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Bok rugby round-up


The general feeling amongst Bok supporters this morning is one of frustration after the Boks managed to choke out a win against the Scots.

I have read some thoughts from folks whose opinions I always enjoy and I am sure you will too.

Firstly, Tank Lanning was not impressed with the ‘acceptance’ that an ugly win is good enough.  The Boks are better than this and we should not settle for being second best.

Go read his thoughts here:

“So are the Boks happy to scrap it out with Australia, France and England for that second spot on the log while the All Blacks skip off into the sunset?” http://www.frontrowgrunt.co.za/2012/11/boks-happy-with-second/

I also always enjoy the way Ben puts together thoughts from all over in his post-match analysis.  From this piece you will see that Tank’s thoughts are pretty much shared by most supporters out there.

Go read more of this on his website, thebounce.co.za

“Finally we were all put out of our misery when Morne Steyn kicked the ball into touch. The Boks won, but calling that a success is much like expecting a high 5 from your mates after taking down a buffalo after too many tequila’s on holiday…”


Not everyone’s favourite, Mark Keohane demands more from the Boks and insists his criticism of the team has nothing to do with patriotism and that he won’t apologise for demanding more from the coach and players.

A good piece by Mark, read more here:

“I won’t apologise for demanding more from the coach and the players.”  http://keo.co.za/2012/11/19/demanding-more-from-awful-boks/

Lastly, Craig Ray put’s an interesting perspective on the table when looking at the result.  Winning ugly is still winning and there is no column on the score sheet for playing pretty.  Craig’s views offer some perspective and is also a very good read, read more on Craig’s views here:

“I agree with Heyneke Meyer. I’ll take an ugly win over a glorious defeat any day” http://www.arenasport.co.za/2012/11/19/winning-is-enough/

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  1. “Lastly, Craig Ray put’s an interesting perspective on the table when looking at the result. Winning ugly is still winning and there is no column on the score sheet for playing pretty.”

    This may have been true in years gone by, but this won’t fly anymore.

    With the money involved in rugby nowadays along with most of the money coming from broadcasting, your product has to be attaractive and exciting enough to entice new markets to you and keep your existing fanbase interested. With technology today there is so much entertainment fighting fot a persons attention that rugby cannot continue on the “even if it is ugly, it is still a win” route and hope to remain where it is today.

    Just watch how empty the stadiums were getting during the Currie Cup and even tests this year. People would much rather do or watch something else than see the Boks groan and crawl and scrape to another ugly win with the now customary “we need to improve” speeches from Jean and Heyneke to follow.

    For the purists and fans that grew up with the game, a Bok test will always be a highlight and something to watch, but I have a feeling we will be getting fewer and fewer as time goes on.

  2. Reply to Craven @ 12:10 pm:

    CC viewership was the highest ever.
    People paying high prices to watch
    live seems to be dwindling.
    Soon we may have Rent-a-Crowd to please
    the TV moguls.

  3. Reply to Boertjie @ 12:38 pm:

    If you can’t fill a stadium when the Boks are playing, things definitely cannot be right. Agreed on ticket pricing having an influence, but watching rugby on a Saturday afternoon will not always be the assumed activity as more and more alternatives become easily available.

    Thing is, rugby cannot survive if it does not grow the game locally and internationally. You must have a vibrant product to sell to new markets if you want to make a success of it. There is a reason why the ABs are the poster children for rugby in other non-tradional markets. Yes, it has to do with their winning percentage, but also in the way they generally play rugby.

    I do feel for Heyneke though, the pressure seems to have gotten to him and he is now directing matters from a position of fear, fear of losing first and foremost.

    Hopefully he will get the respite to start developing the Boks’ playing style as this is what I expected from him, to take us to the next level with the Boks. At the moment, there is not much different between the way we are playing now and the way we have been playing since 2010 with the same rate of success as a result.

  4. Reply to Morné @ 12:44 pm:

    As stated above, I was refering to attendance at stadiums. The empty seats during the Currie Cup semis were glaringly obvious, was it not?

    Coming back to viewership on TV, not sure what to make of the figures quoted. I have read loads of comments on how viewership has increased in Superugby, yet I have read loads of comments lammenting the drawn out competition and the amount of rugby being played. Myself, for one, have stopped watching all the games, after in previous years having watched most of the games.

    Yet it seems I am but one of a few people not clamouring to watch more and more rugby.

    Just shows what I know, in that case, ignore my sentiments, going on ever growing viewership figures, rugby seems to be healthier than it ever has been in the past.

  5. I feel a damn sight better after this win with this new team than I did the last time they met in 2010 as a settled collective and lost…

  6. Reply to bryce_in_oz @ 1:10 pm:

    a shit settled collective.

    again your bismarkcs and Steyns and the rest are every bit as dull as the new lot is made to be.

    Our issues started right at the end of 2008.

    The day Peter left the coaching job to Vic and Fdp and the lads.

  7. Reply to Craven @ 1:07 pm:

    Rugby is dependent on revenue, this comes from broadcasting. Gate takings are bonuses for those hosting the games.

    They will adapt as already shown in the Soccer City test where some tickets went for R200.

  8. Was a completely 1 dimensional game by the Boks. I guess they were playing strictly to script.

    It’s going to be a long season until the players get up to speed with the game plan. At least that is what I hope.

  9. Craig Ray is mistaken in thinking that they don’t award style points. Perhaps not on the scoreboard but very much in the mind of the fans.

    The reality is that nobody is satisfied with a pretty loss and only very few are satisfied with an ugly win.

  10. Just heard a comment on Ballz radio:

    J.P. Pietersen and Hougaard had to pay entrance fees on saturday to watch the game.

  11. Ek lewer deesdae minder kommentaar omdat ek nie by baie van die negatiewe kommentaar betrokke wil raak nie.

    Vir my voel dit of daar op die oomblik 2 tendense is wat posgevat het met kommentaar oor die Bokke. Daar is baie ondersteuners wat Heyneke Meyer onredelik kritiseer en wat hom as ‘n swak afriger probeer uitbeeld(wat hy net eenvoudig nie is nie).

    Dan is daar baie wat in reaksie op bogenoemde ondersteuners alles wat Heyneke sover gedoen het probeer regverdig en sy rekord meer rooskleurig probeer laat lyk. Dit is ook dikwels hierdie ondersteuners wat spelers onregverdig kritiseer in plaas daarvan om die baie eng wedstrydplan in ag te neem.

    Vir my le die waarheid iewers in die middel. Heyneke is ‘n baie goeie afrigter, maar hy het ‘n gemiddelde jaar as afrigter gehad wat met sy uiters konserwatiewe wedstrydplan baie van die spelers teruggehou het om rugby te speel waarmee hulle gemaklik is, en sodoende van die Bokke se angels getrek het. Meyer sal moet aanvaar dat anders as toe hy die afrigter van die Bulls was, waar al die spanne van u/19 tot Curriebeker dieselfde tipe rugby gespeel het, die Bokke by hulle onderskeie provinsies aan verskillende maniere van speel gewoond is. Ek predik glad nie hardlooprugby nie, maar op die oomblik is daar hoegenaamd geen balans nie.

    Die argument dat die probleem nie by die wedstrydplan nie, maar by die uitvoering daarvan le oortuig my ook glad nie.
    As die Sharks se Superrugby span Saterdag teen die Skotte gespeel het sou hulle in my opinie makliker as die Bokke gewen het, omdat hulle hoewel hulle ook gestruktureerd speel, hulle hulle spel baie meer afwissel en nie bang is om berekende risiko’s te neem nie.

    Die Bokke lyk op die oomblik vreesbevange om meer die bal meer as 2 keer uit te gee en ly beslis almal aan agoraphobia, want sodra daar bietjie spasie is soek hulle paniekbevange die naaste opponent om in vas te hardloop.

  12. Reply to bryce_in_oz @ 4:19 pm:

    you see thats the crux bryce. Kiwis had weakness in Fijians and we exploited it with kicking game.

    But how long did this last for?

    Look at the scores. Even in 2009 we never put teams away. We played until we were in front and then we started defending our castle.

    In contrast one felt that by 2007 end with Eddie and Jake we were on the cusp of blikseming teams had and solid. For a very brief moment there we were a balanced rugby side that could do it all.

    2008 we went bonkers to the one side – copped a few losses and henceforth played this ‘try not to lose’ game.

    Yes in 2009 we tactically got a few things right (and lets never forget the contribution of Adi jacobs, Jacques Fouries and JPP to some stunning backline attacking moves that year.

    All that is of course now gone.

  13. Reply to bryce_in_oz @ 4:19 pm:

    Indeed, but from end of year tour 2009 up to end of 2011 how did the Boks do with the same players and gameplan? Won any Tri-nations perhaps? Any grandslams? Any undefeated year-end tours?

    And this was with the team loaded with stars whose non-presence in the current setup we lament everytime the Boks perform below par.

    We tend to view certain periods of Bok history with rose tinted specs, that’s for sure.

  14. Reply to Craven @ 7:50 am:

    There’s nothing ‘rose-tinted’ about the experience of the 2010 squad as opposed to the current squad… and this inexperienced, injury-ravaged side beat the Scots whereas the former did not.

  15. But that was in essence the same “all conquering, number one, world champions” side of the year before.

    What I am trying to say is we keep missing the “experienced” players from yesteryear, but apart from 2009, these exact same players did not really achieve anything since the 2007.

    Why do we assume that if they had been in the team we would have conquered all this year if they couldn’t do it the two years prior?

  16. Reply to Timeo @ 1:23 am:

    no our game VS scotland prior to WC and game in WC vs Argie were very good indeed.

    I juts had the feeling at the end of 2007 that we might really dominate the game for a few years. Then White resigned.

  17. Reply to bryce_in_oz @ 8:06 am:

    my point is this is a better team than the one we had in 2010.

    that team had ‘you glorify the past when your future dries up’ written all over it.

    This young team and generation of players can be truly special if our Pennsylvania Dutch coach would just relax the fuck and let the kids play.

  18. Reply to The Year of the Cheetah @ 9:13 am:

    “my point is this is a better team than the one we had in 2010”

    Rubbish… that is your opinion… 70% of that squad were in their prime and some superstars… the other 30% of talented youngsters like Bismark, Frans Steyn, Beast, etc were on the up…

    Ask any test rugby coach from Henry to Deans to White on the importance of combinations and experience and they’ll all tell you the same thing…

    Quite frankly in this Bok bunch so far (that is not injured) there has only been one or two true finds and they’re arguably Eben and to a lesser extent Marcell… and that my friend in context with experience, combinations and injuries is why punters should not be too hard on HM this season as opposed to if he had inherited the 2007 historic squad…

    There has been little room to move, he’s pretty much played every ‘fan gut-feel’ selection and tried to keep some continuity…

    Moan all you want next year… and so too will I continue the key deficiency points I’ve brought up since the 1/4 final exit…

    It has fokal to do with having a ‘Dutch’ coach and quite frankly you’re ironically purveying the ‘closed minded’ South African stereotype with that comment…

    With all due respect mate of course…

  19. Reply to bryce_in_oz @ 10:31 am:

    I hear what you’re saying, but even by HM’s standards it was conservative rugby against the Scots. It’s not like the players that are available are not capable of running the ball.

    Lambie hoisting an up ‘n under in Scotlands half is not normal for him, and is just one example.

    HM is regularly tallking into his walkie talkie so he is passing instructions down to the field, therefore I can only deduct that the players are playing to instructions.

    It must be frustrating the crap out of them.

  20. Reply to Ollie @ 10:58 am:

    IMO HM has a plan in his mind and he is trying to follow it no matter what. He wants the players to play a game that he can control for now and then build on that when the time is right.
    IMO you can do that with U10’s but doing it with full proffessionals is a bit much for us as fans and the players to take without being annoyed – but this way HM gets to see who is willing to play his game and who he can trust with that.

    to be honest I would rather have this apporach than the Rudi Streauli approach of picking 100’s of different boks and having no plan at all – just trying to find something that might work! HM thinks his approach will work and time will tell. I wish he would be a bit more adventurous but not as far as potatohead Streauli…

    Doubt that we will beat the poms but hope to be pleasantly surprised.

  21. Following Saturday’s game against the Scots, someone like JP must be aching to get back to the Sharks and get to play in a gameplan that plays to his strengths. This guy was immense on attack in the closing stages of Superugby.

    Now he has to defend, defend and then defend some more.

  22. Reply to bryce_in_oz @ 10:31 am:

    do you know what Pennsylvania Dutch means? Its Amish. In reference to someone who does not venture out into the world.

    So you reckon in 2010 most were in their prime and Fransie and Bissie on way up? I think you are referring to 2009. The year everyone peaked. 2010 was a nightmare with all those old stars playing relatively the same broth dished up now.

  23. and Bryce, in a sense I agree that Eben is the only superstar. Alberts can become a good 8 and Marcell will together with Brussouw offer grunt at breakdown. Duane is 1 dimensional and needs to go or play lock soon – the latter might be a masterstroke.

    But we have young kids in the country right now who have the potential to better the class of 2007. Whether Meyer is the man to steer this I am not so sure.

  24. Can you explain what you mean with: “our Pennsylvania Dutch coach”?

    I completely fail to see the connection.

    Pennsylvania Dutch refers to immigrants and their descendants from southwestern Germany and Switzerland who settled in Pennsylvania in the 17th and 18th centuries. Historically they have spoken the dialect of German known as Pennsylvania Dutch or Pennsylvania German.

    … the Pennsylvania Dutch are not the Dutch people from the Netherlands[10] but descendents of people who spoke a type of “High Dutch” (though actually a dialect of Central German). Therefore, despite urban legend to the contrary, the term Pennsylvania Dutch is not so much a misnomer as it is an anachronism.

  25. Reply to Timeo @ 1:47 pm:

    amish people. with hat and pipe – stuck in the past – scared of the brave new world.

    heyneke just needs the hat and the pipe

  26. He implying that HM coaches rugby like the Amish approach technology. Stuck in one place – Jeez people – maybe he screwed up his historical facts etc – but don’t crucify the guy…

    Can anyone remember when why HM was appointed? Because he had great success with the Bulls – Why did he have great success – because he built the system. He didn’t arrive on day one and next moment the Bulls started winning everything – no his first season or so were horrible.

    Leave the guy some breathing space – every game shouldn’t be cock on the block type stuff. Let the guy put his systems in place and then we judge. Or should we fire him and re-appoint PDV or Streauli or Mallet or Jake? Then just to call for their heads again when they lose a match or if they dare to not play festival rugby?


  27. Reply to Methos The French Stormer @ 1:56 pm:

    too right. as i said – if our man Heyneke can learn from this tour and let go a bit – as Frontrowgrunt said “get the smiles back” then this generation can be a great one.

    Yet 3/3 playing this way and we are in for the long haul. A very big part of me hopes ENG beat us so we catch a wake up.

    Oh shit I forget, if we lose its the ‘players not executing properly’….

  28. Hey ouens, ek weet nie hoekom kak en kerm almal so nie!

    We have shown that we can attack and hand out some nice tries against Australia when we PK’d them this year!

    The one thing that was seriously lacking was cheap soft tries scored against us this season, and they have addressed that issue very clearly, only conceding 1 try in 2 tests.

    What I hate is like the Cheetahs and Wales, scoring fancy tries and loosing every game, because we conceded more than we scored.

    As Methos mentioned, Meyer showed his value @ the bulls by putting structures in place. Nobody can dispute the fact that the Bulls played some very silky smart attacking rugby under Meyer, because he got their structures right for the perfect balanced game of uncompromising defense combined with smart attacking rugby resulting in plenty of bonus point tries and all the trophies available.

    I don’t particularly care for Bulls supporters, but bliksem, their team played some pretty good rugby under Meyer as coach, nobody can dispute that.

  29. Reply to Methos The French Stormer @ 1:56 pm:

    No crucifixion. I just had a hard time to get his meaning. As I posted the term is somewhat of a misnomer because it refers to Germans and not Dutch and only a small subsection of them were Amish.

    Something interesting about the Amish is that they are surprisingly successful in our modern society with their simple and antiquated ways.

    Perhaps that is the better connection.

    Most fans believe that the Bulls play with an archaic game-plan that cannot possibly be successful in the modern game.

    Yet the the Bulls are successful……. How is that?

    People simply cannot see past their own preconceptions.

  30. Reply to Boertjie @ 2:19 pm:

    I remember that game very well. Beyond the scoreline, there was very little to celebrate. The Boks’ scrum was a mess. Argentina had most of the ball, but killed themselves with elementary mistakes. The Boks’ tries came from these and intercepts.

  31. Reply to The Year of the Cheetah @ 1:52 pm:

    Oh I got the analogy mate… the same ‘stuck in the past’ coach that brought in a revolutionary Australian backline coach 5 years ago to add to their S14 cup-winning arsenal…

    Pity he’s stuck with Deon Kayser in the national set-up… I was hoping he’d be bringing in some surprises of note… alas it was not to be…

  32. Reply to bryce_in_oz @ 3:42 pm:

    the ‘5 years ago’ us telling.

    5 years ago Ghadafi still ruled Libya. 5 years ago Bush was president of the US. 5 years ago we were still world champs. 5 years ago i had only brown hair – not grey ones.

  33. Bryce as i said many times, my biggest single concern with HM is that he used up his one great idea with the Bulls.

    So in essence we are stuck with a bloke who reached his peak 5 years ago.

  34. Anyways… nighty night I’m out…

    Dawie… how was that GSP fight mate… war of the year… taken his legend to the next level after that…

    Fight should be up on mmatko…

  35. lest we forget – Strauli also had a great CV when he took over and the bok job made him bonkers and conservative and suspicious of everyone.

    Heyneke already looks 10 years older

  36. I really enjoyed reading this – all the
    opinions, mostly backed by facts.

    I’ve said it before: This is what sets
    RuggaWorld apart.
    Thanks to all the contributors!

    Reply to Timeo @ 2:54 pm:

    I remember it that way too. But those tries
    came from pressure, and the Argies trying
    to open up. Still a very good win.

  37. Reply to Boertjie @ 5:17 pm:

    Yes. A very good win, but not something that heralds a great era of attacking rugby or a cusp of anything. Bok fans have created a myth around the ’07 team and Eddie Jones’ contribution, without much in the line of evidence. In any normal year, beating Scotland, England, Argentina and a few minor teams would not make for the stuff of legend.

  38. Reply to Timeo @ 2:49 pm: The Bulls were successful. They now sit behind the Sharks and Stormers in the pecking order. The last two years the Bulls weren’t the success they wer from 2007 to 2010.

  39. Reply to biltongbek @ 6:29 pm:

    Yet, before 2007, many fans were saying that the Bulls’ game-plan was outdated. They were wrong then, they may be wrong again. The Bulls have had lean periods before but has risen to the top of the SA pile with their “outdated” game-plan again and again. More so than any other team. How many times must you be proven wrong before you’ll admit that you don’t have a clue?

  40. Reply to Timeo @ 5:45 pm:

    true. its the way we played though. The way we won. lots of enterprise.

    1998, 2004 Tri Nations,pre-world cup 2007, 2009 Lion series.

    All these represent small stints when SA lead the world.

    Too few and too far apart

  41. Reply to Timeo @ 6:51 pm:

    On top of that the Stormers’ recent success was built around a defensive game-plan and the Sharks have by far the most talented team in SA. Their results this year were a waste of their talent. Choking in the important games is the last example I’d want a Bok team to emulate.

  42. Reply to Timeo @ 6:51 pm: :whatever:

    Where have I been proven wrong?

    You say many fans before 2007 said the bulls gameplan was outdated. Now if that is not making a statement that has zero proof then I don’t know what is.

    They may be wrong again?

    Even a broken clock is correct twice a day. Right now the kick and chase doesn’t work, heve you not noticed player’s skills have improved in the air?

    Watch Kearney from Ireland, watch the selection of NZ, their back three all have arial skills now thanks to 2009 boks.

    Mate, if you want to take me on, then at least come up with something better.

  43. Furthermore, the forward pod one pass running is predictable. Go back to this year’s Super XV, go watch the Bulls when they played the top teams who could match them defensively and physically, they got nowhere.

    Just as the Boks, they need some variation on attack and quicker ball.

  44. I still don’t buy the whole “it’s a kak game plan” thing. A game plan is merely what parts of your game you are going to focus on more and which ones you will give less attention during your 80 mins between the white lines against a particular opponent.

    The Boks have already showed this season that they are capable of running the ball successfully when required. Defensively they are pretty solid and taking it up with the big boys is one of our strong points.

    What defies logic at the moment is why the Boks where kicking it back to Scotland from good possession and position so much in the second half. The Boks clearly had the ascendency and were by far the stronger team with ball in hand.

    Why choose to defend when defending wears you out more, increases your chances of injuries and demoralizes a team?

  45. Reply to Ollie @ 11:59 am:

    so you dont buy the ‘its a kak gameplan’ and the critiques our option to kick and defend?

    Is it against 14 man Oz C that we ‘showed we can run’?

  46. Reply to Ollie @ 11:59 am:

    As I remember it the kicks from the halfway line were in the 1st half.

    The real problem in the 2nd half was at the scrums. Around 5 penalties and 2 free-kicks against the Boks. If every scrum goes against you like that, regardless who has the throw-in, then you will be pinned down deep and have no option but to kick. That is, if you are lucky enough to get possession from a turn-over.

    The stats say 6 kicks by both teams in the 2nd half, 10 line-outs to the Scots and 2 to the Boks. The Boks kicked to get away from their line and the Scots kicked as a tactic. Defending was not a choice, it was imposed at the scrums.

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