Don’t You Dare Blame Pienaar


In a week when all a sundry will be taking pot shots at the Boks, we at Ruggaworld will as usual take the calmer approach and try our best to see every weeks match in context. We did not party after last weeks win at FNB just as we will not host a wake for Bok rugby this week.

Suffice to say most criticism will be directed at Ruan Pienaar – and this column hereby takes a first stand to the contrary. We need to stop blaming backline players for the inability of our front five to consistently pitch up on match day. Yes Ruan’s service has been slow and Fourie did have a good game last week – but our problems do not start and stop at scrumhalve because we play rugby with momentum and if we do not have momentum our backlines suffer. If our tight five fronts up, our backlines generally perform better, if not great.

The minute we faced a team up for a dogfight ,our tight five reverted back to the usual ‘you do it and I will help’ approach where everyone waits for the next guy to clean out the ruck.  Our obsession with the maul as an attacking option was also exposed as nothing but strategical laziness. Finally, kudos to those Argie forwards for their lovely offloading and distribution of the rugby ball. Its was a pleasure to see!

This week Ruggaworld will be submitting questions to Brumbies attack coach Laurie Fisher and host a questions session among our subscribers for the legendary Sherylle Calder – relating to her work with Eye Gym. The last installment of The Wild Etzebeths will be posted – and how relevant in light of this weekends game (after Eben first played an Argentinian player without the ball, then nearly strangled the man with a stiff arm around the neck, and then allegedly got bitten)- its seems trouble is set to follow this generations Etzebeth as it did his uncles way back when.

Finally we hear from Ashley Johnson about his new life in England – and yes, we did ask him about his hair!. Its set to be an exciting week despite the break from the Rugby Championship this weekend.  We will discuss the Currie Cup as well as some schools derbies at length.

Please remember that Ruggaworld is like an online braai, so feel free to grab a drink and come over for a chat. We would love to hear your opinions about the game- among other things.


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  1. I mentioned after the Soweto Match that Pienaar is markedly slower than Du Preez at the breakdown, I still believe he is.

    But in this match I blame our forwards who didn’t own the Argies at the breakdown.

  2. Same old same old breakdown woes… the job of everyone in the 22 (lesser so the 9)

    Zero numbers, zero unity, zero counter-rucking… nothing has changed since losing the 1/4’s for the exact same reason…

    Ho hum… the solution seems to be blame the ref or blame the 9…

  3. Be that as it may, but an extremely slow scrumhalf is not helping the cause in any way whatsoever.

    ABs dropped Weepu because he is deemed to slow for the type of game they want to play. We deem substandard slow service as ok as it is not our biggest problem at the moment?? :what:

  4. @Craven:

    Pienaar can be an effective player if given the freedom to play his own game – as we see every week for Ulster. His role in the Boks is different and unsuitable so i question HM’s selection of Pienaar in the first place.

    However in a game like Saturday even Du Preez would have struggled.

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    Join Google Analytics… copy their code and pasted into this site’s HTML anywhere… and you have all the analytics needed to take this place forward…

    That’s a start for increasing SEO (google that too)… need to increase backlinks…

  6. @Brendon:

    Haha yeah no problem… was away this weekend…

    Back to thread… it must be said that this was how I was expecting Arg to have improved to as the start of this season…

    On The Rugby CLub pre-season I agreed with them saying Arg would get one win this season… they almost did…

    So perhaps some credit there… but when we’re seeing the same breakdown woes… and the intensity and smarts with which both Aus and NZ are playing… it’s hard to take positives…

    ‘Lessons learned’… here’s hoping…

  7. I think this sums it up well:

    our tight five reverted back to the usual ‘you do it and I will help’ approach where everyone waits for the next guy to clean out the ruck

    And this after the rucks being top of HM’s
    wish list, even appointing an expert coach.

    RE LIONS: I won’t cry if they fook this useless
    WP team. Should have lost to the Kwas.

  8. @Boertjie:

    WP now the rugby equivalent of elevator music. But these close games in CC just shows how the cancer of being too scared to lose has affected all of SA. Fecks sake if you cannot gun for a big win in a first round CC game – imagine how cautious teams will be come semi and final time!

  9. Today, you are talking complete bullocks Brendon.

    The problem with the Boks were with the basics of general and back-line play. handling errors and poor passing.

    Pienaar’s play was poor all round. Le Roux’s runs were ineffectual. He fluffed several high-balls. Habana couldn’t catch. De Villiers got himself tackled behind his support runners. Basson and Engelbrecht were poor defensively.

    The only back that could held his head up was Morne Steyn, which is contrary to what normally happens when your forwards are smashed.

    The stats, however imprecise, also tells a different story.

    Line breaks by the Argies and missed tackles by the Boks galore. We took several of their scrum and line-out balls and fluffed only the one maul. The problems at ruck time were largely due to Pienaar’s inability to pass like du Preez and our back-line’s inability to cross the advantage line. When ball carriers are tackled behind their support runners, you struggle at the rucks.

  10. You’re right – handling and tackling was poor.
    Habs has now caugh one of the last four passes
    he received (I heard). Bissie threw a poor pass.
    Willie botched two high balls. Strauss knocked
    But it does not take away from what Brendon says.

    IMO Basson has become a liable passenger. JJ also
    needs to sharpen his defence.
    Jannie erred in going for the upper body and not
    the legs when Bosch scored.
    The try from the lineout was exceptionally poor –
    sign of a team not concentrating. Or was there
    another factor involved?

  11. They did not turn up while the Argies did. I dont know the game plan but they fell back on the bok in the head lights clueless game plan.
    But Ruan, who sadly my support for this player was referred to as a boy crush, was just one part of the team of headless chooks.

  12. I rather give credit to Pumas than to hammer too much on Boks.

    Pumas worked us out same way they did last year there. All of the players went back into their skins, they all played kak and believed rather that this will be a wakeup call than to go on and on that we ware going back to old habits.

    Momentum was lost with kak play from number one to number 15.

  13. @Jacques(Bunny): We’re south Africans, praising the Pumas, or giving them credit is only one side of the argument.

    No matter how much we praise them, the situation we find ourselves in is concerning.

    why do we still not adapt?
    Why did our forwards perform in TOTAL contrast to the previous weekend.
    Why did we all of a sudden drop every pass?

    These are questions that need to be answered.

    to say we are learning isn’t good enough.

    If we learnt already where is the evidence?

  14. @biltongbek:

    These questions the Argenetinians were asking themselves onyl a few days ago:
    why do we still not adapt? Why did our forwards perform in TOTAL contrast to the previous weekend. Why did we all of a sudden drop every pass?


  15. What was with all the blue and white? Ads on the field, seating and even the ball was the same colour as the Argies.

  16. “strategical” is not a word…

    Much like not blaming a poor player in THE key position for a poor showing is not an excuse for that player’s poor play…

    The allegation about our tight five does not bear scrutiny of actually watching the game…

    If anything this article is divorced from reality.