“You lied to me Tappe, you lied to me!” No, it has absolutely no relevance (other than a rugby related comment) to the Bok squad but reading some comments since the announcement of the Bok squad one would swear Heyneke Meyer committed high treason!
The comment, for those who are interested, were famously uttered by Bob Skinstad once in a Super Rugby game against the Lions at Newlands where referee, Tappe Henning apparently told Bob that time is up and if they kick the ball out it would be half time. However, Tappe allowed the line out to take place (for some reason) and the Lions ended up scoring from that set piece which had old Bob in a hissy telling Tappe all the way to the change room how disgusted he was breaking a promise to the Stormers captain – the Stormers still won however…
I don’t know why but reading the massive fall-out since the Bok squad announcement this is the first thing that came to mind, because for some reason it seems that Heyneke Meyer has betrayed the South African rugby public, or like Tappe, lied to them.
Now the announcement of any Bok squad is bound to be met with some criticism by a rugby-crazy public but I seriously have not seen Capetonians so upset since Queer Eye for the Straight Guy was cancelled!
Personally, I have written a couple of columns on Heyneke Meyer and his challenges as Bok coach so since the fall-out on Saturday night (and most of Sunday) I went back to dust off some of my research material to see if the Bok mentor indeed went back on any promise he made to the South African rugby public…
I picked up a lot of instances where Meyer talked how excited he was with the enormous talent South Africa had which he experienced first-hand with his planning camps where well over 100 players were invited. It was also apparent that Meyer has been, and probably still is worried about the limited preparation time (one week) he has before his first test in charge which explains his initial plans to bring back old stalwarts like Victor Matfield and Fourie du Preez (which has obviously not materialized). The other thing that was quite noticeable reading through all the Meyer quotes in the media is that he won’t be rushed especially when it comes to appointing his captain (a vitally important thing for him) or leaders within the team to such an extent that his captain for the Poms will only be temporary until he had more time to establish some common ground with the players.
So after reading through volumes and volumes of articles and quotes the closest thing I could come to a ‘promise’ he made to the South African rugby public was the following;
“I, Heyneke Meyer, promise the South African rugby public that we (the Boks) will play every single test as it were our last – in other words, we play to win every single test because there is only two kinds of rugby, winning rugby, and losing rugby”
Okay, okay, not in those exact words but you obviously get the picture.
No-where could I pick up where Meyer said something like; ‘Okay I will pick about 4 okes from this team, 8 from that team and, ag just to be fair and keep those cousins happy, 2 from them’.
Does that mean everybody will be or has to be happy with the 30-odd guys he picked? Of course not, personally my first choice 30 will look vastly different from Meyer’s as I am sure everybody else’s would too, but then again, neither of our teams has to go out on Saturday and take on the Poms.
Fact is ladies and gentleman there will always be players who are unlucky not to be included (and of course those that are) and no I cannot defend or justify all Meyer’s selections because I don’t know what his plans or strategies are (other than wanting to win of course). The one thing I can guarantee you is that Meyer has a plan because you do not win trophies as a coach if you don’t.
Personally I find this massive fall-out from the public quite laughable since Meyer still has to go out and actually lead his troops into their very first test match under him! This squad was selected for one very simple mission – to win the test series against the Poms. So why don’t we all just calm the #%^@ down a bit and see how that goes before we call him a fool (or some of the other choice terms I read in the last two days) – after all, that is the only thing he has promised and asked of us.