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A C+ for Meyer and the Boks


It did not take long to find myself in a very similar position with regards to the Springbok coach and Springbok rugby as I did in the past.

If we had to play a game of “Guess the coach from the quotes” and I had to write something to the effect of: ‘Our problem is not how we play or our game plan but jus the execution of it’, or: ‘We don’t need a Plan B we just need to make sure Plan A works’, or even: ‘We have proven how effective we can be in other tests’ – I wonder which Bok coach(es) will be named?

The above by the way are all quotes from our current Springbok coach, Heyneke Meyer, following yesterday’s disappointing showing against the English in a cold, wet and windy Port Elisabeth, but it was when I read them that I immediately got a feeling of dé jà vu and it did not take me long to dig up similar comments from the archives. The place was Durban, the year, 2008 – ironically another test where so-called ‘supporters’ boo’d their own team and players following a loss to Australia.

There is no getting away from how poor the Springboks were in PE yesterday and some players must surely take responsibility for their poor showing after the coach put so much faith in them even against huge public criticism, but it’s also, typically South African and something I have personally become used to.

I must say the part I find amusing at the moment is how some of the individuals in the media currently ‘defending’ the national coach were the same people that rubbished these ‘excuses’ not even 4 years ago – but that’s another story all together.

Fact is, there should not even be a situation of ‘defending’ or ‘attacking’ a coach, like all others before him, he will be judged by his results, it is viewing those results in context which seems to be an art lost amongst supporters and critics.

Context following the last 3 tests tells me the following:

  • The Springboks won a test series against one of the top 5 teams in the world.
  • They did it in the middle of a grueling Super Rugby competition with only a week to prepare before the first test.
  • It was accomplished with quite a number of players injured before the series started and more key players getting injured during the course of the series.
  • Heyneke Meyer’s record as Springbok coach currently reads; 2-0-1 (W-L-D)

The context as stated above highlights (not excuse) possible reasons for some of the performances we have seen over the last 3 weeks.  These performances ranged from sublime (first half hour in Johannesburg), to average (much of the first test and second half of the second test), to downright piss-poor (Port Elisabeth).

Player selections seems to unlock the biggest criticism, and while performances of certain individuals like Morne Steyn and Francois Hougaard are rightly questioned, we easily forget those selections which inspired like Marcell Coetzee and Eben Etzebeth who made stunning debuts under Meyer.

Similarly, although we can rightly question the fact why some players seem to be selected on reputation alone like Pierre Spies, why do we not acknowledge the reputations of players like Jean de Villiers and Bryan Habana which seemed to have been enhanced under Meyer?

You are never going to get it 100% right as a coach, it is simply impossible, and down the line his faith in players are going to start wearing thin and they are going to find themselves out in the cold sooner rather than later – but it is damn unfair to expect a coach to make career-changing decisions on his troops after just 240 minutes on the park.

Personally I have no doubt we will see a number of changes for the Rugby Championship, not wholesale changes, but more educated changes as Meyer would have learned, and will continue to learn following each test.

It might not have been pretty, but it is mission accomplished for the Boks and Meyer, and with a personal rating of 6.5 out of 10 for the England series, I am looking forward to tackling the Aussies, Kiwi’s and Argies in 2 months time.

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  1. but it is damn unfair to expect a coach to make career-changing decisions on his troops after just 240 minutes on the park.
    Fair point.
    Nothing wrong with Meyer’s selections –
    on the face of there being very few other
    available choices.
    Game plan is the “traditional” one, we just
    don’t have the players to carry it out against
    a bunch of Poms playing with utmost pride.

    Maybe on some days a team just does not click.

    Right now I’m not looking forward to the 4N . . .

  2. Messed up and recorded the NZ/Ireland baby seal slaughter instead of the Bok game.
    Will The Goose be healed by 4N time?
    I think it would please both myself – and the Cape Spanish – if The Messerschmitt that is Willie LeRoux got his debooo vs Argentina.
    I know I previously stated EOYT. No need to delay glory. Willie is fine he ain’t wine.

  3. Context following the last 3 tests tells me the following:

    The Springboks won a test series against one of the top 5 teams in the world.
    They did it in the middle of a gruelling Super Rugby competition with only a week to prepare before the first test.
    It was accomplished with quite a number of players injured before the series started and more key players getting injured during the course of the series.
    Heyneke Meyer’s record as Springbok coach currently reads; 2-0-1 (W-L-D)

    NZ and Aus had the same time, also playing with some key players injured, and won all three their test.

    Aus beat the number 4 rank and NZ the number 8 Ranked.

    IRB World Rankings – 18 June 2012 Position (last week) Member Union Rating Point
    1(1) NZLNEW ZEALAND 91.43
    2(2) AUSAUSTRALIA 86.77
    3(3) RSASOUTH AFRICA 85.47
    4(5) WALWALES 82.54
    5(4) ENGENGLAND 82.49
    6(7) ARGARGENTINA 81.22
    7(6) FRAFRANCE 81.06
    8(8) IREIRELAND 79.85
    9(9) SAMSAMOA 77.64
    10(11) SCOSCOTLAND 76.56
    I can remember you coming up for a certain PDV as the new coach the same way you are doing now with HM. DO not try and give us excuses why they play the way they play and why the coach have such a difficult job. You live and die by your own sword, so HM choice is his once. I did not agree with it others did.

    You know what is really funny is that when we like a coach or a new coach comes in we say to our self he is new, he did not had enough time with the players, injuries and so forth the Bok team consisted of
    13 Bulls players( Which HM knew and helped couch not just this season but also before)


    I like the HM factor, like the way,(although some say he is playing the same old game), he change the way the boks play, except off course yesterday’s game. The Boks looks more lively in the backline than I saw in the past four years. I like that he trust players, but my only worry is that he will back players he believes in and go down with them.

    For the past two years Morne Steyn’s kicking went down the tubes. It is not something new and just in this year I can remember about six times Media and Vlok spoke about Morne’s kicking and also the way he will come back.

    For me it is not just Morne’s kicking at goal it is his general kicking game as well. I also felt that in the past Morne had commanded his backline and the flow of the game which I did not see in these three test or in the Supershit.

    Morne missed drop gaols, kicks at post and some of his kicks was charge down.

    He is slow and at this stage I would at least give one of the youngsters a change to show what they can do and just maybe Morne will be force to work even harder and get himself back on track.

    Pierre is not the best we have finish and klaar.

    Pienaar is better than Hougie fact…..and if they want to say Hougie plays the hard part and Pienaar comes in as an impact player and have it easier then ask the coach to change that.

    Meisiekind is average and will give you 100% but will give you nothing special, same with Daniels and this new chap Marchelle, he is nothing special and for me the bok team must be special average belongs to Supershit and Bok “A” sides.The Marchel character after 3 test start flicking balls in the tackle to nobody. Our defence is suspect and can not for the life of me understand why the best defence caoach proven in the last three years is not with the bok team(And I am not going to start again with the Bulls factor on this.

    JP Pieterse is hond kak, because he score a try or two in test matches everyone raves about the dude, but I watch him closely yesterday and he does nothing in full speed and as soon as he see a defender he brakes and triple around like a teenager who on heat. His defence is kak and he gives nothing extra to the backline.

    Jean is average to say the least. without Frans their yesterday showed how much out of sort we were in the midfield. The only real plus point for me in the three test is Jeadre Kruger and the du Plessis brothers. Etsebeth in a smaller scale as well but he will become something great.

    So call me stupid or naïve but I am not excited for a series win on HOME ground against a brand new English team.

    This English team should have been putted away in the First two test by the Boks but we could not played for 80 min. Yesterday the Poms were unlucky not to moer us because we were kak to say the least.

    So excuse me for not jumping up and down at this stage yet.

    You say you looking forward top the Championship….I am sorry if it is only me but I am like that puppet on that Dodge advert a few years ago…..”I am scared of what is going to happen to us in the Championship against Aus and NZ for I am not looking forward to it right now….

    I just hope and believe Like HM said that they have three games and some more to pick up their game before we start with the Aus and NZ onslaught.

    I hope with my heart and sole that HM and whoever he choose in his Championship squad will play better than this test series otherwise we gonna have some red faces on this block and in RSA.

    Their is my two cents worth

  4. By the way I would give them 33.3% for this test series, for not killing the Poms in the first two test and playing as kak as they did in the thrird.

    33.3% is passing but it is still way off were we should be with the talent in this country.

  5. Reply to Jacques(Bunny) @ 2:28 pm:

    I like to turn your words around? I am just using your own words…

    Deans has been with the Aussies for how long now?

    Hansen has been involved in a coaching capacity for the All Blacks for how long now?

    And all those players you mention being so hond kak, I am missing you mentioning alternatives?

  6. Morne I agree 100%

    The hysterics of some of the supporters following the performances of the Bulls are terribly tinged by provincialism.

    Even on our FB page I’ve had certain so-called supporters say they are “sick and tired of the Bulls road show so bring on the Super 15 again”*

    Even the players who have been suggested as possible changes soi far are players who are totally untested and in some cases (Lambie) suggested for playing out of position.

    People need to calm the f**k down and get some perspective.

  7. Reply to Morné @ 2:33 pm:

    And all those players you mention being so hond kak, I am missing you mentioning alternatives?

    I keep saying this too.

    ps. Want to know how kak Morne Steyn is kicking at goal?

    Super Rugby

    2012 leading point scorer
    2011 second highest point scorer
    2010 leading point scorer
    2009 leading point scorer

    And in 3N

    2009 Top point scorer
    2010 Top point scorer
    2011 Third highest scorer (just seven points separated him, Carter and O’ Connor though)

    2011 RWC leading scorer despite playing two games less than those who were in the semifinal and final!!!!!

    How can you say he has “kicking problems” for the “past three seasons” that “everyone could see”

    You’re living in laa – laa – loopsy land dude…

    Who the hell has “kicking problems” for three seasons when he has amassed that record???

    As I said

    Get some f***king perspective….

  8. Reply to Morné @ 2:33 pm: Yes you are turning it around again…..

    AB And Aus same amount of time to get ready, Aus even in bigger shit before test windows started for they are playing horse shit in Superkak.
    AB and Aus also have key playesr injured and new caps coming in.

    And here is just a few who wouyld not be worse off tha what was choosen, and might have even came forward as stars but we will never know will we.

    Wings: Aplon, JJ, Basson,
    Flanks Eight Men: Kolisi, Johnson, CJ Stander, Baardbek Strauss , Francois Louw, Elstadt
    Center: De Jong, Whitehead, Sadie, Francois Venter. Doppies all better than Meisiekind.

    Then some other Jaco Taute, Alwyn Holllenbach, Deon Van Rensburg, Carr, Hennie Danillar,

    and I can go on on quality players we have and if given a change we will be able to judge, but HM is doing what all others before him did, take the gross of the previous years players and introduce one or two new once because he trust in them….you can stand on your head and sing Jan pierewiet deur jou hol maar vir MY is daar ‘n paar ouens wat ‘n kans verdien in die bok setup teenoor die waarin ons glo.

    Ons vergeet dat die Englse spoan met ‘n klomp nuwe spelers hier kom toer het en dat hulle glad nie met hulle sterte onder hul boiude hoef terug te gaan Engeland toe nie.

  9. Reply to DavidS @ 2:35 pm: In my review it’s got fokol to do with which team I support, in fact I can not pick more than Kolisi from my team into the current Bok team which are not injured.

    The fact remain we play players we trust in and do not give a change to young new stars top show their ability at that level.

    I say AGAIN, OVERALL IA LIKE WHAT HM IS DOING, but he need to kick these so-called star players butt now and let then know they are not irreplaceable.

    We won against Number 5 team in the world who fucking who, let’s see how these players fair against number 2 and 1 in the world or will you again say it was too sort a time

  10. Reply to Jacques(Bunny) @ 3:04 pm:

    Hey genius, I am talking continuity – you know, how the Boks have a coach who has never coached at this level and how NZ and Aus has guys that has been there for 4 years plus with the players. But don’t let logic get in the way of your argument.

    And as for your players you mentioned, 13 of those would have made their debut if they were to be selected, 2 of those are injured (Doppies, Taute), one cannot command a starting spot in his union team (Johnson), which leaves you with 4 you ‘might’ have a case for (Aplon, Basson, De Jongh, Francois Louw) – so what have you got to go on other than ‘what you think’ that they would have been better than those actually selected? Gut feel? Especially considering Aplon and JJ would have to come in for Habana, JPP, Lambie, 3 of the better performers of the series?

    En Engeland gaan terug huis toe 0 out 3! Dit op die agtergrond van n baie goeie 6 Nasies!

    As jy dit nie stert tussen die bene noem nie dan weet ek nie wat jy as suksesvol beskryf nie.

  11. Reply to DavidS @ 2:56 pm: Nice to turn stats around for your own benefits:

    Stinking rate stats, meaning were it matters in points:

    96.88 Peter Grant
    (Western Stormers) 9 9 23 22 32 31
    90 Riaan Smit
    (Cheetahs) 7 6 3 3 10 9
    85.71 Johan Goosen
    (Cheetahs) 21 17 35 31 56 48
    84.62 Elton Jantjies
    (Lions) 17 13 22 20 39 33
    80 Patrick Lambie
    (Natal Sharks) 24 20 41 32 65 52
    77.78 Morne Steyn
    (Northern Bulls) 38 28 52 42 90 70

    and this is just the RSA kickers

  12. Reply to Morné @ 3:18 pm: As jy na SKy sport geluister het en die afrigter is hulle baie gelukkig met wat hulle gedoen het met die nuwe spelers wat hulle ingebring het en “Mark MY Words” Die poms gaan moeilik gekeer word in 2015. Hulle bou op na soos in 2003.

  13. Reply to Jacques(Bunny) @ 3:20 pm:

    Met wat ons gehad het?

    Wat het ons gehad? n Week om voor te berei? Talle beserings? Coach wat vir die eerste keer met baie van die ouens werk? Span wat in kwarteind uit die Wereldbeker uitgeskop is?

    Verduidelik gou vir my wat het Heyneke gehad toe hy die eerste keer die span bymekaar gekry het die Maandag voor die eerste toets 4 dae weg?

  14. Reply to Morné @ 3:24 pm: Wat ons in die twee toetse gehad het wat bal besit en oorheersing gehad het. :shake: en toe gee ons hulle net eenvoudig kans om terug te kom en amper die toetse te wen as hulle meer ervare was soos ‘n NS of Aus span sou ons daai twee toetse verloor het.

    Ons kan bly wees ons het teen die Engelse gespeel

  15. Reply to Morné @ 3:25 pm: Ek wag met angs om te sien dat HM die Bokke voorentoe vat maar ek moet se ek is bekommerd en as David en jy se ek oor reageer en is suurgat omdat daar nie meer WP spelers in die span is nie maak julle ‘n moerse fout Bok rugby vir my het niks met WP. Bull, Sharks of Lions uit te waai nie

  16. Reply to Jacques(Bunny) @ 3:28 pm:

    Jy bedoel daai NZ se span wat hul tweede toets in the laaste sekondes gewen het teen Ierland?

    Of Australie wat hulle tweede en derde toetse met een punt gewen het?

    Ja ek is nie veel gepla nie, veral nie met die spelers wat ek weet gaan fiks wees vir daardie kompetisie nie en dat Meyer sou geleer het uit die afgelope 3 toetse.

  17. Reply to Morné @ 3:34 pm: Mmmh en dieselfde span wat hoeveel in die vyftig’s gewen het en hoeveel in die veertig’s in die eerste toets….mmhhh ja ek praat van hulle

    En die daai span wat die 6 Nasie Kampione gewen het….mmmhh ja ek praat van hulle

  18. Reply to Jacques(Bunny) @ 3:40 pm:

    Is jy gesuip?

    Jy wil die Springbokke se vertonings nitpick maar die feit dat Ierland een kak skrum call van die ref weg was om NZ op hul eie veld te wen is vir jou nie van toepassing nie? n Span wat 4de in die patetiese 6 Nasies ge-eindig het teen n All Black span wat nie naastenby die hoeveelheid sterre verloor het van 2011 (wat die Bokke verloor het) af nie en afgerig word deur iemand wat al 8 jaar saam met die span is?

    So ook die Walliese wat twee toetse in die doosnikke verloor het teen n span wat hulle afrigter nou al vir 5 jaar aan die helm het?

    Nee fok man.

  19. Reply to Morné @ 3:46 pm: Ja presies en nee ek is nie gesuip nie en ek is bly jy voel ons kan met vertroue in die 4 nasies ingaan ek is met oom boer en is moerse bekommerd soos ek nou nou gese het ek hoop julle slim manne is reg en ek is verkeerd want as dit verkeerd gaan loop ind ie 4 nasies gaan dit moeilik wees om verskonings te soek, HM is moerse bekommerd en mens kan dit sien as die kammara’s op hom is, hy is nie ‘n aap nie as jy rustig is oor die 4 nasies ek belowe jou as jy HM nou vra sal hy vir jou se jy is gesuip om te dink mens kan rustig wees oor wat voorle in ‘n maand van nou af

  20. Reply to Morné @ 3:46 pm: Wil jy regtig die AB oordeel aan een toets en die ander twee wat hulle Ireland verneder laat agter bly.

    Beide van ons twee wen toetse teen die Poms moes ons hulle gemors het soos die AB gedoen het met Ireland.

    Ons het nie en het hulle terug gelaat in die toets en gister se game gaan ons nie oor praat nie ek is seker ons almal kan saam stem dit was maar kakkerig.

  21. EK sal met afwagting kyk hoe dit verloop teen Nr 1 en Nr 2 in die wereld.

    Hoop maar jy is reg en ek is verkeerd ek sal dan persoonlik vir jou se ek het kak gepraat en jy was reg

  22. Reply to Jacques(Bunny) @ 3:53 pm:

    Nee, ek wil die AB’s oordeel aan die feit dat hulle basies die span het wat die Wereldbeker gewen het, met n afrigter wat al 8 jaar saam met hulle is, en nog steeds een kak beslissing van n ref teen die Iere weg was teen n verloor op hulle eie tuisveld.

    Lees die berig hierbo weer, dit gaan oor ‘konteks’. Nie ‘verskonings vir Meyer’ nie.

    As jy wil vergelykings tref, doen dit regverdig.

    As jy die Bokke wil oordeel, doen dit in die lig van die challenges wat Meyer gehad het.

    Ek verskoon nie gister se vertoning nie, nog minder sekere keuses deur die toer, maar ek staar dit ook nie net op die gesig af nie.

  23. Reply to Jacques(Bunny) @ 3:56 pm:

    Ek dink die Aussies is hondkak, NZ sal altyd fokken moeilik wees maar glo my hulle weet die Bokke gaan hulle kak gee.

    As Meyer met n 70% + rekord deur 2012 gaan sal ek heel gellukig wees. In 2013 sal ek niks minder as 4 Nasies kampioene verwag nie.

    Teen 2015 verwag ek n Springbok span wat ons nog nooit in die professionele era gesien het nie.

  24. Hak hak, HM is K@K!

    And Ricardo Loubscher is the best backline coach in SA at the moment! And cocaine sniffing Pieter de Villiers is the best forward coach in SA. And some no-name wannabe-Bulls defensive coach is the best defensive coach in SA. And Wynand Olivier is better that any Cheetah, Stormer or even last place Lion centre???

    Hak hak, HM is narcistically k@k!!!!!

  25. ja some no name bulls wannabe defensive coach, john mcfarlans wat al jare lank homself bewys. Bekke, jou ma roep jou, sy se jy moet ophou papsak suip en jou voortanne terugsit

  26. A lot of truths but
    too much emotional,
    almost provincialism ,
    fault finding.

    The result is 2-0-1
    No loss.
    I’ll worry about how well they win
    When they win so much
    That it matters.
    If HM draws every game he plays
    I’ll be happy.
    They start losing that’s another matter.

  27. I think Meyer gets the benefit of the doubt here for this series, he had little option to blood youngsters in the pack, and may have thought about this carefully enough not to also add too much inexperience in the backline.

    Two factors he will have to consider and consider hard.

    Morne is not our future, our first two tests are vs Argentina, that is his last chance to try Lambie at 10

    The other thing is his plan A works very well when the forwards dominate and bring the intensity, but there is no plan B, Morne showed nothing when we needed it most.

  28. Reply to DavidS @ 2:35 pm: I think the provincailism lives in your head. Hougaard and Steyn are from where?

    HM is a coach and not God. And looking at Julius even God makes mistakes. HM has made a mistake by not testing another flyhalf, chosing too many players that are supposed to know the plan then playing players who are not upt to scratch. Sorry guys but Pottie and WO dont make the grade.

    The Bulls have shown what can be achieved when they run the ball when they smashed the Chiefs. They showed they could do it but instead go back into their shells.
    The Bulls should have dominated S15 like the Crusaders

    Reply to biltongbek @ 10:56 pm: we go on about physcicality but when you dont dominate, like the last game, then what?? Kick away possesion?

    Anyway HM scores well. He won a series against a decent POM side invery little time, he introduced awesome running rugby in the first two tests, better than PDiddy and Witouk combined and started with a lot of new players.

    He is going to get us to klap the Kiwis, if he does not go back into his shell like gone past.

    Reply to Aldo @ 8:18 pm: another classy Bulls supporter. Dude lay off the tik.

  29. Can’t wait for the 4N showdown. I know Ireland were easy beats Friday night but the NZ lock Palermo looked rampant. Didn’t even knew that guy existed.
    Come 4N….Bring on the HoneyBadger named Brussouw!

  30. Reply to Americano @ 6:01 am:

    Luke Romano has had an excellent S15 season so far… as had Retalick…

    Jeez that speedy loose-forward trio with McCaw at 8 was all over the paddock… decimated the Paddie’s…

    Going to be a very interesting 4N…

    One win against the Aussies and one against the AB’s will give them 9/12 and 75% win rate and a new record for Bok coach’s…

  31. yeah well kevin, all us Bulls fans are the same. We drink too much brandy so cannot possibly make a call about rugby. Jees we’re drunk most of the day, dont know how gauteng ever became the financial hub of SA with my type in control. Maybe go read bekke`s comment and all his other stupid comments before you comment on mine. That is if you can put the papsak down long enough. I purposlly did not comment on this and other threads, as I know that no matter what I say to defend player or coach, even though I defended pdivvy when he was under fire, will only lead to me being called a Bull fan that cannot see through my blue glasses. I am just fed up with Bekke. So if you dont like me, skip my comments and move on.

  32. Dude, where’s my front teeth, damm poached egg is too tough today!
    Shame Bryze, maybe you should find out who “helped” our forwards in this series before commenting on “ignoramus”. Narcist HM should select more of his blougat buddies – quickest way for us to get rid of these inbred morons…

  33. No panic needed.

    But Boks still average and very mediocre and players are the problem, not so much game plan.

    Will Meyer replace them?

    Thats the question.

    Meisie en Jean and JPP and all those guys are “solid” players but will leave you at nr 3 in the world.

    many on this site are rather happy with nr 3.

  34. what pisses me off is this:

    you have a olivier type player who defends well (not quite de wet barry) but OK. The same player attacks ‘well’, not quite De Jong but OK. He is not fast enough to utilise a line break (ditto Jean Divs who bliksemed over his own feet where in 2008 he would have, and did, score)

    So we are effectively saying ‘OK’ and ‘solid’ is good enough these days to be a starting Bok?

    Who in this team based on past 3 tests are the best in their position in the world?

  35. and my second big gripe is this:

    if you look at habana receiving a flat ball next to a ruck he will make say 4 metres every time before he is brought down.

    Bismarck, Jannie, Eben, Marcel, Spies and all those fat arses get tackled by the first player and make maybe a metre.

    So why the feck do the fatties get all the best ball?

    why is there not more variation as to who receives first phase ball?

    Its a cancer now almost 10 years old!

  36. Reply to bryce_in_oz @ 6:24 am: to dream of 75% hmmm…chocolate. If we beat the RWC kiwis this year in east islands, man that would be lekker.

    They are going to be strutting their stuff after srilling the micks. Running from anywhere…

    Reply to The Year of the Cheetah @ 11:58 am: Ja they fell back into that same old trusted pattern and went into their shell again. Predictabull stampkar and not Bulls kill Chiefs rugby.

    Play the man and not his mother…Aldo its too cadre for me.

  37. Morne Steyn in kleedkamer ná die wedstryd:
    “Ek kan sommer my eie gat skop.”
    Jean de Villiers:
    “Toemaar, dit sal mis wees!”


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