealt a severe blow with the latest injury to Johan Goosen and one has to wonder whether this incredible talent will ever reach his potential.  Having only started Super Rugby last season, he sat out most of the season with a shoulder injury. He then got injured again ruling him out of the Springboks end of year tour and now, the latest injury, will again see him sidelined for at least 6 months while some reports say the whole year! This is a severe blow for the Cheetahs and for the Springboks, and our three horse race has been cut down to two with the leading horse eating dust!

The most worried man though would be Heyneke Meyer.  With Morne Steyn going to France at the end of the season, he is running short on options at securing his flyhalf for the 2015 Rugby World Cup.  Yes, it is still two years away, but with Goosen out this year and Morne in France when the 2014 Rugby Championship is being played, there really is only one name remaining in this race, and that is Patrick Lambie.

Not everyone’s favorite, but who else?  If I was Heyneke, it would be an easy call to make right now.  Patrick Lambie will be my flyhalf this year and next year and the year of the World Cup.  He will be my man around which I plan my game.  Yes, Goosen may well be ready when the time comes, but do you build your game plan around someone who might be ready and who is more on the sideline at the moment than on the field?  And Morne Steyn, with him playing in France, he will most definitely not be available for the Rugby Championship which is the premier tournament for the Springboks.  I guess Heyneke’s job has just been made much easier by process of elimination.

It is terrible for the Springboks though and for Goosen, as he was the favorite to take up the Bok 10 jersey according to the poll, and one has to wonder who will be Lambie’s backup at 10 going into the next few seasons.  Aside from Elton Jantjies, who’s form has been questionable this season so far, who else can step up when Lambie (touch wood) happens to get injured? Catrakilis? Frans Steyn? A miracle return by Liefling?

The Bok number 10 spot is suddenly under threat and in an area where South Africa for once had some options, suddenly there is only one. And boys like Handre Pollard may find themselves in the frame much sooner than they thought…

New Zealand teams running the most, but SA Flyhalves get the most ball?

March 5, 2013 in Rugby, Super Rugby

 

Week 2 (or is it week 3? these Aussies always just have to confuse everything!) has come and gone and already some teams are being touted as this year’s champions, and others are being written off.  It’s still early days, chaps, so let’s not jump to conclusions too soon, or make any rash decisions.

Lot’s of focus on the Stormers, which I can get because they have been South Africa’s premier team in the Super 15 and as they say, high trees and a certain south easter, does make for some spectacular viewing. 

Last week I asked the readers to vote for their stand out performance of the week in the weekly race to the Bok number 10.  As it stands, despite having a bit of an “off” day against the Chiefs, Johan Goosen is still in the lead on the votes with Lambie in second spot.  Morne Steyn, whilst he will still be around during the Rugby Championship (he is only leaving after the Currie Cup) is backing up the rear.  To me, Morne Steyn was again very accurate with the boot and actually ran a few times with the ball in hand, one of those runs leading to a try and one out of every 4 passes went to the wing.  Lambie on the other hand was a bit stuck in an arm wrestle, and while he did miss a couple, he had a few nice runs and 1 in 3 passes went to the wing.  Goosen was a bit unfortunate to run into a very strong Chiefs side.  He missed several of his kicks (all but 1 in fact), but he remained the go-to guy for the Cheetahs, hoping he would create something for them each time he touches the ball. His defense was a bit shoddy and some of his passes were poor.  All in all, considering zero missed tackles and surviving the onslaught of the Stormers, I pick Lambie as my pick of the weekend.  Who was your top flyhalf this past weekend? Read the rest of this entry →

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? Read the rest of this entry →

Allez les Green?

January 15, 2013 in Rugby, Springboks

It is a real blessing that the IRB have established the regulations which makes it impossible for a Springbok, or other national rugby player, to play for another National team.  If not, we may as well have had to face some serious contenders when we play France next.

With their cheque books wide open, they already signed Juandre Kruger and Bryan Habana this season, and if reports are to be believed, Morne Steyn, John Smit and Danie Rossouw are also on their way to France.

Sticking with Pink, Morne Steyn might be off to Stade France who are well know for their bright pink jerseys

This made me wonder just how strong a Springbok squad can we make up just from our players in France, if above rumours are said to be true. Read the rest of this entry →

Highs and lows of 2012 ~ in pictures

December 12, 2012 in Cricket, Currie Cup, International, International, London 2012, Other sports, Rugby, Rugby Championship, Springboks, Super Rugby

As we come to the final few weeks of the year, and with absolutely buggerall to watch anymore, except for some Heineken Cup, where you can see old Southern Hemisphere has-beens in action against the best of Europe, it’s perhaps a time to reflect on the year which is past…a year that flew by quicker than Rickie Ponting’s last test innings…

Read the rest of this entry →

Springbok’s forward approach smothering the game?

November 20, 2012 in International, Rugby, Springboks

 

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. Read the rest of this entry →

SARU at centre of Bok inexperience

November 12, 2012 in International, Rugby, Rugby Championship, Springboks

The Springboks are still being haunted by SARU’s inability to create stability and consistency within the Springbok Management ranks.

This is what one can conclude when looking at the current lack of depth available in the Springbok squad as compared to arch rivals, New Zealand.

Lack of experience was the major excuse ringing in our ears like a broken record when Meyer’s troops failed to deliver during the Rugby Championship, and New Zealand who seemed to have lost lots of experience too in some key positions stormed to an undefeated victory of the Rugby Championship, winning all their matches. Read the rest of this entry →

Pressure mounting on Heyneke

October 21, 2012 in Currie Cup, Rugby, Rugby Championship, Springboks

With Johan Goosen out for the season, and based on his Rugby Championship selections, Meyer has only two options left at flyhalf for the upcoming Northern Hemisphere tour: Elton Jantjies and Morne Steyn.

After his form left alot to be desired during the RC, Morne was left to rest and refocus, while Goosen and Jantjies took up the reigns at flyhalf.  Last week Morne showed some good form, but last night again, his team’s lack of ability to dominate left him with very little chance to get into any sort of rhythm.

Elton Jantjies’ performance with the boot last night was not enough to give anyone comfort that he will have what it takes on the big stage. Given that it was a crunch game, his lack of conversions shows on a lack of BMT on his part, something that’s been questioned in the past.

So, despite the apparent wealth of flyhalves we thought we had in South Africa, we have an off form player in desperate need of rest and re-focus, an injury prone, talented youngster who is on crutches until next year, and an inexperienced, talented youngster who seems to freeze on the big stage. Read the rest of this entry →

Boks loss not a “Bok” thing….

October 8, 2012 in Rugby, Rugby Championship, Springboks

Oregan HoskinsI had the wool pulled over my eyes last weekend! The defeat of the Aussies in clinical fashion lead me to believe we have a good chance to beat the All Blacks this weekend.  Say what you want about how bad this Aussie side is, but they still pipped us on the Rugby Championship log by beating Argentina twice, and also are ranked second again on the IRB Rankings. So yes, even this poor Aussie side is better than us despite us demolishing them last week.

Read the rest of this entry →

Jean was right – SuperSport – Rugby

October 3, 2012 in Rugby, Rugby Championship, Springboks

I’m glad to see I’m not the only one thinking this…even though I often disagree with Brenden…

via Jean was right – SuperSport – Rugby.

Jean de Villiers may have stunned the whole country with what he said on Saturday night – that the Springboks had not changed their game-plan, but he was right.

Read the rest of this entry →

Suddenly it’s OK to miss kicks?

October 1, 2012 in International, Rugby, Rugby Championship, Springboks

I was happy that the Springboks finally managed to convert their efforts into points this weekend, and most of those thanks should go to Bryan Habana who put his hand up and took responsibility for making sure the Springboks score the tries they created. Full marks to him and those giving him a mere 9/10 should really get their heads out of their arses. 10/10 performance!

What does bug me however, is how many Springbok supporters suddenly think it was OK to miss so many kicks this weekend after they crucified Morne Steyn after the Dunedin test. Read the rest of this entry →

Meyer taking control!

September 27, 2012 in International, International, Rugby, Rugby Championship, Springboks

Don’t fear, I’m in control

 

After Dunedin I wrote that I thought things are improving for the Springboks. The way they played improved, their decision making was more accurate and had it not been for the difficult and unfamiliar kicking conditions at Forsyth Bar, Dunedin, and three or four schoolboy errors, we would have beaten the All Blacks in Dunedin for only the second time in history. Read the rest of this entry →

Could Goosen be the Springbok’s Carter?

September 26, 2012 in International, Rugby, Rugby Championship, Springboks

Can Goosen be SA’s Carter?

Come 12:00 this afternoon, many a Springbok fan will get a hernia when Morne Steyn is once again selected to start in the number 10 jersey for the test against Australia at Loftus this weekend.

I highly doubt that Goosen will start this weekend, as many are hoping for, simply because I don’t think its the right time yet.

Many disagree with me, and I am quite aware of the fact that I’m treading on unpopular waters here. I mean, it just makes sense to start Goosen against this year’s weakest opposition, doesn’t it? Or…does it? Read the rest of this entry →

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