You are browsing the archive for 2012 September.

The winds of change is starting to blow.

September 30, 2012 in Uncategorized

A Lovely weekend of rugby that leaves one with mixed feelings. As far as the Currie Cup is concerned , it looks at this stage if there is only two serious contenders, and that is the Lions and the Sharks. Now , at last when all the hard work starts to bear fruit, the Lions is going to exit the Super rugby competition. If the Lions just started to play like this earlier, Saru might have come to a different conclusion.

Anyway, the Lions was just in a different class and they knew how to get the win. At long last they matured and got mentally tough. Province without Reinhardt Elstadt in the pack is like Rocky without Sylvester Stallone, no punch and no pun intended either. He is a real iron man on the field and like Tiaan Strauss in years gone by , you see the difference when he is not playing.

The Bulls like the WP before them got drowned in the Shark tank, although they put up a better fight. In this game i could not help but to notice Kobus Reinach , Louis Ludick and Keegan Daniel. Reinach is another youngster that can seriously challenge for a place in the Bok team if he does well in Super Rugby next year. The Cheetahs absolutely had the Griquas number. Marcel v d Merwe, is another Cheetah prop to be watched. I just get the feeling that the Cheetahs attention is already on Super rugby and that is what Naka is building towards. There will not be any easy wins next year in Bloemfontein.

Luckily my crystal ball was broken and gave me the wrong info on Heyneke. Heyneke did make changes. He at long last dropped Morne Steyn. Although i know that Johan Goosen is just about the best 10 South Africa has seen over the last 50 years(only Naas could be compared to him), i still felt that Elton Jantjies should have been brought in even before Goosen was fit again.

I have been watching Jantjies and Goosen during the season and now with the Boks. I am very impressed with their cool heads and their decision making. This is the two 10’s for the World cup. I also think Heyneke made a mistake by not starting the more experienced De Jongh next to De Villiers. Taute should have been the man on the bench. We will also have to decide where Frans Steyn must start when he comes  back. I believe that he must be the fullback , with Lambie the reserve. Fat chance with Kirschner still in the running.

The forwards did very well and get 5 stars for their hard work. There was a lot of problems with our lineouts. Completely missing people in the lineout on this level is just not on. If you do miss the entire lineout there must always be someone on the lookout for that kind of mistake and be ready to rectify it or minimise the damage. The All Blacks used to be masters in taking advantage of these types of errors and they certainly would have noticed it.  Young  Goosen went through like a flash to save just such a situation for the Boks

Francois Louw was definitely the star of the day and i cannot think of any blogger here that did not say that we must have a fetcher. Most of us called for Brussouw, but Louw was the lucky man and he really is shining. Duanne is also getting better and better. At one stage i must say some of the Boks forwards looked as if they were struggling to get around the park and looked a bit slow.

Whatever we do next week , we must not even dream about making the same mistakes against the All Blacks that we made against the Aussies and think that we will get away with it. This test is going to be massive and if we win this test we will be making a big statement. Not as big as it would have been if the All Blacks did not already won the Series, but any win against an All Black side is a good win. They do not have weak sides, only less good sides.

My last thought that i want to leave here is that some people is still very much into the colour thing in sport. Heyneke according to me , is not racist. He might have contact lenses supplied by the Bulls that makes it easier for Bulls to be selected. Kirschner is not white , but he selects him. Basson would have been in the team, if it was not for his injury. Aplon and De Jongh plays for the hated province. Jantjies plays for the Lions. Habana is lucky, he played for the Bulls and he and JP Pietersen is so good that you cannot play without them. Mapoe is playing for the Lions(back to his best form) and Rhule(Cheetahs) will be so good next year that he will just have to be included in the team. Kolisi will definitely be there next year and Scarra Ntubeni is at least a hundred times better than Chiliboy Ralepele. But, guess what? Heyneke will bring Chiliboy back into the fold when he comes back from injury and is matchfit, because? Because he is a Blue Bull. No prizes for this one because it is such an easy answer.

Weekend rugby action review about WP, Griquas and all the other animals.

September 23, 2012 in Uncategorized

The first game was a very entertaining game out of a WP fans viewpoint and much less entertaining from Griquas perspective. The province backline is functioning very well while the forwards is struggling a bit at the moment. Griquas won most of the ball and lost comfortably. Catrakilis and Aplon was the standout players among the backs and Scarra Ntubeni the best forward. Willie le Roux and Marnus Schoeman stood out for Griquas and the Griqua pack was excellent.

Bulls and Cheetahs. Not a very exciting game to watch. Mastriet and Venter was very good at the back for the Bulls with Ndungane his reliable self. The prop Mellett was outstanding. The two loosies Arno Botha and CJ Stander is two of the best loosies in the country. Botha is definitely destined to play for the Boks. Best number 8 in a Bulls jersey i ever saw in my life. He was not at his best after his injury, but he still created a brilliant try for the Bulls. When he went of i thought that the Cheetahs is going to take it. Fortunately for the Bulls, CJ Stander came up to save the game for the Bulls.

These two, Botha and Stander would have been both in my Bok group if i was the coach. Stander is as strong as an ox, quick and intelligent. I would pick him against Aussie and save Alberts for the Kiwi”s. Arno Botha when fully fit will be a very serious contender for the number 8 jersey. I think he will be far better than Duanne in a years time. He is definitely better than Spies and Keegan. If the Bulls coach had Botha and Stander both in the starting lineup, they would have had a much easier afternoon. in beating the Cheetahs. The two Potgieters together will find it hard to match these two young players as far as playing abilities is concerned.

In the light of this we can see that Heyneke has really lost it as far as his selections is concerned. The Bulls must thank their lucky stars that the Cheetahs picked a scrumhalf at 10 and that they actually did not look as if they felt like playing rugby. The best forward was without a doubt Coenie Oosthuizen with Marcel van der Merwe hot on his heels. Rhule was again outstanding as has become the rule and Sarel tried hard but did not have the best of games.

The Sharks against the Lions was a really exciting game. I am not a Sharks or Lion fan, but this was really the game of the weekend. The two packs of forwards really took each other on and the backlines got one”s attention.That Kriel flanker is really quick. The whole Lion”s backline functioned quite well . At the end Andries Coetzee showed his magic again. This is also a player with big talent. Taute also looks rejuvenated since he came back and does well at centre. Mapoe is also just getting better and better. Combrinck? If you miss him you will probably only see him again behind the tryline. Helberg also looks better and better. Is it Ackerman making the difference? I cannot believe this guys ended up last in Super rugby.

After watching the weekend”s action , i cannot understand how Morne Steyn can still be in the group. There is more than enough talent in the group and as well as outside  the group in  the Currie Cup teams. Heyneke should seriously consider cutting out the old wood and lets bleed now and endure the pain and get the young blood in so that they will be experienced when World Cup time comes around. The experienced players that is still good enough and that will be still good enough then , must be retained.

This said, my team for next Saturday:

Frans Steyn   Bryan Habana  Juan de Jongh Jean de Villiers Lwazi Mvovo   Johan Goosen Francois Hougaardt

Duanne Vermeulen Willem Alberts  Francois Louw Andries Bekker Eben Etzebeth Beast Mtawarira Adriaan Strauss Jannie du Plessis

Coenie Oosthuizen  Pat Cilliers Craig Burden Jeandre Kruger Elton Jantjies Pat Lambie Ruan Pienaar

If he , Heyneke Meyer , was a sensible man , he would have picked a team that looked like this . Take note, no Kirschner and no Morne Steyn.

Lessons from Dunedin.

September 15, 2012 in Uncategorized

The battle of Dunedin is now history. The Boks lost a game that they should have won. Heyneke , like a gambler on a losing streak, kept on placing all his money on 10 and 15 at the roulette wheel and walked out with only his shirt. Unfortunately Heyneke is no gambler. If he was he would have won with his money on 10 and 15. If he was a gambler and a very wise one , he would have picked Goosen in the 10 jersey and Lambie in the 15 jersey and he would have rolled in the money today.

The lessons from Dunedin is simply: 1. a Fetcher in the team is a  must. 2. Morne Steyn is just not good enough. 3 Kirschner is not our best fullback. 4. The gameplan is not working(high kicks and charge) 5. When the Boks start running the ball they look like they can win .(not following the gameplan  and playing like in the movies). 6. Dean Greyling is a walking yellowcard and not a test player.

Solution to start winning matches: Pick Goosen on flyhalf and forget about the Heyneke Meyer gameplan. Goosen is my gameplan. Nobody knows what he is going to do next. The perfect plan. Pick Lambie at fullback. Never pick Greyling for Boks again.Pick Brussouw on the bench as cover for Francois Louw in case of injury.Play like against the All Blacks and do not kick the ball away. Leave kicking decisions to Goosen. He knows what he is doing.

I was glad to see Flip van der Merwe coming to the party. Juandre also played well, as well as Bekker. This means that we have 4 good test locks available, which is very important, taking in account the tough nature of this competition. The forwards were full value for money except for Dean Greyling, that was a strong contender for man of the match from an All Black point of view.

With the exception of Morne Steyn in particular and Kirchner, the rest of the backline looked much better and is definitely growing into a well oiled unit. The addition of Goosen and Lambie will give direction and cement the confidence of the rest of the backline. Heyneke must just see to it that the forwards keep on delivering the goods and he must leave the rest to Goosen and forget about the kick and charge gameplan.

 

Lost down under.

September 13, 2012 in Uncategorized

Heyneke Meyer is not only totally lost down under, but he is also very quickly losing the support of the majority of the Boks supporters base. He is endlessly charging down at windmills with about as much effect as Don Quixote had. He says that the type of rugby the supporters wants the team to play ,is only seen in the movies. He clearly did not see what rugby some of the local rugby teams had been playing over the last few weekends. He also missed some of the tries that the Kiwis and the Pumas scored as well as those that the Aussies scored against us. Straight out of the movies.

Meyer has not only lost the plot. I think he has lost the whole script. What is more worrying is that he is clearly panicking and that the pressure is getting to him. His demeanour in the box is in contrast with that of Pieter de Villiers that usually appeared very calm. This whole situation has already affected the players and it is as clear as daylight that the confidence of the team is severely dented. Meyer is not prepared to listen to any criticism of his gameplan or the players selected. He has withdrawn into the “laager”.

What was amazing is that he threw all logic out of the window by selecting the struggling Morne Steyn and the one dimensional Zane Kirchner. Francois Steyn and Jean de Villiers, brilliant as they are, is just not clicking as a centre combination at the moment. I would definitely have picked Goosen  to kickstart this  two experienced players . Lambie is another one that i would have picked in the starting lineup as fullback. Morne , as good as he was , is just not cutting it any more at test level. There is a time to come and a time to go. Kirchner is okay as a backup on the bench if you are looking for a safe fullback that does what he is suppose to do,  without the fireworks.

The forwards looks very vulnerable and the body language just does not look right. Etzebeth and Vermeulen was the only two that looked as if they have what it takes to beat the Aussies. Flip v d Merwe is also just not good enough on this level. He should never have come on this tour. There is at least 6 locks in South Africa that would have been a better choice than Flip.

To sum it all up- Heyneke is not going to listen to any of us. He has a gameplan that does not work in the modern era. He will make it work by keeping the old guard in place that made it work in the past. If that fails he will pick other players to make the plan work . He will stick to his guns till he wins or die with his boots on, figuratively speaking. Why? Because that is why the dinosaurs died out and the old cowboys did not survive. To change ones ways is nigh impossible to some people. Mankinds survival depends on its ability to change and stay abreast of new developments. Sadly , South Africa s rugby will be lagging behind while other countries will be surging ahead.

Will heads roll before the gameplan change?

September 9, 2012 in Uncategorized

This current Australian team is probably one of the weakest teams in the history of Australian rugby. They are so weak that even a Bok team coached by Heyneke Meyer should have had their number. To the surprise of the Bok supporters,  the Aussies, mediocre as they were, got it right to make a mockery of our national rugby team. The main contributor to Australia”s success is the outdated gameplan that Heyneke Meyer employs. Robbie Deans, if nothing else , is a shrewd coach that knows what it takes to beat a South African team that employs Heyneke’s outdated tactics. Best of all, is that the chosen staff appears as if they do not believe in the gameplan and they are very poor in the execution thereoff. That brings us to the question why we are now the only team in the world under the top ten that is employing these tactics?  Are we ahead of the rest of the world or are we lagging behind? The team does not look like a very happy unit.

My advice to Meyer will be that he must change his gameplan and his ideas about the “fetcher”. He must also start to pick creative backs with speed. Forget about players being loyal to the coach. Loyalty is something you expect from your dog and from an english test cricketer, not from professional rugby players and KP. Pick the best players that fits into the gameplan(the new one), be sure that they have speed, aggression and are full of surprises. Think Mannetjies Roux. Remember that there is no great reward without great risk. I think Tiger Woods mentioned this quote once. The first priority of a Pro sportsman is to deliver the goods. If you keep on picking players that can not deliver and you stick to a gameplan that does not produce the desired results, you are sinking your own boat in shark infested waters.

First we will have to pick a team that can win ball and is creative enough to play the situation and to do the unexpected and that knows how to score tries and knows when to take whatever points is on offer. We will have to look at the best players in their positions and also at certain combinations and also at what current players do not fit in with the new gameplan. I do not want players that just runs into the opposition time and time again. We must look at players with skill, speed and good decision making qualities that knows when and to whom to pass the ball. So lets see what we “ve got.

At fullback we have Aplon, Lambie, Ludick,Taute and Coetzee,at wing Rhule,JJ Engelbrecht, Habana, JP Pietersen(injured),Mvovo, Hougaardt and Sithole of the Sharks, at centre we have Marcel Brache(the most creative centre in the country) in the good company of Jean de Villiers, Lionel Mapoe, JP du Plessis, Paul Jordaan and Juan de Jongh and Tim Whitehead(injured) and even Taute as centre. I also like the looks of the young and exciting Bulls Craven week centre, Janse van Rensburg. At flyhalf we have Goosen and Lambie and Jantjies as cover for him with young Pollard and Jean-Luc du Plessis waiting in the wings. At scrumhalf we can stick with Ruan Pienaar for the moment and pick from Sarel Pretorius, Nick Groom,Pieter van Zyl(injured) and Bondesio as well as Hougaardt and Mcleod(a personal favourite that is maturing very well).

As far as the forwards is concerned i believe one must pick a genuine number 8.  I believe that Duanne Vermeulen and Kankowsky is the two most suited players for the position. The other candidates is Van der Walt(injured/cheetahs), Luke Watson and Deon Fourie. The flankers, Heinrich Brussouw, Siya Kolisi(injured)Francois Louw,Josh Strauss,Reinhardt Elstadt,Marcel Coetzee,Arno Botha(brilliant player). The locks Etzebeth, Bekker,Juandre Kruger, Willem Alberts,,Reinhardt Elstadt, Bresler and that without mentioning others like Franco van der Merwe, young Willemse and so forth.The hookers,Bismarck(injured),Strauss, Burden and Fourie and Liebenberg. The props Beast,Guthro,Coenie Oosthuizen,Kitshoff,Janse van Rensburg,Jannie du Plessis,Pat Cilliers, Frans Malherbe,WP Nel and the two van der Merwes playing for the Cheetahs currently. As we can see, there is no shortage of talent. What we need is a coach with a gameplan that can take us beyond the next Worldcup. A coach with vision and insight and that is humble enough to admit mistakes and is willing to get experts in to help him when he is struggling.

All this just to give an idea off what type of player i would like to see in the Bok team in the various positions. Now my Bok team that i would pick from the currently available crop if i could consider players not in the current tour group.

15.  Francois Steyn    14. Bryan Habana  13.Jean de Villiers 12.Marcel Brache 11.Francois Hougaardt 10. Patrick Lambie 9 Ruan Pienaar 8.Duanne Vermeulen 7.Francois Louw 6 Heinrich Brussouw 5. Andries Bekker 4. Eben Etzebeth 3.Jannie du Plessis 2. Adriaan Strauss 1Beast Mtawarira

On the bench: Johan Goosen , Lwazi Mvovo, Marcel Coetzee, Willem Alberts, Craig Burden, Pat Cilliers and Janse van Rensburg(Lions prop)  Goosen is my first choice at flyhalf , but i would want to carefully phase him in after his injury.

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Province butchers the clueless Bulls.

September 1, 2012 in Uncategorized

The Western Province rugby team was a bit slow out of the blocks ,not unlike Usain Bolt, until Duvenhage was injured and Nick Groom had to take over from him. As we know, WP rugby “s backline play was as dead as the Bibles Lazarus the last few years. This is no longer the case. All it took was Nick Groom to finally wake up the slumbering giant from it”s sleep. After Groom took the field WP, like Usain Bolt, just kept on accelerating. Catrakilis, Brache and JP du Plessis suddenly started to come into their own and looked like they could still play for the Boks in future. What a shame that we are going to lose Catrakilis to the Kings. We should give Grant to them in order to keep Catrakilis.

Deon Fourie and Rynhardt Elstadt led the way from the start up front. In the second half when Brock Harris and the Red Rhino was added to the mix, Province was running havoc . Scarra Ntubeni was also very impressive . Jeb Sinclair is also a hard and honest player and played very well at crucial stages. Malherbe was blown up a few times , but it is all part of the learning process.

To come back to the excellent performance by the backline, i want to start by pointing out what exactly happened when Groom took the field. With Duvenhage at scrumhalf, the WP backline ran very flat lines and looked quite impotent. I thought by myself that the writing is on the wall for Province already. Then fate stepped in and cruelly removed Duvenhage from the picture. Suddenly, the backline got quick ball, moved more fluently, and alas, started running from deeper positions in the field, making all the difference in giving the backs space to create and run more effective lines resulting in linebreaks that also lead to tries.

In other words, we still do not need Fleck as our backline coach. We only needed fate to remove Duvenhage, add Groom and to allow the backs to figure out what to do for themselves. Duvenhage and Schreuder were both going nowhere very slowly. How on earth could the WP braintrust not figure out that Groom is their man. I can tell you that more than 50 % of fans were convinced that Groom should be behind the scrum. I have only one criticism for Coach fate and that is that he did not intervene before Catrakilis signed for the Kings.

At certain stages of the match i felt like i was watching the Province team from the 80″s. Suddenly it was a pleasure to watch the Province team again and it had more to do with the style of play and enthusiasm that was suddenly present than with us winning the game. Here we can learn from the All Blacks. To them the quality of the rugby they play are as important as the winning of the game.

For the Bulls it will be back to the drawing board. There best player by far, Arno Botha did not play. Even if he did play, it would not have made much of a difference. By the way, this young looseforward  is going to be a revelation in Super rugby next year. If i was the Bulls coach , i would also pick young Van Rensburg together with Jan Serfontein as centres for the rest of the Currie Cup campaign. Together they will be a handfull. Thanks for coming to Newlands, Bulls.