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Nabetragting – What a load of crap

17

What allot of nonsense from our South African teams this weekend yet again.

After yet another weekend of the same old same I decided to rather have my 5 minute bitching session than yet again try to get positives out of the nonsense our teams dish up week after week.

The Lions look like the Lions of 2012, the only reason the Stormers v Bulls clash looked somewhat exiting  was because they played each other and although the Sharks beat the Highlanders this time around they will most properly play like a school side next week again.

Skills in our South African teams are as rare as rain in Cape Town.

The only thing worst than watching our South African teams weekend after weekend are the referees in Super Rugby.

Super Rugby has fallen so far since the glory days of Super 12 that even the New Zealanders are being pulled down to our and the Aussie level.

There is one reason for Super Rugby fall over the last few years, SANZAAR serving Mammon. They are so desperate to put money above the game we love, that there was even talks in the media this week that they are looking to add an American conference.

The problem with Aussie teams are simple, they are crap, the problem with South African teams are we have crappy coaches who should be coaching at school level, because the talent are there.

Add the referees of today and you get a competition that is the biggest oxymoron in world sport which they call Super Rugby.

I struggle sometimes to even call it Rugby.

Rassie should be able to pick 30 players that are good enough to compete but how will the mindset of these 30 players be when Rassie eventually gets them.

Then throw in the BEE of 50% which Rassie must have by 2019, for this year he needs to have 45%.

Rassie does not get much help from the Super Rugby coaches in this regard as well. They can and should do more to give these players more game time to develop but we have spend enough time on this subject.

The fact remains we have serious problems and not Rassie nor any other coaching team in the world can wave a magic wand and fix this.

The Lions have had some critical injuries this season which can be use as an excuse but players like Mostert, Jantjies, Janse van Rensburg, Combrinck, Coetzee and Cronje(when he played) have been poor.

Without Warren Whiteley they looked leaderless and without direction, add to that the fact that Kriel have not played 1 minute this year so far and you have the current Lions team.

I also believe not many people realized how much Ackermann as head coach mend for this team.

One of their biggest disappointments has been Jantjies. At this stage he is maybe our forth best 10 in the country.

The Sharks are just all crap, just when you think they have sorted it all out they reminds you that they are the Sharks, everyone knows about them but nobody really cares.

They are like Finding Nemo  you only cheer for it because you feel sorry for them.

The Stormers have too many problems to waste my time on and I am sure because of the win yesterday against the Bulls their supporters will write all their players into the Springbok team.

They need a total redo from their President all the way to their coaches.

The Bulls are busy with a re-building phase but after 10 games you need to starting making progress and not make the same mistakes every weekend over and over again.

For most South African supporters they surely live in the land of Narnia where they believe we are world beaters but in fact we are a laughing stock.

Then we still as why our stadiums are empty and unions on the brink of bankruptcy.

Here is the current log after round 11

PosTeamPWLDPts
112102046
211101045
31376036
41174232
51174032
61164131
71256128
81275028
91156025
101257024
111358024
121147018
131239017
141138016
151129010

If we go on this way we are just keep on fighting a loosing battle.

Here is what some people call Highlights, don’t ask me why?

Oom Rugby – Which 10 is perfect for Boks?

0

We have been talking about who Rassie Erasmus must pick as his starting 10 for the England tour since the beginning of the year and we have split views on this issues.

Oom Rugby gives us his thought this week

Hi guys. I have a theory about flyhalfs and it go like this: to play the position in a Test match require so many different abilities and skills that, beside maybe some rare players, there is actually no such thing as a “Perfect 10”. To some degree every 10 is a compromise.

Especially in South Africa at the moment there is not one candidate who tick all the many boxes we require. If you honest with yourself even the South African 10 you love so much is not the complete package.

We been talking a lot about the merits of the local flyhalfs (and we will talk about them today too) but for the article this week I thought we will take a specific look at Pat Lambie’s game in the Champions Cup semi-final this weekend.

Distribution
A core role of the 10 is to get his backs away effectively. Poor execution by a flyhalf can be like a poison to his backline. Pat is good at this on a technical level as we see in the picture above where he pass the ball between the two players in the pod to hit the senter Vakatawa on a fade-away line. Normally that pass will go out the backdoor, but the pass to Vakatawa need to happen at that moment so Lambie “thread the needle”.

If we looking at pure pass ability then I think Elton Jantjies is top of the list, with guys like Lambie, Damian Willemse and Robert Du Preez behind him.

Playing Flat
A flyhalf need to vary his depth to suit the situation, but the difficult thing is to play really flat. With modern defence dictating like it is, a flyhalf must be able to play late sometimes so that he can create uncertainty and space. We want to keep the inside defence honest and prevent them shifting out, and it is difficult for defenders to make decisions if a flyhalf delay his passes.

Historically and in this game we have seen that Pat is OK at this ability. In the example above he pass just a half a meter too early and that allow the senter Arnold to shift out to cover the next man.

Fair to say not many better than Elton at this ability to pull the strings right on the advantage line. After him perhaps Willemse and Du Preez are also quite good.

Lateral Awareness
In a flyhalf and a scrumhalf we want excellent awareness to the left and right because they must dictate play to where the opportunities is, to where the space is, and to where the numerical advantage is. We do not want our 9 or 10 sending play to the wrong side!

Unfortunately if I have a criticism of Pat in the past – and it raise its head in this game – is that he don’t always see the best place to pass the ball. In the example above we can see the big opportunity to Pat’s right, but instead he is looking inward and feed his hooker Chat on a inside line. Again I think Elton is good here, as well as Du Preez and Pollard.

Depth Awareness
Seeing the spacial depth on a rugby field is the skill needed for good tactical kicking. Just like some players doesn’t always see the things around them, some players does not see opportunities in depth that is further away from them.

Pat is very good at this and he is very quickly aware of poor positioning of the back three and the spaces behind the defence. In the example above he react very quickly from turnover ball, realise that the left wing Wooton try to scramble back, and take advantage with a great kick behind him. Funny enough we don’t have good kicking 10s in this country and Pat is maybe among the best in terms of awareness and decision making.

Kicking Distance
The flyhalf’s boot can get you out of trouble, but it can also get you into trouble if it is not powerful enough. A 10 with a big boot can keep his team in the opponent half the whole day and that is slow poison. It is also absolute slow poison to your own team if a guy can not give you territorial advantage after all your hard work.

I would not say Pat necessarily have a cannon for a boot, as we see in a example above. It is actually a penalty kick so he have all the time in the world but he don’t really drive the Irish back that far. He did not even reach the 10m line. We can safely say that guys like Willemse and Du Preez has bigger distance on their kicks. As a quick note, Pat is also sometimes a victim of charge downs and teams will notice that.

Defence
The “hinge” between the flyhalf and his forwards is the favourite place for a team to get momentum. This where we will see big runners charging at the space to set up deadly quick ball on the next phase. I will not describe Pat as a strong tackler who can slow the attack (as Pollard and Du Preez can), but he will make his tackles and rely on his good technique.

One area however where Pat shine is on his defence awareness and positioning. In the example above Munster has a nice numbers overlap down the left, but Pat react very early and come up fast and in the right place to shut down the option.

Control
What we talking about here is the ability of the 10 to organise his troops and take control, and this is maybe the greatest strength of Pat. To watch him is like watching a conductor. The whole game we see him shouting and pointing and placing his chess pieces on attack and defence,

The above picture is just two examples of many, but in the first box we see Pat actually push his lock Nakarawa to fold across to get numbers up, and in the second box he point out the threat of Holland coming up for a possible inside ball from Keatley. Some players is like a glue for the team.

There many other things we can discuss like for instance attack, where Pat is perhaps in the same class as Elton in terms of having good feet and speed, but obviously nowhere near Willemse who is in a class of his own. Pollard and Du Preez use more muscle to break the line.

BMT is another big requirement where Pat come out on top I think. He have always shown the ability to rise on the big stage, followed maybe by Handre in this regard.

At the end of the day for me there is no clear perfect candidate for Bok 10. So the questions then is how do you want to play, what is non-negotiable, what strengths do you want, and what weaknesses can you ignore?

Each of us will have our own answers to this questions if we were the coach. Soon we will see what Rassie think, and whether Pat will feature in his plans at all.

DISCLAIMER: English is Oom’s third language, after Rugby and Afrikaans.

Match fixing or are referees just that incompetent

6

It is getting more and more difficult to stay positive and this is not directed only at our teams and players but the referees who are supposed to be professionals and control a competition which was once the greatest competition in the world.

We have always heard that rugby can not be part of what we have seen in soccer with referees but we should be asking then why do we see these decisions weekend after weekend without any explanation from SANZAAR.

The worst part is not the silence from SANZAAR and World Rugby but that these referees just get the next weekend another game to keep on giving us below par performances.

They are gods who are not allowed to be questioned nor are they allowed to be challenged.

Teams, players and coaches jobs are weekly on the line for their performances and where they end up in the competitions but referees stays part of the Untouchables in the game.

I have three explanations for these poor referees, either referees are that stupid and are not capable of refereeing top matches or they are fixing matches or lastly they know they are untouchable and can do what they want.

In the Bulls v Highlanders match on Saturday New Zealand referee Glen Jackson was the man in the middle.

The first problem has been that SANZAAR is selecting referees who are from the same country as the teams playing.

Not only do they put huge pressure on these referees but they give the public the opportunity to question every decision they make.

Jackson has made two crucial mistakes in the last ten minutes of the Bulls v Highlanders match which favored the side from his country of origins as well.

The first was a blatant professional foul by Highlanders on their own line when the Bulls was camping in their twenty two.

Jackson did not see this blatant slowing down of the ball on the tryline as a yellow card offence but just a penalty.

The Bulls did get the try eventually but time was wasted and the Bulls would have been playing against 14 men in the past minutes of the game.

In the last few second of the game the Highlanders were on attack inside the Bulls half and at a ruck Bulls Lizo Gqoboka reloaded and came from the back of the ruck to take off a Highlanders player and turned over the ball.

Jackson offcourse saw that Lizo Gqoboka  came from the side which led to a penalty which led to the play that gave the Highlanders the last penalty to win the match.

Two decisions which could and should have changed the outcome of the game.

This is dangerous territory as there are supporters starting to ask if games is not getting fixed.

These allegations may be far fetch but it has become time that SANZAAR and other bodies with World Rugby starting to show that referees are legit.

They need to start making sure that people does not need to question referees and that referees also get the same punishment as teams, players and coaches when they make mistakes that change games.

People must not come anymore with the nonsense that referees is just human and make mistakes. They need to be accountable for their mistakes as any other professional sportsman or woman.

Jackson’s decisions changed the outcome of the game as many other referees throughout this season and I am sure we will not hear anything from either SANZAAR, or the SANZAAR referee boss.

The sad part is we still wonder why our stadiums is empty every weekend?

Pick a Springbok side

11

So Round 11 of Super Rugby is done and time for us to look again who moved up and who moved in to our Springbok 23 that will face England if we were the selectors.

It has been a disappointing few weeks for SA teams and only the Bulls and Lions that still showing some pride for us although the Stormers did beat the Rebels this weekend.

So through your votes last time two weeks ago here is what we had as a squad, but this week we need to pick our Springbok 23 for the first test against England.

Full Back: Willie Le Roux, Warrick Gelant, Wings: Ruan Combrinck, Aphiwe Dyantyi, JP Pietersen, Travis Ishmael, Midfield: Jan Serfontein, Lukanhyo Am, Frans Steyn, Rohan Janse van Rensburg, Flyhalf: Handre Pollard, Jantjies, Scrumhalf: Ruan Pienaar, Faf De Klerk, Eight-man: Warren Whiteley, Duane Vermeulen, Locks: Lood de Jager, Pieter Steph du Toit, Franco Mostert, Ruan Botha, Loose Forwards: Jean-Luc Du Preez, Kolisi, Phillip van der Walt, Kwagga Smith, Props: Steven Kitshoff, Vincen Koch, Beast, Wilco Louw, Hookers: Marx, Bismark du Plesssis

A few things to remember…. Rassie said he will only pick an overseas player if we do not have a player in that position playing in SA.

Also let’s go with players that are fit so all that is ruled out through injury or suspension is not to be consider.

We go out as if this Springbok team will play next Saturday.

Here is my team to argue with me about and to start off…

15. Warrick Gelant

14. Sbu Nkosi

13. Lukhanyo Am

12. Frans Steyn

11. Madosh Tambwe

10. Handre Pollard

9. Ivan van Zyl

8. Duane Vermeulen

7. Jean-Luc Du Preez

6. Siya Kolisi

5.Lood de Jager

4. RG Snyman

3. Wilco Louw

2. Malcolm Marx

1. Steven Kitshoff

Replacements: Elton Jantjies, Thomas du Toit, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Franco Mostert, Ruan Combrinck, Ruan Dreyer, Harold Vorster,Trevor Nyakane

What is your team?

Oom Rugby – Which 10 is perfect for Boks?

1

Hi guys. I have a theory about flyhalfs and it go like this: to play the position in a Test match require so many different abilities and skills that, beside maybe some rare players, there is actually no such thing as a “Perfect 10”. To some degree every 10 is a compromise. writes Oom Rugby for Vodacom Rugby

Especially in South Africa at the moment there is not one candidate who tick all the many boxes we require. If you honest with yourself even the South African 10 you love so much is not the complete package.

We been talking a lot about the merits of the local flyhalfs (and we will talk about them today too) but for the article this week I thought we will take a specific look at Pat Lambie’s game in the Champions Cup semi-final this weekend.

Distribution
A core role of the 10 is to get his backs away effectively. Poor execution by a flyhalf can be like a poison to his backline. Pat is good at this on a technical level as we see in the picture above where he pass the ball between the two players in the pod to hit the senter Vakatawa on a fade-away line. Normally that pass will go out the backdoor, but the pass to Vakatawa need to happen at that moment so Lambie “thread the needle”.

If we looking at pure pass ability then I think Elton Jantjies is top of the list, with guys like Lambie, Damian Willemse and Robert Du Preez behind him.

Playing Flat
A flyhalf need to vary his depth to suit the situation, but the difficult thing is to play really flat. With modern defence dictating like it is, a flyhalf must be able to play late sometimes so that he can create uncertainty and space. We want to keep the inside defence honest and prevent them shifting out, and it is difficult for defenders to make decisions if a flyhalf delay his passes.

Historically and in this game we have seen that Pat is OK at this ability. In the example above he pass just a half a meter too early and that allow the senter Arnold to shift out to cover the next man.

Fair to say not many better than Elton at this ability to pull the strings right on the advantage line. After him perhaps Willemse and Du Preez are also quite good.

Lateral Awareness
In a flyhalf and a scrumhalf we want excellent awareness to the left and right because they must dictate play to where the opportunities is, to where the space is, and to where the numerical advantage is. We do not want our 9 or 10 sending play to the wrong side!

Unfortunately if I have a criticism of Pat in the past – and it raise its head in this game – is that he don’t always see the best place to pass the ball. In the example above we can see the big opportunity to Pat’s right, but instead he is looking inward and feed his hooker Chat on a inside line. Again I think Elton is good here, as well as Du Preez and Pollard.

Depth Awareness
Seeing the spacial depth on a rugby field is the skill needed for good tactical kicking. Just like some players doesn’t always see the things around them, some players does not see opportunities in depth that is further away from them.

Pat is very good at this and he is very quickly aware of poor positioning of the back three and the spaces behind the defence. In the example above he react very quickly from turnover ball, realise that the left wing Wooton try to scramble back, and take advantage with a great kick behind him. Funny enough we don’t have good kicking 10s in this country and Pat is maybe among the best in terms of awareness and decision making.

Kicking Distance
The flyhalf’s boot can get you out of trouble, but it can also get you into trouble if it is not powerful enough. A 10 with a big boot can keep his team in the opponent half the whole day and that is slow poison. It is also absolute slow poison to your own team if a guy can not give you territorial advantage after all your hard work.

I would not say Pat necessarily have a cannon for a boot, as we see in a example above. It is actually a penalty kick so he have all the time in the world but he don’t really drive the Irish back that far. He did not even reach the 10m line. We can safely say that guys like Willemse and Du Preez has bigger distance on their kicks. As a quick note, Pat is also sometimes a victim of charge downs and teams will notice that.

Defence
The “hinge” between the flyhalf and his forwards is the favourite place for a team to get momentum. This where we will see big runners charging at the space to set up deadly quick ball on the next phase. I will not describe Pat as a strong tackler who can slow the attack (as Pollard and Du Preez can), but he will make his tackles and rely on his good technique.

One area however where Pat shine is on his defence awareness and positioning. In the example above Munster has a nice numbers overlap down the left, but Pat react very early and come up fast and in the right place to shut down the option.

Control
What we talking about here is the ability of the 10 to organise his troops and take control, and this is maybe the greatest strength of Pat. To watch him is like watching a conductor. The whole game we see him shouting and pointing and placing his chess pieces on attack and defence,

The above picture is just two examples of many, but in the first box we see Pat actually push his lock Nakarawa to fold across to get numbers up, and in the second box he point out the threat of Holland coming up for a possible inside ball from Keatley. Some players is like a glue for the team.

There many other things we can discuss like for instance attack, where Pat is perhaps in the same class as Elton in terms of having good feet and speed, but obviously nowhere near Willemse who is in a class of his own. Pollard and Du Preez use more muscle to break the line.

BMT is another big requirement where Pat come out on top I think. He have always shown the ability to rise on the big stage, followed maybe by Handre in this regard.

At the end of the day for me there is no clear perfect candidate for Bok 10. So the questions then is how do you want to play, what is non-negotiable, what strengths do you want, and what weaknesses can you ignore?

Each of us will have our own answers to this questions if we were the coach. Soon we will see what Rassie think, and whether Pat will feature in his plans at all.

DISCLAIMER: English is Oom’s third language, after Rugby and Afrikaans.

Super Rugby is dead

10

Deader than dead. Morsdood if you prefer the delightful Afrikaans translation. No amount of resuscitation will ever revive it, no matter what organisers and broadcasters will have you believe.

The basis for proof of life in any tournament in any sport is spectator involvement at stadiums and/or on their couches in front of the telly.

Fans through turnstiles keep tournaments going. The day they stop attending or flick channels to Comedy Central is the day that tournament flatlines.

Saturday, April 21 in Durban was the day Super Rugby was read its final rites.

Once the biggest clash on the rugby calendar, the Sharks v Stormers showdown failed to register a blip on the radar.

So much so that Kings Park officials didn’t even bother selling tickets to the top tier of the stadium, instead opting for shameless gigantic advertising banners. And the vast majority of the actual seats that were on sale, were empty.

On a side, yet related note, kudos has to go to whoever it was at Kings Park who managed to pull off the scoop of the century (maybe longer) in convincing new stadium sponsors Jonsson Workwear that it was in fact a good idea to part with no doubt millions and millions in cash to replace Growthpoint.

Word of warning to the folk at Jonsson’s … Kings Park will forever be Kings Park – or the Shark Tank – and shall never, ever be known as Jonsson Kings Park.

Not that many will turn up at Kings Park to ever see the new branding…

A couple of hours earlier in the day, and Loftus Versfeld was a morgue will only a handful of fans (literally) who bothered to show up for their clash against the Rebels.

This despite the once proud Bullring faithful regularly cramming into the stadium. And the Bulls are now on a three-match win streak!

Newlands, once easily the country’s most supported stadium, has seen attendance figures plummet in 2018. Their tournament opener against the Jaguares attracted a little over 18 000 die-hards and in a vain attempt to attract fans, the Cape side have moved kick-off for Friday’s public holiday clash against the Rebels to 15:05 (from 19:15) in an attempt to entice fans and family mid-afternoon.

Good luck with that!

Fans want to watch winning rugby. The Stormers are playing dire rugby at present. It’s an equation that doesn’t bode well for the WPRU. On current form the Rebels pose a real threat to Rob Fleck’s charges and it would be no shock should they walk away victorious.

And Ellis Park, despite the Lions playing winning rugby in recent years, will sadly never escape the “it’s too dangerous to attend” excuse.

Official attendance figures at stadiums are nigh-impossible to find, mainly as they are an embarrassment to unions and are guarded under lock and key.

But know this for sure, if you ever hear a figure announced as the ‘official attendance’ for a match, take that with a pinch of salt, halve it, don’t bother to carry the last digit – and then feel sorry for those tasked with putting bums on seats.

So why are attendances down at South African stadiums?

Too many reasons to mention each and every one, but my top 5 are (in no particular order):

1. Super 18 wasn’t actually the problem

The format for the 2016 and 2017 Super Rugby (with 18 teams) was widely lambasted as being too complicated to understand and grossly unfair on certain sides. Fans and teams called for change. SANZAAR stepped up and culled the Kings, Cheetahs and Force and CEO Andy Marinos promised everyone who cared to listen an improved product.

Fast forward to this year and still no one cares (see lack of bums on seats).

We’ve just found new problems with the ‘old’ Super Rugby format to gripe about.

2. No one cares about derby matches!

For far too long organisers have believed derby matches were what the paying public wanted to see.

Note to organisers: Unless that derby match involves two New Zealand sides, no fan gives the proverbial sh*t!

SA’s Super Rugby sides currently play each other home and away … in a slightly different guise they play each other again in the Currie Cup. Then if that’s not enough, they play each other again in the Currie Cup playoffs.

It’s all too much! And too much of the ‘same, same’ look and feel to maintain interest. More is seldom better. Quality over quantity.

3. Laws are rubbish, referees even worse

I’m tempted to suggest the World Rugby law book is ripped up and referees just do their own thing on the day for the ‘surprise’ element. Isn’t that actually what happens in any case … !?

Rugby’s laws are factually the worst of any sport. They are simply too confusing. Andre Watson once told me a referee could blow up every scrum for 17 different reasons (no exaggeration, may even have been more, it was a while ago since we last saw Watson in action…) There’s no consensus on what constitutes something as basic as a forward pass. And don’t get me started on the rolling maul or the lottery of taking an opponent out in the air.

Fans are naturally frustrated weekend after weekend by calls made against their team. Frustration leads to those fans simply ‘giving up’. Enough’s enough. For the sake of one’s own health, that’s perfectly understandable. Why dice with blood pressure death every 7 days?

Fans ‘giving up’ leads to empty seats. Or the Discovery channel.

4. No stronger without ‘weakest 3’

By culling three teams in the off-season, SANZAAR would have you believe we’re now left with the 15 strongest sides. A ‘strength v strength’ scenario if you will.

Wrong!

The standard of play by the Australian sides is diabolical, the Blues are the red-haired step-child in New Zealand that no one wants to talk about, the Sunwolves are ‘better’ but only because they’re now loaded with SA and NZ expats and a Georgian hooker, the Jaguares continue to blow hot and cold, and from a SA point of view, no side actually improved as the Cheetahs and Kings (ok, not the Kings) weren’t divvied up among the four remaining sides to make any of them any stronger!

5. Money talks … but also drives away fans

Rugby is a family sport. Dads and sons, moms and daughters, it’s a fun afternoon out.

Except when you return home bankrupt.

Tickets plus transport plus food plus drinks X your family size X 8 home Super Rugby matches and it’s become impossible for the average man in the street to attend.

And then Newlands’ hierarchy confirm it will cost you as much as R950 for a single ticket to watch Rassie’s Springboks against Eddie’s England in June.

As mentioned, there are many, many more reasons for Super Rugby’s demise. If you’re still reading, drop us a line at mysport@sport24.co.za with your ‘Top 3 reasons Super Rugby is dead‘ and we’ll hit the publish button.

Perhaps if you have a defibulator for Super Rugby’s future, let SANZAAR know!

In all seriousness, stats don’t lie. Despite the same output, I can confirm that readers of Sport24 aren’t as interested in Super Rugby this season as previous years. Everything from the Proteas v Australia ball-tampering scandal, the Commonwealth Games, the English Premier League, the Absa Premiership and the Masters – plus many more – have proved more popular.

80 minutes is up.

Garrin Lambley is a very frustrated rugby fan and Editor of Sport24 for his sins…

Your Springbok team of the week

5

Said it before the World Cup 2015 that the only person who is not allowed to pick his own Springbok team is the Springbok coach as everyone has his own opinion  laugh

Looking through the suggestions from the week on who we will pick in our Springbok side for the first test against England it is clear that we can agree that there are certain positions that we do not have answers yet.

Upfront it seems that most look at the same tight five if all are fit but problems start with the loose trio and at the back.

We struggle to see eye to eye on a number 9 and the midfield has been a problem for years now.

Out wide we more or less are settle if Rhule is not in the mix  laugh

So here is what you guys have decided our Springbok side should be….

Full Back: Willie Le Roux, Warrick Gelant

Wings: Ruan Combrinck, Aphiwe Dyantyi, JP Pietersen, Travis Ishmael

Midfield: Jan Serfontein, Lukanhyo Am, Frans Steyn, Rohan Janse van Rensburg

Flyhalf: Handre Pollard, Jantjies

Scrumhalf: Ruan Pienaar, Faf De Klerk

Eight-man: Warren Whiteley, Duane Vermeulen

Locks: Lood de Jager, Pieter Steph du Toit, Franco Mostert, Ruan Botha

Loose Forwards: Jean-Luc Du Preez, Kolisi, Phillip van der Walt, Kwagga Smith

Props: Steven Kitshoff, Vincen Koch, Beast, Wilco Louw

Hookers: Marx, Bismark du Plesssis

This is what you guys have decided on for now as the group for that first test.

I see that not much attention went into the flanks which is something we may can look at more next week.

The first problem I see in this group is that we only have 7 players of color in the whole group which is not enough according to what we should have by end of year.

Something to ponder on….

 

SA teams struggle yet again in SR

2

We are over the halfway mark in this year Super Rugby competition and when one look at the overall log it does not make for good reading for us.

PosTeamPWLDPts
112102046
211101045
31376036
41174232
51174032
61164131
71256128
81275028
91156025
101257024
111358024
121147018
131239017
141138016

We only have the Lions that are in the top half of the log and it must be very worrying for Rassie Erasmus.

The Lions have won 5 of their 8 matches so far the season and it just goes downhill for the other teams behind them.

The Bulls have won 3 out of 7, Sharks 2 out of 8 with one draw and the Stormers 3 out of 8.

When you look at the points that our teams letting through it also says allot about our defence.

The Lions have 251 points against them so far with the Sharks at 260, Bulls at 195 and Stormers 256.

There are some positive aspects of our teams with the Bulls dominating lineouts this season in the competition.

The Lions have scored 41 tries this season and are also on top with turnovers won. They have made the most tackles than any other team in the competition and is second of all in most missed.

The Sharks have been great upfront for most of their games and the big men have put in the hard hard work at defence dominating tackles.

They have made more than 103 offloads which points clearly out that they have not been able to finish opportunities presented to them in games.

Another huge problem for the Sharks is handling errors which put them second in the competition and just not good enough at this level.

The Stormers are in the same boat as the Sharks not finishing as they have made the most meters in ball carriers and made the most carriers in the competition (975).

Handling errors the are second behind the Sharks.

It all comes back at this stage that our players skills and taking opportunities is limited to the Lions and in some games the Bulls.

More worrying for all is the way our teams are losing games with no consistency from the one week to the other.

This can be put down to poor coaching and game-plans. I also feel that players need to take more responsibility on the field.

There is allot of work to be done for not just our Super Rugby teams to make it to the play-offs but for Rassie to have a group of players that will be able to face the English in June.

At this stage we can be worried….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pick black Boks to beat Wales – Jake

20

If you read between the lines, the 30-cap rule has effectively fallen away and Rassie Erasmus can motivate to pick any South African, anywhere in the world, to play for the Springboks.

Jake White writes for All Out Rugby

That means there’s no excuse for putting out a team that isn’t competitive every single time.

It also seems like the Bok coach will have to meet a 50-percent transformation quota during the season. That is much more realisitic than having to meet a 50% quota in every single Test because injuries, illness and form can disrupt even the best of plans.

The rules that Erasmus will have to play by are based on team performance and the requirements of the Strategic Transformation Plan. I would strive to make the most of those rules to create depth and playing opportunities for black players while trying to win championships along the way – these are the things that the Bok coach is going to get measured on.

The Test against Wales in Washington D.C. falls outside the official window so it’s very unlikely that the overseas-based players will be released for duty. June is the point of the European season where the playoffs take place and teams like Montpellier, Toulon and Saracens won’t release players.

So how can we work the situation to get the most out of that Test while still giving the Boks a chance to make a winning start to the season, and at the same time ensure we’re ready to host England the following week?

If I was the Bok coach, I’d look to pick a team against Wales that is made up of local players with a special emphasis on those that count towards the transformation targets.

Siya Kolisi would potentially captain a side that featured Tendai Mtawarira, Chiliboy Ralepelle, Trevor Nyakane, Marvin Orie, Lood de Jager, Thembalani Bholi, Nizaam Carr, Embrose Papier, Damian Willemse, Raymond Rhule, Damian de Allende, Lionel Mapoe, Ruan Combrinck and Warrick Gelant.

This team would serve the dual purpose of banking transformation credits to create selection breathing room for the England series, and would also give all of these players a chance to put their hand up on the international stage.

Some people might see this as a throwaway selection but I would pick this team to win based on the fact that these players are good enough to battle the best of Australia and New Zealand almost every week during Super Rugby.

Remember, Wales will be coming off a tough Six Nations campaign and European club competitions and the Test is at a neutral venue. One only needs to look at how well South Africa’s next-stringers did at the Hong Kong Sevens with a selection strategy that ticked multiple boxes.

While the one Bok squad is in the USA, a second group that includes SA’s most experienced players is at home preparing for the England series. There, you pick all the veterans that understand the pressures of Test rugby and who have played against the England players in the Aviva Premiership and the Champions Cup.

The team might look something like this: Steven Kitshoff, Malcolm Marx, Vincent Koch, Eben Etzebeth, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Francois Louw, Jean-Luc du Preez, Duane Vermeulen, Faf de Klerk, Handre Pollard, Aphiwe Dyanti, Frans Steyn, Lukhanyo Am, Sbu Nkosi and Willie le Roux, with guys like Bismarck du Plessis, Elton Jantjies and Curwin Bosch in the training squad.

This certainly doesn’t mean that those who face Wales won’t be selected the following week – if anyone has a blinder they could definitely force changes and the experience of a player like Mtawarira would make it difficult not to include him against England.

And that’s exactly what you want as a coach (to create a competition for places in the squad) and as a player (to know that you’ve been selected because you’re the best).

Leading up to the first Test against England, you’ve given guys Test match experience at the back end of a Super Rugby campaign, and you’ve spent a week preparing your most experienced squad for the series.

If you win the Test at Ellis Park on June 9, then you would keep the same group for the second Test. Based on what you get out of the first three Tests of the season, you field the side that played against Wales in the third Test against England.

And if all has gone according to plan, you go into the Rugby Championship with the same approach – the team that played against Wales goes against Argentina while you start prepping for Australia and New Zealand with the team that played against England.

That means you could be meeting your transformation objectives while growing a squad capable of winning a series, like the one against England.

The reality for the coach is that, whichever way he does it, he’ll have people questioning his method. If he changes the team every week, they’ll question it, and if he doesn’t, they’ll question it.

But it’s no use being overly sensitive about the transformation requirements or short-sighted about the Test window limitations. It’s a case of understanding that, over a period of four Test matches, there’s enough leeway to give players opportunities and also win an important series against England.

Ex-Bok, WP prop calls for Wakefield to step down

4

Former Springbok and Western Province prop Keith Andrews has called for Thelo Wakefield to step down from his position as president of WP Rugby.

The WP Rugby Union has well-documented financial issues and with the Stormers struggling in Super Rugby, pressure is mounting on the top brass of the union.

The Stormers’ 52-31 annihilation at the hands of the Lions in Johannesburg last weekend left them in a precarious position.

The Capetonians have won only three of eight games this season and are 11th on the overall standings and 12 points behind the Lions in the South African conference.

In an exclusive interview with Sport24, Andrews said Wakefield should do the honourable thing and resign.

“Wakefield should ultimately be held accountable because he is the head of the organisation. In terms of on the field, the Super Rugby season is effectively over for the Stormers after their hiding against the Lions in Johannesburg last Saturday. I believe it’s back to the drawing board for 2019. It’s time for some changes from top to bottom because the union simply isn’t performing optimally,” Andrews said.

“Off the field, WP Rugby finds itself in a diabolical situation. Rugby in the Western Province is in a drastic state, with crowd attendance figures on the decline and court cases against the union still running. The team is also not winning and, unless you’re winning, the bottom line is that you don’t get bums on seats. Wakefield, the failed president of WP Rugby, needs to step down!”

Andrews also questioned the authority Wakefield exerts over Stormers director of rugby Gert Smal.

“He (Wakefield) does not have the acumen to correct the union and, if he is still there in two years’ time, the union will be in exactly the same position. I can’t see it changing at all. I also wonder how director of rugby Gert Smal feels about not being backed by his president. It really irritated me when Smal selected John Mitchell to succeed Eddie Jones, only for Wakefield to veto the decision after hearing from the likes of Kevin de Klerk and Oregan Hoskins.”

Andrews continued: “The sad thing for me is when a president doesn’t believe in his director of rugby and goes over his head. Smal is technically the man who should be in charge of appointments and player recruitment. However, at WP you have the president stepping on his toes, which is unacceptable. Wakefield hasn’t played rugby at a high level, yet calls all the shots. Owing to the Mitchell non-appointment, there must be a confidence issue between the two men. Gert is an astute rugby man and, still to this day, I feel sorry for him that he was not backed by his president.”

Give new coaches a chance

3

The second verse of the Guns ‘N Roses song ‘Patience’ starts with: “Take it slow, and it’ll work itself out fine, all we need is just a little patience.” This has never been more apt, in the context of South African rugby, or more undesired across the board, writes Brenden Nel

After another weekend of poor Vodacom Super Rugby results, impatience abounds and the growing pressure on the likes of John Mitchell and Swys de Bruin comes at a moment when both are trying to achieve very different goals, all in the name of progress.

Patience is a virtue but one that is not too often espoused – especially in rugby. The tension between making progress and producing results is ever-present in modern sport.

The All Blacks stuck with Graham Henry and the result is clear to see. Steve Hansen has been around the team for more than a dozen years and the team has been the world leader in rugby over the past decade.

There have been spinoffs as well, as the All Blacks’ success has allowed the next generation of coaches the freedom and opportunity to build their experience and CVs. Joe Schmidt, Warren Gatland and Dave Rennie have each had no choice but to continue their development abroad, hoping one day they get the call to coach the national team.

But here in South Africa, and in Gauteng in particular, patience seems to be wearing thin. Swys de Bruin is under the microscope after the Emirates Lions sandwiched a lacklustre win against the Sunwolves with losses against the Blues and Jaguares.

Die-hard Lions fans are rightly questioning the team’s performances. The loss of Jaco Kriel and Warren Whiteley has had a massive impact on leadership, but the Lions are in second position on the log, so surely there is nothing to worry about?

The problem is that they will face Kiwi heavyweights, the Crusaders, Hurricanes and Highlanders, and they have yet to tour.

Across the Jukskei, John Mitchell’s “new dawn” has suffered some massive setbacks on tour. One win in five puts him on par with his Vodacom Bulls predecessor Nollis Marais at the same stage of the tournament. And, aside from one half of rugby against the Chiefs, critics will debate whether the Bulls have made progress at all under Mitchell.

But it’s precisely this results-above-all mentality that misses the point. Mitchell has started something new at Loftus, and it will take time.  Old habits die hard, it seems. Fitness may be one thing, but the Bulls still need to master the art of composure under pressure.

It seems a bit daft to want to place so much pressure on a coach five games into the season, but the Bulls are currently just above the last-placed Sunwolves, something that their fans won’t be happy about.

The bottom line is that there is no simple fix. There is no magic wand. Time and hard work on the right road is all that moves a team forward. A lack of patience is often the worst enemy of a team that is precisely in the Bulls’ position.

Mitchell is an old hand and he will know what is needed. Fans and administrators need results, but the reality is that results buy time. A lack of results leads to impatience, something common among SA Rugby administrators.

Both Swys and Mitch deserve patience in their endeavors. Both are trying to cope with some serious challenges against a backdrop of massive expectation. Time will tell whether they achieve their goals and satisfy expectations.

Both are aware that results are all that matters. Every coach knows he is only a few losses away from being fired. But they deserve patience. Even though it may be the toughest virtue to find on a rugby field.

Axl Rose put it succinctly, “Sometimes I get so p***ed because I can’t speed up the time.”

Time is all they need, so let’s be patient.

Nabetragting – Super Rugby Week 6

2

Round 6 was yet another weekend of disappointing results from the South African teams as only the Stormers were able to get a win and they almost gave it away as well.

The most disappointing aspect of the weekend was not that we lost three of the four games we were involved but the way that we lost.

There seemed to be a huge problem for South African sides to dominate the game for long periods of time and we are losing the small battles within the battle as well.

The weekend started with the Crusaders hosting the Vodacom Bulls on their last tour match on Friday.

It seems that the Bulls were in the game for some time during the match but one always felt that the Crusaders will never loose the match.

This Bulls side has been improving on this tour in some aspects but they are still a far way from being a team that threatens the big teams of Super Rugby. Defence as with most South African teams has been a problem for the Bulls.

It feels sometimes that the easy tries in this competition are being given away by the South African franchises which will be a worrying factor for Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus.

The wet field was not managed well by the Bulls with the kicking game that needs improvement.

The Bulls got enough ball with more carriers, defenders beaten and clean breaks which tells us that they need to improve their finishing in matches. That is not a big worry for a young team and management as they give themselves the opportunities and just needs finishing.

The Saders have used their ball better and when they got in the red zone they came away with points.

Next week the Bulls host the Stormers at Loftus and it will be a great opportunity to start taking that opportunities and turned it into points.

What another disappointing performance from the Cell C Sharks on Friday when the Rebels smashed them 46-14.

We have seen some disappointing performances from highly rated Sharks teams over the years but on Friday coach Du Preez troops took it to a new level.

It is one thing to be outplayed in a match by a better team, it is a totally other thing when you don’t show any fight.

It almost felt that they have given up in the match and that is never good to see. To let through 6 tries from a team with the quality players they have in their group.

I am not at all close enough to this team but one starts to worry about the fact that we have a coach with three sons playing under him and a young player of color Bosch, has been moved from his normal number ten position to fullback to make way for the coach son.

We would not be talking about this if they were winning matches but they are not.

Something is wrong in this team and normally this points to a management problem from coaches or the senior players.

The Rebels beaten defenders 29 times and had 20 clean breaks which just confirm their dominance on the scoreboard.

The Sharks conceded 22 turnovers and at this level that is one way to loose a game.

The Sharks missed 29 tackles in the match and on attack they looked without a real plan.

Next week the Sharks travel to New Zealand to face the Blues and it could be a bloodbath if they do not find answers.

The Stormers were the only South African side that managed a win over the weekend and although they dominated the match throughout they almost threw it away at the end.

As with most South African teams the defence of the Stormers have been disappointing at times and it always seemed to go south in the last quarter of the matches.

As last week against the Blues the Stormers dominated the early exchanges and they quickly build a lead which at the end pulled them through for the win.

Seems like both Newlands ground was opened for controversy with the referee and TMO deemed a dangerous tackle Taniela Tupou openly went late and with the shoulder in Barry head area.

This should have been a straight red card and the TMO deemed it not high nor dangerous which let the referee to play on.

There was a few off the ball incidents from the Reds which went unpunished and SANZAAR with the referees needs to stand up and take control of these incidents on the field.

On attack the teams were very even but it was the Stormers that had the better of the ball and made also the most clean breaks.

They left allot of points on the park and could not finish the opportunities that they were presented in the match.

The Stormers missed 29 tackles which is not good enough at this level and the exact reason why they could not get a win on tour.

Lineouts keep being a problem for the Stormers which is very disappointing as they have been struggling all season with this aspect of their game.

Willemse was another positive for the Stormers as the youngster keep on growing in the pivot number ten jumper.

Next week the Stormers travel the old rivals the Bulls in Pretoria and it is going to be a big one.

It has been another disappointing weekend for the Lions team and their supporters.

The Lions, although in the game till the end was always one step behind the Jaguares who outscored them on Saturday 49-35.

Look I am not looking for excuses but I was yet again angered by the referees in this match which allow to much off the ball play from the Jaguares going unpunished.

It starts to worry me that referees allow teams to play players off the rucks and blatantly slow down quick ball of the attacking team to just get a penalty against them.

The Jaguares have made the guilty of this since joining Super Rugby and they seemed to get a free pass by officials.

Let’s make no mistakes they deserved the win as the Lions yet again failed on their defensive effort in this match and let through tries with some ordinary defence.

On attack the Jaguares were brilliant running with speed and what was most impressive from the Argentinians was the support play throughout the match.

On defence the Lions missed 27 tackles which at the end of the day cost them the game.

Their set pieces was solid again and they dominated that aspect of the match.

Questions again must be asked why a player like Marx did not start the match as he made a huge difference when he did come on in the second half.

With three bad weekends from the Lions in the last couple of weeks the bye next week could not have come at a better time.

They will be back in action in two weeks against the Crusaders at home.

Here is a roundup of the other matches played this weekend.

Sunwolves 10 – 61 Chiefs

The Sunwolves was thought another lesson when the Chiefs hammered them 61-10 on Saturday

Scoring nine tries to two tells the story as the Chiefs just shown how far behind this Sunwolves team are to be competitive in this competition.

They had 21 clean breaks carrying the ball 689 times in the match. The Sunwolves did try throughout the match but they were just outclassed by a better team.

Next week sees the Chiefs against the Highlanders which will be a great local derby and the Sunwolves will have a bye.

Damian McKenzie was the leader of the pack and he will have to be on his best against the Highlanders next weekend.

Hurricanes 29 – 12 Highlanders

The Hurricanes got over the Highlanders hurdle on Saturday when they beat them 29-12 in another highly entertaining match.

Skills a plenty was on show with the Barrett brothers leading the way for the Hurricanes.

The contest was much closer than the scoreboard would suggest. The Highlanders were made to tackle 151 times which tells the story on the dominance from the Hurricanes on attack.

Next week the Hurricanes will face the log leaders Rebels in Australia and the Highlanders will have to take on the Chiefs.

As we move along in the season their are already teams who are in serious trouble and others that look like teams that will make the playoffs but their is still allot of rugby to be played and anything can happen.

Log Standing

PosTeamPWLDPts
112102046
211101045
31376036
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51174032
61164131
71256128
81275028
91156025
101257024
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141138016
151129010

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Nabetragting – Super Rugby Week 5

5

One thing I came to the conclusion this weekend was if you want to have a perfect score in your SuperBru prediction, then pick exactly the opposite of what I give you on a Thursday.

Week 5 has been a weekend of surprise results and only two of the South African teams that was able to get wins both at home.

As strange as it sounds, the Lions was lucky to come away with a win against the bottom of the log Sunwolves at home on Saturday, with the Stormers coming away with a dominating win over the Blues.

PosTeamPWLDBPPts
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The Bulls managed to in a space of two weeks build a great lead just to give it all away in the second half.

As good as the Bulls played in that first half against the Chiefs as bad they did in the second forty giving a definite win away on a platter to the Chiefs.

It was an highly entertaining game with both teams wanting run the ball.

Although the Chiefs were full value for the win one do feel the Bulls were close in getting that full 80 minutes together like they did in their first match against the Hurricanes at Loftus.

Yellow cards have been a problem for the Bulls in more than one game this year so far and every time it cost the team big time.

The Chiefs at the outscored the Bulls by sevens tries to four but the worrying factor is the 35 tackles the Bulls missed in the game.

The Bulls lineouts got better but with the scrums the jury is still out, their is not allot of consistency in this area of the game.

What was great to see is the innovative effort that has been evident in their backline play against the Chiefs.

The one thing that we need to keep in mind is that this is a young team with a new coach and they are a team in progress at the moment.

We need not t forget that this is not going to happen overnight. The Lions and coach Akkers took a good four years in building before they become the quality team they are today.

What we have seen this year so far from the Bulls is promising and it is just a question of giving them time to grow.

It was the Sharks first game on tour and one that most of us believed that they should win, that unfortunately did not happen as the Brumbies got the win 24-17.

It was another any Sharks supporter will want to forget, which should be easy as in the past few years it happens allot.

It was one of those games that you wished your wife had asked you to go with her to the mall.

With so many quality players in this Sharks squad this year, it is difficult to understand the reasoning from the coaches on some selections in this team.

It is not that the Sharks did not have the ball to play with it was they way the used that possession. Louis Schreuder has not been working in this setup this year and it has become time now to give Cameron Wright a chance.

At fullback the Sharks have problems, Curwin Bosch have not convince in the number fifteen jumper as much as Mvovo so far.

The Sharks inability to keep the ball for long periods of time has been a problem and with that the skills if the players is not where it is suppose to be.

That supporters is getting frustrated with the coach and his plans has become clear as their frustration yet again was shown on social media.

I have always been of the opinion the coach can only coach during the week and at the weekend it is all the players.

At scrum time the Sharks were not dominated as they lost Beats before the game and the switch with Thomas du Toit is not working.

Lineouts again was a problem and with the set pieces not up to standard the Sharks will keep on struggling in this competition.

Next week it is the Rebels that will be waiting and a 100% turnaround is needed if they want to have success.

The surprise of the weekend came from the Stormers when they beat the Blues 37-20 at Newlands.

It was a total turnaround from what we saw from the Stormers on tour the last three weeks.

The battle was won with brilliant play from their inspirational captain Kolisi with Carr and Pieter Steph Du Toit at the breakdowns.

To be honest credit must be given to the whole pack that played like a team for a change and bullied the big Blues pack from the start.

They starved the Blues from possession and gave themselves for a change the opportunities to bring their backs in the game and scored some great tries.

Defence was at times a problem but overall the Stormers did well in this aspect of the game which was non existed on tour.

One player that need to be mentioned is the young Damian Willemse who is a player that seems to relish in the opportunity he is getting at the ten jumper.

His kicking game all over the park has improved since the first match of the season. His general play has improved as well as his decision making. Definitely a player to watch out for this season.

The Stormers will welcome the Reds next week at Newlands and much will be expected of them to get another win.

After last weeks lost against the Blues most of expected the Lions to jump back with some kind of an emphatic win when they face the Sunwolves who, to be honest, is the worst team in this competition.

But what we got was a team that seemed to be in panic as they got a lucky escape to squeeze past the men from Japan.

The most worrying aspect of the Lions on Saturday was the senior players like Coetzee, Jantjies and Cronje who showed panic and an inability to read the game.

They look like a team without a leader and it started last week when Whiteley left the field. The once confident team looked like a team in sixes and sevens against the Sunwolves.

The game of rugby is a game of basics that gives you the opportunity to express yourself. That was something that has been missing for two weeks now

The Lions starting to look like a team with stars playing for themselves and not as a team which they need to correct quickly as some difficult matches lies ahead for the men from Johannesburg.

The Lions got bullied by the Sunwolves as they conceded 18 turnovers in the game and they missed 31 tackles which is not something we used to from the Lions.

The Lions set pieces has been great as usual and led by the Springbok Marx who again put a man of the match performance together on the day.

Next week the Lions will travel to face the Jaguares in Argentina a match that they have lost the last two years.

Other Results:

Highlanders 25 – 17 Crusaders

The Highlanders surprise a few when they beat the defending champions, Crusaders side on Saturday, beating them 25-17.

It was again an exciting match-up between two New Zealand sides with the Highlanders getting a great start which they were able to keep until the end.

The Saders have been with injury problems since the start of the season and this has shown in their performances.

It is no reason to worry and the Crusaders will be their at the end of it all chasing the trophy.

The Highlanders have surprised the last few weeks with their tight five which has been a problem in recent years.

As always the New Zealand conference will be a tight affair.

Jaguares 7-18 Reds

The Reds traveled to Argentina to faced the Jaguares who came off a great win against the Waratahs but could not get their “mojo” back against the Reds on Saturday.

The Reds build on the win against the Bulls the previous week and got the win 18-7.

The Jaguares unfortunately are on of those teams that shows you how good they can be but then turn around and be as average as what you can get.

It seems to be the luck of the draw at this stage with the Jaguares and with the Reds a team busy to build nicely with their new coach.

Waratahs 51-27 Rebels

The Rebels had been given their first lost of the season with a much improved performance from the Waratahs.

It was a huge improvement overall from the Waratahs and for once this season they actually looked like team playing to their abilities.

There is allot of similarities between the Waratahs and Sharks side when it comes to proof that the names on the paper can produce a winning side.

The win is maybe just the Waratahs needed to kick-start their season.

Next weeks match-ups:

23 Crusaders v Bulls AMI Stadium 08:35
23 Rebels v Sharks AAMI Park 10:45
24 Sunwolves v Chiefs Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium 06:15
24 Hurricanes v Highlanders Westpac Stadium 08:35
24 Stormers v Reds DHL Newlands 17:15
24 Jaguares v Lions Estadio Jose Amalfitani 23:40

 

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Nabetragting – Super Rugby Week 1

3

Super Rugby is not won in February but we had three of South African teams in action this past Saturday and a mixed bag of what to take away from it.

With the World Cup around the corner and Coetzee gone all our hopes are that our four Super Rugby teams will be competitive and that Rassie Erasmus will have a group of players that can challenge the best in Japan.

In the Stormers versus the Jaguares we saw much of the same from the two teams and we can expect the same to be honest this year from them.

When Robbie Fleck took over the Stormers side he promised a three year plan to win the Super Rugby, well in the start if their third year they look the same as in year one.

The Stormers are having some injury problems but their overall game management is terrible as it looks again if they have 10 game plans for each game but cannot execute one properly.

The most irritating thing coaches and players can say at the start if the season is that they are a bit rusty

Super Rugby is suppose to be the best players in the country being professionals and I am sure when we see the New Zealand sides next week we will see no such thing or hear of it as well.

We as South Africans like  to blame something when things does not go our way.

The Stormers handling and decision making was poor on Saturday and add to that poor execution which will cost them on the tour they have to go on now for three weeks.

The Jaguares are a team that should not be in this competition if they cannot learn that negative play has no reward.

They have become a team that is not good for the game and if they do not start playing positive rugby SANZAAR should kick them out.

The Lions and Sharks game was at least a step-up from the Stormers and Jaguares fun fair

The Sharks came out firing against the Lions and looked good in stages of the match but eventually it was the Lions composer and their dominance in the set pieces that was just too much for the Sharks.

The big news before this week was Thomas Du Toit moving to tight-head and unfortunately for him and the Sharks he could not stand-up against the power of the Lions front row.

Missed opportunities will be something the Sharks will be very disappointing with. They were in the game up to the last minute but left a few points on the pitch but one always had a feeling the Lions will win this game.

The Lions again showed that they will be a team that will be there at the end. With still a few of their star players injured other teams would have take note that they are one of the top teams in this competition still.

With captain Whiteley back on the playing field, the Lions hold their composer and had an answer to everything the Sharks could dish up.

There was some brilliant moments in this match for both sides but non more so than Lions wing Aphiwe Dyantyi. This youngster have shown all the skills that will make him a household name in South Africa.

The Lions seemed to always bring some great youngsters to the forefront each year.

The try he score in the first half was just one of those unbelievable tries that will stick with you forever.

The dominance of the Lions tight five was again good to see and it was the perfect start for Swys de Bruin.

The one thing that this Lions side have shown us for 5 years has been their character on the field when the chips are down or against them.

Swys speaks about brotherhood and that is something most successful teams always have.

The Sharks have a quality group this year again but it will all now depends on how the coaching staff can put the quality on paper through to performance on the field.

With the Stormers, well they have some hard work to do if they want to be their at the business end and with so many injuries to start off with this three week tour is not going to be easy at all.

Next week we will see the Bulls in their first match and hopefully Micthell has created a Bulls side that have the ability to not just to compete but win games that matter.

With the Lions first win under the belt we can rest easy that they will be there again at the end.

Lions forwards lay foundation for win over Sharks

Stormers work hard for win against Jaguares

Current Log Standings

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411742332
511740132

Videos from

Oom Rugby – Will law tweaks kill the fetcher?

1

Hi guys. The new year is here and as usual there new laws to understand before we can pour a brandy and sit down to watch rugby!

Oom Rugby writes for Vodacom Rugby 

The changes we most interested in is at the ruck, where our window to attack the ball is now very small. First, the tackler can not “bounce” up and steal anymore – he must first retreat and come through the gate. Second, we now needing only one player over the ball to form a ruck, after which hands on the ball is illegal.

So it is harder now to poach and slow. What trends will we see? Is the fetcher going to die? What will the impact be on playing style? I took a look at the weekend game between Wales and England to get a flavour…

Standing Off
What is clearly happening is that teams just does not go into the breakdown anymore. If we look above the English only have the tackler in the ruck and the rest is in the line.

I did a quick count in the match of how often the defending team send in a extra player or players to contest at the breakdown. Wales only contest 34% of English ball and the English only contest 25% of Wales ball. Each team also only poach opposition ball on two occasions. Only four steals in the whole game.

If we considering how many breakdowns there is in a match, and how important it is to slow opposition ball, then it is very interesting to see how rarely this two teams did it.

Standing off the breakdown is not a new thing – we have seen teams like the All Blacks do it for a while. But the new laws is going to cement it and make it more extreme.

Above we see Joseph tackling Evans. Farrell is in the prime position to contest but the interesting thing is that he will not… Hard to believe hey? It can be because the blindside where May is standing is out numbered and Farrell felt he will rather bounce out to that side to get numbers up.

But we saw this the whole game from both teams! A tackle is made but no extra defenders comes in to contest. To me we are seeing a clear policy to leave the breakdown alone.

Why? Well, rugby is a numbers game and we want to use our player resource in the wisest way. If our window to attack the ball is now even smaller with the new laws, then we will rather not waste players by sending them to a situation that give us poor returns.

Possible Effects
So what will it mean? If you are the defending team then unfortunately you now facing dangerous quick ball because you did not try to slow it. But a big positive is that you have more players on their feet, and more numbers in defence mean you have more options.

We will probably see a increase in defence linespeed and aggression. We will see more double tackles, as in the picture above. And we will see more attempts to hold the carrier up and force a turnover – the so call “choke” tackle. The point of slowing the ball is no longer at the breakdown, it is now at the collision.

In the meanwhile the attacking team have lovely clean ball, but they must still send in multiple players to make sure they secure it, even if the defence do not. And as we see in the first picture, after every breakdown there is now more defenders in the line than attackers. This mismatching will cause more structured attack patterns, more big carries, more tactical kicking and more focus on set piece as teams tries to first break down a defence before their x-factor guys can strike.

Return Of The Counter Ruck?
In the picture above we see the Wales tighthead Francis drive over the England ruck defence like a bus drive over a puppy.

It is just the wing May who is there to secure the ball with poor technique and he don’t stand a chance. If the defence is standing off the ruck, and the attack get lazy about protecting the ball, then maybe we will see more “blitz” counter-rucking by clever teams who is ready for it.

This only happen on two occasions in the match and here the Welsh quickly flood over the ball and turn it over. Maybe we will see teams using their pillar defenders to transform into counter-rucking units when the call is made.

Effect On Players
What about our poor fetcher? I think you agree it is a waste to choose a specialist for a role that is greatly diminished. The modern openside must offer us more than just a poaching and slowing ability.

As I mention earlier we still have to slow the opposition down, but that will now happen at the contact point and not at the breakdown. So our openside must be able to make dominant gain-line hits along with his big brothers in the rest of the pack.

Above we see the Wales openside Nividi who made one turnover and interfere at six rucks and that is fine. But his lock friend Jones interfere at eight rucks, so these days it is everybody’s job. Our modern openside must still have speed to play his important support role in defence and attack, but he must be more of a all-rounder on the park.

Anyway guys, we looking forward to the start of Super Rugby this weekend and how teams and players adapts to the laws. Now that you understand, you can pour that brandy before the game!

DISCLAIMER: English is Oom’s third language, after Rugby and Afrikaans.

Keep it simple then you can evolve

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I was looking at the past two seasons of the Lions to try and see what did Ackermann do make this team so successful in such a short time.

Then I came across something that former All Blacks coach Graham Henry said and it all made sense.

Keep your game simple and then only you will be able to evolve as a team.

There is such a thing as to much coaching and that is exactly where I believe most of our coaches go wrong, especially when you start losing.

With all the Mapoe, Combrincks, Janse Van Rensburg and Faf’s of this world you still need that solid base to set it all up.

In anything in life you do not do the basics right you will not succeed and rugby works the same.

Let’s take the Bulls of the last four or so seasons, since the likes of Bakkies, Danie, Petri and Victor moved on the Bulls have struggled. Not that they do not have great players and game breakers but they did not dominate set pieces.

In the glory days of the Bulls and Blue Bulls they had one of the best packs and loose forward combinations in the world.

The Lions of Ackermann had exactly the same and with the great ball they got from set pieces and their forwards gave them the opportunity to go wide.

We sometimes hear people say you have to earn the right to go wide…..in simple terms it means that you need to dominate set pieces and upfront.

The efficiency of first few phases depend on every body knowing where to be , who clean, who align, you need structure.

We can learn from what Henry said in this piece, and we have heard it from some great players before, rugby is a simple game played between four lines, do not make it difficult.

 

The plan was for Coetzee to report to Rassie

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Came across this piece from Gavin Rich who writes for Vodacom rugby and I think he hit the nail right on the head.

Most who have watched the Springboks struggle with results and playing identity during the Allister Coetzee tenure would have groaned when the contents of his letter to his soon to be ex-employers were leaked, but he was right about one thing – the original plan was always for him to work under Rassie Erasmus.

There was nothing sinister about that. Erasmus, in his previous designations as head of the SARU rugby department and performance director, was supposed to be Heyneke Meyer’s boss too. But after working together in the initial stages of Meyer’s first year in charge, an enmity between the pair developed that led to Meyer doing his own thing.

The plan post-2015 was for SARU to employ a Bok coach who would work with Erasmus. Coetzee had done that when Erasmus was effectively the director of rugby at Western Province, and when Coetzee was happy to accept their respective designations, it was a partnership that worked well.

The 2010 and 2011 seasons were probably the Stormers’ finest in Super Rugby. But by the second half of 2011 there were fault lines appearing in both the Erasmus/Coetzee partnership – with Coetzee starting to resent Erasmus’ authority over him – and in Erasmus’ relationship with a WP administration that has struggled to understand the realities of modern professional rugby.

Erasmus resigned his position in the 2011/2012 off-season, but his long-time colleague and coaching partner, Jacques Nienaber, remained on as defence coach and ensured that the Erasmus influence lingered for another 12 months. The 2012 Stormers were pilloried for being too defensive orientated, but the pillars built during the Erasmus era saw them to a top of the log finish.

After that, as the Erasmus influence was forgotten and even wilfully expunged, so the Stormers lost their competitiveness in Super Rugby. While Coetzee is right when he says in the letter that he was the most successful local coach in Super Rugby in his last year, 2015, we need to be cognisant both of the mediocre field that there was to choose from and what happened before that.

The Stormers were so poor in 2013 and again in 2014 that there were widespread calls for Coetzee to be sacked. He was only saved by WP president Thelo Wakefield’s decision to employ Gert Smal as a director of rugby who effectively became Coetzee’s boss, just as Erasmus had been before that. It was not a coincidence that the Stormers’ limited resurgence after that came after Smal took up his position.

A similar role for Coetzee, working under a director of rugby in Erasmus, would have been what Wakefield had in mind when he publicly backed Coetzee to replace Meyer after the last World Cup. As he had effectively demoted Coetzee, it would have been disingenuous of him to back Coetzee if that was not the case.

Rugby is not an empirical science, so Coetzee is entitled to his view that he is more competent than Erasmus, but most of those who work in the game and know the good coaches from the bad ones would scoff at the suggestion.

Even Erasmus’ sworn enemies respect his astute rugby brain and his ability to innovate rather than be reactive. Some who knew him thought he was crazy to throw in his lot with Irish province Munster when in 2016 he tired of the SA Rugby procrastination, but he made a huge impression on the Irish and not the least on the highly-respected Joe Schmidt.

Coetzee’s track record was never good enough before his appointment to inspire confidence in his ability to go it alone in being a successful Bok coach. If he was prepared to accept his own limitations, Coetzee does have enough strengths to have been able to work well with Erasmus, as he did in the initial stages of his Stormers career.

That he didn’t is why it is far more than just the rugby administrators who’d like to see the back of him.

Gatland warns England rugby

1

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).

2018 – Must be the year of the youngsters

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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.

Malcolm Marx

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

Warrick Gelant

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.

Damian Willemse

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?

Nabetragting – Springboks 2017 – How low can the Springbok go?

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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.

Only way up is Coetzee out

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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.

 

Nabetragting – Springboks are an embarrassment

3

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.

All I want for Christmas

0

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  laugh

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.

 

 

Give the Boks a Kiwi coach

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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.

Thanks to 

Nabetragting – Win against Italy does not make it right

5

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.

Here is the highlights of the Italy test.

 

 

 

Nabetragting – Still time for Springboks

19

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….

  1. Selections
  2. Gameplan

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.

 

Fire Coetzee now to give Boks a chance for 2019

14

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.

Did World Rugby process open themselves up for backroom deals?

2

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.

 

Coetzee needs to grow a pair

3

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

Tell us who you will pick for this weekend clash

Some of the personnel changes we can look forward

4

Writen by Juan for Leftback.co.za

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.

Jackass of the Week

7

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.

Nabetragting – Springboks reach new low

16

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 missing opportunity again

1

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

 

The Springbok team to against Ireland in Dublin on Saturday:
15. Andries Coetzee, Emirates Lions – 9 caps, 0 points
14. Dillyn Leyds, DHL Stormers – 5 caps, 0 points
13. Jesse Kriel, Vodacom Bulls – 24 caps, 30 points (6 tries)
12. Damian de Allende, DHL Stormers 27 caps, 15 points (3 tries)
11. Courtnall Skosan, Emirates Lions – 9 caps, 10 points (2 tries)
10. Elton Jantjies, Emirates Lions/NTT Shining Arcs (Japan) – 20 caps, 198 points (2 tries, 37 conversions, 38 penalties)
9. Ross Cronje, Emirates Lions – 6 caps, 10 points (1 tries)
8. Francois Louw, Bath, England – 54 caps, 40 points (8 tries)
7. Pieter-Steph du Toit, DHL Stormers – 29 caps, 20 points (4 tries)
6. Siya Kolisi, DHL Stormers – 25 caps, 20 points (4 tries)
5. Lood de Jager, Vodacom Bulls – 32 caps, 20 points (4 tries)
4. Eben Etzebeth (captain), DHL Stormers – 63 caps, 15 points (3 tries)
3. Coenie Oosthuizen, Cell C Sharks – 29 caps, 20 points (4 tries)
2. Malcolm Marx, Emirates Lions – 10 caps, 15 points (3 tries)
1. Tendai Mtawarira, Cell C Sharks – 95 caps, 10 points (2 tries)
Replacements:
16. Bongi Mbonambi, DHL Stormers – 11 caps, 0 points
17. Steven Kitshoff, DHL Stormers – 19 caps, 0 points
18. Wilco Louw, DHL Stormers – 1 cap, 0 points
19. Franco Mostert, Emirates Lions/Ricoh Black Rams (Jap) – 15 caps, 0 points
20. Uzair Cassiem, Toyota Cheetahs – 6 caps, 5 points (1 try)
21. Rudy Paige, Vodacom Bulls – 11 caps, 5 points (1 try)
22. Handré Pollard, Vodacom Bulls – 22 caps, 190 points (2 tries, 30 conversions, 37 penalties, 3 drop goals)
23. Francois Venter, Toyota Free State Cheetahs – 3 caps, 0 points

Rugby riddled with amateur thinking

0

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.

Boks must recall villified Willie

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When I saw this article I knew I had to share it even if only for Americano  diablo

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.

Oom Rugby – The try that broke the Sharks

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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.

Coetzee still confusing in his selections

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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 but then 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.

 

Ruggaworld Supports #SouthAfrica 2023

Coetzee dropped the ball here….

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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)

Backs

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

Get ready for a stronger Currie Cup – Jake

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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!

Bulls can upset the inform Sharks

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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.

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

Rugby’s world rankings are a joke if the Wallabies are third

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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.

Thanks to  – Stuff

Nabetragting – Newlands test

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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.

 

Marx at the center of Springbok turnaround

4

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.

Picture by (Gallo)

Coetzee unbearable, Venter unbelievable!

0

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.

In June, I regretfully backed the coaches after the 3-0 whitewash of France. I didn’t care how poor Les Bleus were because ‘you play what’s in front of you’.

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].

Unbelievable.

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.

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Huge quest for Boks to get pass All Blacks

7

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.

 

Get fundamentals right first

2

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.

You can read Oom Rugby’s take on it here…

Boks close to rugby paradise!

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.

Boks close to rugby paradise!

12

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!

Dear Brendan, we just want to talk.

2

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.

sdh

And what happened after that?

ett

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…

 

Dear Brendan

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.

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?

Right?

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.

Tweets via @SARugbyMag (clearly not blocked by you)

qaq

sfg

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.

sgj

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.

dfp

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.

fjo

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.

All the best for Saturday.

Ben.

Some decisions to make for Coetzee

2

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?

Bok coaches in deep denial

3

Allister Coetzee and Brendan Venter’s comments since the Springboks’ record 57-0 loss to the All Blacks are as concerning as the performance itself, writes SIMON BORCHARDT for SARugbyMag

On Saturday, the Boks suffered their biggest defeat in 126 years of Test rugby. They conceded eight tries, and could not score any points themselves. They were humiliated.

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.

ALSO READ: Lot of positives for Boks – Coetzee

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’.

ALSO READ: All Blacks taught us a rugby lesson – Venter

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.