Boks vs World XV – my take


Predictably young Fransie Steyn picked up the Man of the Match award but there would have been few complaints amongst the largely South African crowd if it had gone to giant Danie Rossouw. My take:

Young Steyn really has astonishing confidence and self-assurance for a 19 year old. Given his age I was glad to see him get the MOM. By no means the perfect performance but he adds so much in terms of guts, spatial awareness and the desire to get involved and mix it up with some very experienced and toughened league midfielders. He’s a wonderful talent who hopefully will get better and better as he matures. The fact that he’s played wing, fullback and flyhalf in four matches and not disgraced himself once flashes up big red lights of natural talent and self-confidence.

Mnr Daniesaurus has certainly come of age! His consistency of performance and huge workrate is an example to all Springboks. He has added an element to 8 that we haven’t possessed in years. I honestly didn’t think he’d pull off the role but he most certainly has and he might be the ‘find’ of the EOYT. I can’t remember when last we had a 8 that could pick and drive metres over the advantage line with flank & flyhalf hanging on him. Great performance. Plus, he was always back helping the fullback when required. Okay, he dropped one and dropped a certain try but in the context of his overall performance, no big deal.

Dare we consider a combination consisting of:

6. Schalk Burger

7. Juan Smith

8. Danie Rossouw

It was such a massive disappointment to see Jaco Pretorius limping off, up until that stage our injections of pace were coming predominantly from Jaco and Wynand. He did enough in his time on the field to warrant a further opportunity in the future.

Wynand Olivier has matured so rapidly on the international stage, on defence and attack, that it’s hard to remember a time when we were exceedingly nervous of playing him. He’s still not a natural distributor of the ball, hopefully they’ll keep working on this aspect of his game but he has pace, penetration and is a brave defender.

Am I the only one wondering what the fuss is all about over Meyer Bosman? Still young, plenty of time to grow into the role but I just don’t see anything to write home about.

Same with JP Pietersen, who, to me, always looks utterly lost on a rugby field. Like someone who only very recently came to the game. I can’t understand why he’s playing in Springbok colours.

Bevin Fortuin. Bevin, Bevin, Bevin. I like the guy, good honest rugby player, getting by on his hard work and committment but he just doesn’t have the injection of pace you require in a 15 at international level. It makes him predictable because you know he’s not going to counter strongly or hit a gap, 9 times out of ten he’ll be forced to grubber or chip. Solid citizen who doesn’t select himself and doesn’t deserve criticism, just wouldn’t select him.

Ricky Januarie is back to his best, dynamite on defence, aggressive, sniping, testing. Too often still takes a little bit too much time to clear a ruck and choose his options but a genuine talent. Ruan Pienaar is another with the gift of ghosting through half gaps, made lawrence Dallaglio look like a right chump on the way to gifting Albert a try. He’s not there yet, not by quite some way, certainly can work on his defence but he has that indefinable quality

Chilliboy didn’t disgrace himself on his first full 40 minutes, very keen, overly keen at times but prepared to get stuck in and get involved. Same with Gary Botha.

I thought Deon Carstens acquited himself very well, especially with a rookie hooker alongside. Couldn’t really see any time when Cobus Visagie really got the wood over him and Carstens was big in open play, Visagie was not nearly as prominent. It was the usual disaster when Lawrence came on later, no binding, hand on the ground and being drukked. Can we stop that experiment too please?

CJ is looking sharper and sharper. Ackers was big in the tight, keeping a sharp eye on that big bugger, Simon Shaw.

Surprisingly pleasant little cameo from Jongi Nokwe who certainly looks to have improved and put in some hefty defensive work in his short time on the pitch.

Gerrie Britz and Wikus van Heerden worked really well in tandem. Wikus certainly grasped his opportunity with both hands.

Albert was Albert, managing to get to places he shouldn’t have been in order to score, disrupting the World lineout and imperious on his own ball. In a loose match, Albert’s your man but, I’m afraid, up against a tight organised pack, he’d probably be anonymous again. Great game from him anyway.

Felt very sorry for Thinus Delport, I’m sure he’d have loved this opportunity to showcase his wares but by the time he came on, the World wings were seeing next to nothing of the ball. Great pity. Cobus showed he’s no slouch but I also never got the feeling we’re missing some great talent. Put it this way, he didn’t do to us what Kevin Pietersen is doing to the Aussies in Australia.

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  1. best review i’ve read in ages, very fair and IMO spot on.

    Rossouw is playing so well at 8 that perhaps Spies might be tested on the wing, ala Horgan and Lomu?

  2. many of these big powerful wings like gerrard, latham, rathbone, tuqiri receive the inside offload crashball from the flyahlf and spies could be brought into the game in this respect.

    Spies will be more effective on the harder fields, but in the NH, well he needs to adapt his game and show he is capable of playing a tighter role if he is to compete for a position in the pack.

  3. GR8 piece Ras.

    It seems Pakslae is making me eat humble pie for saying he can only play lock. To me he was THE player of the tour. (Good for you, Jake!)
    Leaves little room for Spies and Slo Joe, does it not?

    Personally I would have loved to see Ruan at 9 for the whole 80 minutes – instead of moving him to wing, since there was a wing on the bench (Nokwe).

    I’m a Bosman fan, but agree he did very little.

    Olivier has come on in leaps and bounds, as you stated.

    Not sure about Steyn at 10. With all the good ball we got, he could have done more. His inexperience also showed at 15. But yes, he’s stil in his ‘kinderskoene’ – what a talent!

    Sadly agee about Fortuin – what a pity, but we knew all along he lacks speed.

  4. Pom commentators couldn’t stop talking about Steyn.

    A particularly nice touch was when Matt Perry was subbed, after what I thought was a great performance, he was so complimentary about young Fransie, basically saying he’d killed the World XV ambitions stone dead. Very mature of him to be so gracious.

    (Geez, he REALLY does possess a nuclear boot!)


    A youthful and relatively inexperienced South Africa trounced a star-studded World XV 32-7 at a miserably cold, wet and blustery Walkers stadium on Sunday.

    Having led 10-0 at the break, South Africa scored three tries in the second half to finish their end-of-year tour with their second win from four outings.

    Backrower Albert van den Berg scored a double for the Springboks while Wikus van Heerden and Danie Rossouw also crossed for South Africa.

    Australian winger Drew Mitchell scored a late consolation try for the World XV in the left hand corner, with league convert Clinton Schifcofske showing his kicking prowess by slotting the sideline conversion.

    World XV fullback Matt Perry, of England, said it was teenager Francois Steyn who shut the combined side out of the game.

    “Steyn’s boot killed us,” he said after being substituted in the second half.

    “He has a massive boot on him for a 19-year-old and he kept kicking it into the corners. We couldn’t get our hands on the ball. They played clever rugby.”

    Steyn, rather modestly, said the win would give the Boks “plenty of confidence ahead of the World Cup” next year.

    “I just hope that I’ll be lucky enough to get selected,” Steyn said.

    If the World XV was going to produce something magical, it was likely to come from Andy Farrell. Farrell was expected to make an impact in his first senior rugby union match since switching codes.

    Unfortunately for South Africa, Farrell, with almost his first touch of the ball, made an unintended impact by sending De Wet Barry groggily from the field.

    The Stormers centre, slammed his head into Farrell’s hip when attempting to make a tackle.

    The World XV were unable though to take advantage of that temporary Bok set-back as they struggled for any coherence, having come together, from literally all over the world, earlier in the week.

    SOUTH AFRICA 32 (Albert van den Berg 2, Wikus van Heerden, Danie Rossouw tries; Francois Steyn 3 cons, pen, Ruan Pienaar pen) bt WORLD XV 7 (Drew Mitchell try; Clinton Schiscofske conv) at the Walkers Stadium, Leicester.


  5. Great synopsis.

    I did expect more from the world XV, perhaps it was because some of their pack had already played a bruising cup again the day before, their backs definitely displaying the lack of cohesion that you expect from a ‘mixmatch’ side… or perhaps RSA just outplayed them.

    Danie my man… you have finally proven to me you can play in the loosies, with 8 seemingly being you best option (after lock).

    The only slight criticism is he still goes to ground too quickly in the tackle rather than trying to bash through a few extra yards and then offloading or going to ground, ensuring forward momentum like the Kiwi’s do… I repeat ‘slight’ criticism!

    For the first time, I saw evidence of some offensive counter-rucking… keep this up.

    Chilli-boy, was nothing special, could have backed himself more with ‘ball in hand’, a silly wayward pass, not as quick as Botha, did nothing more than Shimmy could have… but the fella is still a kid. Long way to go as captain material or being in the match 22, let’s hope he has some gametime in the S14.

    Botha too, lacks presence as a captain, but did enough to be in the test 22, as I have always suspected.

    Some real pace shown, by Olivier, Jaco, Steyn, Ruan… it was lovely to see for a change

    Fortuin, I agree with all the above sentiment, not enough gas for this level, great CC player.

    JP, like a kudu in headlights, clueless and has no defensive game, too often he is back-pedalling and then trying to tackle. Not test quality.

    Ahh Steyn, very raw, but if only we had 3 of him… again agree with most sentiments above.

    I would rather have him in the 22, come WC than Percy by a long shot. Can’t remember when last I saw such effortless huge clearance kicks in a bok side since Hugh Reece Edwards… only going to get better with refinement.

    His goal-kicking will only get better.

    Could carry on all morning, but back to work…

    In conclusion, a ‘rough n ready’ performance… this team (or a variable thereof) should have been playing some midweekers on this tour, which would have proved invaluable to our depth and WC campaign.

  6. “Carstens was big in open play, Visagie was not nearly as prominent” …. Now who would have ever seen that coming?

    Great write-up, thanks for that Ras.

  7. im not so sure about your comments on JP, bosman and januarie. I thought JP pieterson played well and managed to get over the advantage line. Meyer Bosman i thought was outstanding at inside centre, ok maybe not outstanding, but to me he sparked the bok backline, unlike barry does. And januarie was a unimprovement to pienaar. his pass and decision making skills werent up to speed today. Has anyone forgotten Pierre Spies and Joe Van Niekerk???, Spies was hailed the hero of bok and bull rugby.
    I still think Rossouw is a no.4 lock who can play flank. However he played very well at NO8 the last two games. i also think the loose forward combo. of
    burger, smith and rossouw is too slow. i would go for burger, spies, rossouw.
    or burger, smith, van niekerk

  8. Nice piece, Ras – pretty much summed up what I was going to write, so I’ll have to think of something else

    I have to take my hat of to Danie – you may recall I was possibly his most vocal critic on the site. Given his performances at 8, though, surely he must be first choice in this position, especially in NH conditions? Does the beard have anything to do with it?

  9. Considering the huge number of great loosies we have in SA at the moment, I reckon (and agree with cab) that Spies would best serve SA rugby on the wing. He is a huge man with emmense pace, perfect Tuqiri type player with good running balance etc.

  10. Yeah goody Ras.

    I mentioned after the 3N that Danie has by far been the most improved player in the country to me – he worked extremely hard at his contact and ball carrying game, and although there is still some room for improvement, he was my player of the tour.

    Steyn is someone to keep an eye on, but why do I get the feeling we are seeing another Russell in the making here?

    Hope not.

    One thing is for sure, Percy’s days must be counted, we have reliable goal-kickers in Steyn, Pienaar, Butch and AP now, and Steyn would be best served at 15 at the moment imo.

    He could be a great flyhalf…one day – too little experience there imo.

    Bosman had an absolute shocker of a game – hardly surprising when you consider when last he played, but I am with Boertjie, I am also a huge fan but shit in hell, what a shocker from Meyer.

    Wynand is also silencing critics with every game, go Wynand, do the talking on the park boet – I still believe you are a better 13 than 12 but your boot does offer us something at 12 we dont have currently.

    Maybe SA’s love affair with JDV will end as a ‘playmaker’ and you will get a shot.

    I said it about 3 months ago, Pienaar should play 15 – and that break from the back in broken play proved to me once again this kid will be phenominal at 15 – if he improves his defensive game.

    I really feel for Chili, and as someone commented on TV during the week, if you are going to give guys a chance and ‘develop’ them, do it properly dammit.

    Now Chili, the first black captain of any senior Bok side, probably wont get any gametime in the Super 14!!!

    What the hell?

    There just seems to be no plan with Saru and developing players – it killed Shimmie’s career, it has killed Sephaka’s career, and it looks like more of the same for Chili.

    I think Naas summed it up nicely after the game – it was just one game too many, and it did not prove much imo.

    It was painfull to watch at times, and thank goodness it is over now.

  11. Oh no back to this nonsense of Spies on the wing!

    You obvious didn’t watch many of his games when he spent playing 2 years there. He is not a wing and thank goodness Jack, whose original idea it was that he play there, and the Bulls have realised this.

  12. Danie Rossouw was kind of reminding me Chabal in this game.

    Lawrence “the-ugly-ou” got nowhere against him, and he was absolutely massive to say the very least.

    Danie Rossouw imo is the best abbrasive physical 8 we have had in a long time, producing absolute world class performances in the last 2 games, which the boks haven’t seen from an 8 since the Teigman days.

    He should stay at 8 as his specialsit position, and the only other alternative position for him is 4.

    Not 6 or 7 !!

  13. My take on each of the Players

    1 – Deon Carstens – Didn’t disgrace himself in the scrums as was speculated in the prematch talks. Did real good work in the loose. Showed excelent pace for a prop after he kicked ahead.

    2 – Chillyboy – Nothing spectacular but still solid. He did show good commitment a few times when he dived on loose balls. Did put in a few very good cleans.

    3 – CJ van der Linde – Solid. Scrummed well and also put in a few monumental cleans. His one clean in the first half right on the World XV must have left his victim feeling very sore today. Had a few good runs as well. If this guy is on speed and he gets given the ball it will take 3 players to take him down.

    4 – Johan Ackerman – Made a few good tackles but did give away 3 or 4 penalties. Ok-ish.

    5 – Albert vd Bergh – Seems to have packed on some solid muscle. Excelent support play. Did impress me with his steal in a maul. Also stole some good lineout ball.

    6 – Wickus van Heerden – Best match I’ve ever seen him play. His workrate was HUGE! Put in a amazing amount of tackles. A few big ones. What also impressed was the way he and Gerrie Britz drove the people back who they tackled.

    7 – Gerrie Britz – Also one of the best games I’ve seen him play. Excelent tackling. Runs strongly with the ball.

    8 – Danie Rossouw – Very impressive at the back of the scrum. Thomas Castaignède will shiver each time he hears the the words “DANIE ROSSOUW” While everybody is raving about his ball carrying ability the thing that impressed me the most was the way he disrupted the mauls of the World XV. A few times they got into a good position with a penalty kick in the corner, at the drive that followed the lineout, Rossouw would hang back and watch the maul carefully. As soon as the maul showed that it is rolling in a certain direction Rossouw would barge in, just above “Coollapse” height and completely disrupt the maul, once also resulting in a turnover. For me this was the most impresive part of his game.

    9 – Ruan Pienaar – Pity that he couldn’t play at 9 the whole game. In the time he was there the World XV had headaches on defense. As soon as Januarie replaced him things started looking pedestrian again. 2 Excelent breaks.

    10 – Steyn – Very good game. Pity about the 2 kicks that went out on the full. Was perhaps a bit selfish. His defense was really impressive. A few times he made a tackle, got to his feet and made another. Also the tackle where De Wet Barry went down, Styen was on Farrel, fetching the ball in a flash.

    11 – JP Pietersen – Did one or two good things but he doen’t deserve to be there. Jongi Nokwe looked much better when he came onto the field later in the game.

    12 – Meyer Bosman – Solid game. Did try a few ambitious passes and if they came off he would have been hailed as a visionary. They didn’t though.

    13 – Wynand Olivier – Did show some good pace. He let one or 2 tackles slip. In all a solid performance.

    14 – Hendrik Meyer – Had a few good runs but I couldn’t help to feel that he is trying to run over his opposition. He would do well to add a little variation into his attack. A sidestep never hurt anybody.

    15 – Bevan Fortuin – Too slow for this level. Didn’t do bad but if he were quicker we could have scored a few more tries. also took the wrong option a few times.

    Gary Botha – Did well. Did very well in the loose and tight loose.

    Selbourne Boome – Didn’t impress much. very quiet

    Hilton Lobberts – Made one nice tackle. Otherwise quiet.

    Lawrence Sephaka – Looked very overweight. Struggled in the scrums.

    Januarie – Always a terrier on defense. Made a few good breaks but sometimes takes to long to pass and his pass lacks power. Would do well to pass bricks over the whole December Holiday.

    Jongi Nokwe – After struggling with his defense for the Stormers he really impressed me in the time he was on the field. He made a few telling tackles with one huge monster throw in. Also impressed by the way he got to his feet in a snap to be ready for the next tackle.

    The pack really impressed me when counter rucking. Slowed the ball down very well.

    The backline rans sideways too much but they did offload well in the tackle. A few things tried that would have payed dividends on other days.

    The whole team did look a bit like they were already on the plane. If this was the first game on tour we would have put 50 plus on them. A solid game. Not as badd as Naas and Joel would have us beleive.


  14. Jaja Fok Shoot me…

    Brainfart. All in all I was quite impressed by the team.

    I’ve got a whole load of projects to fisish and seeing that the other programmer that works with me is on leave for 2 months I’ve got a whole lot of work…
    Also since summer is here I spend lunchtimes at a dam close to my work fly fishing.


  15. Kom nou, PA!
    How did you get around bracketing Steyn with Russell? (“Why do I get the feeling we are seeing another Russell in the making here?”)

    Been drinking, Boet? Morning sickness? Heartburn?

    “There just seems to be no plan with Saru and developing players – it killed Shimmie’s career, it has killed Sephaka’s career, and it looks like more of the same for Chili.”

    Ditto for JP – must be the worst defender in Green and Gold.

    The reason we see this happening is this fast-tracking AA policy. You can try and hide a lack of merit and experience in a government department, but not on the sportsfield.

  16. Ag nee man Ploegskaar!

    We all know what PA means.

    It means that the kid is a stop gap because once Jake gets back Breyten, A Pretorius, Percy, etc, there won’t be place for Fransie and he’ll forever be the mercurial could have been like Russel.

  17. Russell never ever showed Steyn’s talent, neither does he have the physique, the defensive capabilities or the boot – both for touch-finding and poles.

    Sorry, I did not know what PA was hinting at.
    So call me stupid.

  18. Ploegskaar you said it not me…


    Russel is confident and clever and WAS where Steyn is now.

    It’s inconsistent selection that’s left him useless and wasted.

    I wonder if he’ll make a decent #12?

  19. Donner

    Ja man, they lose their super powers

    But then so do any players that move to the Cape.

    Wondrous elsewhere but in the cape you sap them of their briliance. It’s like kryptonite!

    Schalk Brits, Puke Twatson, Naas Olivier, now probably Brent too….

  20. we have one already Dave, his name is Jean De Villiers.

    We’ve just got to get Os, Bakkies and Schalla back into the mix and the trophy is ours.

  21. Ja that is because we need to teach them how to play decent rugby from scratch.

    Although Brits caugt on quickly. Guess the Lions don’t screw them up that badly.

  22. For once I agree with Boertjie.

    Donner – the match was painful. The forwards secured heaps of ball… but every single one was wasted either through a stupid pass from Bosman or through Fortuin killing the move stone dead with his astounding lack of pace. I thought the Free Staters were meant to inspire running rugby…

  23. Hey – were the Boks that bad?

    At least they cleaned out some rucks, go a few mauls going, even some passing moves. And the backs looked like attacking.

    Maybe I’m influenced by the TV coverage – for the first time on tour I had a good idea what was happening on the field.

    The Brits and the Frogs should base their TV recipe on the guy who directed this game. Still not as good as the best SH directors, but light years ahead of his compatriots.

  24. Shitballs but Daniesaurus made me eat my words on Saturday.

    I thought it was a solid performance by the boks but the World XV were simply poor.
    They looked devoid of any creativitiy and there were way too mnay players playing that struggle to even make the England team.

    Dont think guys like Visagie, Casteigne and Dalaglio were done any justice by the players playing with them.

    I thought Steyn had a good aggressive game but his kicking was erratic. Thankfully he has a huge boot.
    But I think if he was playign against a real flyhalf he would have looked mediocre.

    Olivier was very good as was van der Berg. That should tell you something about the opposition.

    The world XV erred badly by playing 3 league converts, none of whom have played much Union at all. In fact the two outside backs, Cross and Tjaikovsky (not idea about spelling) were only playing in their second league game and Farrell barely makes the Sarries side.

    All in all a solid performance by the lads against a very mediocre side.
    Daniersaurus was sublime.
    He’s making me eat my words.

  25. Bevin Fortuin and JP Pietersen are nothing more than good CC players. If they were white they would never have made the Boks.The same goes for Ralepelle and no comment needed on Sekhaka Vetsaka.
    I agree with PA regarding Pienaar. Play him at fullback with Steyn at 10.
    Spies, Smith and Danie as a loosetrio with Schalk and Wickus as backup.