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The difference between winning and losing


He is only going into his 6th test as Springbok coach having yet to taste defeat, but Heyneke Meyer already finds himself under enormous pressure in the lead up to the test against Australia this weekend.

Before Meyer selected his first official squad (for the England test series) I wrote that he will have to prepare himself for an onslaught from the South African rugby public and media, some of whom cannot wait for him to lose his first test in charge. There was nothing prophetic about my statement back then, it was simply an assessment of what was about to come judging on what happened to those who were retarded enough to accept the position of Springbok coach before him.

If there is one thing about rugby in this country that remains constant – it is that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

The draw against Argentina two weeks ago has left most South African rugby supporters fuming, with ex-coaches and experts also chipping in calling Meyer’s approach or style limited, to archaic. You see South Africans are not interested in excuses (or as I like to call it, context) – they want the Boks to show their brute strength they have been known to have for decades, have them tackle like the Stormers, display flair like the French, show the punch of the All Blacks and have the skill of the Aussies – all rolled into one – today! Anything short of that, is simply not good enough.

It is in his approach, or game plan that Meyer has received the most criticism (with player selections being a close second) – and it is here where another match this past weekend, and subsequent comments from the coach made for very interesting reflection.

WP hosted their arch-rivals the Blue Bulls in Cape Town on Saturday, and for a better word, gave them a snotklap. For a team (in the guise of the Stormers in Super Rugby) to not have scored one bonus point home victory in 2012, they crossed the line 5 times in 80 minutes in their 42-6 romp of the Blue Bulls.

Praise flowed in from every corner on social media, newspapers and websites, from ex-players to journalists liking the victory to the stuff WP was known for over two decades ago – running rugby.

Some even described the display as WP adapting a New Zealand style of rugby – which is of course the way rugby should be played according to most. Effectively, the 80 minute display at Newlands was adopted by all South Africans as the blue-print which should be presented to Heyneke Meyer on how the Boks should also play.

Sarcasm aside, what most neglected to mention or print, was the comments from WP’s coach, Allister Coetzee following the victory.

Asked about the massive, and sudden turn-around of his team, Coetzee surprisingly (to some) mentioned that their game plan, approach, strategy (whatever you want to call it) did not change at all – it is the type of rugby they have been trying to play the whole of 2012 (and prior) with the only difference on the night being a much better disciplined performance by his charges, accompanied by more clinical execution which resulted in the balance they have been striving for (between attack and defense) finally being achieved.

If we go a bit deeper and listen to Blue Bulls coach, Pine Pienaar, and his comments following the game you will even find further proof of WP not changing their defense orientated kicking game approach where he said that they (WP) simply beat them at their own game (they also planned to put the ball behind WP with kicks and put them under pressure from there).

Of course coaches should never be removed or elevated from criticism, but I could not ignore the irony of the fact that Allister Coetzee went from zero to hero in 80 minutes of rugby, without actually changing a thing…

Reminds me a bit of what Heyneke Meyer’s predecessor once said: “There’s little difference between winning and losing, except you feel better after winning.”

Indeed Peter, indeed.

Leave a comment


  1. Being Boks coach must be one of the hardest jobs in sport anywhere in the world.

    We as Bok supporters will always demand the best and even that won’t be good enough most of the time.

    Well good luck to Heyneke let’s hope the players ‘execute’ his plan properly this weekend. I’m not holding

  2. Like there were the fools who believed we lost games in 2012 because we stuck to the 2009 gameplan to rigidly.

    The fact was if we had played the 2009 gameplan with the same rigidity in execution that we did then we would have repeated 2009 in 2010… however we were sloppy and not as precise with predictable consquences

    Fire the Coach!
    Fire the players!
    Appoint new players!
    Get new ciaches!
    Get new Boks!
    Woe is us!
    Kill them all!
    We can’t play rugby!
    Everyone beats us!

    In the present context after five matches our coach has three wins and two draws against the 4th and 5th ranked teams in the world and we’re whingeing…

    There are idiots and then there are idiots…

    In 2003 the Bulls stuck with HM despite a 11 match losing streak in SR… and in 2007, 2009 and 2010 he won it.

    Does the average SA fan have the perserverance the Bulls management had?

  3. I hear what you are saying Morne, and I have to agree, although coming back to the Stormers’ Superugby season, I agree that we all want to support winning teams, but to be honest by the end of the season my excitement level was really not there anymore.

    To watch the Stormers struggle and scrape to another ugly win could not justify the two hours spent in front of the TV.

    Winning rugby is one thing, but winning ugly every single week does become a bit much after a while. I really enjoyed the Province game over the weekend, and it was great to watch the younger players playing with such verve.

    If Alister is correct and this is the type of game they really are aiming at he should maybe look at getting rid of some deadwood and he would have all my support in the process. But watching some of the Stormers games this season and the ugly way the Boks went about scraping a draw against Argentina does not excite me anymore, sorry. If that does not make me a “real” rugby fan then so be it.

  4. Reply to DavidS @ 12:50 pm:

    I believe you will find that Rudi Joubert coached the Bulls in 2003 as Heyneke was fired after losing all his games in the 2002 Superrugby season. Rudi’s team finished sixth if I remember correctly.

    In 2008 Ludeke took over the reigns as coach, but I see you are one of the persons attributing all the success to Heyneke in 2009 and 2010?

  5. No Craven.

    Rudi was appointed to coach by SARU against the wishes of the BBRU and promptly dropped Derrick Hougaard in favour of Willem De Vaal in a horror season that saw the Bulls lose all their games.

  6. Nope, you are mistaken, just checked. Bulls finished 6th in 2003. 2001 and 2002 were the horror seasons. 2001 under Phil Pretorius I think, and 2002 under Heyneke.

  7. There are idiots and then there are DavidS – our voice of reason – NOT!! Actually, the country was close to unanimous in agreeing Hak Hak was the man after Pivvie. However, he lost truckloads of credibility when he was found lying to us (by stcking to his cock-eye blue bull buddies). So he made his own bed….

  8. He calls me an idiot and says

    There are DavidS

    :muahaha: :muahaha: :muahaha: :muahaha: :muahaha: :muahaha: :muahaha:

    :Bunny: ROTFLMAO

    I are DavidS of Kempton pork…

    :Oos Rander:

    1996: Dr John Williams – 4th
    1997: Kitch Christie – 8th
    1998–99: Eugene van Wyk – 11th, 12th
    2000: Heyneke Meyer – 11th
    2001: Phil Pretorius – 12th
    2002: Heyneke Meyer -11th
    2003: Rudi Joubert – 6th
    2004–07: Heyneke Meyer – 6th, 3rd, 4th, 1st
    2008–: Frans Ludeke – 10th, 1st, 1st, 7th, 5th

    Google, don’t guess.
    :Boertjie normaal:


  10. Morne,

    You off course assume that both coaches being fully truthful.

    Which is a stretch.

    If Alister made a change and it worked so well, would he give away his secret in the post match conference?
    If Pine made a change and it flopped, would he admit to it publicly?

    Or even more likely.
    Neither coach is sure what happened so they said that nothing has changed and it’s been in the plan all along.

  11. Reply to Boertjie @ 5:24 pm:

    wikipedia on Heineke Meyer says different.


    • 1988-1996: Coached a number of High School first teams, Under-21 sides and Carlton first teams in Pretoria.
    • 1997: SWD Eagles assistant coach
    • 1998: SWD Eagles head coach
    • 1998: Emerging Springboks head coach
    • 1999: DHL Stormers assistant coach
    • 1999: SWD Eagles head coach
    • 1999: Springbok assistant coach
    • 2000: Vodacom Bulls head coach
    • 2001: Vodacom Blue Bulls head coach
    • 2001: Springbok assistant coach
    • 2002: Vodacom Bulls head coach
    • 2003: Vodacom Blue Bulls head coach
    • 2004: Vodacom Blue Bulls head coach
    • 2005: Vodacom Bulls head coach
    • 2006: Vodacom Bulls head coach
    • 2007: Vodacom Bulls head coach
    • 2008-2009: Leicester Tigers (UK) head coach
    • 2011: Tuks Varsity Cup – Advisor
    • 2011: Blue Bulls Company – Executive: Rugby
    • 2012: Springbok head coach

    I take it Blue Bulls is CC and Bulls is SR

  12. Reply to Timeo @ 5:58 pm:

    The way I remember it is that at the end of 2004 the Bulls announced they wanted HM for SR coach and Joubert was still employed but SARU but had nothing to do.

  13. Reply to Timeo @ 5:50 pm:

    Okay so we have to assume then all coaches lie to cover their ass even if you can hear what they said yourself on one of the other threads on our site?

    How paranoid we have become…

  14. Reply to Boertjie @ 5:24 pm: Reply to Timeo @ 5:58 pm:

    On the Meyer debate; he was coach when they lost all their games in 2002 – got fired and coached the CC team – he only came back as Bulls Super Rugby head coach in 2005 from where he built the dynasty. That is according to Paul Dobson and he is quite the historian.

  15. Reply to Timeo @ 5:50 pm:

    For the record, I maintain WP’s fortunes were turned with Groom getting 70minutes of rugby in place of Duvenhage. It amplifies my belief that the game plan is not what is wrong (for WP or the Boks), it is subtle tweaks (specifically in selections) which will get the desired balance, and therefore the result.

  16. Reply to biltongbek @ 6:36 pm:

    My only concern is that coaches (Allister now, PDV in 2009) are often forced into these changes by circumstances beyond their control – I would like a coach to pre-empt those but thats in a perfect world.

  17. Reply to Morné @ 6:26 pm:
    I agree, Groom was a vast improvement from the safe and dependable Duwenhage. I just hope they stick with Groom next year if he maintains his good form. I also think the better tactical kicking from Demetri made the gameplan more efficient.

    I know it is early days, but Jp du Plessis looks to be a great talent too. I like a centre not scared to back himself.

    This is what I enjoy most about the Currie Cup, all the young unknown players getting the chance to show their talent. I read on the WP webpage today that the average age of the WP team on Saturday was 23 years, and that is including Gio Aplon 29 and Deon Carstens 32.

  18. Reply to Morné @ 6:03 pm:

    People will always try to present themselves in the best possible light and protect their self-interests. There’s nothing paranoid about taking that into account.

  19. Reply to Boertjie @ 7:48 pm:

    Combination of things Oom.

    Groom was a catalyst, but the young WP tight 5 pitched up and fronted up physically which gave him the space and time to operate in.

    Rugby in the end is still a very simply game. Game is won in the tight 5 with tear-away players making the most of the ball they are given.

    The Boks need the tight 5 to job – once they get that right, the rest is really easy.

  20. Reply to Timeo @ 9:17 pm:

    And I thought I was a cynical ass…

    In my experience, coaches stick to their convictions and beliefs, and when proved right eventually, they make sure those who doubted them knows it.

    Allister has not changed his ways or thinking in 4 years, its unlikely he will change it in 1 month.

    They played the same game, it just worked better for them on the day.

  21. Reply to Timeo @ 5:58 pm:

    So Wiki on Blue Bulls and Wiki on Meyer differs.
    I wonder if the Bulls themselves know who runs
    or ran the show.

    I recently edited a book on their 75 Year History.
    What a mix up:
    Northern Bulls
    Blue Bulls/Bulls

    I questioned the author about the chronology of coaches.
    His answer was:
    Ek dink hierdie stuk moet herskryf word – ek is nou self deurmekaar met die chronologie en die herhalings.
    I did not get to see the “herskryf.”

  22. Reply to Morné @ 10:05 pm:

    Interesting: On the Bulls website
    they point me to the same source
    that I quoted.
    See my earlier mail too.

    En BTW: Geluk met die broodjie in die oond!

  23. For the size of our player base in South Africa we are shit. We play second fiddle to teams who have less people in their country than we have as rugby players. Shit.

    We have far to long relied on physicality and have failed to develop skill, technique or space. The Bulls should have been where Crusaders are except they have relied on brawn over brains.

    We have so much skill and talent but coach any creativity out of them. The older players are too tuck in their ways and hopefully we have a change of guard soon. We have some awesome talent coming through.

    Watching the game again JDV was very poor, he squandered any chances we had with forward passes and wrong options. Steyn once again tried to run over players.


  24. I suspect the difference between winning and losing is similar to the difference between Drinking and Boozing. :whistling:

  25. OomD, I couldn’t help but notice
    That after T pulled you up
    On HM,you diss appeared
    A bit like Brussouw in that game
    Against aus .
    You know, the one that Daniel
    Gave the penalty and every one
    Blamed the ref

  26. Ek’s in die Oosrand Duiwel nie in die Kaap nie – hier is tik iets wat ons met ouens doen in ‘n pub as hy kak soek… sos in “Ek het hom dik getik…”

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