Boks must box clever

What a big difference a week in rugby makes! But like last week when the Boks played badly I find myself in a strange but familiar position this week where I call on fans to calm down a bit following the Boks walloping of the Fijians on Saturday.

From no-hopers who will struggle to make it through the pool stages the Boks suddenly find themselves as one of the top 3 contenders to lift the World Cup, and it only took six days for that to change!

Last week I felt we did not give the Welsh enough credit, and although it was not a good Bok performance by any means the win was vital if only for the character shown by the Boks against the best Welsh performance I witnessed in over a decade.

Yesterday the Boks could do no wrong it seems, and not actually having browsed through sites or papers that usually gives player ratings, I will be surprised if any Springbok player scored under 7 points for the match.

Like last week, I do not deny it was a very good Bok performance – or that certain players played out of their skins and deserve every accolade that comes their way, but please folks, it was only Fiji…

South Africa has played the Island teams enough over the years to know exactly what type of game they bring on match-day, and what we need to do to win them.  The Boks always had the class and the depth to easily see off Fiji on Saturday, the question was always going to be by how much or how convincing.  49 points scored is great, but even Namibia put 25 past them…

I am ecstatic in the fact that they did manage to achieve victory in a very convincing manner, it will do as much for the psyche of this team as the narrow victory against Wales last week – but I cannot agree with the sudden calls for players selection in certain positions solely based on this one game.

One position seems to be a major talking point, and that is inside centre.  Frans Steyn had a great game yesterday and personally settled some concerns I had as to proper depth we had for that position.  If anything does have to happen to Jean de Villiers, we know we have a world class player to step up into the position.

I am however still unconvinced if Frans Steyn offers the Springboks more from centre or fullback?  It is not a question if he plays, but where he plays and offers the Boks the most.  One also has to consider the fact that if Frans is to replace Jean de Villiers as most believe he should, the Springboks will lose a world class player, but if Frans continues to play at fullback where he is the best the Boks currently have in that position, you will have two experienced, world class players in the team.

Many will counter that Lambie can easily do a job at fullback for us if Frans plays 12 as he showed yesterday, and not denying he is a fearless and talented young player, Lambie is still a rookie at test level who has played more at flyhalf than fullback at lower levels over the last 12 months.

The questions I keep asking myself are the following;

  • Is Frans a better inside centre than Jean de Villiers?
  • Is Frans a better inside centre than fullback?
  • Where does Frans offer the Boks the most currently?
  • Is Lambie a better fullback than Frans Steyn?

My opinion and answers on all these questions are borderline in some instances, but still a ‘No’.  Frans Steyn on form is not only the best option we have at fullback, but arguably one of the most dangerous fullbacks at the tournament given his skills and deadly boot.

Frans might have shown some instances of brilliance at inside centre but it would take a brave man to say he is better than De Villiers in this position.

The security and options that Frans and Lambie brings to the Boks is a massive boost to the team knowing that if anything goes wrong or injuries happen, we have some world class back up’s and options.

The Francoise Hougaard situation is a similar case in point – would he offer the same impact he currently does if he starts a match, or are the Boks best served to use him in the last 30 or 40 minutes?

Given that there are injuries to players like Habana and De Villiers, I would personally like to see Frans Steyn start the next game at 12 again with Lambie at fullback to not only give them more game time ahead of the play-off’s, but to make them more familiar with the position itself and give them confidence.

Similarly, the next two play-off games should see Hougaard start to see if he does bring the same explosive impact from the starting whistle he currently does from the bench.  Given the depth and talent, players like Matfield, Habana and De Villiers together with John Smit and other senior or important players can actually be given the week off to rest or fully recover from injuries giving the fringe players much needed game time.

My match-day 22 for the Namibian game will look like this:

  1. Beast or Gurthro (depending on game time played/needed)
  2. Bismarck du Plessis
  3. CJ van der Linde
  4. Bakkies Botha (40min max)
  5. Danie Rossouw
  6. Francois Louw
  7. Schalk Burger ©
  8. Willem Alberts
  9. Fourie du Preez
  10. Butch James
  11. Francois Hougaard
  12. Frans Steyn
  13. Juan de Jongh
  14. JP Pietersen
  15. Pat Lambie


  1. Chiliboy Ralepele
  2. Jannie du Plessis
  3. Johann Muller
  4. Heinrich Brussow
  5. Pierre Spies
  6. Morne Steyn
  7. Ruan Pienaar
  • If Johann Muller is not fit Willem Alberts moves to the bench with Pierre Spies to start and Odwa Ndungane coming in changing the split from 5/2 to 4/3

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45 comments for “Boks must box clever

  1. Profile photo of Duiwel
    September 18, 2011 at 4:02 pm

    Ja-ja Miertjie,we have never lost to Fidji
    and once only to Wales.
    Both games were entertaining to watch
    and with both it is evident
    why we came last in the tri Nations.
    Then again ,the wallabies,ref included,were shocking.
    The AB with their back door entrance
    might get that bigheaded playing the plebs
    that the moment the play the frogs
    who looked ok for a b side outing against canada
    might just prove their bogie again

  2. Profile photo of Duiwel
    September 18, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    ghost site?

  3. Profile photo of Duiwel
    September 18, 2011 at 4:35 pm


  4. Profile photo of Timeo
    September 18, 2011 at 5:18 pm

    Some good points about Steyn’s value at fullback. Being versatile can be a curse.

    Only Fiji or not, it is hard to get past the fact that the Bok back-line was effective for the first time in ages and that FS was the cause of this.

  5. Profile photo of Boertjie
    September 18, 2011 at 6:39 pm

    How many passes did Tina make at 12?
    Then it’s seven more than JdeV.

  6. Profile photo of Duiwel
    September 18, 2011 at 8:30 pm

    i am watching the game again
    for the third time,
    like the wales game,
    i have DR as my man of the match,
    however i still don’t rate him.
    Bakkies has an enormous influence,
    as much as wiese,
    if not his own special legend.
    The contest between him and o connel will
    be good to watch.

  7. Profile photo of Jacques(Bunny)
    September 18, 2011 at 8:33 pm

    Fransie played his best rugby for the Boks at 12 in 2007 and seem to be in 2011 as well. The backline looked better and actually looked like they can score try’s again although it was against Fiji.

    I will play Fransie at 12 all the time, Jean is not it anymore and struggle to put more than one good performance in a year.

    It looked like Fransie fit better in with Morne and Jacques and we even saw Morne running again…for me Fransie at 12 thank you very much

  8. Profile photo of DavidS
    September 18, 2011 at 8:37 pm

    There is little argument about the effectiveness of FS in getting the backline moving… lot also had to do with FDP actually playing the ball back to MS at speed, giving the latter time to play the game he likes instead of the kick and chase from depth…

  9. Profile photo of DavidS
    September 18, 2011 at 8:39 pm

    Strangely in 2007 I also called Jean De Villiers a liability… and the Bok backline looked far more impressive with FS at 12 THEN too…

    Just saying

  10. Profile photo of Boertjie
    September 18, 2011 at 8:39 pm

    Reply to Duiwel @ 8:30 pm:

    Watched it a second time last night.
    Specifically concentrated on Flo Louw,
    but I really only spotted him when he
    came on.
    Must be my TV set.

  11. Profile photo of Jacques(Bunny)
    September 18, 2011 at 8:42 pm

    Reply to DavidS Bok on his heart not his shoulder @ 8:37 pm: FDP is not playing good rugby at this stage, maybe because I am use to much better from him. I do believe the understanding between 10-12 and 13 playes a moerse roll in the so called running game

  12. Profile photo of mawm-the-ever-hopeful-shark
    September 18, 2011 at 9:29 pm

    The backline did more in the Fiji game than in the whole trinations.

    Morne looked more comfortable, the ball went through their hands better, they ran some angles……and Lambie found space to join it. It changed from purely defensive line to one that could attack as well. Maybe they are just clicking better with Fransie there.

    Also FDP was far better ……..maar hy gooi nog sy hande in die lug… :shake:

    Lambie put in a credible performance as FB……..but I’d still like to see him play 10 with Fransie outside him. I suppose that leaves Aplon at FB. :?

  13. Profile photo of Cheetah Glory
    September 18, 2011 at 9:59 pm

    I find it strange that we come out and play rugby against these pacific nations only to revert to type against countries who match us up front.

    Jake in 2007 made the mistake of trying to play springbok rugby against them and it nearly cost us.

    But I always knew that Bok rugby is about so much more than bash and bullocks.

    But the ireland loss makes Oz even more difficult now. And I still reckon Wales will reach semis.

  14. Profile photo of Cheetah Glory
    September 18, 2011 at 10:01 pm

    Frans versus Jean?

    Jean has simply not created anything on attack since 2008. But he heads the cape cabal of the old boys club so play he will play regardless.

    One of the key reasons why we wont make the semis.

  15. Profile photo of Jacques(Bunny)
    September 18, 2011 at 10:57 pm

    Reply to Kumbaya Bokke! @ 10:01 pm: Hopefully he stay injured

  16. Profile photo of gsp27
    September 18, 2011 at 11:10 pm

    Ek hoor sprake dat Heinrich gefine is vir sy chip kick? Kan iemand dit bevestig?

    Indien dit waar is het ek nogal ‘n moerse probleem daarmee dit beteken dat ons bestuur spelers gaan fine en hul natuurlike spelskepping stop daarmee, as ons ini final is en hyt weer die bal geen speler is agter (van die opposisie) nie en habana of hougi is langs hom, hy skop w die bal en dit is weer ‘n drie en ons wen, gaan hy dan weer moet gefine word! Uiters stupid as jy my vra, spelers moet toegelaat word om te speel wat hul voor hulself sien!

  17. Profile photo of Deon
    September 19, 2011 at 3:21 am

    We still missed 20% of our tackles. Other teams would have punished that.

    As John said, a step in the right direction, but still some work to do.

    I would actually put JdV on the bench now. Frans seems at home at 12.

  18. Profile photo of Deon
    September 19, 2011 at 3:23 am

    For me the big difference: SPEED!!!

    The speed in attack and specifically the speed at clearing the ball at the breakdown.

  19. Profile photo of Ollie
    September 19, 2011 at 9:44 am

    Reply to gsp27 @ 11:10 pm:

    It wasn’t an official fine, just some team fun. A forward kicking laugh. :lol:

  20. Profile photo of Bekke
    September 19, 2011 at 9:48 am

    Interesting comment from Garth Wright (quoted from Oom Schalk): All teams winning the RWC in past, played with a flyhalve at inside centre. Included Michael Cat, Hennie le Roux, Frans Steyn. Another reason why Frans must play there!
    And Saturday showed what our scrum can actually do with a scrumming lock (and not some pretty boy who dyes his beard…)- get rid of the geriatrics NOW – keep them on the bench if you really believe that you may need them.

  21. Profile photo of KingPaul
    September 19, 2011 at 10:01 am

    Reply to gsp27 @ 11:10 pm: Nee man, dit was alles ‘n joke! Na elke game word spelers “gefine” vir tackles gemis en sulke goed. Alles in ‘n goeie gees, en die boete is gewoonlik ‘n bier wat gedown moet word.

  22. Profile photo of KingPaul
    September 19, 2011 at 10:04 am

    Klink my Lambie het ‘n gewrigs besering. In daai geval sal ek vir Aplon kans gee op heelagter.

  23. Profile photo of JT_BOKBEFOK!
    September 19, 2011 at 10:10 am

    The questions I keep asking myself are the following;

    •Is Frans a better inside centre than Jean de Villiers?

    •Is Frans a better inside centre than fullback?


    •Where does Frans offer the Boks the most currently?


    •Is Lambie a better fullback than Frans Steyn?


    :dead horse:

  24. Profile photo of JT_BOKBEFOK!
    September 19, 2011 at 10:14 am

    Reply to KingPaul @ 10:04 am:

    yes, against Namibia. Also give Chilli and Bismark a run and rest Smit? Give Flouw, Burger and Alberts starts and rest Brussouw and drop Spies :twisted:
    What do we do at lock? Are the likes of Matfield, Botha and Muller still injured?

  25. Profile photo of JT_BOKBEFOK!
    September 19, 2011 at 10:19 am

    Iwould play te following against Namibia because they need game time and or needs to win back some form.
    1. beast
    2. Bissy
    3. CJ
    4. Muller
    5. danie?
    6. Flouw
    7. Burger
    8. Alberts
    9. FdP
    10. Morne (I have him in my Fantasy team :whistling:
    11. Habs
    12. Frans Steyn
    13. Juan
    14. JPP
    15. Aplon
    Bench: Chilli, Jannie, Matfield (if fit), Spies, Brussouw, Hougie, Butch

  26. Profile photo of DavidS
    September 19, 2011 at 10:31 am


    Ja and it started with clearing the rucks

    The Nienaber defence is NOT about the stopping the number of linebreaks conceded but about a layered defensive structure that allows opponents to be absorbed and isolated into a defence and then tackled down by enough players that allow Heinrich Brussouw to compete with the ball….

    Instead of the “IN YOUR FACE” naked aggression of the rush it is more like the sticky stuff of a venus flytrap…

  27. Profile photo of Cheetah Glory
    September 19, 2011 at 10:39 am

    Reply to DavidS Bok on his heart not his shoulder @ 10:31 am:

    so now the boks PLAN to miss the first tackle?

    8O :lol:

    Dawie you are so up the boks arse right now you simply dont know what you are saying anymore.

    What happened to the stormers defence against good teams in pressure situations? Hmmm ja they missed the first tackle but was too late to then stop the try scorer. Freuen in semis?

    At some stage logic suggests those missed tackles will translate into opposition points scored. But I am sure you have a bit of spin already prepared for when that happens.

  28. Profile photo of Cheetah Glory
    September 19, 2011 at 10:39 am

    and yes I know – vaginal discharge blah blah blah….

  29. Profile photo of Morné
    September 19, 2011 at 10:58 am

    I did not mention the defense in this article but it is still very concerning.

    Our channels around the fringes of rucks are poorly policied. Technique of the players here bloody shocking. Our defense is a weakness still, regardless of the fact only 3 points was scored against us.

  30. Profile photo of Ollie
    September 19, 2011 at 11:17 am

    Reply to Morné @ 10:58 am:

    Quite honestly, the game didn’t inspire me with confidence. There is still something missing in the attack and urgency level. A vast improvement on the Wales game, but I think that was more due to Fiji allowing it than the Boks doing it.

    We’re strong enough to take most teams out there but not enough to lift the trophy yet.

    That being said, there has been a steady progression since the first match the A team played in the 3N until now.

  31. Profile photo of Mug Punters Organisation of South Africa
    September 19, 2011 at 11:19 am

    Reply to Morné @ 10:58 am: I think you are right, if this was a better side they would have made better use of all those missed tackles.

    Still cant help feeling MOTMN Danie slipped off too many. I counted 7 but I am sure Byroz will correct my stats (if he comes back of course :soek: .

    I wish we had some younger keener blood in the forwards.

    Is Vic now a weakness in the team at scrum time?

  32. Profile photo of Cheetah Glory
    September 19, 2011 at 11:20 am

    Reply to Morné @ 10:58 am:

    we do scramble well and i think it demotivates the opposition being so close to scoring yet just not getting there. Even Fiji I felt could have beaten us had they converted their chances in the first 15 minutes.

    I cannot help, based on how easy it is to beat our first line of defence, that the boks are still a team one loss away from being a shambles. Wales simply respected us too much and played against our reputation more than anything. This is a very mediocre Fijian side – so we have not nearly been tested this WC.

    But winning is a habit and we have our reputation as a huge ally in WC’s.

    Very odd how little attention is being paid to the kiwis in this WC? Its as if ‘choking’ is the only story the media could spin about them and now is kind of just ignoring them.

  33. Profile photo of Cheetah Glory
    September 19, 2011 at 11:26 am

    Reply to Kevin_rack @ 11:19 am:

    That a player like Danie can be MOTM after this game still shocks me. He single handedly stood in the way a many a great backline ball.

    Will we ever be able to distinguish between being ‘industrious’ and being ‘effective’?

  34. Profile photo of Timeo
    September 19, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    Reply to DavidS Bok on his heart not his shoulder @ 10:31 am:

    Do you have some sort of source for that or did you just suck that out of your thumb?

  35. Profile photo of DavidS
    September 19, 2011 at 1:34 pm


    It seems you can’t read

    Did I say Boks plan to miss tackles?


    Did I say that missing first time tackles is okay?


    Go read again and when you understand it come ask more questions…


    I watched the Stormers and Bok defensive patterns after Jacques Nienaber got appointed…

  36. Profile photo of namboer
    September 19, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    Reply to JT_BOKBEFOK! @ 10:10 am:
    :agree::agree::agree: S-s-s-s-s-s-sekondeer!

    Reply to Kumbaya Bokke! @ 11:26 am: many a great backline ball, says who? What guarantee is there that ‘a great backline ball’ will be converted into meters gained? And for this specific game, with Fiji as oppo, was it not better to attack channel 1 & 2 to draw in (more) defenders and hence provide great(er) backline ball?
    Die idee is tog om die lyn te breek, of dit nou deur ‘n voorspelers of agterspeler gedoen word, en Russouw kon dit ‘n hele paar keer regkry. Ek reken selfs van sy breekslae het direk tot ‘n drie of drieë gelei. Of wou jy sien hoe die ‘great backline ball’ deur die hande gaan tot by vleuel en dan, omdat daar min ondersteuning is, die Fidji agterspelers met hulle arms soos boomstompe die bal steel?

    And then, ‘industrious’ vs ‘effective’ – 49-3, effectively industrious of industriously effective?? ;)

    Dit was ‘n lekker game om te kyk, ‘n wen & 5 punte op die log en ‘n interessante paar vrae/antwoorde vir die afrigtingspan.

  37. Profile photo of Boertjie
    September 19, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    Reply to JT_BOKBEFOK! @ 10:10 am:

    Jip I also agree.

    I also prefer Hougaard at 11
    in place of Habana.

  38. Profile photo of Timeo
    September 19, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    Reply to DavidS Bok on his heart not his shoulder @ 1:34 pm:

    My impression of the defence is, that it is to hold the ball carrier up and drive him back to slow things down and give you more time to set for the next phase.

    Once the guy is down you have to release, but while he is upright you are free to slow things down as much as you can.

    Similar to how Ireland played against Australia.

    More of a tackle technique than a defensive pattern.

    Stopping line-breaks would still be important as setting your line whilst retreating is difficult. The Boks just don’t have the technique right yet.

  39. Profile photo of JT_BOKBEFOK!
    September 19, 2011 at 3:15 pm

    Reply to Boertjie @ 2:55 pm:

    Agree but maybe Habana can get some form in the Nam game, Hougie is the ultimate super sub for the Bokke IMO and should come on every game around the 50min mark with Biskak ;-)

  40. Profile photo of Boertjie
    September 19, 2011 at 4:39 pm

    Reply to Timeo @ 3:11 pm:

    What was pointed out in the Fiji game
    was the outside-in defense:

    13, 14 rushing and closing the space on the
    outside, forcing the movement back to the
    centre of the field where there is ample

    I recall it being done twice, although it
    is difficult to spot patterns with the
    inbuilt limitations of TV, often coupled
    to directors not cutting to the correct
    camera shot.

    Like when they cut to tight shots at rucks
    and you cannot see the offside line or the
    players coming in from the side.

    Snooker and tennis is the best TV sports
    from a viewer’s perspective.
    Although I once sat watching the director
    regularly cutting away before the white ball
    :Rule 9:

  41. Profile photo of DavidS
    September 19, 2011 at 9:28 pm

    Reply to Timeo @ 3:11 pm:

    Yes but that is not dependent on the initial line holding out because instead of running down the line to join the fray the immediate covers for first line run BEHIND the first line rushers / drifters, so breaking that line is absorbed by the second line… kind of like a foliated crystal, it means the attacker’s absorbed into the defence and isolated. It is no longer necessarily about tackling back but rather holding up and smothering the tackle area in such a way that the ball is held up. Also note how often our defenders are nowadays tackling legs again and NOT just F2F tackling. The idea is that the guy is held up so Brussouw and Schalk and Bismarck can do their evil.

    Out wide there is till the element of umbrella / rush but one has to admit this is rare and more likely a tactic aimed at a specific situation that is called rather than every single time. Like being aimed at keeping good runners in traffic rather than in space out wide.

  42. Profile photo of Duiwel
    September 19, 2011 at 9:49 pm
  43. Profile photo of Oranje Orakel
    September 19, 2011 at 9:51 pm

    Reply to JT_BOKBEFOK! @ 10:10 am:

    Well Said!

  44. Profile photo of Oranje Orakel
    September 19, 2011 at 9:58 pm

    Reply to Duiwel @ 9:49 pm:

    Ja Dybel

    stiRRing up Da Fern


  45. Profile photo of gsp27
    September 20, 2011 at 8:31 am

    Baie dankie, raak ek opgewerk oor niks, hahaha


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