Start with Willem Alberts – Schalk is just not the player of ten years ago, even when he goes through a ton of work.
“Statistics are like bikinis, they don’t reveal everything,” writes John Goliath in the Cape Argus, and then has an in depth look at the stats of Man of the Match in the very narrow Bok escape versus Wales.
Schalk made 26 carries – 11 more than the next best player. But how many of the carries actually gained success over the advantage line? Only 11.
Schalk just does not dominate the collisions like ten years ago. He now backs into most tackles and gets driven back. He also gave away a silly penalty and kicked away posession when the Boks had an overlap. That little pop-pass when he takes it to the line is as predictable as a episode oof Egoli. Wales could tackle the Boks because they knew what was coming next.
The fact that the Boks uses him as first receiver is one of the reasons their attacks are suffering. Like all our ball carriers he should rather be running off Pollard, the playmaker, the one wearing number 10 on his back.
The All Blacks love defending against one-off runners, especially those coming to them from a standing start because they can tackle him back. Because the Boks won’t be able to create the All Black magic of nine tries against France, I would prefer Alberts to Burger on the side of the scrum – he can match their physicality. It will also give the Bok loose trio some balance because it will free Louw from his carrying duties to concentrate on possession on the ground.