One more analysis: Bright Young Things.


Guest writer Mike Bersiks completes our final analysis of the Bok v Aus test match.

Nobody likes a smart arse that says I told you so, but everybody likes to be one when they are proved right! Well in this case most Springbok supporters are basking in the glow of having called for the introduction of Johan Goosen at flyhalf.

As I pointed out in a previous piece it hasn’t been just  the introduction of Goosen that saw the Boks hammer Australia at Loftus on the weekend. Heynecke Meyer started off very conservatively in selection, but he has gradually made the changes that led to a five-try mauling for the Wallabies. Meyer realised that his backline would never get going with the poor-service of Francois Hougaard at scrumhalf and installed Ruan Pienaar at number nine after the draw against Argentina. He also brought Francois Louw into the Bok squad, as the fact that the Bok loose-trio was getting outplayed at the breakdown started to hit home. Duane Vermeulen started the next Test against Australia in Perth, and Louw joined him to finally balance out the loosies in Dunedin. It’s no surprise that the Bok forwards have enjoyed their best two games under Meyer’s tenure since then.

With the Bok forwards in the ascendancy the stage was set for the introduction of Goosen and Jaco Taute – and the youngsters didn’t disappoint. Goosen looks like the real deal. He probably should have had a try on his starting debut with the type of break that we haven’t seen a Bok number 10 make in a long time. We know Goosen can kick from Super Rugby. Let’s hope those early misses against Australia were just the result of too much adrenalin pumping  and that Goosen can become an 80% goalkicker at Test level. Perhaps giving him a 55-metre plus angled kick at goal to start off with was the wrong call. Knocking that one into the corner for a line-out and starting the 20-year-old with a more straightforward shot at goal may have been wiser to calm the nerves down. I also feel that it’s more than a little bit disingenuous for Bok skipper Jean de Villiers to claim that there was no change of gameplan from the last match in Dunedin. Sure, Meyer might have sent them out with the same instructions to play what they see in front of them, but the reality is that an out of form and low on confidence Morne Steyn is going to play safety first nine times out of ten, whereas Goosen showed what could be done with plenty of good ball provided by a dominant pack.

Although my provincial allegiances are with the Lions, I must admit that I wasn’t 100% convinced by Taute when I first saw him play. Physically Taute is the complete package – big, strong and fast. But, he looked pretty average under the high-ball at fullback, although he caught the eye with some great counterattacking from the back and linking with his backline. Moving him to outside centre seems to have done the trick – and the Lions do have a history of providing powerful Springbok number 13s (Fuls, Mulder, Fourie). Taute’s not afraid to offload, he was involved in couple of the Springbok tries and knocked a few Wallabies backwards in defence on Saturday. A good start to what could be a long Bok career. With Frans Steyn ruled out for the rest of the year, continuing with Jean de Villiers at 12 and Taute at 13 looks to be Meyer’s best bet and means that he doesn’t have to make the hard choice of choosing between an out-of-form captain or an up and coming youngster when selecting his team.

Meyer has talked a lot about rebuilding, but we’ve seen this mostly with the Bok forwards until now. The Boks also have the prospect of players like Goosen (20-years-old), Taute (21), Pat Lambie (21) and Elton Jantjies (22) maturing together in their backline for the next couple of World Cup cycles, and that’s pretty exciting! Not to mention that the likes of Frans Steyn (25), JP Pietersen (26), Juan de Jongh (24), Ruan Pienaar (27) and Francois Hougaard (24) are hardly near the end of their careers. The next piece in the puzzle for Meyer to ponder over remains some consistent goalkicking, because that’s one part of the game that is sure to hurt the Boks if it can’t be sorted out.

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  1. We are making a real mistake if we take anything away from the Australia test were we played against their 3 team and with so many injuries in the game that they suffered.

    Let’s give these youngsters time to get into it all and see what happens with the team over the weekend against the AB

  2. The biggest diffrence in the Boks the past two games was the Forwards. We are playing again like a unit and if we dominate we will win games.

    Taking changes in test rugby is so important and they did it last week.

    If you do not you will loose. Supershit makes us blind when it comes to test rugby. We can and must not compare the level above test rugby is against what we see at Supershit and CC.

  3. Agreed, but our forward pack has really started hitting their straps since Dunedin.

    With Coenie back it is looking better and better. Can’t wait for Bismark to get back next year to add to the Louw and Vermeulen menace at the breakdown.

    Our backline needs some more fine tuning I feel. Ruan impressed me on the weekend, but to me he is not the longterm solution. Who should take over the reigns from him in a few years time? That I do not know as Hougaard also does not convince in the number 9 position.

    At flyhalf Goossen did well for a first test and I am glad he is getting another chance. I would just caution that he be given time to grow into a test flyhalf as even though he displayed some lovely touches in the game, he is not the complete article. But then again why should he be? The kid is not even 21 yet.

    It is clear that Jean is just along for the short term and Heyneke needs to start looking at his future plans at centre (maybe he is: Frans and Jaco?), as Jean has lost some of the magic he had as a younger player. I would love to have Jaque Fourie back at outside, but failing that Taute is a very good prospect and if he is Heyneke’s plan for the future, he should be given time to grow into the role and develop a partnership with his fellow Bok centres. It would be exciting if Frans and Jaco could play together for the SHarks in Superugby next year.

    Wings for now has to be Brian and JP, they are head and shoulders above the youngsters at the moment. Their work rate this year has been phenominal. As for Brian’s replacement lloking at the World Cup, I am not too sure. There are exciting youngsters running around, but they lack the overall work rate of Brian.

    First up let me say that I am not a Zane fan, but he has not played poorly in the Bok jersey this year, so I find the massive negativity aimed at him on the internet perplexing. Once again he is not the long term solution, but he is good enough to keep his place.

    I would still love to have our won Israel Dagg / Andre Joubert / Christian Cullen clone though.

  4. Reply to Craven @ 10:55 am: I agree

    I really hope Jean is just sort term for he is not Bok qaulity anymore as many has gone past him.

    Number 9 we need to start giving young guys the change maybe in the EOY tour, like Reinardt and Groom.

    Wings we have Basson, his defense is a bit off but that is something good coaching can sort out, I like that dude from the GWK as well his name slipped my mind now.

    Fullback I will give to Fransie, we have enough midfield players for him to move to 15 and we know he is good enough. Bambie just need to get more gametime in a position he wants to play. I would really want the Sharks to play him in 15 or 10 and let the youngster develope with it otherwise Bamnbie must move on Like Fransie and Ruan did. It made them better players and I am sure it would do the same for him.

    I wonder what HM gonna do when guys like Spies, Burger get back from injury?

  5. I will patiently wait until the
    day we have a 15 of international
    class again.
    Maybe then some of the ZK punters
    will realise the difference.

  6. Reply to DavidS @ 4:33 pm: Didn’t see the game this past weekend, but I remember when he came on as a replacement a few weeks back and the next game he looked good.

    I think if he and Goosen get to pair up for the Super XV next year it will be a good way of measuring them as a combination.

  7. Reply to Boertjie @ 6:16 pm:

    Indeed Boertje ( but I reject the cannabis emoticon – stuff is boring and 3rd World).

    DavidS has just made his case as to him being the Nikola Tesla of judging rugby talent.

    I’ve heard a lot of good about Rhule and look forward to seeing him in Super Rugby – US doesn’t get CC televised anymore.

  8. #2 “If you do not you will loose. Supershit makes us blind when it comes to test rugby. We can and must not compare the level above test rugby is against what we see at Supershit and CC.”

    Which is exactly the reason that Kirchner is almost universally slated. Although he hasn’t done much wrong in a Bok jersey in 2012 the fact remains that most pundits agree there is better out there to fill the Bok 15 shirt.

    Hope it’s not a “quota” selection but suspect it may be due to HM’s selection faux pas from earlier in the year – eg JJ Engelbrecht instead of De Jongh, Potgieter instead of Kolisi.

    Meyer as a coach – nothing wrong . Meyer as a selector leaves a lot to be desired up to now.