Wales coach Warren Gatland has warned England that its rugby could be set to go the same way as English football with its international game suffering because of its use of overseas players at club level.
Players from around the globe were attracted to play in England’s Premiership as a result of the large amounts of money being offered.
But Gatland told The Rugby Paper allowing foreign players to shine could ultimately be at the expense of the national side.
“You can understand people doing the best for their clubs and competitions, but you have to look at the bigger picture. What drives rugby globally is the international game. They’re the things we need to consider and protect,” he said.
“My big fear is you want competitions to grow and develop, but I’d hate to see the English game get like the football where there is so much money and resources going into it that it dominates the game globally and all the best players congregate in the competition to the detriment of everything else.”
At international level in football, England have won nothing since the 1966 World Cup yet its Premier League is one of the great competitions in the world.
Gatland reminded rugby’s Premiership club bosses that it was the international calendar which drove World Rugby’s agenda.
“We want to grow the game,” he said. “I understand things from the point of view of the owners, Premiership Rugby Limited and the RFU.
“They want to make their competitions as strong as possible, but it’s also important to get the balance right. Make it strong, but not to the detriment of other areas of the game.
“That’s why I’m saying the power brokers and people involved in the game have to have everything represented.”
Having had to coach the British & Irish Lions in New Zealand last year while hindered by the failure to get adequate preparation time, Gatland repeated his call for more time with players before future tours.
“People should be doing as much as possible to protect the future of the Lions,” he added. “In my opinion that has to be rugby people who see the value of the Lions, understand it and what it means to a lot of people.
“I hope there are power brokers who consider the importance of the Lions for the future and not just their own self-interest. It would be a shame if that were the case.”
Similar concerns have been expressed with the number of foreign coaches being given leading roles with sides at the expense of home grown talent. Six of England’s top 13 jobs are held by overseas coaches with Eddie Jones the leading example with the England side, but also Pat Lam (Bristol), Todd Blackadder (Bath), Johan Ackermann (Gloucester) and Matt O’Connor (Leicester).
With so much doom and gloom at the moment in SA Rugby and with the Springboks let’s look at 2018 and the prospect of players we should look at for next season.
Definitely the player of 2017 and at 23 we can expect Marx to play a vital role with the Springboks not just in 2018 but in years to come. He has all the skills and strengths to become one of the best hookers in world rugby.
It was Heyneke Meyer that first suggest that Marx move from back row to the front row at school level.
He is one player who’s name will be first on any team-sheet.
Du Preez Clan
They have been identified at school level already to be future Springboks and both have now earned their colors in the last two years.
Jean-Luc is a natural South African number eight and have all the abilities to grow in this number eight jersey. 2017 Has been a great year for the youngster as he has develop into a real hard man for the Sharks and has been used well to get over the advantage line.
His defence have improved allot which makes him an even better player. He had a 85% tackle completion in Super Rugby which was the 9th best in the whole tournament but more impressive was his tackle turnover stats. He is also a good line out option as well.
Daniel Du Preez although going through a few injuries the last couple of years have also state his claim for higher honors. The all-round skills from the youngster has been impressive and a player that will give you forward ball upfront.
He is a player that have the ability to break tackles which is an important aspect in today’s game with defensive systems always improving.
His defence has also improved but he needs to step out of his shell in 2018.
The Sharks also will have the services of the oldest Du Preez brother Robert who has been knocking on the door for the last two seasons.
Most will tell you that he was the reason why Western Province won the Currie Cup this year and one would not be able to argue much with that.
He is a strong 10 who has a great boot and can read the game well to make decisions on attack. He has also shown the last two years for the Barbarians that he is ready for international rugby as well.
With some headache concerning our current 10’s in the Springboks Du Preez could be the answer if he has a good Super Rugby with the Sharks.
Most of all he is a nice chap as well
Under Coetzee he must be the most underrated player in history and needs to be given his change to make the Springbok 15 jumper his own in 2018. What an exciting player and a player that can provide much needed spark from the back which is so needed on our rugby.
He has a good boot and has been good under the high ball as well for the Bulls and Blue Bulls. With Mitchell as his coach with the Bulls we can expect this talented player to develop even more in 2018.
He is that kind of player that makes me exciting again.
If there is a player in South Africa that we should look at in 2018 then it is the young Damian Willemse. He has shown glimpses for Province and the Stormers in 2017 what he is able to do and his development must be carefully manage in 2018.
The last time I saw a rugby players step like this youngster was when we had Danie Gerber in the Springboks.
He has the speed and step that make him look like a young Gerber, the boot like Naas Botha and the the ability to read the game from ten like Hannibal.
He is one of those players that makes me excited for the future.
Who are the players you want to see come to the front in 2018?
Some will say the less we speak about Springbok rugby the better.
Although their are not many highlights to talk about the 2017 season we did see a few players come through that will serve the Springbok jersey well in years to come.
Unfortunately there were more mistakes made in 2017 by the coaches which had the general supporter fuming at the end and rightly calling for Coetzee to be fired as coach.
How rude was the awakening in the Rugby Championships when we yet again failed against a struggling Aussie side and got record defeat against the All Blacks.
This after the Springboks beat the French 3-0 in June but not many wanted to believe that the French have been poor for some time now and also did not send their best team to South Africa.
One can understand that Coetzee lost his captain, Whiteley after the second test against the French which was a huge blow but you live and die with the decisions you make in life and even more so if you are the Springbok coach.
Here is a few of Coetzee mistakes this year.
Mistake Number 1:
With Whiteley’s withdrawal from the squad, Coetzee had the perfect opportunity not just to pick an inspirational leader but also a quality player in Kolisi as his captain.
With Coetzee transformation the last two years one of the worst in recent times as a Springbok coach he also could have done better with transformation which is a fact in our sport in South Africa.
Nothing against Etzebeth but Kolisi was also his captain at the Stormers and did a brilliant job in that as well.
Players follow leaders and that is why Whiteley has been successful in this regard with Lions and Springboks. Kolisi is clearly a leader and someone who the players in South Africa respect.
Mistake Number 2:
Selections has never been one of Coetzee best attributes as a coach this past two years and it has gone downwards even more so in 2017. Last year he did not pick players who showed form in Super Rugby and went for unfit overseas players who disrupted the team more than building a team.
This year Coetzee did a 360 on selections and picked mostly players on form and against a poor French team, although not all selections could have been put under this scope.
Coetzee constantly picked players who has shown now form at all in Super Rugby nor the last few years in a Springbok jersey and was to scared to give exciting young talent a go. The players who did deserve their place in the squad form dropped as well.
Unfair criticism then came knocking on certain players door due to Coetzee inability to select the best players in the key positions in this team.
Mistake Number 3:
Making the South African public out as if they are idiots was one of the biggest mistakes for Coetzee and his management team. Venter, a consultant for the Springboks went on a Twitter frenzy with fans trying to convince supporters their was positives to take out of the hammering the All Blacks gave us in the 57-0 loss.
The way that Coetzee and his team explained dodgy decisions in selections and game plan just did not make sense and then they wanted to tell supporters that they are on the right track.
One thing coaches need to realize is that the public are more knowledgeable than what they think and should be treated as such.
Coetzee was against the wall in the November internationals with the media saying one thing the one week and a few days later contradicting exactly what he said a week before.
The inability of SARU and Springbok management to talk to the general public is something that has come a long time and the reason why supporters gets upset and make own opinions of situation within the game and teams.
It would go a long way to be open to the public on the way forward and what the plan for Springboks are on a regular base.
Mistake Number 4:
The game plan of any team will always be an important aspect of the game and players have to buy into this to succeed even more so at international level.
Second to that you need as a coach to pick the correct players for the game plan you want to play and at the fast pace of international rugby you will fail if players can not fulfill this role.
Throughout the season Coetzee picked players who could not execute this game plan which many of us still try to figure out what it actually is he is trying to do.
You do not go to a gun fight with a knife as much as you do not pick attacking players to kick and pray all day at test level
The worst part of this game plan of Coetzee force you to have a back three that is able under the high ball and throughout the season the selections did not complement this as well.
Certain star players in Super Rugby setup under Coetzee become ordinary poor players due to his inability to play a game to the strengths of the players he selected.
If you as a Springbok coach cannot see the strengths that you have with your players then you should not coach at this level.
The biggest hope now is that SARU with Rassie Erasmus as director of rugby will be able to find the solution to get Springbok rugby out of the ditch Coetzee has dumped them in.
From number 3 the Springboks became the laughing stock of world rugby and are lucky to just sit at 6 in world rankings at the moment.
A start for SARU and Erasmus is to get rid of Coetzee and start building with a group of coaches and players that we can compete atleast again.
A more transparent interaction with fans will go a long way to get confidence back in the supporters out there who is hurting as much as players at this stage but most of all we need a winning management team with the quality of players locally and overseas to pick the Springbok up again.
This week may be the most definding week for Springbok rugby as the fate of Allister Coetzee will be determine by the review of his 2017 season.
2017 Has not been much better for neither Springboks nor Coetzee and his team as they slumped back to six on the World Rugby Ranking and Coetzee can only brag with a 44% win-ratio. There are not many Pro-Coetzee people around anymore and even those hard core Coetzee fans have turned against the Springbok coach.
The facts are that Coetzee could not beat the Aussies and All Blacks twice this year and against a second string Wales side, he also lost against Ireland and the only wins came against a poor French team in June and November and Italy.
With Rassie Erasmus as the Director of Rugby we could see SA Rugby and the Springboks moving into a new direction not just with the Springboks but also how Nationals teams will go forward from here on end.
Coetzee will have a chance to explain himself this week and I am sure it will be taken into consideration but for many Coetzee has failed in all aspects of being the top coach in South Africa.
Selections, game-plan and his communication to the biggest stake holder in SA Rugby, the fans have been poor and that is putting it lightly.
Many supporters have lost total trust in Coetzee and his ability to make a difference with less than two years till the World Cup in Japan. Many South Africans thought it was funny to see England not making the play-offs in 2015 but the reality is now that we are heading the same way.
To once two time World Cup winning team have become the laughing stock of world rugby.
Although many would have believed that Springbok rugby could not get lower than the lost against Japan in 2015, Coetzee have managed to take them even lower.
Now there will be plenty of excuses from Coetzee and kie but at the end they have shown that they are simply not good enough and the stats shows it.
To come after the tour and state that you made mistakes in selections and game plan shows that you should not be their in the first place and SA Rugby cannot get rid of Coetzee faster if they want to save Springbok rugby.
The only thing that can ease the pain of the dying Springbok supporters will be to see Coetzee disappear in the December light never to be seen close to rugby field again.
Really hard to see the same problem week after week with the Springboks as we had to endure another poor performance on Saturday when they played a second string Wales side.
The first forty was one of the worst we saw from the Boks this year and they would have always struggled to come back from that.
As per norm our backline was beyond useless, we could not handle the high ball and our defence was absolutly shocking.
A few jokes did the rounds as well on social media.
Our defensive plan let through two tries in the first half as the Welsh explored the fact that we had another outside back playing out of position because the coach kept on picking an out of form Coetzee at fullback and then selected the young and excited Bulls fullback Gelant on the wing.
The third try against us was also the result of Coetzee kicking away turnover ball which was charged down.
As good as Coetzee has been all year with the Lions as poor he has been for the Boks. Write it off against the poor coaching and gameplan from Coetzee and his team or lost of form but Gelant should have been given a change to get into the side from the French game atleast.
Pollard also did not start well but atleast got back into his game as the game progress. Cronje is still not doing anything for me at nine and a huge difference in the team came when Louis Schreuder came on. Again do not understand the mindset of Coetzee not giving Schreuder the chance to start with Paige on the bench if you want.
Cronje has played all the Lions matches this year and almost every test for the Boks.
The midfield still have problems not just on defence but also on attack with not enough straight running. At one stage the forwards run the ball and made more meters in one move than the backs in the whole first half.
Upfront we again stood strong and another great test from Marx, Kolisi and the props. If only we had fifteen Springboks with the heart and abilities like Marx.
Apart from Coetzee poor gameplan, defensive structures and selections he had to go one step further and totally screw up the subs as well. Only he knows why he replaced Pollard for Jantjies, his front row and given Am 4 minutes.
He yet again showed that apart from not being able to understand the game at test level and find a proper gameplan he can also not read the game to see what is need to win a test.
You do not sub a player just because you planned that before the game, you sub a player to make the team better in the second half and all he did was to take the sting and the lead out of the test with his subs.
The worst is that he will go on TV after the game with a smug on his face and tell the world that the Boks improved this year and that they have again taken plenty of positive out of another lost.
I have never seen Naas Botha as upset in the Super Sport studio as on Saturday night and for once I agree with everything he had to say about how poor Coetzee selections and gameplan were.
All we can hope for now is that SARU have the balls to show him the door and get proper coaches in to try and fixed what Coetzee and his team have screwed up the past two years.
Atleast we do not have to see another Springboks lost again this year, so just maybe we can have a good Christmas after next week review from SARU on Coetzee.
After a second year of failures by Springbok coach Coetzee and his team I do not believe their is many people around that will support Coetzee in the public to carry on till 2019.
We run a quick poll on twitter this week and over 92% said he must get on his horse and say goodbye with a small 8% voting for him to stay on. Inside joke yesterday was that the 8% consist of his family and Proudfoot who voted for him to stay
Straight forward question. If it was up to you… Should Coetzee go or should he stay till 2019
It is not ideal for any team more so your national team to change coaches midway to a world cup but I think we come to point of no return and if we want to get South African rugby and Springbok rugby back to the top then the only way is to replace Coetzee.
Now that is the easy part because his record over the past two years in development, game plan and selection have been poor. He must be the coach with the worst transformation record as well.
So what does Rassie Erasmus do in replacing Coetzee and how can he turn the Springboks around?
I have a few ideas that may be the solution for Rassie when they start picking up the pieces in December.
If Coetzee goes then they need to send Venter, Proudfoot and Smith packing as well. Rassie needs to build a team that will trust in his plan and give him the time and space to also do his job as director of rugby within SARU.
We know already that Jacques Nienaber will be directly involved which sort out defence for us. Pieter De Villiers also one of Erasmus coaches that played a huge role in the mobi unit will have to come in as forward and scrum coach.
The name of Deon Davids have been flying around this week as well as a favorite to replace Coetzee and me for one have great believe in Davids as a coach and he is also someone Erasmus trust and believes in. Erasmus was the one that identified Davids to coach the Kings when SARU took over the franchise.
Their must be a trust in the whole setup of each coach in SA Rugby to make sure that success can be develop with our players. For me Rassie Erasmus can run the show and with these guys they have enough quality to get it right not just in selections but also our game plan and combinations we play.
Johan Ackermann is a long term solution for me, I am quite happy to leave him in England and he can be part of the plan post 2019. There has been plenty of talk off an overseas coach and more specifically a Kiwi coach.
I for one do not really care for a coach from outside much. I would rather start plan and develop our local coaches and get guys like Stonehouse back in the system.
But coaches can not be all on on Erasmus list for this Springbok turnaround, he needs to get some key players back in the Springbok setup and for that SARU will maybe have to spend some money to contract them.
Key players we need to have back in the setup to have any change at a shot at the world cup starts with Vermeulen, Francois Steyn. I would like to see some more names of players coming back in Marcell Coetzee, Raun Aclermann, Vincent Koch, Willie Le Roux, Raun Pienaar and Paul Wilemse.
All of them will add value to the group and some of these players will be vital with the experience they will be able to bring to the party.
One thing is for sure, men win trophies not boys and we need an experience group to go to the World Cup and compete in the Rugby Championships.
We have enough talent in the country and abroad to build a great Springbok side for the next two years which will be able to firstly compete against England when they come next year for three test and also against the All Blacks and the other top tier nations in the world.
We will be following SARU closely in the coming days to see what will change if any.
What overseas base players would you want to see back in the green and gold? let us know.
I recently heard from a well-placed source that New Zealand Rugby boss Steve Tew told several counterparts at World Rugby’s meetings in London that the All Blacks had already identified their coaches up to the 2031 World Cup, Craig Ray writes for All out Rugby
What? In SA we don’t even know who the Springbok coach will be this Christmas. The All Blacks are already four World Cups ahead of us in their planning. It’s like going on to the battlefield with swords and shields while NZ comes armed with Apache helicopters, laser-guided artillery and Terminators.
Allister Coetzee has dallied for long enough without so much as a hint that the Boks can cope with the demands of modern Test rugby. He will become the first Bok coach since Harry Viljoen to be axed during a World Cup cycle, after two seasons of woeful results. There is no other option.
Forget about four wins over an impotent France and two wins against a Pumas team in such desperate decline that they make the Springboks look positively Kiwi-esque.
Thrashings by the All Blacks and Ireland are the real picture of where the Boks are, and the image is a bleak one. The Boks are barely hanging on to tier-one status. Coetzee has gone as far as he can go with this team.
But that doesn’t mean finding a replacement will be easy. SA Rugby needs to target the best man for the job while identifying the best fit to work with re-appointed director of rugby, Rassie Erasmus.
And that generally means someone who says things like: ‘crucket on the wucket’. New Zealand are the best rugby nation on earth because they have the best coaches. So it stands to reason that the likes of Vern Cotter, Dave Rennie, Robbie Deans, and hell, even the wacky, break-dancing, Scott Robertson, have to be considered for the Bok coaching job. Of course, one or more of those men are probably part of the All Blacks’ 2031 plan, which muddies the waters.
Insisting on a South African Springbok coach is an out-dated criteria and also limits options to one candidate – Jake White (disclaimer: I penned his 2007 autobiography and he is a columnist for this website).
Forget about Johan Ackermann, the Bok job will eat him alive because he doesn’t have the street smarts to survive it – yet. His time might come, but it’s not now.
White has the credentials, experience and understanding of the demands of the job. Most importantly there isn’t a coach alive who has the same unshakeable belief that SA Rugby players are the best in the world, however outlandish that outlook appears at the moment.
But he won’t be considered because he is demanding and curt, passionate and scornful of amateur officials who fester and pollute the SA game with their self-serving agendas. White calls them out and lets them know what he thinks of their ‘contribution’ to rugby. It’s not flattering and they can’t handle his blunt assessment of their value, and his refusal to bend to their whims, so it’s a waste of time dwelling on the possibility he will be recalled.
Which brings us back to where we started. Trying to identify Coetzee’s successor creates a new challenge without necessary solving the current problems.
Rassie Erasmus is returning to be director of rugby and is unlikely to be appointed as ‘Springbok coach’ unless it is some sort of two-year interim job – another unlikely scenario. Erasmus has returned to overhaul SA’s coaching pathways, player management, talent identification, playing style and contractual issues. It’s a vital role that needs seeing through for the long-term benefit of SA Rugby.
Jacques Nienaber, the defensive Gandalf, has also returned. He will plan that aspect of the Boks’ future regardless of who the new coach is. Nienaber hasn’t left a cushy job in Ireland because he misses lovingly seared boerewors, and to run coaching clinics at the Valke (although that will be a small part of his job). He is back to shore up what has been a generally leaky defence.
Every major RWC 2019 contender is growing depth behind a settled ‘first XV’ at this stage of the cycle. Ireland, NZ, Scotland, England, Wales and even Australia know what their best team looks like.
In SA we can’t even decide if Pieter-Steph du Toit is a lock or a flank, or whether we want to play a roaming No 8 such as Warren Whiteley, or a direct, blunt weapon a la Duane Vermeulen.
The Springboks are at a precipice, which if they plunge off, could signal the end of their status as a preeminent rugby nation.
Decisions made in the coming months are vital to maintaining SA’s dwindling place among the elite of world rugby. Fixing the Boks is the most crucial aspect to achieving that outcome, because at this rate of decline, SA won’t even qualify for RWC 2031.
Although we beat Italy with ease it was not a great test with still too many issues in the team.
Cronje was better this week but in my mind is not the answer to our problems at nine. Paige was sharp behind the pack when he came on but that was with a tiring Italian side so not fair to compare.
Pollard had a much better game than against the French but you need to take the opposition into account.
In the midfield we still need that little bit extra and hopefully Coetzee will give Am a change this weekend but against the Italians it would have been the perfect opportunity to get him into the setup.
On the wings we can only look forward to a guy like Ruan Combrinck coming back next year and hopefully Nkosi will get his change when he is fit again.
Gelant took his opportunity with both hands and twice almost scored against the Italians. He is that X-factor player we need in the backs and may this be the start of his permanent inclusion.
Coetzee is not good enough, he almost never link up with any players and always go dead with ball in hand and his tactical kicking has been poor to say the least.
To say that this win against Italy was a turning point is just for those living in a fools paradise.
Actaully love this time of the year with the silly season where everyone is speculating what is gong to happen, specially with Allister Coetzee failing as a coach for the second year in a row.
What is that saying? ” Where there is smoke their must be a fire” but really people need to realise that it is not as easy as that.
It is almost Meyer and 2015 all over again where more than half the supporters want to see the back of Coetzee.
Money will also play a vital roll if a decision to release Coetzee from his duties. With most great coaches also contracted one can expect that SARU will have to cough up a payout for Coetzee and the one they want to take over.
Maybe they will just cut his wings a bit and let Rassie control his mouth, game plan and selections only time will tell but we can be sure allot of media speculations will still come till SARU meets in December.
Coetzee to be fired, Coetzee to pick is “strongest side” for Italy, Frans Steyn club making it difficult for him to play for Boks and Jake White saying Springbok will not be a force in 2019.
This is just some of the news surrounding the Springboks so far this week while they prepare to face Italy, a team that beat them last year this time.
Atleast we got the good news yesterday that Rassie Erasmus has started his new job at SARU and this is us hoping that there will be change but to think one man can suddenly change the fortune of the Springboks and South African rugby is a little bit naive.
One of the major concerns this last couple of months was that Coetzee was not willing to give the fringe players a change to proof themselves and it seems that he is continuing on that trend for this weeks test against Italy.
One can understand that Coetzee is under pressure but this pressure he brought onto himself.
Coetzee has plenty of problems but these two stands out….
In some way these two go hand in hand and unfortunately both play a part in the poor showing and record of Coetzee Springbok sides the last two years.
Every coach and his assistants will have a game plan they believe in and to a point we as supporters need to except it and support them in this plan. The problem for Coetzee has been that his game plan firstly changed from last year and when he did not get the results in the Rugby Championship, he reverted to what they knew best.
It is the most frustrating part of a supporter to see how a game fail week in and week out and everyone else can recognized the failure expect the coaching team. Brendon Venter even started blocking people on social media when they did not agree with his opinion.
Selection of your national teams should be firstly base on merit and I do not believe Coetzee understand the meaning of the word.
Merit is defined as the quality of being good or worthy and when you think of merit you think of words like excellence, goodness, standard, quality, worthy, eminence, value, distinction and deserving.
Now how many of those words can be associated with the current group on tour?
Now it is easy to blame players but then I looked at the past few games and realized these same players under different Super Rugby coaches performed and under Coetzee game they have failed. One perfect example is Elton Jantjies and Ross Cronje.
I am not convinced on statements that they are just not good enough at this level, they have been exceptional in Super Rugby and with a different game where they are allowed to express themselves on the field.
One cannot force a dog to clime a tree, he is most effective when he is on the ground, the same goes with Coetzee game, you cannot expect a attacking flyhalf to suddenly start playing Naas Botha rugby and expect him to be great at it.
As with the Stormers Coetzee have yet again managed to screw-up Jantjies game and he is fast doing it to Cronje as well.
If you want to play 10-man rugby and kick sides backwards as an attacking plan then pick Morne Steyn or Patrick Lambie at ten or even get Liefing back on the rugby field.
Coetzee game plan can be sum up with Roxette hit ” Crash, Boom, Bang”.
Italy would have been the best opportunity to let Gelant and Am loose but unfortunately Coetzee has other plans, maybe someone can change his mind as with Vermeulen.
I am maybe alone in my believe but I do disagree with Jake White that we can not be a force in 2019. If we get a quality coach he can turn our quality players around in two years nut it starts and end with what decisions SARU makes in December.
One want to ask why NH sides are so much better theses days, well England has Eddie Jones(Australia), Lions had Gatland(NZ), Ireland Schmidt(NZ), Wales Gatland(NZ), Montpellier TOP leaders Cotter (NZ), maybe it is time to realize we need someone outside South Africa because we simple do not have the quality within.
Even if Coetzee manage to win against the French, Italians and Wales it does not justify for him to stay in charge of the Springboks.
In fact he should have been showed the door after 2016 but for some reason he put forward some lame excuse of not enough time to plan for 2016.
From day one Coetzee made mistake on mistake at the helm and spread his nonsense around at every press conference to justify his decision making and justify his selections.
Picking the bulk of the Lions stars helped a bit against a poor French side in June but we soon went back to what we saw and got used to from him in 2016.
Manage only two wins in Rugby Championship against the weakest side in the tournament which is the only side worst than the Springboks.
Only he and his two cronies will know why players like De Allende, De Jager, Dreyer, Rhule, Coetzee, Cronje, Jantjies stay in the team and why some of them even stay in this group.
We were told the fairy tale that Coetzee will pick players on form, but these form players are left out of the squad or left signing deals with overseas clubs.
It is not even worth talking about Coetzee game plan, because there is non.
It is not that we do not have quality coaches, we sit with coaches like Ackermann in Europe and Stonehouse in Japan.
Coetzee should have been appointed in the first place on a 1 year deal to be evaluated for extension.
In any team a coach with his record would have been long gone but it seems we except mediocre coaches in our rugby.
Ackermann has taken Gloucester and in a short space of time to number 3 on the Aviva Championship log, only seven points behind the leaders Saracens.
He has proven to be one of the better managers in our system and is a coach that can build on the limitations of players and bring a winning culture back in a team(old school ways).
Coaches that surrounds them with professionals usually succeed. To think for one moment you can get to the top with mediocre assistants and by your own ability is just plain stupid and naive.
SARU needs to get out of their contract with Coetzee and get a coach that can take the Springbok forward. A coach with vision and understanding of the qualities of players and not on reputation.
The only way is to get rid of Coetzee now and give a quality coach all the opportunity to give us firstly an opportunity in 2019 and secondly to get Springbok rugby back to the challenge the best in the world
If Coetzee stays on as coach we most properly will win some matches, may even be able to win a test against the All Blacks, but comes 2019 we will not win the World Cup.
We will still be losing quality players to Europe and Japan but the worst of all of this will be the coach taking over after 2019 will be left worst off than what Meyer left the Boks in 2016.
It seems people are not happy with the result of France getting the 2023 World Cup on Wednesday. This is after South Africa was confirmed the best candidate after an technical audit gave then the inside line with the highest score.
France have promised countries with a £350 million whereas South Africa promised £270 million.
It was a eventful afternoon in London with some people unable to look each other in the eye after the vote. Philip Browne, the chief executive of the Irish union, expressed his dismay with only England backing their bid.
“We are very disappointed that Scotland and Wales didn’t vote for us,” he said. “Scotland went for the money.”
It is now being said that Unions have, indeed, been seduced by cash, the putative hand-outs down the line and for some the feeling is that the process has been ambushed.
The whole idea of the of spending the money on the committee for World Rugby was to avoid the very thing that happened in the past two weeks with talks behind closed doors to secure votes
The vote would have always been part of the process, taking 10 month to complete but yet the 16 day dragging from the announcement of the report to the actual vote allowed France to do some lobbying.
Brian O’Driscoll commented on the and question the fact that this could happen.
“The fact that the evaluation report came out with one nation to host it and the nation that is three percentage points behind manages to get it says something needs to be done and questions need to be answered,” said O’Driscoll, an ambassador for the Ireland bid. “I don’t know why they waited two weeks – did that have some bearing on it? Undoubtedly. It was an opportunity to convince certain nations of who needs to be voted for.”
SARU President was also not happy with the last two weeks lobbying
“There was a set of rules and we abided by those rules. Several were broken in the process which we are upset about. We will beg World Rugby to modify that process.”
With FIFA and Olympics boards now trying to fix the damage of their own backroom deals in previous tournaments, only time will tell if we will soon see World Rugby also investigating these so-called envelope deals.
For now France will host the 2023 World Cup and it will be a successful tournament and South Africa can live to fight another day.
After last week Springbok coach Coetzee can be bold and pick a team that are actually a team for the future and not stick to his old pattern and boring gameplan.
The question remain if Coetzee has the boldness to actually look at the future of the not just the Springboks but also the way the game is evolving.
Coetzee has always been full of excuses when his team has not perform and this week was no different with the best excuse being Coetzee blaming the Boks poor performance on the way they traveled to the UK
Due to financial constraints, the Springboks travelled to Europe in economy instead of business class and Coetzee feels this may have had a negative impact
The fact remains that Coetzee have been changing his mind more than the weather in the past two season when it comes to the way the Springboks play and also who he pick and why.
Coetzee main goal as Springbok coach must be to take the side from 2015 and leave it in a better state in 2019. After two years he actually missed the memo and made this Springbok team worst than what Meyer left it in 2015 and if he leaves on with this trend, he will leave it 5 years behind Meyers Boks.
Coetzee have already failed with the squad that he picked for this tour and also suddenly go back on his previous statements in calling up Vermeulen, who a week ago could not form part due to the fact that he did not spend time with his training camps.
We will most properly see not too many changes to his side who will take on France this weekend but in my mind he could take that leap of faith and trust in some form players for Saturday.
Here is how my team will look with what he got there at the moment:
Front Row: Louw, Marx, Kitshoff,
Second Row:Etzebeth, Mostert,
Loose Forwards: Kolisi, Louw, Vermeulen,
Halfbacks: Paige, Pollard,
Midfield: Am, Kriel,
Back Three: Skosan, Leyds and Gelant
What we most likely will see from Coetzee is this team:
Front Row: Louw, Marx, Beast
Second Row:Etzebeth, Mostert,
Loose Forwards: Kolisi, Louw, Vermeulen,
Halfbacks: Cronje, Pollard,
Midfield: De Allende, Kriel,
Back Three: Skosan, Leyds and Coetzee
It is still a mystery why Coetzee did not feel the need to call up Frans Steyn with the crap midfield players he has at the moment. It is also beyond any person why he thinks he does not need any help even after he is losing Van Graan and Venter this week.
Maybe we must be happy that he keeps on his destructive path with SARU getting fed-up and email him Goodbye.
After the lost of the 2023 World Cup to France I do not think Mark Alexander can take another loss in one week against the French
One of the most perplexing aspects of Allister Coetzee’s tenure has been his personnel choices and his unwavering support of said choices in spite of poor stats, shocking results and intense public backlash. So, with his head (apparently) about to roll (yay) – it begs the question; what could a change in coach mean for team makeup in a post AC world?
It felt quite serendipitous reviewing the posts I have written about Allister Coetzee in the past. For example. in April 2016 – shortly after his belated appointment – I made some predictions on how there is going to be a wide chasm between what we hope will happen and what will. Then, on the 9th of September – I questioned what an acceptable cost was of keeping him at the helm. I then wrote about why he keeps selecting the wrong players of colour and I am sure there are heaps more.
Point is, I have moaned and groaned about AC for awhile.
The good news, however, is that we are about to draw the curtain on this experiment.
Rumour has it that Rassie and Nienaber are going to coach the Boks whilst the rest of the coaching panel will fall into place over time. This changing of the guard will also come with change in players – as is often the case.
While it goes without saying that some players Springbok careers might be over permanently; Cassiem, Rhule and others at least temporarily; Skosan, Coetzee, Jantjies, De Allende – I also expect Rassie to pick as many overseas based players as are eligible. I am confident (read: hoping) that the new Bok coach’s mandate will be to pick the best players irrespective of their postal code – within the construct of the quota system – as that will still be a factor I’d say. Surely Rassie won’t ignore players like Rohan Janse Van Rensburg, Ruan Combrinck and Makazole Mapimpi?
There is no good reason for top talent like Duane Vermeulen, Frans Steyn, or Bismarck Du Plessis to evade selection regularly – if they are the best in their position. This is particularly important considering how youngsters like Dan Du Preez, Malcolm Marx and Lukanyo Am could benefit from the experience these guys bring to the table.
The reality of the current situation is that a large number of our players ply their trade overseas and we need to get with the programme.
The last, and potentially most contentious issue is the matter of Springbok captain. I am afraid that with Rassie inbound – Warren Whiteley may battle to make the team – let alone continue his run as captain. Allister Coetzee has a penchant for picking players out of position and making odd choices and in my opinion – Whiteley is one of those. Despite his strengths as a captain and his presence with the media – he is not the best number 8 in South Africa. That honour belongs to Duane Vermeulen with other more physical contenders like Dan Du Preez also in the queue. Whiteley is not as steady on defense, with ball in hand or in the scrums as the above two and in a game where size is everything – he is not the logical choice.
Just to clarify – I don’t think that Rassie is going to be perfect. However, I feel I can say with a fair degree of certainty that as an astute tactician he will make it his business to pick a team that can not only win games but build toward 2019 Rugby World Cup. Plus, there is NO way that he can do worse than Allister Coetzee.
What’s your thoughts? What changes do you think Rassie will bring about? Let us know in the comments or hit us with a tweet @leftbacks.
Although their has been a few candidates for the Ass of the Week we had to give it to Springbok coach Allister Coetzee.
Coetzee had allot to say about continuity and trying to convince supporters and most properly himself on certain selections he made for the Irish team.
When asked why Frans Steyn and Vermeulen was not part of the group he pointed out not enough time for them to fit in from a Monday to match day.
A week later Vermeulen is added to the squad on the Monday before the French test.
Most people all over social media predicted that De Allende will fail and he failed miserably against the Irish. Coetzee pointed out to the media when asked before the tour why a player like Janse van Rensburg was not included, that he did not played enough.
Contradicting statement when he picked De Allende who has played less rugby than Rohan.
What is beyond most supporters was to see Coetzee having no plan B against the Irish.
In the first half he clearly instructed his players to play the short ball around the pillars as they did against the All Blacks at Newlands but what Mr Coetzee did not expect was that the Irish management would have looked at that test and worked out the Springboks game.
He also clearly instructed his players to kick the ball in the hope that they can turn ball over from which they can attack but that instruction he gave to his halfbacks who is know to play direct attacking rugby
The worst part is that Mr Coetzee could not realized that his game is founded out and change it at the break, but then again he most properly was so naive to think that he did not need a plan B.
So for having not do proper planning, selecting players out of position, selecting out-of-from players and just having a crappy game plan Mr Coetzee earns the reward as the Jackass of the Week.
Had to really wait a good 24 hours before I had the will power to look at the Irish test again and try and find some answers on what happen again.
It is always easy to start blaming the players and yes they do have to answer for performances on the field and more so when you running out for your country.
To dish up a performance like on Saturday against Ireland is just not something we need to except from any Springbok team.
To look at Saturdays test and think we can find the answers for our poor performance is short sighted the Springboks problems are much deeper that one of two test.
The alarm bells was going off even before the tour started when Coetzee picked his squad of players.
His planning for the 2019 seems non existed in this current setup and even if we try very hard not to be to much emotional he does not have the ability to even come close to outsmart teams at this level.
We always measure our-self against the All Blacks and the test at Newlands which showed some guts from the Boks gave many of us false hope.
Measurement of a team should be the consistent improvement and ability to compete against the very best their teams their are, and we are not even close to do that.
Last year we heard that we need to blame the short time Coetzee had to prepare and this year we are being told that we must keep believing in the process of this team and be positives when we lose 57-0 against the All Blacks.
It should not have come as a surprise on the Springboks fall from grace when you look at Coetzee track record with Province and the Stormers.
I feel sorry for players like Jantjies and Cronje who has shown against the best of New Zealand and Australia the past three years that they are game breakers and now are being made the reason for our poor form.
I do not buy this. With a coach like Ackermann these two players have played a quick direct game putting their backline in space and created tries but on Saturday it was clear that they were again instructed to play a game they are not suited to and kick everything that came their way.
You can not make a dog fly no why would you want to take two of the attacking best halfbacks in South Africa and tell them to kick all day.
It was the same Coetzee, then at the Stormers that took a talented young Jantjies who perform outstanding for the Lions and killed his game with one season at the Stormers.
When you see stats of 61% territory, 54% possession, making 134 meters with ball in hand from 12 carriers with more good passes that the Irish then you know that you had the wrong plan against them.
We made all the play but at the end they scored 4 tries to our big fat zero.
In the midfield Coetzee thought that he could bring in a player in De Allende, who has not perform well in Super Rugby nor in the previous two years for the Springboks, and take on a world class team like Ireland.
How you sit with an exciting player like Am in your squad and do not even use him from the bench is just plain the logic the Springbok coach have shown since he started.
I am not even gong to touch on the fact that he sits with Pollard who could have added so much more than the poor De Allende and gave them a left and right foot combination next to Jantjies.
Coetzee also ignore the likes of Frans Steyn who plays in Europe.
Our backline was poor and our defence was even worst with no structure on attack.
Nick Mallet said it best after the game when you look at our midfield
“The midfield attack – the two centres [Damian de Allende and Jesse Kriel] – showed absolutely no ability to straighten, catch or pass, which are the basics of international rugby.
‘You can play touch rugby against a player and within five minutes you can tell whether that player understands space, timing and depth, both when he has the ball in two hands and when he is a support runner.
I don’t think Damian de Allende or Jesse Kriel understand space or running straight or running lines. I think they are big, strong and powerful centres, who do not have a feel for the game of rugby.
‘Unfortunately, De Allende looked woefully out of form. He has been picked – and one wonders why – on reputation. He certainly hasn’t played enough games to warrant selection”
The only way Coetzee can rescue this tour is to get the right players involved. Time has come to call players like Vermeulen, Steyn and get players like Am and Gelant quicker in the system.
Upfront we need to pick players in their positions and have the best players starting the match. Sentiment must find a backseat and players not good enough needs to be shown the door.
The real sad part of Coetzee after this test was that he does not even know what is wrong. He could not even explained after the test what went wrong.
The Springboks are at a crossroad and SARU and Springbok management needs to make some hard decisions if they still want to safe the soon to be extinct Springbok rugby team.
As it stand now we will be lucky to come away from this tour with one win.
Toetie have missed the mark again with his selection of the Springbok team for the test against Ireland on Saturday.
He again shown us his inability to look at the future of South African rugby and again he decide to pick players out of form and out of position.
Can this team beat Ireland on Saturday?
Ye playing with some passion like the Newlands test we might pull it through but it will do nothing for our planning towards the 2019 World Cup in Japan.
Toetie missed the chance to get exciting game breakers like Gelant and Am in the match day squad. So the two of the exciting players in SA at the moment is left caring the bags for the week.
With not many more test to come before 2019 Coetzee have failed to show us that he believe in players on form and rather go with players tried, tested and some that have failed at this level.
After this tour the Springboks have next years 3 incoming test test, Rugby Championship, November test and 2019 shorter Rugby Championships.
If Coetzee wants to tell me that Kriel and De Allende is our answer for midfield then we can give up now.
Kriel have also failed this year in the midfield but yet he still finds himself partnering with a out-of-form De Allende who nobody knows why he is even still in the sqaud.
Only in Coetzee mind one can pick De Jager before Mostert and play Du Toit again out of position on the side of the scrum.
Also sure we have the smallest and lightest back three after Japan in world rugby who are pretty useless under the high ball so we can expect the smart Irish team to take huge advantage of that.
Do not understand why Cronje and Jantjies are playing in this test. The two Lions stars have been playing almost every Super Rugby match and all but a few test this year. Why not give the guys well earned rest and let the second choices get that much needed game time.
We know what we have in them so again it would have been a great opportunity to give Paige a proper run with Pollard who by the way knows each other from the Bulls as well.
We have a massive bench but for me most of them should have started on Saturday.
Toetie is clearly worried more about winning that looking at the bigger picture and building a squad for Japan 2019
Most would agree that air hostess Nora Jackson, with 15 years’ experience, is still no more qualified to fly the plane than when she first asked “beef or chicken?” in 2002, writes Zelím Nel for All Out Rugby
If only that logic was adhered to in rugby where pundits and supporters take their coaching cues from the mouths of players, current and former, as though they’re the final authority on how the game should be played. Similarly, scribes routinely swing between bemoaning the lack of professionalism and holding the sport accountable to amateur ideals.
In this week’s news, we had Ollie le Roux pumping the detonator handle to blow away his credibility, Kwagga Smith waving a cocktail flag for the wee fellas and then an Irish hack sawing the violin after the Emerald Isle was snubbed for 2023 Rugby World Cup consideration.
Let’s start with the last bloke.
“World Rugby went for the money,” Billy Keane wrote in his column for the Irish Independent. “Rich bums on pricey seats will replace families and fans who care.
“World Rugby… have forgotten our contribution to the game. Ireland has never hosted a World Cup. World Rugby has no sense of fun. The sterile report never referenced an Ireland of storytellers. World Rugby has no heart. The country that paid the most won. World Rugby sold out.”
Wait… Keane wanted the report to “reference an Ireland of storytellers”? Are we talking about the script for the next Peter Jackson trilogy or a global sporting event here?
Does Billy want every rugby nation to get a turn to host the World Cup? Fiji’s most modern stadium has a 4,000-seat grandstand.
It’s this ideology of inclusiveness and soft parameters that has rugby referees imposing touchy-feely, outcomes-based sanctions instead of enforcing binary laws. And that’s why – while the NFL celebrates the 50th anniversary of mic’ing-up players for groundbreaking, in-game audio – rugby is still wrestling with what constitutes a forward pass.
The bottom line in professional sports is, “did you win”, not “did you have fun?”
That brings us to good old Kwagga who had a ton of fun for the Barbarians in a great comeback win for the All Blacks on Saturday. Smith is fun to watch, he embodies true grit. The problem is, his body weighs just 98 kilograms.
Smith had a cracker at Twickenham on Saturday and then used the platform of being named man of the match to stick it to ‘sizeists’.
“I was delighted to show everyone that it is not just about size in rugby,” he said. “Just look at someone like Damien McKenzie – he’s even smaller than me and he’s a match-winner.”
First up, let’s just point out that Smith’s gutsy performance couldn’t save the Baa-Baas from surrendering a 17-5 lead to lose 31-22 against a second-string All Blacks outfit. The 26-point comeback was driven by a backline that featured just one player under 92kgs (fullback David Havili) and three players of at least 100kgs (Seta Temanivalu, Ngani Laumape and Anton-Leinart Brown).
Kwagga should be proud of what was a thrilling individual performance, but he should also pause to think about what he’s saying: “The Barbarians do things differently. In our preparation against the All Blacks it was very clear that there was no pressure on us. The coach just emphasized that we have to go and enjoy ourselves.”
And there it is, the luxury of a carefree exhibition game. Neither Smith nor coach Robbie Deans had to think about winning at Twickenham as part of broader demands to summit the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
Every time the Boks play, Allister Coetzee is potentially 80 minutes away from losing his job. Ask around, that guillotine hangs over every professional coach.
Rugby is a game of collisions, and when two conditioned players collide, it’s the bigger one that usually wins.
You don’t get much bigger than Ollie le Roux who, even in his playing days, appeared to have modelled his physique on the Michelin Man. Unfortunately, Ollie’s thoughts on coaching would probably fit quite comfortably into the coin pocket on a pair of old Teesav rugby shorts.
Le Roux lambasted Coetzee, Heyneke Meyer and Jake White for South Africa’s current condition based on the fact that none of them had played for the Springboks.
Here’s a list of World Cup winning coaches: Brian Lochore (1987), Bob Dwyer (1991), Kitch Christie (1995), Rod MacQueen (1999), Clive Woodward (2003), Jake White (2007), Graham Henry (2011), Steve Hansen (2015). Lochore and Woodward are the only ones on the list that played Test rugby. That means a team is three times more likely to win the World Cup without a former Test player at the helm.
While Le Roux probably meant to talk to the importance of understanding and upholding Bok traditions, his comments made as much sense as Smith referencing Damian McKenzie as evidence that size doesn’t matter in pro rugby, Keane pining for a World Cup in Ireland based on feelings over facts, or Nora offering to park the plane in the hangar.
When I saw this article I knew I had to share it even if only for Americano
South African rugby hacks and keyboard jockeys are blistering their fingers churning out copy about exciting Bulls fullback Warrick Gelant, and why the 22-year-old must be picked for the Springboks’ upcoming northern hemisphere tour, writes Devin Hermanus for AllOutRugby
Incumbent Bok No 15 Andries Coetzee hasn’t lit up the Test scene in nine outings in his debut international season, and the consensus is that Gelant needs to start ahead of ‘Boeboes’ for the Bokke against Ireland, France, Italy and Wales next month. The versatile Dillyn Leyds is also an option at 15.
However, an alternative selection as a back-three general by Bok coach Allister Coetzee and the national selectors would be a shock recall for Wasps-based Willie le Roux.
Le Roux last played for the Boks during their calamitous European sojourn in 2016 before the mercurial playmaker, in a dip of form, swapped the Sharks for the Canon Eagles.
Much has been said and written about the lynchpin’s fall from grace in national colours, not to mention his try-scoring howler for Wasps in April. But Le Roux, 28, can add some much-needed experience, coupled with his trademark X-factor, to a still very raw back three.
The 41-capped utility back is acclimatised to the northern hemisphere conditions, and his time in Europe has helped make him a more rounded player – one less likely to try and create something from nothing with every touch of the ball, but still more assured of his game-breaking abilities than the likes of Coetzee.
Le Roux remains alert and dangerous under the high ball, challenging or receiving, and his aerial prowess would be an asset for the Boks if they want to execute a successful up-and-under game on tour.
If comeback kid Handre Pollard unseats Elton Jantijes at flyhalf, and Le Roux returns at 15, it reunites a 10-15 playmaking duo that has served the Boks well in the past.
Having Le Roux back in the national fold would aid the growth of Coetzee, Gelant and Leyds if he played the role of a mentor, and his versatility would give the Bok coach some wiggle room in his selections.
At Wasps, Le Roux stepped up as the English side’s backline boss after Wallaby ace Kurtley Beale’s return to Australia, and the added responsibility at the Ricoh Arena has made him an improved decision-maker.
Vilified for every misstep with the Boks and Sharks in 2016, Le Roux’s confidence took a knock, but time away from the criticism of the SA media and public has helped him to rebuild his self-esteem. A certain white-booted Percy Montgomery once rebuilt his career in Wales with Newport Dragons, away from the harsh scrutiny of his countrymen.
One of Gelant, Leyds or Curwin Bosch are sure to step up at fullback for South Africa in the future, and their passage into the team shouldn’t be blocked. However, less than two years out from Japan 2019, the time and circumstances are right to bring Le Roux in from the cold and offer him a shot at redemption.
Hi guys. I was watching the Currie Cup final between the Sharks and Western Province with my friend Mr Howie, a retired engineer, and he make the observation that in a game of rugby we can often “pinpoint” a moment when the game turn.
Oom Rugby writes for AllOutRugby
It is a typical engineer to look for the moment when the “stress point” occur, but he is right. In this game it is just before halftime when Province have a scrum on the Sharks’ line. Let us take a look at what happen and why I think it was the moment that set the foundation for the victory…
This is the scrum and what is interesting is that Province not dominating like the other scrums. Could be because Vermeulen is now at flank behind Geldenhuys, but the more clever guys will have to tell us why!
One thing we do know is that Wilco Louw did not dominate Thomas du Toit to the extend that people saying. The dominance happen on the other side of the scrum. In fact, in this scrum Du Toit put huge pressure on the WP blindside, as we can see.
This mean Daniel is free to break and deal with Carr, so Province does not get as quick ball as they maybe hope for next phase.
Above is the ruck from Carr’s carry. It is many seconds later so it is very slow ball, but that is actually fine because, as we will see, Province going to play a long game now.
We notice in the picture the excellent communication and control from the halfbacks. They driving the forwards like a John Deere tractor. Du Preez is not seeing opportunities yet so he is telling them to keep the ball tight. Duvenage is already getting the next carriers in position as Wiese pick and go.
Province keeps going left with Carr on 4th phase. Now guys, it is one thing to grind like this in a red zone, but it is another thing to protect the ball successfully and not make a mistake.
Remember that Sharks doesn’t have to drop back to defend the kick so they can have all their defenders waiting in the line. After Carr is tackled, Am immediately get low over the ball, but as we see above Leyds manage to clean him off.
What is interesting is the wonderful technique of Leyds, who is a back. Because Am get there first he is like a perlemoen on a rock. Leyds must bind on top of Am and this is the most difficult type of clean to do. Well done to the skills coach and the player for this crucial execution.
This is 6th phase and Province now starts to play back to the other touchline. It is a long, slow test of the structure of both teams.
Duvenage will pass to Louw who will smash it up again. There some people who think contact in rugby is one dimensional, but as we see above it can be hugely valuable. When Louw make contact, all the Sharks players on the left of the screen must run around that ruck to try get to the other side to deal with the next WP carry. It is called “folding” and it is how and where defenders recycle themself from ruck to ruck.
It is 10th phase. After Province play up to the right hand side they now start to come back to the left again. The important thing to realise is they not necessarily looking for meters, they trying to stress the Sharks defence organisation.
And this moment is when the seeds of trouble begin… Wiese smashed it up and now the Sharks players is starting to fold incorrectly. Not only are they all bunch up on the far side, but we see the scrumhalf, flyhalf, wing and two centres all there. That mean somewhere in the field is a forward who is defending in a backs position.
Notice the Province players coming around for next carry.
Duvenage play out to Van Zyl. Sharks has ended up with less men now in the line on that side, but they still have options. If Van Zyl carry, they make the tackle. If he play out the backdoor, they can shift and drift. It is all about players having eyes up and communicating with each other so they can act with cohesion.
But here it become the shape of a pear. Van Zyl hold onto the ball long enough to keep Sharks interested, and they take the bait and “pinch” together on his run and run of decoy Louw. We can see Daniel is pushing out but Marais and Geldenhuys is going straight up. Willemse is first receiver on this screen play and Van Wyk actually make a good read to shoot on him because he see there is big trouble, but Willemse evade him and the rest is in history – Leyds score in the corner.
Red zone play is the ultimate test of our systems. If we failing or succeeding in big moments like this then it can affect our whole cohesion, confidence and the trust between our players for the rest of the game.
I believe this is the moment that was the stress test that dent the Sharks’ cohesion and give WP the assurance to dictate the game in the second half and win.
DISCLAIMER: English is Oom’s third language, after Rugby and Afrikaans.
One can understand that Springbok fans will be confused with how Coetzee try and justify his selections.
In the one statement he explain that he pick like for like when he spoke on why he left out Rohan Janse van Rensburg and decided on Cheetahs Francois Venter butthen he select Sharks lock Ruan Botha to replace Du Preez.
With Jan Serfontein making himself unavailable for the November test Coetzee opted for a out-of-form De Allende with Am and Venter for his midfield.
Janse van Rensburg with his size, strength and speed would have come in handy on the wet slow conditions in Europe but Coetzee believed Venter is a better option.
Coming back to Serfontein of a moment, if a player put settling in at his new club above Springbok rugby then he should not be in the picture at all anymore.
Let him go and make money in Franse and pick players who wants to put everything on the line for the Boks.
Springbok rugby and playing for your country should always be a players top priority.
Coetzee went on in saying that Janse van Rensburg came back from injury but so did Venter and if Venter was a must for Coetzee then why keep on picking De Allende?
De Allende have now proven over a few years that he is not test quality and should not be part of this setup.
Botha selection to replace du Preez is a slap in the faces of the loose forwards in South Africa that play their hearts out throughout Super Rugby and Currie Cup.
One can think of players like Kwagga, Notsche, Carr, Brink and Adendroff just to name a few that could have been given a chance to develop on this tour.
Botha is a great lock and had a great season for the Sharks but with locks like Du Toit, Etzebeth, De Jager and Mostert why pick just another lock.
Even if Coetzee want to use Du Toit as a loose forward why then not pick a specialized loose forward?
The past few Springbok coaches kept on picking players out of position and I cannot remember too many success story.
Although we have a strong forward pack that will be able to compete against the Northern Hemisphere teams I still long for the day when our coaches will pick specialist for our Bok team.
It looks like another struggle for another Springbok team in November.
It is a shame that Springbok coach Allister Coetzee did not used this tour in November to find players to evolve with for Japan 2019.
Normally I will be on the side that stand up for the coach but this is getting beyond ridiculous if a coach and his selectors keep on selecting players who are not up to international level. In some way they even start to embarrass themselves as players and their coach.
Some of these players Coetzee keep on selecting must give Zuma a real go in always been able to survive the axe.
Nothing against the players but how Cassiem, Dreyer, Mohoje, De Allende, Rhule and Kriel still gets a look at is beyond me. We still look real thin out-wide and against big and strong outside backs in Europe I can only see us struggling in November.
Coetzee missed the mark again in not letting a guy like Robert Du Preez tag along. Last year for the Barbarians he showed his class in that conditions and he has been showing great form in the Currie Cup as well.
Du Preez is the closet we will get to a Henry Honiball and exactly what we need if Jantjies or Pollard gets injured at ten. He has been praised with his game management something I missed but in Saturday’s final Du Preez was able to cross the advantage line, manage his backs and put the ball in-front of his forwards.
Another player I feel would have benefit is Sharks prop Thomas du Toit. He has warrant to at least tour with the Boks and get a look at for the future.
Feel sorry for a guys like Nkosi that got injured as this tour would have given the young man the world of experience a she is one for the future. Personally I would have had Vorster in this squad above Francois Venter.
I would have loved to see a Odendaal get a call, he has been brilliant in the Currie Cup and was the center point of the Blue Bulls attack this season. Kwagga would also have made my team as a out and out game breaker.
Mapimpi must be one of the unluckiest players for me after a great Super Rugby and now for Cheetahs in PRO14.
There is not much that shouts out excitement for me in the backs although Am getting a shot is a step in the right direction but how much playing time he will get is another story.
This Springbok team will be struggling on the wet slow pitches next months and one can only hope that it is not going to go as bad as last year this time but I expect the worst.
We should be able to hold our own in the forwards against the Europeans but at the back I am afraid for what Coetzee will pick again.
Here is Coetzee group to tour Europe
Forwards (in alphabetical order)
Uzair Cassiem (flank,Toyota Free State Cheetahs), 6 caps, 5 points (1 try)
Lood de Jager (lock, Vodacom Blue Bulls), 32 caps, 20 points (4 tries)
Ruan Dreyer (prop, Xerox Golden Lions), 4 caps, 5 points (1 try)
Dan du Preez (No 8, Cell C Sharks), 0 caps, 0 points
**Jean-Luc du Preez (loose forward, Cell C Sharks), 10 caps, 10 points (2 tries)
Pieter-Steph du Toit (lock/flank,DHL Western Province), 29 caps, 20 points (4 tries)
Eben Etzebeth (lock, DHL Western Province), 63 caps, 15 points (3 tries)
Steven Kitshoff (prop DHL Western Province), 19 caps, 0 points
Siya Kolisi (flank, DHL Western Province), 25 caps, 20 points (4 tries)
Francois Louw (loose forward, Bath, England), 54 caps, 40 points (8 tries)
Wilco Louw (prop, DHL Western Province), 1 cap, 0 points
Malcolm Marx (hooker, Xerox Golden Lions), 11 caps, 15 points (3 tries)
Bongi Mbonambi (hooker, DHL Western Province), 11 caps, 0 points
Oupa Mohojé (flank, Toyota Free State Cheetahs), 17 caps, 0 points
Franco Mostert (lock, Emirates Lions/Ricoh Black Rams, Japan), 15 caps, 0 points
Tendai Mtawarira (prop, Cell C Sharks), 95 caps, 10 points (2 tries)
Trevor Nyakane (prop,Vodacom Blue Bulls), 34 caps, 5 points (1 try)
Coenie Oosthuizen (prop, Cell C Sharks), 29 caps, 20 points (4 tries)
Chiliboy Ralepelle (hooker,Cell C Sharks), 22 caps, 5 points (1 try)
Lukhanyo Am (centre, Cell C Sharks), 0 caps, o points
Curwin Bosch (flyhalf, Cell C Sharks), 1 cap, 0 points
Andries Coetzee (fullback, Xerox Golden Lions), 9 caps, 0 points
Ross Cronjé (scrumhalf, Xerox Golden Lions), 6 caps, 10 points (2 tries)
Damian de Allende (centre, DHL Western Province), 27 caps, 15 points (3 tries)
Warrick Gelant (fullback, Vodacom Blue Bulls), 0 caps, 0 points
Elton Jantjies (flyhalf, Emirates Lions/NTT Shining Arcs, Japan), 20 caps, 198 points (2 tries, 37 conversions, 38 penalties)
Jesse Kriel (centre, Vodacom Blue Bulls), 25 caps, 30 points (6 tries)
Dillyn Leyds (wing, DHL Western Province), 5 caps, 0 points
Rudy Paige (scrumhalf, Vodacom Blue Bulls), 11 caps, 5 points (1 try)
Handré Pollard (flyhalf, Vodacom Blue Bulls), 22 caps, 190 points (2 tries, 30 conversions, 37 penalties, 3 drop goals)
Raymond Rhule (wing,Toyota Free State Cheetahs), 7 caps, 5 points (1 try)
Louis Schreuder (scrumhalf, Cell C Sharks), 0 caps, 0 points
Courtnall Skosan (wing, Xerox Golden Lions), 9 caps, 10 points (2 tries)
Francois Venter (centre, Toyota Free State Cheetahs), 3 caps, 0 points
From next season, the Currie Cup is going to get some help from the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
There’s a big push by Japanese rugby to get stronger as a nation. They weren’t happy with how the Sunwolves went in Super Rugby this year, so what they’ve done is they’ve made the national coach, Jamie Joseph, the Sunwolves coach and all of his coaching staff will be hands-on with that team, made up of Japanese national players, from next season.
And because all of the Japanese companies involved in the Top League want the country to do well in the World Cup, they have taken the decision to allow their players to be available to the Sunwolves in Super Rugby.
That was a very big decision for the companies to make. Those players are going to be playing for the Sunwolves which means they will need to be managed going into the World Cup. That would come at a cost to the clubs again because not only would their players be gone during Super Rugby, they’d also have to sit out parts of the Top League season to be managed properly.
So what they’ve decided is that the Top League won’t run during the World Cup year. Instead, they’re going to have the ‘2019’ Top League season between January and May in 2020, and then run the 2020 season from September to the following January.
That’s what’s happening in Japan to make them stronger and it made me think about something I tried to get right in South Africa while I was coaching the Springboks.
At that time, SA Rugby hired Accenture to help determine the best location for South Africa’s fifth Super Rugby franchise.
I was asked which franchise I thought should come in and one of the things I suggested was that the Kings should be based in Port Elizabeth and all the contracted Springboks should be picked as a group and based as a Super Rugby team in the Eastern Cape.
Now those players would only have been contracted until the World Cup and most of them moved on afterwards. So the idea was that the Boks, playing as the Kings in Super Rugby, would train with another group of contracted players that were earmarked to replace them in Super Rugby after the World Cup, almost as a B team that would step up for the Kings after the Boks left.
I obviously had selfish reasons for wanting to do what Japan are now doing. By keeping the national team together during Super Rugby the coach will have a chance to try different combinations among a few other things.
But the other part of my idea was to uplift rugby’s profile in the Eastern Cape by using the Boks to help mentor and grow a team that met the transformation and succession planning goals without the pressure of having to win from day one.
That would have been a good way to make sure the franchise was strong and sustainable while, at the same time, the national coaches got to work with the same Test players for a longer period of time.
As it happened, we won the World Cup without doing it like that, but the Kings have been up and down and now they’re out – playing in the PRO14 with the Cheetahs.
If, at that time, SA Rugby was serious about uplifting the Eastern Cape and bringing through more players of colour to follow the likes of the Ndungane brothers, Hanyani Shimange, Gcobani Bobo, Scarra Ntubeni, Sbura Sithole and Tera Mthembu, then that would have been the way to do it.
That’s the way Japan is going and, indirectly, it’s going to help the Currie Cup because the window for South African players to go to Japan after Super Rugby is going to close.
Super Rugby players won’t be available for Top League duty at the beginning of 2020, and that means clubs are thinking twice about contracting South Africans now. No player wants to go over on a one-year deal, and clubs can’t justify offering a two- or three-year deal when there won’t be any Top League in 2019.
And that means the quality of the average player in the Currie Cup should go up over the next three seasons – arigatou gozaimasu, Japan!
The Blue Bulls may not have had the perfect season in Super Rugby nor Currie Cup but changes are looking very good for the Pretoria base side to upset the favorites for this years Currie Cup title, The Sharks this coming Saturday in Durban.
Someone mentioned it over the weekend that nobody would really like to face the Blue Bulls in the semi finals this coming weekend and you can be sure that Robert Du Preez would have taken note of the danger that his side face this weekend against a hugely improved Blue Bulls side from what we have seen four weeks ago.
The Blue Bulls have been the most improved side the last month and they are looking like a fit and happy team under the coaching of Mitchell.
Their attacking play has been much talked about the lats couple of weeks and that can be a key for them comes Saturday. Add that the experience of Mitchell as a coach and one that have won the Currie Cup before with the Lions, it could be just what they needed to upset the Sharks.
Confidence is as much important than ability and skill and it is something the men in Blue will have plenty of going into the game. The interaction between forwards and backs and the speed on attack has been impressive from the Bulls.
With the former All Blacks coach being the master of turning ordinary sides into championship stock, it will come as no surprise that the men in blue will confidently tempt fate by seeing themselves as finalists for the second year running.
The loss against Province last weekend will add to the pressure on the Sharks as much have been expected from them with only two losses the whole Currie Cup season so far.
Mitchell is confident that his side can beat the Sharks this weekend and that the Bulls have nothing to lose than to go full out against the Sharks.
“If we do present ourselves with a chance to get a step closer. What happens in the round robin is irrelevant, isn’t it? So we will start again and that is the great thing about finals. I will be using all my experience in that situation to prepare us as well as we can. It is always handy to have that experience as well and when the time comes we will give it a good crack,” said Mitchell.
We are expected Micthell to keep his same side when he announce it on Thursday.
The Sharks and Blue Bulls semi final will start at 17:15 on Saturday
Can World Rugby’s rankings be taken seriously if the Wallabies are rated the third-best team in the rugby universe?
Does anyone outside Michael Cheika’s living room believe the Wallabies are a better side than Ireland?
Don’t forget that the “third-best rugby nation in the world” had to drop a Super Rugby team because the Australian talent pool was shallower than an outback waterhole after decades of drought.
If Lionel Messi’s Argentina team are the fourth best football team in the world, why have they struggled to qualify for the 2018 World Cup finals?
It’s hardly fair to allow Australia to leapfrog Ireland, who haven’t played at full-strength since the end of the Six Nations tournament in March.
By the same token, how can Australia be ranked two places higher than South Africa after drawing twice with the Springboks in the Rugby Championship?
The Wallabies only finished ahead of the Boks on the Sanzaar series points table because they piled on more points against an abject Argentina team, who have slipped to 10th in the world rankings after making the World Cup semifinals two years ago.
World Rugby’s latest rankings raise more questions than they answer. Primarily, why do they bother updating them so often?
An annual ranking – after the November northern hemisphere internationals window – would be a better barometer.
It would be devilishly difficult to rank four of the Six Nations sides in 2017 with England, Ireland, Wales and Scotland sending under-strength teams on southern hemisphere tours in June while the British and Irish Lions were battling the All Blacks.
Seeing the Wallabies sitting in third place on the World Rugby totem confirms international rugby union is at a low ebb.
We’ll get a better idea if Australia have improved appreciably after they play Wales, England and Scotland on their November tour.
It’s hard to see Cheika’s mob beating Eddie Jones’ England, although an alarming number of early-season injuries to key England players may level the playing field. Wales could also grind the Wallabies down and Australian sides have struggled against Scotland, at full strength, in recent seasons.
Kiwis can afford to be smug about World Rugby rankings with the All Blacks and Black Ferns top of their logs.
But, glancing down the ladders makes sorry reading. International men’s rugby – with a top eight of New Zealand, England, Australia, Ireland, South Africa, Scotland, Wales and France – has scarcely more depth than international men’s hockey (Argentina, Australia, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, India, England, New Zealand).
Women’s rugby is still developing internationally, but only two teams, currently, are bona fide World Cup title contenders – New Zealand and England. Mind you, netball has had a World Cup since 1963 but has so far produced just two outright champions – Australia and New Zealand.
World Rugby is bent on proving it is a genuine global sport – hence it churns out world ranking lists with the dizzying alacrity of Jason Taumalolo switching his test rugby league status.
What do world rankings mean? Diddly squat, you might say. It depends on the criteria.
Fifa oversees the world’s biggest sport – football – yet its rankings system is under review after years of carping.
It used to calculate points gained from performances over the past eight years – but later amended it to four. However, critics still complained
Four years – let alone eight – is a long time in sport (witness the Pumas’ plummet since the 2015 Rugby World Cup).
Argentina are ranked fourth on the Fifa men’s table, yet they struggled to qualify for the 2018 World Cup finals despite fielding the world’s best player, Lionel Messi.
Some sports have bizarre rankings systems – like the World Baseball Softball Council, which lumps in junior grade international results with senior side’s performances. Hence you have the New Zealand White Sox ranked fifth on the women’s softball ladder when they finished eighth at the 2016 world championships.
Yet world sport rankings are rather like political opinion polls. Just as only one poll really counts – on election day – the real measure of sporting supremacy is the relevant world championships.
I really couldn’t care who tops the rankings between Rugby World Cups – especially when the No 1 team (New Zealand) hasn’t played the No 2 side (England) since 2014.
It normally takes a few days for anything to sink into my think skins and after a few days and watching the Newlands test three times over I realized that we do not have that much to be happy about apart from that players have given their all but still came up short.
Here is my ” Nabetragting”
Maybe it was the fact that the All Blacks did not put 50 points yet again pass us maybe it was the fact that we actually saw a Springbok side playing out of their skins for once in a Springbok jumper, but after a day or two one have to look at the Newlands test with the same perspective as we would look at a playoff test in the World Cup, we were still not good enough.
Let’s be honest it was a surprise and actually nice to see the passion and pride of those Boks on the field at Newlands. For once we have actually had players who played out of their skins putting everything on the line, but is that not what they suppose to do every time they pull that jersey over their head?
Was the previous three test not important enough to do the same?
Let’s face the facts, the Aussies have put one of the most inexperience and most properly their worst team to paper this Rugby Championship and to play to a draw against this Aussie sides was an embarrassment to say the least.
The Bloemfontein test was as poor as any of the mediocre test they played under Coetzee in 2016 not even going to the All Blacks test in Albany.
After the Rugby Championship we ended up 5th in the world on the rankings with New Zealand, England Australia and Ireland all higher ranked that the Springboks.
This is just not good enough and Coetzee can spin his story that the team has only been together since June but that is the worst BS you will hear all year.
Coetzee had the whole of 2016 which he choose to select players who was not on form. His gameplan came out of the 1900 and his management team had less experience than my bothers 4 year old twins.
This year, although early indications looked like he will pick players on form, went south very quickly.
Take this last test squad, we had three locks, two loosies and no eighth-man in the starting line-up. We will be let know that it was to counter the lineouts problems from Albany.
Du Preez have impressed as a youngster all year from the bench and as a starting player but he was reduced to the bench as Coetzee decided to play Flo(who have never played their at test level) at the number eight position.
We do not have a world class combination at this stage on the side of the scrum and we will keep on struggling until we pick the right players in their correct positions.
In the front row Dreyer has been a penalty machine during the Championship but Coetzee and Proudfoot insist that he is the answer. Strange how we dominated as soon as he was replaced by Louw on Saturday.
Although I was a fan at Super Rugby, I was very not impress with Cronje at 9 on Saturday. I do not know if he are playing with a niggle but he was slow behind the pack, taking two to three steps every time he passes and he was sending invites out every time he kicked the ball.
His kicking was poor and with no plan or directions, if you cannot use the kick as an attacking option then you should leave it. Between Cronje and Jantjies we have seen enough poor kicking this year to last us a lifetime.
Jantjies has now been given plenty of time to develop and although I believe poor players and performances around him has been an influence, it is time to look at Pollard. Pollard made a huge impact from the time he came on till he left again.
His direct play and strong run with the passing skills he has is just what the Boks need to make the opposition guessing and give us the opportunity to get over the advantage line. With Jantjies we are using the forwards to much which never get over the advantage line and get tackled backwards.
We have seen so many forwards getting the ball as first receiver on Saturday standing still.
In the midfield we still have problems and I will stay with my opinion that Kriel is a Fullback or wing at best but he is not centre. We need to get Serfontein a partner that will complement his play in attack and defence, Kriel is not that player. Would love to see a guy like Am and Vorster get a change to go with at the end of the year.
Out wide I have my doubts if we have the best at the moment. Leyds have not impressed and not ready for test level. I would like Coetzee to bring in Senatla, Gelant, Nkosi and Van Wyk for the end of year tour and get opportunity.
It would be nice to have Whiteley back as captain, nothing against Etzebeth but he needs to be that player like he was on Saturday in team. Looking forward to see a combination of Whiteley, Kolisi and Du Preez being tried out later this year.
Winning test is everything, losing is the thing we do not want and should never want. Winning by one point or fifty does not matter, it is test rugby and at the end it is all that matters. I agree that we should not celebrate another loss against the All Blacks.
We can feel a bit better of the effort by the Springboks but we should have only one objective and that is to win every test, if we do not achieve that we have failed.
The only thing that was missing was 2 points to seal a memorable win against the World’s best team on Saturday at Newlands.
Will be the first to say I will eat my words of the past week and give credit to Coetzee and his staff for having almost the perfect game against the All Blacks.
If you think back to 2016 and look at Saturday test there are so many things that have changed, hell if you look at yesterday and Albany test their are so many things that changed.
That we still have plenty to work on is a fact and it will only come once we have people that can recognized these faults in our game.
Our defence was the best we have seen from any test side for years and the man at the centre of this was Kitshoff and Marx.
Marx was like a demon from the Supernatural TV series. He is one of the players with Kitshoff, Etzebeth, Kolisi that must get the most credit for what can only be describe as brilliant defence against a team who can score from anywhere.
Marx made 92 meters with the ball in hand yesterday, 13 ball carriers and have won four turnovers. Marx made the most turnovers in the Championship which shows the mark of the man.
Someone told me yesterday Marx is an Bismarck 2.1, better and improved version.
Du Toit and De Jager had mush to do with the go forward ball we got on Saturday. One cannot look pass Du Preez when he came on in the second half.
Du Preez will become a huge player for the Springboks. Everytime he come onto the field he makes a difference would have still wanted he to start with Du Toit or De Jager from the bench.
We still have problems on attack with forwards standing still when they receive the ball which put us under huge pressure.
Kicking is also still one of the major problems in this team. It is not so much that we kick to much but the quality of the kicks and the chase when we kick.
We gave two tries away again due to poor executed kicks and something we need to make right.
The first half we put ourselves under huge pressure with Cronje taking to much time to play the ball. He takes two to three steps everytime he has to pass the ball.
The bench was also great on Saturday and Coetzee changes came at the right time and made the necessary impact.
Pollard looked good for the time he was on the field with a brilliant break and pass to Marx that send Du Preez over for his try.
Pollard have taken the ball to the line brilliant in the second half which gave the Boks much better continuity and attacking opportunity.
What was the best to see from Saturday test was that we saw some good old Springbok rugby with forwards dominating and hitting the opposition over with attacking play which was a combination between forwards and backs.
We have said it so many times Springboks needs to play Springbok rugby with the flair on attack you need to score tries.
This test should not go to our heads but must be a reminder of what we can do when we play for that jersey and do it well.
I cannot remember when last a team forced the All Blacks to go for a drop goal. We had the All Blacks under pressure and not many teams have done that for years.
The next step is the most important part of the Springbok progress and that is the end of year tour. Nothing less than a 100% will be expected and they will have to come back from that with a 100% winning record.
Coetzee will have to touch right with selections on the end of year tour and an added bonus will be the hopefully return of Warren Whiteley.
What we don’t need is that this was just again a once off and we go back to our old ways on the end of year tour.
For now we can be proud of the Springboks again and look forward to how they will take the next step of restoring Springbok rugby.
Fellow Bok fans, I pity the loyal supporters who paid nearly R1000 to attend Saturday’s Test at Newlands. The coach is expecting to lose. His assistant told you to go to hell after South Africa drew with Australia, again! And you have to deal with generally obnoxious Cape All Blacks “supporters” in the stands.
Keba Mothoagae for AllOutRugby
It could turn into a messy weekend. But hey, you can’t say you didn’t see it coming!
After a 27-27 draw between the Boks and Wallabies in Bloem last Saturday, coach Allister Coetzee and assistant coach Brendan Venter went on record with some alarming statements.
“To think that this team after three months together can topple the All Blacks easily, it’s living in a fool’s paradise,” said Coetzee.
Are you kidding me! It’s tough enough getting behind a team that has, on average, lost 52-9 against the All Blacks during Coetzee’s term, but having the coach admit surrender is unbearable.
The Boks looked more than capable of a comfortable second-placed finish in the Rugby Championship, noting Argentina’s regression and Australia’s directionless state. And, after a dreadful 2016 campaign, four victories in the four nations tournament would have been a vast improvement.
The Boks got their two wins over Los Pumas, but blew two opportunities against the Wallabies. In between was the biggest loss in Bok history, an embarrassing 57-0 drubbing in the Land Of The Long White Cloud.
A loss in Cape Town, combined with a win for Australia in Mendoza, will see South Africa finish in third place.
When all of this is taken into account, the 2017 campaign is another failure – not yet as abject as last year’s, but still. And yet Coetzee has accused fans of living in a fool’s paradise for holding onto the small hope of a win this week.
Twitter-blocker-in-chief, Venter told justified sceptics to go shove it, saying that “if winning is all you see. Stop watching. Boys deserve respect, not criticism.”[sic].
It’s alright to defend yourself against critics, but to say this to people who are not apathetic to the Boks’ struggles is arrogantly ungrateful! I know Venter is refreshingly outspoken in an environment where the fear to offend is almost paralysing, but if it were up to me he’d get the sack for this.
The national team is beholden to the people, and not the other way around. We supporters are a lot more knowledgeable about the game than he thinks, and a lot of us are correct with the diagnoses of what is wrong with the team and how it can be fixed.
Venter and Coetzee’s statements are indicative of a low-expectation mentality coupled with not being held accountable by their bosses at SARU.
Can you imagine Steven Hansen or Ian Foster saying something similar? New Zealand would be in a uproar with dire consequences!
The match at Newlands is a contest between Test rugby’s greatest teams historically and statistically. At 77% and 63% respectively, the All Blacks and Springboks boast two formidable win-loss ratios that are barely comparable across all international team sports.
Unfortunately, the rivalry is dead, for now.
If anything, the Boks current malaise has made the All Blacks all the more fearful of an ignominious loss in Cape Town. And this translates to them making sure they will humiliate us at any given opportunity to underline their dominance over us.
Their ruthlessness is that absolute.
FRESH TAKE is an initiative to identify, feature and develop talented rugby writers who are not yet part of the mainstream media.
Was quite surprise to see this week that we have in some circles the believe that the Springboks can beat the All Blacks on Saturday at Newlands.
Even saw our media suggest that the All Blacks will not be up for this test as it is a dead rubber test after already winning the Championship again.
One thing the Springboks and the supporters can be sure about the All Blacks will come out to play as they have done always and that is to be the best they can be in eighty minutes. If that is a 57-0 score line at the end or a 31-30 it does not matter but the World Champions do not play to lose test matches.
For that reason their coach Hansen have picked his best possible side for Saturday and although they are the nicest bunch of people off the field on it they will go as hard as they can.
We need to be honest with ourselves and know that we are in for a very difficult test which we will properly lose and it may be a repeat of the 57-0 even.
Look, the Springboks have tried to change their ways and game plan but the execution is far from where it should be and it start with the set pieces. Last time around the All Blacks dominated our set pieces and we were as poor as we have ever been a few weeks ago.
To be honest we only dominated in certain stages against Argentina but struggled in both Aussie test and the All Blacks test.
Losing Coenie was not ideal and selections from Coetzee did not help the team in getting to a point to dominate for long periods of time against Australia and New Zealand.
If we do not get the set pieces right we will get hammered again by the All Blacks.
Apart from the scrums Coetzee team hopefully worked on their attack which was dreadful against the Aussies. Against New Zealand with better defence and working towards turnovers in defence the Springboks can be in for a long afternoon on Saturday.
Quick ball is needed with Jantjies not standing so deep and midfield running straight and not sideways. It is the easiest thing in the game to defend against a attack that play towards the sideline.
The last thing that still is a huge problem for the Boks is the so-called attacking kick where in the case of the Springboks it is more the “Kick-‘n-Pray”. We need to kick with purpose when we do kick against the All Blacks.
You can never say a win for the Boks is impossible but what we do know that all the stars need to align and the Springboks needs to execute everything 100% to even stand a change to beat them.
So having aligned my chakras, woosaad my woosaahs and had enough camomile tea to calm down to only a mild meltdown I feel I can rejoin the fray, writes Clayton Saville
My initial anger was probably more to do with the coaches comments rather than the flagrant disregard for basics and common sense in the game. Also, that first Oz try was hella forward, we was robbed yo!
So I must admit that Oom has a good point( he always does, doesn’t he)on we must give Alister and his team a chance to develop as he believes they are moving in the right direction. What we can all agree on is that with all the indaba’s last year and the new personal on board that Springbok rugby is moving towards a new plan and rightly or wrongly it is better than what was dished up last year.
What he is saying about that plan that Allister and his team have at the moment is all well and good but we need to remember that attack is something that will have a natural evolution but can only start with the basics of defence, breakdown and set pieces.
You do not try and create width on attack, width is created naturally when the basics are applied in the game of rugby.
A huge problem comes when using the player as a target when passing, they should be passing to the target for the receiving player. If you do not follow this basic you lose momentum every time and that was clear to see against the Aussies.
Our only saving grace was that the Aussies were bad in defence. If you force width, it is the easiest thing to read for the defending team and that the reason we get turned over so easily out wide .
On Saturday we had a total of 134 carriers which only resulted in 2(1%) line-breaks but what was more disturbing for me was the fact that we only crossed the advantage line 38%. It is very important to understand that we could not get over the advantage line 62% of the time.
Attack should create confusion in defensive structures which we fail to do with our attack. With the Springboks attack we can see both carriers and receivers shoulders are facing to the sidelines and it should be square because that is when you face defenders.
Looking and facing the sidelines you show exactly where you are looking to move the ball and defenders simply shift which makes it the easiest thing to do on defence.
The scrummie has two options with every move, a pod which carries, or the pod passing behind to the flyhalf who then goes wide – wide – fucking easiest thing in the world to defend – there is no inside threat to straighten – so on defence, number up on pod if they carry and don’t commit any players for the turn over – then fold because SA is a same-side team so 95% of the time they will go wide – wide to the same side – isolate the guy at the end, flood the breakdown, if you dont turn the ball over you will definitely slow it down.
Both Allister Coetzee and Brendan Venter have constantly mentioned that they are process driven and not strictly results oriented, the problem is the process is fundamentally flawed, and much as they will effectively be running more , more often than not they are going to end up running behind their posts for another huddle while waiting on a conversion to fly over the bar.
Oom Rugby writes for AllOutRugby and here is his latest piece on the criticism the Springboks and coaches got after the draw against the Aussie this weekend
Hi guys. There is a old familiar cycle in Bok rugby. Fans says the Boks is boring, so the coach begin the long journey to evolve, but then the team lose too many games, fans get angry, so the coach go back to simpler boring rugby again. Then he get fired. Repeat.
We at that point again after this weekend, and I want to make a case that even though Allister maybe been hopping around for the last year and a half, it is worth to let this group push forward with what they trying to achieve. I say it because for once let us just give the guys some space to change our game – it will take time, man! And also because we actually seeing some good signs in the Bok attack…
The picture above show the Bok approach in the nutshell. It is not a revolution, but it is the basis of how the Boks wants to move forward. It is called the 1-3-3-1 system and the name come from how the forwards is spread across the field. One flank out wide, three forwards together, another three forwards together, and then a flank wide on the other side.
This allows the Boks to keep width, and attack with width; it stretches the defence, creating opportunities in other places; it is a framework for attack with many different options with-in it.
The old Bok style is to use forwards closer together and just try smash it, but all nations is now big and conditioned and that tactic on its own don’t work anymore. So this system is a basis to try give Boks a different dimension.
Smashing it up is fine, but we must have another gear!
It works, as we see above in the Skosan try. Marx in the middle of the field as the system dictate, but he is a decision maker within it. He can carry, or pass to multiple options. We see the backs playing off this structure. Serfontein call for the ball because he can see forwards in the line, and so he make a great break and offload.
Kolisi is crucial because he keep width and draw the defence wider. This allow Skosan to come inside and hurt the stressed defence. This is not your grandpa’s rugby, this is rugby that expect every player to be good passer, runner, and decision maker. It is not rugby that every SA player can play yet but if we stick with it we will get there.
As we see, this type of play give the defence a hell of a lot more to think about. In the previous example Marx can still carry and play tight if he want – the defence have no clue what to expect. Suddenly we have a Bok team that is asking questions!
Look at this picture above. The Aussie wing come up to try to mirror the width that the Boks was showing and what happen – he leave space behind him and Coetzee kick beautifully to the corner. Now we talking!
It will take time to become 100% deadly because our players is not operating perfect in the system yet. Above we see again the Boks is causing trouble, but Kitshoff will carry here and not pass to Elton. I think you agree that Aussies is in trouble here if the ball go wide.
Do we want to throw away this kind of space the Boks is creating just because players is not executing properly yet? No we do not. Give the players time to become experts. The opportunities is there!
It is not always nice to put a spotlight on players, but you must make sure that you have guys in right positions who can make this system work.
In my couch opinion Jesse is a magnificent rugby player but maybe not a Test senter. I sometimes question his distribution skills, his depth, and also his ability to straighten, fix and pass. In example on the left in the picture above he delay too long and the pass get mess up and a try go to begging. On the right we see De Allende show much better hands to put Leyds in space.
Pity Leyds mess it up and is unable to release two guys outside, and another opportunity go to begging. Over time we will see players improve, or other guys will come in, and the system will get better.
Finally I want to make you rest assure that the Bok DNA is still there. In fact, we are seeing more and more our big men causing chaos in wider areas and it is devastating. First Eben run over Kuridrani before committing Hooper and the lock Tui.
He hold them up and offload to Jean-Luc, who run over the prop Robertson and then commit Alaalatoa and Genia. Pieter-Steph is in support but the offload get to Skosan who make many more meters. Aussies feel like they inside a pinball machine.
It was proof that Boks learning to see where the space is but they can still draw on that old power when they need it.
I know people is cynical and I know the Boks must work on many many things like defence and set piece and much more, but we must go one step in a time. I see the negatives, but I also see the positives, and I do not want us to throw the baby with bath water because things is not perfect right now.
Allister been quite frustrating at times, but as the public we ourselves have a role to play in the success of the Boks. If we can show patience and allow this group to keep building and growing then we will all be the winners.
And then maybe, for the first time, we can break out of the repeating cycle of Bok rugby!
The Springboks are a tough topic at the moment. Despite a promising start to their season, the performances feel like not much has changed since last year once they took on the better sides, writes Ben Karpinski for TheBounce
The excuses certainly haven’t changed from those in charge either. After each poor performance we are offered the same cliches that leave us none the wiser. I think I speak on behalf of many when I say Bok fans are now losing their patience with all of this.
Like really really losing their patience.
Someone who also seems a little low on patience is Brendan Venter. Well, on twitter that is. After the Boks’ record loss to the All Blacks a few weeks ago, I commended the Bok assistant coach that he was taking to twitter to share his views on the Boks’ woes, and engage with people.
And what happened after that?
Tough crowd, but the running joke on twitter right now is that Venter blocks more than a batsman trying to save a test match.
But Brendan is the very guy we would all love to chat to right now. Brought into the Bok team for his experience and technical expertise, many believed he would be the answer in the defense, giving the green and gold a much needed backbone.
We are all sadly blocked from doing so, therefore I now have to go the open letter route…
First up, no matter how much you try, I don’t think you will be able to block as many people on twitter as Fikile Mbalula. Your efforts to this point have been impressive, but like the Boks in the Rugby Championships, second place will be the best possible outcome.
Anyways, twitter is many things for many people. I’m in no position to tell you what to do there.
I do want to talk about the Springboks though, and what’s happening here. I’m a little lost. I dedicate large chunks of my life trying to know exactly what is happening with them, but it’s all a little blurry at the moment.
I’m not the only one either. I watched Saturday’s match against the Wallabies at a mate’s place with about ten others, and a variety of intelligent gents declared similar confusion/bemusements about things.
The Boks seem to have lost their fundamental shape. As in their defense is poor, set pieces rather iffy, and the kicking game isn’t much to talk about. What I do know about rugby is that an international team without these factors in place is like a schoolboy getting to school without their textbooks.
I have read a few times of late that the Bok gameplan is to be more expansive. Cool, I’m down with that, but expansive play is something you earn the right to on the field through doing the fundamentals right.
It’s like me saying I want to be rich and fancy. Sure, but hardwork and providing something of substance to the open market essentially leads me to that position.
Another thing we pick up from the team press conferences is this needing time to develop thing. Okay, good things come to those that wait and all of that. How much time are we talking here though?
The British and Irish Lions went to New Zealand this year and managed a win, a loss and a draw in 3 consecutive tests. How much time did they have?
If this game plan is something that has been agreed upon and is the answer, perhaps it hasn’t clicked yet is because the players entrusted with executing it aren’t right?
Continuity is all good and well, but I’m sensing it can also hinder a team.
People can bemoan the overseas exodus of players, but there is still a great deal of talent to pick from in SA right now. My followers (people you have no doubt blocked) and I talk about this every week on twitter. How much time is enough time to see if a player is worthy of this level of rugby, or indeed the current Bok gameplan?
It’s a tough question, I know, but I’d hope there would be an answer or a system to such a situation.
Why is the Bok backline still going sideways in attack? Are scrumhalves now being told to run sideways before they pass? Are they being forced to do this as their forwards aren’t giving them sufficient protection? The questions are piling up here.
Before you blocked me, you said the Boks would ‘fight back’ and show character after the All Blacks thrashing. Brendan, come now, we aren’t talking about a high school u16c team who go through stages of wavering commitment.
At this level showing up and giving your all is surely the start point?
Effort and passion doesn’t guarantee success. If that were the case Scotland would have the All Blacks’ international record.
What tactical lessons are the guys taking with them to the next matches? What systems are being improved and what is being done differently to prevent the same poor outcomes?
Now I see after this latest match you doubled down on the old ‘fight’ chestnut by saying the boys did just that and are warriors.
Maybe this is why things aren’t happening ‘overnight’ as the players are too preoccupied with being ‘warriors’. Is this what we are putting ‘more time’ into?
We have to be smarter, or am I missing something here?
Desperate to find some more of your tweets, I had to rely to google. And with that I found these.
Cool, and for this very reason people want to engage with you as you are the inside man. You also appear to give a shit, unlike Allister Coetzee who doesn’t think what fans say matters. You are in a position to do a tremendous PR job for this team if nothing else. Blocking everyone you disagree with doesn’t quite send the right message though. That Fikile Mbalula reference at the start of this letter may remind you of this.
People who demand respect seldom get it Brendan. African dictators and Southpark taught us that a long time ago.
I will be the first to agree that twitter is full of trolls and people of anti-social dispositions, but so is life. Opinions will be debated, view points get shot down. This is how us savages create insights and move towards better ideas.
You should try work in advertising Brendan. I used to do that. I would go into work reviews with incredible ideas only for them to be tossed out like old milk. I didn’t tell people to respect my ideas, I made better ones. Or I of course fought for the ones I believed in by presenting significant reasoning.
Perhaps not quite the same thing, but you see what I’m getting at.
Speaking of respect, the tweet that seems to be getting you the most attention right now is this one.
I’m really not sure to start with this one. Again, asking for respect is not a habit to really get into, but most worrying is how you are telling supporters to stop watching.
Brendan, do you not watch SuperRugby? South African rugby fans aren’t scared to stop watching rugby, this is not a game of chicken you want to start playing!
Of course the Boks deserve critism. They are the bloody Springboks, that used to count for something. It counted for rugby excellence, not a logo representing guys who stand under the posts with 50 points against them on the scoreboard.
The paying public, and I feel I must stress the word ‘paying’ in there, have every right to feel pissed off with how the bar has lowered with this team in recent years. We don’t have to respect anyone, respect will come naturally when things happen that are worthy of respect.
Argentina are an average SuperRugby team in a blue and white jersey, and even they can put up a fight against the All Blacks. Stuff like this makes people criticise.
I know things are tough in SA rugby right now, and you sure as hell aren’t the main problem. Either is Allister Coetzee in all honesty, or how Courtnall Skosan didn’t even manage to get in the way of a New Zealander in defense during that 57-0 thrashing. But this letter is to you and how you feel fans should not criticise the Boks.
When times get tough, we all tend to instinctively close ranks, become more guarded. So right now you and the rest of the Bok camp will no doubt care even less for what people are saying about the team.
This is maybe how things are meant to be in sport. Fans criticise, people on the receiving end don’t feel the criticism is warranted.
I will leave you with this though.
Sport is entertainment, the Boks are no different to Justin Bieber. People pay good money to watch them perform live (DSTV aint cheap), and when this goes badly, they get upset.
Bieber was dreadful when he came to South Africa this year. People severly criticised him on social media, but you didn’t see members of his team telling fans that they must respect him not criticise him.
Just give that time to sink, and think about it the next time you feel you must tell Bok fans what to do. You are in the entertainment industry.
The Springboks aren’t doing anything overly meaningful for the world. They aren’t combating ISIS, they aren’t dedicating their lives to eradicating malaria in Africa, and they aren’t going behind enemy lines to disarm nuclear bombs. They are a team that plays a sport that South Africans love.
MTN, FNB, Asics, Southern Palace, Land Rover… all those logos you see on the Boks when they run out onto the field. They are paying money because they are part of something that is entertainment in South Africa.
They expect people to watch the Boks to see their logos. They really don’t want people to not do this like you suggest.
If you want to set me straight on anything I have written here, feel free to unblock me on twitter @followthebounce. I will share whatever contact details you may require, I would even be happy to record a podcast around your wisdom.
I, like all other fans, are mostly just looking for answers and hope.
You may not think that, but that’s actually what the majority of us are about.
Coetzee will have a difficult week going into the Australian test this weekend when he need to decide on his match team after the hammering the Springboks received against the All Blacks.
Coetzee has brought in some re-enforcement specially out wide which atleast tells us that he knows that he has a problem in that area. But it is one thing to recognize it and a totally different one to actually have the balls to do something about it.
We should have Ross Cronje back to partner with Jantjies after Hougaard was dropped from the squad for the two remaining home test but it is out wide which everyone will see if Coetzee will make a change.
He has included two inform players in Nkosi and Geland into his squad but it is anyone guess if he will actually pick them to start or coming of the bench.
It is unlikely that Nkosi will be rushed into the starting position but may get a change to cover Skosan. The biggest problem against the All Blacks were Rhule and it may be the change Leyds have been waiting for if the coach put some faith in his ability.
Leyds is not one of your biggest back three but have the ability to be great on defence, problem is here so is Rhule. We need a strong defensive wing and Leyds may not be the answer to all of that as his defence have been so-so during Super Rugby.
For the life of me can I not see why Combrinck is not in this side.
We should expect Louw to start with Kolisi wearing the number 7 jumper. The number eight jumper should go to either Cassiem or Du Preez.
Their will be heavy debate between Du Toit and Mostert but for me either one can start with the other one to make a huge impact of the bench.
Dreyer had a horror time in the last test with Nyakane not better when he came on, will Coetzee suprise with Wilco Louw at tighthead?
Yet in his TV interview directly after the match Coetzee, incredibly, said that there were ‘a lot of positives that we can still take out of this game’.
The Boks missed a whopping 31 tackles in the match, with winger Raymond Rhule slipping nine, but Coetzee said he was ‘pleased with a couple of brilliant defensive efforts’.
The coach also said things could have been different had the Boks not conceded three tries to give the All Blacks a 24-0 lead, and scored a couple of points or a try themselves. The Boks had just been outplayed by a world-class team, he added.
At the post-match press conference, Coetzee said the defeat was ‘definitely not because of a lack of effort’ from the players. He spoke about ‘passages of great defence and passages of great attack’ from the Boks.
When asked about the team’s big weakness – the back three – the coach said he didn’t think it was a problem.
Coetzee had a 19-hour flight from Auckland to Johannesburg to accept what had actually happened in Albany, yet he remained defiant after arriving at OR Tambo International Airport.
He insisted the team ‘is moving in the right direction’, that ‘one loss doesn’t define this team’, and that ‘one must not only focus on the storms, but look at the rainbow as well’.
Coetzee said he still believed in himself as a coach and shrugged off calls on social media for him to resign, saying that he works for SA Rugby and not Twitter.
The head coach was not the only Bok management member in deep denial.
Defence coach Brendan Venter took to Twitter on Sunday, saying that ‘there was nothing wrong with our effort’ against the All Blacks and that the Boks had simply been outplayed.
Venter added that the Boks ‘had one very bad night at the office’ and insisted it ‘does not make us a bad team overnight’.
Coetzee and Venter both appear to have dealt with the crushing defeat by firmly sticking their heads in the sand.
Can you imagine an All Blacks head coach saying there were a lot of positives to take from a 57-0 defeat? Can you imagine the All Blacks head coach and defence coach both saying that the team had not conceded eight tries because of a lack of effort from the players? I can’t. In fact, I’m pretty sure both would have done the honourable thing and resigned.
Coetzee should have come out straight after the match and apologised to the nation for the performance. He should have called it what it was – a disgrace to the green and gold jersey – and admitted that the coaching staff and players were to blame for the defeat. He should have acknowledged that wins against weak France and Argentina teams had proved to be a false indicator of the team’s progress and that the All Blacks had shown where the Boks really stand in world rugby.
Coetzee should have admitted making selection errors, including starting Francois Hougaard (who had struggled against Argentina) at scrumhalf and Rhule (who has been defensively poor all year) on the wing. You did not need the benefit of hindsight to know that the All Blacks were going to target and ruthlessly expose Rhule.
He should have said that while he did not plan to resign, he knew that beating the Wallabies and All Blacks at home was now non-negotiable if he were to keep his job.
Venter, meanwhile, could have used Twitter to explain why the Boks did not adopt a rush defence system. The British & Irish Lions, Australia and even Argentina had used it to great effect to shut down the All Blacks’ attack, so why did the Boks not do the same? John Plumtree said last weekthat the Bok defence had been too passive and would be exposed by the All Blacks. Why did Venter not know that?
If Venter was happy to take the credit for the Boks’ defensive performances against France and Argentina, then he – and not Coetzee – needs to take the blame for the defensive disaster in Albany.
The fact is that unless the Bok coaches and players face up to what really happened against the All Blacks, this will not be a once-off horror show, as Coetzee tried to portray it, but a regular occurrence when rugby’s once greatest rivals meet.
After all, in three matches over the past two years, Coetzee’s Boks have conceded 155 points and 23 tries against the All Blacks, while scoring just 28 points and one try themselves.
The past few weeks we saw the Springboks win a good away test against the Pumas but then came back with a poor performance against the Aussies to draw that test and were then humiliated by the All Blacks last weekend.
With all the praises that came before the Aussie test as much realization came that Coetzee firstly does not have a gameplan to beat the best in the world and secondly to that his selections is almost panicking.
Thank all the gods that Rassie is on his way back to SARU with Coetzee that will have to answer to him directly. It is clear Coetzee and his team are struggling with a winning plan against the top teams.
The biggest aspect I am struggling with at the moment with Coetzee is his selections.
We are being told that he is building towards the future, right? Well then why send a SOS to Jano Vermaak to replace Cronje in Argentina but four weeks later you decided to call up Louis Schreuder.
Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with Louis Schreuder, who has performed well for the Kings in Super Rugby and has build on that for the Sharks at Currie Cup, but why not called him up for the Pumas tour?
With government breathing down our necks for transformation and Cronje unsure to be fit, why not test the combination of Paige, Jantjies, Am, Serfontein, Nkosi, Skosan and Gelant?
I am sure that they will in any-case be better than the players that he picked this far. With less that two years to go to the World Cup in Japan the time is right to test the waters.
Also do not understand why you would tell me that you will give local players the inside line but then do not pick a guy like Cloete but rather call Louw from England for the home test.
With only one kicker in the team surely if you want to call up a overseas player then call up Frans Steyn or get Lions start wing Combrinck in the squad.
One thing I hope Rassie bring to the party is not just a clear plan in selections but also a plan on how we need to implement our gameplan to actually beat the top teams on a regular basis. Well to be honest just beating them will do it right now.
Look Rassie is not the Messiah nor is he the answer to slice bread but at this stage I think he will bring some value to a really confused Coetzee.
Coetzee selections and gameplan tend to scream panic or the thought of 2016 starts coming back more clearly.
Had a few days to ponder over the loss against the All Blacks and it did not make it any better.
I see there has been allot of talk from the coach, his assistants and some players and even the media on the so-called positives out of this test.
Are we going mad? Positives?
Only positive was that they only got 57 points and not more.
Want to hear some positives Allister? Well it is easy get your blerrie selection right firstly and secondly pick the blerrie right game plan against the teams you playing.
Just maybe then we will have something positive to talk about…
His team is not the best we have and in a time when transformation is always being thrown around why the hell do we not pick the black players who are far better than the some players we have in this squad.
Let’s first look at the backs….
Hougaard must just go back to England and go and make his money because that is the highest level he will be good at now. I know Paige is not the greatest nine we have every seen but he is a shitload better than Hougaard.
Agree with the comments over the weekend that Jantjies does not get his support and cannot produced the same level as he did at the Lions with players around him just not good enough.
Serfontein is a good player but need someone that will complement his game. This is were it is beyond me why Kriel is in this team when you sit with a great player like Am.
Combination of Am and Serfontein will not just bring more attacking play but surely will bolster the defence as well.
The wings have been dreadful with Rhule definitely not a test player, he is barely a Super Rugby player. With players like Combrinck, Nkosi, Senatla and Kobus van Wyk just to name a few why is he still in the team?
At fullback we have not found the answer in Andries Coetzee. He has been dreadful under the high ball and has offer nothing on attack really against the Aussies and All Blacks. We sit with a Gelant who has been great in Super Rugby and Currie Cup.
He is by far the best 15 in the country and has been all year.
I can just imagine a backline with Cronje/Paige, Jantjies/Pollard, Serfontein, Am, Nkosi, Skosan with Gelant at Fullback.
That will be something to be positive about, Allister.
While we at it tell Brendon Venter to bugger-off and get Jacques Nienaber in this system to sort out our defence. We do not need people who does not want to commit 100% so we do not need Venter.
It is also time for Van Graan to go back to his daddy at the Bulls and leave Springbok rugby alone, he has been crap with Meyer and has done nothing since joining Coetzee.
Against the only two better test sides we have played this year we were crap. We should have won by plenty against the Aussies and it would have even been nice to score a point against the All Blacks.
Ons gaan nou nie die wa voor die osse in span nie, but let’s give credit were credit is due.
Allister Coetzee have turned around the Springboks from a mediocre team in 2016 to a team that can compete and win test matches and he did this by only changing a few things.
More local players on form – Coetzee have picked more local on form players this year and went away from picking overseas players who’s conditioning could not be properly monitored.
Picking overseas players have always given national coaches a headache as these players normally get to the Springbok camps days after the group have assembled and most of the times they come back with niggles and injuries from their club commitments.
By the time we play our first test most these players had already had 10 months of championship rugby behind them which also brings the problem of conditioning. The coach can not really monitor or get involved with players conditioning and it has become a huge problem in our rugby these past few years.
Picking local players on form made the transition from Super Rugby to International rugby much easier for Coetzee and his assistants as they can monitor them throughout the season.
Coaching indaba and better working relationship between national coaches and franchise coaches.
It is something which most Springbok coaches have tried but could not get every bodies buy-in in the past. This past year the national coaches and the franchise coaches have worked better together to get the national players group in better shape that what they where in years gone by.
Players were rested according to their agreements put in place which helped the players conditioning as well. One of the aspects that helped allot was the fact that all franchise coaches and national coaches had decided on their game and how they want to move forward together.
With Rassie Erasmus coming back in December it will help to even improve this aspect of our game in the whole South Africa even more.
Captain that earns his worth in the team.
In so many ways Coetzee captain last year was the wrong decision and nothing against Adriaan Strauss but one do not pick a captain if he is not an automatic first choice player in his position. Picking Warren Whiteley and now Eben Etzebeth with vise captains like Kolisi and Jantjies give the team the leadership they need and can look up to.
A captain is more than just a leader on the field and it starts with the players than have to respect him not just as a leader but also as a player within the group.
Picking assistant coaches
This maybe the biggest change that the Springboks needed from last year and we can see it all over this team. Their is daylight between the defence of this team compare to the crap they dished up last year and with Venter as a consultant in the team he adds more than just defence for the Springboks.
Him and Smith work on attack and defence have seen the most improvement yet with this Springboks of 2017.
Then we can add Proudfoot to the same regard as he has turned players and the set pieces around 100%. If we look back when Proudfoot joined the Stormers a few years ago their set pieces was poor and he did not just made it one of their strong aspects of their game but put the structures in place so that they still have one of the better set pieces in South Africa.
Proudfoot is worth real Gold to the Springboks and Coetzee.
No one is perfect and yes we will always disagree with players selection but Coetzee and his team have not lost a test yet this year and they are improving every test. The Aussies and the All Blacks lies ahead and it will be his biggest test yet.
No one surely expect him to beat the All Blacks yet but we need improve performances each test to stay believing in him and his team.
A mixed reaction have followed with the Springbok touring squad that was announced this week by Allister Coetzee.
Coetzee decided to send youngster Curwin Bosch back to his union and included Handre Pollard in his place as backup for Jantjies and also a midfield option when we take on the Aussies and All Blacks in the coming two weeks.
Coetzee also included Ross Cronje and Dillian Leyds in his touring squad.
It was a tweet from our good friend Rob Otto (Sharksworld) that spark the debate.
Handre Pollard is the living embodiment of white Afrikaner privilege that still predominates in SA rugby.
Pollard who has been out of competitive rugby for years and not months have not shown that he is fit and match ready to take the field. In right respect
Pollard last played for the Springboks at International level on the 30 October 2015 against Argentina in the World Cup. He has been injured for the whole of 2016 and almost the whole of 2017 as well.
He has not played for the Blue Bulls for more than two years at Currie Cup level and although he was picked for the SA”A” side he never played also due to injury.
Coetzee has explained to News24″Sometimes people wonder why he hasn’t played Currie Cup, but our intensity at which we train, is more than match intensity,” Coetzee said at Cape Town International Airport after arriving back from Argentina on Tuesday.
“The way he has responded gives me a lot of confidence to select him.” Coetzee believes that Pollard is 100% fit and ready for selection.
“Handre has made tremendous strides since he joined us in Stellenbosch and then for the two weeks in PE,” Coetzee added. “I was tempted to select him then, but I thought another week with regard to his extra conditioning work, kicking out of hand and kicking at poles would be better.”
The question then is why did Jantjies had to proof himself but Pollard walk into the national side after not playing for them for more than two years. Jantjies has been the best 10 in South Africa for more than three years and had to fight all the way to secure his position as the number 1 ten in the country.
Then one can understand why people are starting to using words like “Whites, Afrikaner and privilege few”
We just had the Springboks played in a red jersey to mark 25 years of unity but how much unity do we really have in rugby today?
Statements and questions like Rob mentioned on social media will never go away if we do not tackle these issues head-on.
It does not really matter how we feel about the transformation processes or the way Government stick their noses into the game, we need to get to a point where we stop asking these questions and start making sure transformation and white afrikaner privilege becomes part of our history and not the way we manage our game 25 years after unity.
It speaks volumes about our priorities that when SA Rugby announced its plans to celebrate 25 years of rugby “unity” last week the public’s preoccupation was the red Springbok jersey they will use to commemorate it in the Rugby Championship game against Argentina in Salta.
Turns out a lot of people have a very real problem with a red Bok jersey.
Former Bok lock Bakkies Botha took to twitter to voice his disapproval while his old coach Jake White rolled up his sleeves and, as the kids say, properly got in his feelings in a column about how wrong it all was.
“Doc [Danie] Craven must be turning in his grave,” he revved up.
“Next we’ll be making exceptions so a guy can play for South Africa with a ponytail … it’s the start of a slippery slope,” White said.
How is it that we’re obsessing about a jersey and not asking what unity exactly we’re talking about?
In the two weeks since SA Rugby’s announcement, so many examples have proved that little has changed with our rugby since 1992.
The first was the naming of Eben Etzebeth as the stand-in captain over Siya Kolisi while Warren Whiteley remains injured.
Going with the abrasive lock – and this is for the legions of Etzebeth fans who will dedicate column inches to refuting this – isn’t wrong per se.
It’s just that using the numbers (Etzebeth’s 50-plus caps) and a pre-existing vice-captaincy (due to said numbers) to make the call smacks of more of the same by the powers that be.
If they wanted to make a bold statement about rugby’s so-called unity they could have gone with Kolisi, who has come from nowhere and got everyone to relate to him and has united people in the sport through his honesty, passion and approachability.
However, making such a call would mean rocking the boat about what a Bok captain looks like. And we wouldn’t want Doc Craven to turn in his grave, would we?
Another example is the fanfare that accompanied Victor Matfield’s drawing to the Lions fold as forwards coach. While not a like for like swap, Matfield’s chance on Swys de Bruin’s staff came at Bafana Nhleko’s cost.
Nhleko is a 34-year-old coach who has been with the Lions since 2011 and led their SuperSport Rugby Challenge team to the semifinals of that competition.
But just as he expects to get a tap on the shoulder for higher honours, he gets jettisoned to go coaching Defence Under-20s again.
Simply put, the Lions have built Nhleko up as a coach for six years, so that they can doubt his ability just as he proves his readiness for more responsibility.
I marvel at the fact that we in the media can write a story in which we mention Elton Jantjies and Handrè Pollard in the same breath, when
one has been the country’s number one flyhalf (at Super Rugby level, anyway) for the past two years and the other has barely played in the same period.
But we’re taking our cue from the selectors, who picked Pollard on the basis that, despite numerous injuries, he could walk in a straight line, as opposed to perform.
And then we haven’t even really spoken about the coaches (Johan Ackermann, De Bruin and Robert du Preez) who oversee the successes of their sons by giving them all the breaks, by either coaching them or finding them jobs at their unions.
Elsewhere it’s called nepotism, but in rugby it’s the natural order of things.
Hi guys, here we are at the end of a long Super Rugby season. Congratulation to the classy Crusaders and coach Scott Robertson for the magnificent year. For Scott, it was his debut as a Super coach so that is a incredible performance by the group! Oom Rugby writes for All out Rugby
At one point in the final we could see the tide was turning against the Crusaders, even though the Lions was 25-3 down and had only 14 men on the field. We could see the Lions phase-game clicking into gear and, true as bob, they outscored the Saders by 14 points to 0.
Sam Whitelock said about this period, “They put us under a massive amount of pressure. I’d hate to know how many tackles we made.”
Look, I know a lot of guys will laugh and say the Lions did not win, but as rugby purists and people that is interested in the game we have to ask the question – how can you cause such trouble with only 14 men? Altitude was not a factor yet. Even the most sour grape South African surely will be interested on a technical level how that is possible?
So that is what I wanted to look at today. A piece of play in the 53rd minute that start to put the Crusaders on the back foot, and show how and why the Lions phase-play can be so dangerous…
One of the keys why the Lions is so dangerous is their quick tempo. But this kind of tempo game is difficult to achieve and it place special demands on the players. In the picture above we see a great example. Vorster has carried the ball into contact and Crockett and Samu is ready to steal. Cronje is positioned at 9, but instead he will go in for a successful clean.
It is one thing to hope that a scrummie will do this, but it is another thing to give him the technical ability to be able to do it. The point is not only that Cronje cleaned a prop and protected the ball, but that he allowed clean ball for the next phase.
The Lions knows the secret to modern rugby is that the number on your jersey don’t mean anything. If you want to play fast, and a job need to be done, you cannot wait for another guy to come and do it.
In the picture above we see what happens after that clean: Skosan was awake and went to scrumhalf and played the ball out to Mostert.
But what we are looking at is Lions’ ability to realign and create attacking shape quickly. It doesn’t help to have quick ball but slow players! Mostert lead a three-man pod with Van Rooyen and Kriel. His timing is perfect to “sell” the pod to the Crusaders and we can see the rush biting on the bait.
Franco will play out the backdoor to Jantjies where we can see another shape waiting with Ferreira and Dreyer. They will also draw their defenders and Elton will play out the backdoor again to the third shape waiting out wide with Coetzee, Ackermann, Mapoe and Combrinck.
Guys, this is easier to be said than done, especially if you a man down and that man is a loose forward. It just show the cohesion, understanding and training that the Lions have so that they are able to generate attacking shape so quickly, and with perfect depth and execution almost every time.
In this picture, we see again a example where speed of play is Lions’ ultimate goal. It is the end of the phase we talked about above. Coetzee got tackled and Dreyer and Mostert (this guy is everywhere!) clean out.
Now the big lock, Andries Ferreira arrive and simply pick up the ball and distribute perfectly to Van Rooyen coming around the corner.
What is interesting about this is first, that Ferreira knew his scrumhalf was behind him but did not just go to the ruck like most locks would. Second thing is that Van Rooyen started his run knowing Ferreira was going to pass. He time his carry based on Ferreira approaching the ruck, not Cronje. This is not a team who wait around.
Picture above is the next phase. Van Rooyen is tackled after a great gain thanks to Ferreira putting him on the front foot. What we must look at here is the close support by the Lions. They rarely let a guy get isolate and will always be on his shoulder for a offload or to secure the ball.
Who is cleaning? It is Ackermann and our scrumhalf friend Ferreira. The Lions players stays busy and stays close. A quick clean means quick ball. Cronje is back in the mix and he is right behind that ruck ready to let the ball fly.
Next phase the Lions goes wide to the other touchline. Mostert is in a pod with Dreyer when he get the ball from Cronje. Mostert draws the defence and plays out to Jantjies, who has Mapoe running off his shoulder. Elton plays to second playmaker Coetzee who brings in the wide shape of Kriel, Vorster, Marx and Skosan.
It is quite amazing to see the same names coming up so quickly in the last few phases we mention. The Lions knows the other secret of rugby – you can have more players than your opponent if you work harder.
In the picture above we continue this phase as Coetzee hit Kriel, who identify Whitelock in the line and attack the space outside him. What is interesting is that the Lions is risking going wide across the field now.
They essentially playing from touchline to touchline in one phase. Why is it a risk? Because with a man down it is harder to protect the ball and easier to get isolated.
Usually teams with 14 men will go in their shell and play tight to be safe. But what we also see is that Marx have remained on this side of the field in the Lions usual 2-4-2 (or 1-3-3-1?) shape. All it mean is that the 8 forwards remain spread across the park so that they can help in attack, but it take confidence to do that when you a forward down!
This whole passage will end unfortunately when Skosan is tackle into touch, but when I saw it I knew the Lions was still in the game. It was clear they made a decision to lift the tempo as oppose to trying to grind safely, and we could see even Super Rugby’s best defence starting to crack.
The Lions did not win the final, but for us rugby purists there was much to enjoy and appreciate. I hope you did too!
DISCLAIMER: English is Oom’s third language, after Rugby and Afrikaans.
The injury-enforced absence of Warren Whiteley as well as the omission of Ruan Combrinck, Frans Steyn, and Lukhanyo Am could cost the Springboks dearly in the Rugby Championship, writes JON CARDINELLI for SARugbyMag
The 34-man Bok squad for the Rugby Championship was announced after the Super Rugby final on Saturday. Much was made about the new faces in the squad. Not enough was made about those who didn’t make the cut.
The Boks hammered France 3-0 in the Test series played in June. The quality of the set-piece and breakdown performances was of a high standard. The finishing was good and overall the defence was accurate and aggressive.
That said, the decision to persist with an inexperienced back-three combination for the duration of the series was rightly questioned. The decision to favour players of modest dimensions (and only one with a kicking game) at the back was scrutinised, as was the individual defence of Raymond Rhule, who missed the most tackles across the series.
Argentina, Australia, and New Zealand will demand more of the Boks in the coming Rugby Championship. France came to South Africa on the back of a long and taxing northern hemisphere season. While they were outplayed by the Boks up front, they rarely sought to expose the inexperience of that back division with an accurate tactical performance. Indeed, they didn’t kick much at all.
Andries Coetzee, Rhule, and Courtnall Skosan will be marked men in the Rugby Championship. So too Dillyn Leyds, who was once again exposed in the recent Super Rugby quarter-final against the Chiefs.
Bulls fullback Warrick Gelant has been brought into the squad. One wonders why Combrinck, who featured prominently in the squad last year and has the bulk, the tactical kicking game, and the attacking strengths to be a success at Test level, was overlooked.
There’s even more cause for concern when one casts an eye over the midfield selections. Jan Serfontein was one of the standouts in the June series. Jesse Kriel had his moments. Allister Coetzee has missed an opportunity to strengthen the squad, though, by omitting Frans Steyn and Lukhanyo Am.
Damian de Allende and Francois Venter have had their issues on defence at both Super Rugby and Test level. One struggles to see how De Allende will offer more than Steyn, a World Cup winner with a proven defensive and kicking game. Rohan Janse van Rensburg must also be wondering what he did wrong, apart from suffering an injury that robbed him on a chance to play regularly in this year’s Super Rugby tournament.
It’s been said that Steyn needed a break after a long season in France. Surely it would have made more sense to rest Steyn for the three-Test series against France in June? Surely you would want a player like that available for the more demanding games against the Wallabies and the All Blacks in the Rugby Championship?
Am was one of the best South African players on show in the recent Super Rugby tournament. His physical presence at the breakdown, his excellent decision making on defence, as well as his accurate kicking game would be an asset to any team. This is the kind of player that Coetzee should be investing in with a view to the 2019 World Cup.
The decision to include Curwin Bosch in the Rugby Championship at this stage, especially as a flyhalf, is a risk. One would hope that Elton Jantjies and Handré Pollard remain fit over the course of the tournament so that the 20-year-old is not forced to start against the likes of the All Blacks. Going by his Super Rugby performances, Bosch may struggle to man that flyhalf channel on defence..
Perhaps it would have been better to ease Bosch into the set-up as a fullback. Perhaps Coetzee should have picked Bosch ahead of Gelant and then included someone like JP Pietersen or Combrinck to lend the back division a more balanced and experienced look.
Including Steyn in the squad would have given the Boks a further flyhalf option. Steyn was listed as the official back-up to Jantjies in the recent series against France.
Coetzee said that the Boks will miss Whiteley, who led the team in the first two games against France before succumbing to a serious injury. Whiteley is likely to miss the Rugby Championship. The Boks will also be without Duane Vermeulen, who is also battling his own injury.
Dan du Preez has been brought into the squad for the first time. The Sharks No 8 may be rushed straight into the starting side.
A look at the loose-forward group suggests that the Boks have no real alternative in that position, unless Dan’s twin brother, Jean-Luc, wears the No 8 jersey as he did in the third Test against France. Either way, the Boks will miss the likes of Whiteley and Vermeulen at the back of the lineout.
After the disappointment of the Lions not making it all the way to to lift the Super Rugby trophy yesterday more disappointment was installed for the fans.
Firstly Springbok coach Allister Coetzee named his Springbok Squad which saw a few surprises, more on that later, then we got the news that Lions and Springbok captain will be out for another six weeks and lastly they had to see their Currie Cup side lose badly against the Blue Bulls at Loftus.
Coetzee gave some uncapped players a call-up in Sharks Curwin Bosch, Dan Du Preez and Blue Bulls Warrick Gelant in his 34 man squad.
This is just my opinion but my problem is not so much the players he gave a change but the one’s that he left out.
Throughout this year we heard that Coetzee will pick players on form and give preference to players playing in South Africa.
Now the question…..Why no Combrinck, Kwagga Smith, Dryer, Ox Nche and Am?
Then we see under performing De Allende, Cassiem, Lood De Jager, Frans Malherb, Oupa Mohoje, Trevor Nyakane and Handre Pollard in the side.
If I can remember right Pollard must have no more than 3 game in total under his belt.
Not even God knows why Combrinck was left out by Coetzee and this will not sit nicely with fans.
Question marks will also be over Bosch inclusion so early in the Springbok setup, that he has talent we all know but we do not need another Gaffie du Toit here.
Bosch still have allot to learn and if he is only their to learn then why give a spot which could have gone to Combrinck to him?
Pollard inclusion is a total surprise and I have no clue why he could be included in a Springbok squad without playing for almost six months.
Why is it that we always take two steps forward with Boks and three steps back.
The Springbok squad for the Castle Lager Rugby Championship (in alphabetical order):
There were quite a few errors and loose moments, and two of their tries was scored against 14 men. This weekend they will face a enemy of a whole other nature. And it is a enemy that play in a way that is a specific threat to the fine coordination, timing and tempo that the Lions enjoys.
This try the Lions concede on Saturday is a shadow of what is coming from the Hurricanes. The Canes smash the Lions twice in 2016 just by getting up fast and aggressive into their lines and disrupting them.
It lead to intercepts, mistakes, panic and a total breakdown of their phase play. So today I wanted to look at moments from the Sharks game that can show a way forward for how they can deal with what is coming.
It is no use to run the ball if the Canes is waiting in the sprinting blocks to rush up. So if we can make them go in reverse first then we take the sting out of it – it is hard to rush forward if your offside line is moving backwards.
So the Lions must use their prime beef in the narrow channels to push the Canes back. As we see above with Ruan and two tight forwards, this also suck in defenders and hopefully create better conditions so the midfield can make magic.
Fans hates big players and direct play but we need to get that defence going backwards first to get time and space to make sexy moves.
If the Lions pack can dominate and create quick, clean ball then Elton can cause trouble. The Lions loves to attack in midfield and I believe that the Canes is potentially vulnerable here.
It is one thing to be aggressive on defence, but it is another thing to co-operate and be patient. As we see above, Elton have a incredible ability to play flat and late and that mean the inside defence must wait to see what is going to happen, they can not drift or push.
That create uncertainty and spacing problems outside that the Lions backs can exploit. The Hurricanes aggression sometimes make them sloppy and Elton will be key to exploit this.
If a dog keep chewing the carpet then you must roll a newspaper and smack him on the nose – punish the rush by kicking into the space behind it! We always say this but people do not do it enough.
Elton must make a statement early by chipping when they come up. This will create uncertainty for the next rush and present the Canes defence with multiple challenges.
The value we talking about here is tactical but also psychological. The Hurricane defence identity is base on aggression, so if we take that away and bring in doubt then we are starting to put our will on our opponent and not the other way around.
But Elton can not do it on his own and the fact is the Canes know if they can rattle him then it is game over. They have done it before.
They will rush and try to force him into early passes or catch him ball-and-all. So something encouraging I see in the Sharks game was guys running short lines off Elton’s shoulders.
The short ball to Kwagga above is a perfect example. Not only is it important because Elton know he have a emergency escape option next to him, but the Canes actually open themself up to linebreaks with this kind of aggressive targeting.
I want to mention Harold specifically because I think he will make a big difference on Saturday by the way he read the game, the lines he choose and the timing of his runs. The Canes has never faced him before and I think he is the perfect guy to exploit their aggression.
In the picture above we see Elton waiting to get the ball from Cronje. Harold is also there, and he will actually sprint right past Elton to aim at a hole he see near the ruck. Cronje see him in time and hit him with a flat pass for a big gain.
Even Elton was surprise to see Harold run past him and grabbing the ball but it was great vision and a great call. Because of hasty nature of Canes defence, I predict Harold will have a big say on Saturday.
Another guy I want to single out is Malcolm Marx. He have a incredible ability to stay on his feet and make meters even when faced with multiple defenders.
He is a absolute rock in the face of tacklers and is a one-man rush defence killer. It is not nice to rush into a brick wall! In the picture above Malcolm charge forward and make a gain against three Shark defenders.
The Lions tends to use him in the wider channels and that is good because his presence there will give them a safe carry. Against the Canes aggression Malcolm can be like a calm port in a storming sea.
Ok guys, that is just some things to think about and look forward to. We hope the Lions come to the party and give coach Ackers the farewell season he deserve!
DISCLAIMER: English is Oom’s third language, after Rugby and Afrikaans.
Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has assembled a 38-man squad ahead of the of this years Rugby Championship, seems it not all bad when you do not make Super Rugby play-offs after all.
With only the Brumbies that was still in action this past weekend, Cheika will have the last eight players from them also later in the week.
As always the Aussies starts their Championship with two back to back test against the All Blacks in August which gives Cheika plenty of time to work with his players.
This Aussies had a terrible year with no Aussie Super Rugby team that could beat a New Zealand team in 26 attempts. To add to their misery the test side also lost to Scotland at home and had poor performances against the Italians and Fiji.
It seems Cheika is concentrating on conditioning.
“The first couple of weeks of our preparation has to be able to get us to the physical and mental level where we believe we can go out there and win the game,” Cheika told Radio New Zealand.
If I look at the Aussie test side and the Super Rugby teams from down under, it will serve Cheika best to look at more than just his players conditioning.
The Brumbies, who was their top side are 13th and 14th ranked in the tournament for linebreaks and offloads. The Waratahs are 13th ranked on tackles completion and 4th ranked for most handling errors.
As the two oppositely top sides in Australia we can see that Cheika will do well if he spend more time with players minds, handling and decision making.
It has to be the worst-designed competition on the planet – too long and across too many time zones.
The current playoffs have shown that, with the Hurricanes having to fly to South Africa and the Chiefs having to zap back from Cape Town to play in the Christchurch swamp.
It’s crazy that Super Rugby not only starts in February, but constricts the window for all of our NPC teams, such as the Manawatu Turbos, to play, let alone play each other.
The length of Super Rugby affects our All Blacks. Week in week out they slog away against the other New Zealand teams and are bruised bruisers when it comes to the June tests.
Two games between each of the NZ teams should be enough, but no, it was three this year, all of them brutal affairs.
Meanwhile, the Aussie teams were so hopeless that their Wallabies players will be fresh for the upcoming Rugby Championship.
Manawatu has a stack of Super players. But having trained their guts out since late last year, they often return to Manawatu either mentally or physically tuckered out.
We saw that each year with wing Asaeli Tikoirotuma and last year with Crusaders prop Michael Alaalatoa.
By this stage of the season, NPC coaches are just praying their players get through uninjured.
This competition started as the South Pacific Championship –from 1986 to 1990 – before it became the Super 6 in 1992. The South Pacific was organised by the New South Wales Rugby Union and the tougher rugby against New Zealand teams really lifted the Aussie sides.
Maybe it’s time New Zealand cut itself adrift again.
Super 10 came along in 1993 in the days before players were (officially) paid, and even then they played only four pool games and a final. Then it became Super 12 from 1996, when the Crusaders finished dead last, Super Rugby from 2011 with 15 teams, and now there are 18 teams with those in the playoffs slogging through 17 games.
Next year, the bright sparks want to cut it back to 15 teams, but sides such as the Western Force are proving as stubborn to dislodge as they were on the field as Australia’s most improved team.
Tonga and Western Samoa were part of Super 10, but were flicked when Super 12 came along because they wouldn’t have had the dollars.
New Zealand had five teams in their conference this year, whereas the top qualifiers, the Lions from Johannesburg, had four teams and the other three weren’t much chop.
The Brumbies had the cheek to be disappointed they didn’t progress to the semifinals despite finishing 22 competition points behind the Hurricanes, who had to travel to frigid Canberra for their troubles last weekend.
The Blues are constantly disparaged and yet only three other teams outside New Zealand scored more competition points.
OBM deserved their triumph
Knockout rugby can be cruel, but few among the estimated 2500 to 3000 who watched Saturday’s Manawatu club final begrudged third qualifiers Old Boys-Marist (OBM) their first win with a hyphen and a farewell for coach Reece Robinson.
They did what the Canes did at Canberra and lifted their forwards grunt in the second half.
Poor Kia Toa. If they reach next year’s Hankins final, they might need a white-coated psychologist to deliver the team talk after losing their fourth consecutive final.
Turbos coach Jeremy Cotter will have been pleased to see his Turbos men among the OBMs leading the charge – Fraser Armstrong, Hunter Prescott and Ambrose Curtis – as well as big Fijian second-five Kameli Kuruyabaki, fullback Luther Hirini, who the Turbos signed out of Feilding High School, and veteran lock Chris Long. So pleased was Long afterwards he toasted his wife and said, “see you Tuesday”.
With playoffs, it’s about timing your run. Round-robin winners Varsity will justifiably claim they were the most consistent team all season. They twice beat each of the other three top-four teams over the two rounds of regular play, but that will soon be forgotten after they pitch-poled against Kias in the semi.
Varsity will recall they too won the Hankins as third qualifiers last season by toppling OBM with a last-second penalty and then Kia Toa in the final with a late try.
Such a waste
Malakai Fekitoa might well have stayed in New Zealand if the All Blacks selectors had reassured him.
Instead, when the squad to face the British and Irish Lions was named, he was omitted. That was similar to when the Blues ignored him and, feeling rejected, he scarpered to the Highlanders in 2014.
In the All Blacks’ hour of need, he was called up for the third Lions test. But that was too late and now he’s off to Toulon in the prime of his career as a 25 year old.
He could be erratic and tackle high, but he was an experienced midfield attacker with 25 tests to his name.
If we really want to be honest then we will admit that the Lions have been limping these last couple of weeks.
The Sharks have now for two weeks in a row unsettled the Lions team firstly in Durban and then again this weekend in Johannesburg. If the players and coaches are brutally honest they will admit that they have drop in form and it is not what the doctor ordered for the play-offs.
They have the luxury this year to get a home final and all they have to do is beat the defending champions the Hurricanes this weekend at Emirates Airline Park.
In recent weeks the Lions have lost one of the most important person in their setup, Warren Whiteley. Whiteley has been ruled out of the Super Rugby as he recovers to lead the Springboks next month in the Rugby Championship.
If their was any doubt how much Whiteley leadership means to the team, we just need to look at the turnaround the Springboks made this year with him as their leader. We saw this kind of leadership back in the days of Francois Pienaar, Gary Teichmann and John Smith. Teams do well when they have inspirational leaders and Whiteley is surely one of those.
The last few games from the Lions felt a bit panicking which is natural in these types of game but there was not enough leadership. Take nothing away from Jaco Kriel who has led the Lions before in Whiteley absence but on Saturday we could see that Whiteley leadership was missed.
This does not make Kriel suddenly a bad player, it rather show us just how great a leader Whiteley is to this team and surely to the Springboks as well.
A great leader steps up when the chips starts falling against you. The Lions have a great group of leaders and experience in their team and they will have to make a collective effort this weekend against the Hurricanes from all the senior players to take a leadership role and help Kriel.
It has been said before….in all honesty, in any successful team all of it’s players are leaders in their own way.
The first week of Currie Cup rugby were not the main focus on the minds of most supporters but it produced plenty of running rugby and skills by the the six teams that played.
With scores of 43-36 between the Pumas and Lions, 45-51 between the Griquas and Blue Bulls and 47-12 between the Cheetahs and Sharks it look like the provinces are trying to get the players to play more that is in front of them than sticking to a 1980 gameplan.
With 234 points scored in three matches maybe we need to start to believe that SA Rugby is busy turning the ways from boring “stampkar” rugby. We need our players and specially the young players to get their skill levels up and get them to play more what is infront of them than what gameplan was forced onto them.
Nick Mallett said it best this weekend…..”A coach can only coach a player to play towards the second or maybe the third phase of play in a game, the rest is about the skill, decision making and ability of the players”
Look it is not perfect but it is a hell of allot better than what we saw in 2016 in South Africa.
The Blue Bulls made 1248 meters in their match against the Griquas with 145 good passes. They broke 18 tackles in the match and score 7 tries from 12 linebreaks. They only kicked 22 times and missed 18 tackles from the 109 that they had to make in the match.
The Griquas missed 35 tackles from the 144 they had to make in the eighty minutes. Griquas made 813 meters with ball in hand and had 8 line break in scoring 5 tries.
The Sharks who had to send a B-team to Bloemfontein to play an almost Super Rugby Cheetahs team made a 169 passes and 137 ball carries. They made a total of 858 meter with ball in hand and missed 23 tackles from 105 they were asked to make. They were only able to score 2 tries but had plenty of opportunities which they did not take in the game.
They Cheetahs played their free flowing game and missed 37 tackles from the 170 that they had to make in the match. They were able to make 8 linebreaks and scored 6 tries in the match. They were able to make 811 meters with ball in hand but also made 29 handling errors on the night
The Pumas beat the Golden Lions as they scored 6 tries in the match from only 549 meters gained in the match. They missed 18 tackles from a total of 125 that they were forced to make. The Pumas had 20 dominated tackles in the match which helped them turn defence into attack.
The Golden Lions conceded 9 penalties which did not helped their cause and had 33 handling errors. They made 831 meters with ball in hand and scored 5 tries. They were asked to make 93 tackles by the Pumas and missed 17 of those.
The stats shown us that there is still plenty of work to be done by all our teams and that handling errors is still and issue but with scoring 31 tries scored in three matches one can expect handling errors. The six teams had a total of 46 linebreaks.
Currie Cup has lost it’s premiere status long time ago but plays an important part in SA Rugby in building our players for Super Rugby which is the logical next step before a Springbok coach can look at them. Without the Currie Cup succeeding Super rugby teams cannot get better.
Uplifting our skills must be the main focus in the Currie Cup and if you look at the first weeks results it seems that that is exactly what they focus on.
I’ll go out on a limb and say I think the the move to join the Pro14 will be a watershed moment for South African rugby. People will look back on the day the Kings and Cheetahs were kicked out of Super Rugby and count it as a blessing, Jake White writes for All out Rugby
Let’s be honest, Super Rugby has been a joke. New Zealand have four of their five teams in this year’s playoffs. They could have three in the semi-finals and two in the final. That tells you something.
Don’t get me wrong, New Zealand rugby is strong and they’ve done well with things like central contracting and all of that, but it’s time for South Africa to look at another route to being competitive because this one is not working.
Some people think that the Kings and Cheetahs have lost out now that they’ve been relegated. I think they have hit the jackpot!
Aside from sharing in the strength of the Euro and the Pound, the benefit of compatible time zones and all of those things, the best part is they will be in a competition that gives them a fair crack at winning games. I’m not talking about the strength of their opponents, what I mean is that the playing field will be more even than it has been in Super Rugby where SA teams get the short end of the stick.
That’s a massive boost for those two unions and I’m sure that, offered the same opportunity to go north, the other unions would have taken it. Because of relegation, the Kings and Cheetahs have been forced to take this decision, but if SA Rugby had asked which teams would like to stay in Super Rugby, I wouldn’t have been surprised if the Lions, Bulls, Sharks and Stormers all put their hand up to pioneer a new market for their brand in Europe.
There are so many positives that go with all the SA teams playing up north. The Kings and Cheetahs will be able to attract a lot of players who are currently in those leagues to join them. I’m thinking a player like Paul Roos old boy, Braam Steyn – he could play for the Kings and Cheetahs and still play for Italy.
For the Springbok coach, having SA players all playing in the same conditions, you can compare apples with apples. And Europe is an overnight flight so, when you have a Bok camp, you’re potentially not working around players flying in from all over the world.
But the most important benefit is a psychological one. Our teams will actually have a chance to win, and when they do win, the psychological boost they’ll get out of that will be massive.
In Super Rugby, you can almost see who is going to have a good or bad season just based on the draw. You don’t want to be in a competition like that.
You also don’t want a competition that gives the Brumbies a quarter-final, even though (on log points) they shouldn’t qualify for the playoffs, while the side that finished top of the log didn’t even play a Kiwi side. It could happen that three New Zealand sides play in the semi-finals and the Lions haven’t played one of them yet.
If we go back even further, how did anybody sign off on this competition in the first place? A New Zealand team has won the trophy 14 times in 21 years. Why would you continue to sign on for a deal like that?
I see that the New Zealand media are now saying the Chiefs can’t win this year because their travel in the playoffs (to Cape Town and then to Christchurch or Dunedin) is just too tough. So, the two-time champion Chiefs who have such a great team, their own media say they can’t win because of the travel, and yet us South Africans wonder why we can’t win the competition. By their own admission, it’s too tough to travel to Cape Town and back. SA teams have been doing that for two decades.
Doc Craven once taught the All Blacks how to scrum during a long boat trip for a tour. South African rugby has gone from that to now wondering whether we can beat the Kiwis. It’s not our job to make New Zealand rugby stronger; if South Africa does eventually pull out of Super Rugby, the Kiwis will have to survive on playing the Aussie sides every year.
Whether we like it or not, Super Rugby hasn’t been kind to us, it hasn’t helped our rugby.
To get to the final is much about momentum than anything else when it comes to the business end of Super Rugby and their are a few teams that are showing great form.
As we move into the first week of play-offs nobody will complain if the bookmakers are backing the New Zealand teams to advance to the next stage of the tournament with only the Lions that have shown again this year that they can go all the way.
In the first quarter final of the weekend we see the Brumbies hosting the Hurricanes on Friday and although the saying goes”Anything can happen in the play-offs” it will unfortunately not happen for the Brumbies.
The Aussie sides have been poor this year and even the Australian conference winner the Brumbies have not shown that they can scare any of the teams in the play-offs. More worrying for the Australian side is that their form this last two weeks have been poor as well and they are playing the current champions on Friday.
The only thing that is going for the Brumbies is that they are playing at home and will (hopefully) have more supporters at the stadium than the Hurricanes.
The Hurricanes have shown that they are the one team that can again go all the way and have quality written all over the side, from number 1 to number 23.
The Hurricanes have top this years Super Rugby in most tries scored(89) and they have been deadly from broken play and turnovers is something you would not want to give to this Hurricanes team.
Praying for rain is almost all they Brumbies can do to maybe stand a change of winning this one and taking their log position, rightly so as well.
Can only see a Hurricanes win by at least 15 points.
The next quarter-final match will be an all New Zealand derby when the Crusaders host the Highlanders on Saturday morning. This is going to be a cracker and certainly not one to miss out on on. The Crusaders have been on top of the Super Rugby log until last weekend when they lost for the first time this year against the Hurricanes.
The end result is that they will gave up an easier run and a home final to the Lions who has ended on top of the overall log. The Highlanders are not the easiest team to play against and they have shown that they have a few game plans which have won them matches this season against good teams.
The Crusaders is a quality team and most properly the most conservative (if there is such a word in NewZealand rugby) of all the franchises there but they can score tries from anywhere and just don’t let up. They have one of the best set phases of all the teams in the competition and are one of the most balanced sides as well.
This one is difficult to call but have to go with the Saders by 10 points.
From the Crusaders and Highlanders we move to the next local derby match, this time in Johannesburg when the Lions take on the Sharks. The Lions have ended on top and will want to take the opportunity that has come their way and get the first win done and dusted against the Sharks.
Last week the two teams met in Durban and although it was not the Lions best game of the year they still beat the Sharks comfortable which will be a huge worry for the Sharks. The Lions are one of the most difficult teams to face at home and even without their captain Whiteley will not be easily beaten by any of the remaining teams.
They have so many game breakers and as with the Crusaders one of the most well balanced sides in the competition. The Lions struggled in the scrum last week and know that it is the one place where the Sharks will target them. When the two teams met earlier this year at Emirates Airline Park we witness one of the games of the season and most will want to see the same but we need to realistic and know that the Lions should be too strong for whatever the Sharks throw at them.
Lions will take this by 15 plus points at home.
The last quarter final will be at DHL Newlands when the Stormers will again take on the Chiefs. In the last two matches played between these two teams we saw the Chiefs running the Stormers off their feet in last years quarter final and during the season the Stormers had one of their best matches of the year when they surprise the Chiefs at Newlands.
The Chiefs is a quality side as all the New Zealand teams but have not dominated as they did previous years. The Stormers will take some believe into this match from the last time they meet but that frankly counts for nothing. The Chiefs also has all their big guns in the team and this will be a either a great contest or another runaway for the Chiefs.
That the Stormers have the quality to beat the Chiefs no one will question, but they have been so much hot and cold this year that you never know what team will pitch up. Defence have also not always been up to scratch and they will have to defend out of their skins if they want to win this game.
This will be a great game to end the weekends quarter finals and although I hope the Stormers will pull this one through, the head keep on saying Chiefs by 12 points atleast.
Who do you think will be the winners this weekend?
Sometimes one thinks people misunderstand the actual meaning of skill and balance you need to have to play an outright attacking game.
Nowhere does this means you need to take a page out of Harry Viljoen book and instruct your players not to kick and run from anywhere at all means, no it is a collective mindset to firstly do the basics right and then that cliche…” Earn the right to go wide”
The back three of any team, and so much more a test team, will be the determine factor for any team wanting to go on full attack.
Predictability is another aspect you need in players and your wings, to ensure that you can play this type of game-plan, as their biggest asset is to create uncertainty in the opponents minds which gives them the mental edge and that is worth gold at test rugby.
Most people do not want to hear this but in the modern game you need big men out wide so that when they go forward they keep on going forward.
Most teams have a different set up and different skill emphasis in their back three but the big, fast and skillful wings of this world will always stand out at the end of the match.
But that will come to nothing if you do not have an excellent tight five who can dominate around the park not just in the set pieces. Dominance of a pack today is more in the small battles during the match than the set pieces itself.
Set pieces today are mostly evenly contested at test level with teams holding their own for most of the time in lineouts and scrums, but in that small battles in-between you usually find the difference between winning and losing a test match.
Now combine that small battles with the skill set that the All Blacks showed last week in the first test against the Lions and you have a winning team. The one try came after a brilliant pickup from Read at a dominate scrum to get the ball wide and another try from skills on show from Rieko Ioane.
Last week it was all because of the excellence of their tight five and general physical dominance across the park that won the All Blacks the test match. And to be honest that has been the story of the All Blacks for the past few years.
One clever dude once told me that rugby is a simple game being played between four lines and to win the game you need to do one thing to win the game after 80 odd minutes…..be that little bit better in what you do than the other team
I been told the last couple of weeks that the All Blacks are beatable, that the Lions will beat them and now the Aussies are also saying that they will win against the All Blacks in this years Rugby Championship.
Is it just me or has the world gone absolutely mad?
I do not think people really see the distance the All Blacks are in front of the rest in world rugby. The fact that they can loose their front line center and fullback early in a match and still make the British And Irish Lions look ordinary should tell the story to most but then you have those dreamers that will tell you otherwise.
Maybe we do not understand what the word skill really means.
Skill is not just the ability to throw the ball around make a backward flip pass or a chip kick and pass kick, skill in the game of rugby are much much more.
It is the ability to see space, to stay calm when you up against it, to make something out of nothing and the ability to last longer than the other team in the game.
That is just a few I mentioned because the game of rugby today is all about skill and if you do not have it you cannot be compare to a team like the All Blacks. They are the best coached, conditioned and have reserve players that will be in most countries test teams who do not even have a test spot.
There is one team that have come closer to the New Zealanders and that is England but in the same breath they have not played the All Blacks in recent years so we cannot really compare the two.
Lions supporters are going on, on the fact that Ireland had the one win in USA last year and that England equal their wins in a row against tier 1 nations, but that counts for nothing as no team have been able to beat the All Blacks consistently in the past 10 years.
To win a once of match against the All Blacks or to run them close does not mean the gap is closing it just mean that on the day you came close or you succeed. Teams and coaches have tried many things to get under the All Blacks skin but did not really succeed. Gatland have tried as the last couple of weeks he first said they scrum illegal, then it was blocking and after the first test he suggest the All Blacks are going out to injure his star scrumhalf Conor Murray, this all just seems a bit desperate from a coach that knows he is under pressure.
The Lions are a great group of players but making so many mistakes in a test match will never get you pass the All Blacks as you need to be perfect and have some luck your way as well.
What does make the All Blacks better than other international teams?
It all starts with the way New Zealand rugby does things. For all New Zealanders it is about what is for the better of All Blacks rugby, not provincial rugby not franchise rugby but All Black rugby. They all have this same common goal and they all work towards it and most important they have been lucky enough that the All Blacks jersey means more to most players in New Zealand than the big bucks in Europe and Japan.
Now for Cheika to come out and say that his awful Aussies have a chance against the All Blacks is not even a joke it is just a plain stupid comment.
Australia problems is not with Cheika and his national team it goes to the Super Rugby teams who have been absolutely horrible this year and they have now brought that culture to the national side. They do not look like a family in that team and the skills are absolutely a disgrace for Australian rugby. The players looked unfit with passion shown in their game.
The All Blacks and most New Zealand teams almost play the perfect game of rugby and to beat them you need to be near perfect everytime you run out against them and Australian rugby is not even close to that.
Skills and passing game has always been the one thing the Aussie teams had been good at if not the best, but to sit through any Australian Super Rugby match and now even their test team is worst than drinking “Kaster olie”
With a few weeks to go before the start of the Rugby Championship, one can only think that Cheika comments was what he had dreamed off on Friday night and not reality.
And for those still thinking the Lions will beat the All Blacks, you live in the same dream world as Cheika….