IT IS time to swallow a dry, lumpy, spiky object and admit that Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer hasn’t provided the “fresh start” many were hoping for. The Springboks are stale and Peter de Villiers’s leftovers are starting to cause a foul smell in the (relatively) new coach’s fridge.
After going through a turbulent marriage with Div, when the highs were intoxicating but the lows suicidal, culminating into a bitter non-renewal of vows, Meyer was supposed to be everything the Springbok ex wasn’t.
But five matches into his tenure, some Bok fans are realising that Meyer keeps forgetting to put the seat down, wash his own plate or take out the rubbish and have started noticing other little nuances that remind them of the ex.
Div would never drop Morne Steyn, Pierre Spies or Bryan Habana when the trio were horribly out of form. He didn’t know what to do with the talented Pat Lambie in his squad (the trend with Springbok coaches is to bench or drop the talented ones and start the statues).
In 2012, the year the world is apparently coming to an end, it appears that the world is in fact carrying on as usual and a Springbok coach still doesn’t know what to do with the most enterprising member of his squad.
There was supposed to be some sort of ceremonious cleansing after the World Cup, it hasn’t come.
Initially, Meyer did everything right and said all the sweet nothings when he was appointed, going all out to please everyone and getting everyone to support his “win every game” philosophy. It was refreshing to have a Springbok coach that didn’t have illusions about winning a World Cup in four years time and subjecting us to rubbish rugby in the interim.
Meyer is his own man. At the Bulls he did everything according to his style and made the club his Man Cave, where he could pick all the battering rams he wanted and forced them to play according to his style. And it worked.
But Meyer has yet to adjust to his marriage to the entire nation. He can no longer treat the Springboks as his Man Cave. Just a hint, there are uses for players in other unions other than the Bulls.
Meyer is a brilliant coaching coach but, as I quietly suspected, he botched the chance to give the Springboks a fresh start during the England three-match test series.
When the Boks crashed out of the World Cup last year, it was a painful, but the young talent that we had coming through the national team – that Div didn’t really know what to do with – made the pain easier to bear. There was hope of a fresh start.
I’ll acknowledge the inclusion of locks Eben Etzebeth, Juandre Kruger and flanker Marcell Coetzee as some sort of signal of newness. But on the whole, the team, especially in the lame draw against Argentina, smelt of Div’s stale socks, which I thought we threw away when Meyer was moving in.
Much like in the final two years of Div’s tenure, the Springboks made the process of scoring a try about as odious as getting a pay increase from a Platinum mine boss.
And what about set plays? Have we forgotten how to cut open defences with four quick, purposeful passes intersected with diagonal runs that confuse the opposition to a standstill?
I’m beginning to wonder what Meyer meant when he said the Springboks should play “winning rugby”.
By his definition WINNING RUGBY is the process in which a flyhalf should ignore all other avenues of attack, resist temptation to draw two or more defenders towards him in order to fling the ball wide to the wings, who will then enjoy an overlap, but MUST ONLY launch the ball high and aimlessly off his boot and hope for the best.
The worst is when this statue game plan cannot even eke out a win against Argentina in our most important rugby competition other than the World Cup.
I, for one, had dreams of the below combinations, being tested against England this year:
or 6. Francois Louw 7. Marcell Coetzee 8. Willem Alberts
or 6. Keegan Daniel 7. Willem Alberts 8. Pierre Spies
Understandably, injuries to Schalk Burger and Duane Vermeulen soured things but as a proud rugby nation, we can do far better than Jacques Potgieter. No offence bruv but there’s no space to take a run-up in test rugby and without a run-up Potgieter is as useful a Brutal Fruit cider when you really need a beer. I wonder, if Meyer has any regrets, now that Siya Kolisi is out for the rest of the season because of a broken thumb he sustained in the Currie Cup when he should have been in Argentina stopping Julio Cabello from getting his paws in our ruck. Moving on …
11. Francois Hougaard 14. JP Pietersen
15. Zane Kirchner
9. Francois Hougaard
10. Pat Lambie
12. Jean de Villiers
13. Juan de Jongh
11. Bryan Habana 14. JP Pietersen
15. Frans Steyn
9. Francois Hougaard
10. Elton Jantjies
12. Frans Steyn
13. Jean de Villiers
11. Bryan Habana 14. JP Pietersen
15. Pat Lambie
And again, injuries to Jaco Taute, Johan Goosen (thank God he’s back) and (recently) JP Pietersen have done their bit to spoil the honeymoon.
Had some of these combinations been tested against England, we wouldn’t have been left not knowing what to do in Mendoza last weekend.
Note: Please add your own possible combinations that you would have liked to have seen being trialled and please agree or disagree with me in the comments below or on twitter @Sbu_Fundraiser.
Frans Steyn and Ruan Pienaar to my mind is totally overrated. Why not make a brave move and allow a forcefull strong runner like Pierre Spies play inside centre (Juan de Jongh light weight). Josh Strauss as 8th man. Elton Jantjies and Pat Lambie a must on flyhalf and fullback. Johan Goosen on the bench.
Johan, I agree with everything you said, except for the Juan de Jongh lightweight part. The reason Meyer, and by in large SA Rugby, is under-performing is the fixation with big size in positions that can be used for attack.
Heyneke Myer the boks not the bulls stop with the stupidy blue bull ” so calld winnig rugby” defnitly not the man for the job!!!!!!POOR TEAM SELECTIONS!! Morne Steyn aint no gain for boks backline with flatfoot rugby…, Y is Heinrich Brussow, Joe Pietersen,Juan de Jongh,Pat Lambie,Johan Goosen,jaco Taute, Elton Jantjies (no one 10) at the momoment left of the Springbok squad & the Sharks no 9 who is in gud form…proud springbok supporter
Hey proud bokke supporter, injuries have crippled some squad members, Heinrich should have been picked for the series against England, now he’s injured. Also injured are Kolisi (out for the season – broken thumb), Jaco Taute and obviously Schalk. Goosen and Vermeulen have just returned, I’m not sure if they are cooked properly for test rugby, esp for the Four Nations. Otherwise, I like your combinations
Forwards 1 Stormer StevenK… 2 Jannie 3 Bismark Du plessis 4 Eben Etzebeth 5 Bakkies 6 Heirich Brussow- Siya Kolisie 7Willim Alberts Schalk Burger 8Duane Vermeulen Willim Alberts.
Backline 9 CMsharks no nine 10 “EASY PICK” Elton Jantjies 11 Francios Hougaard 12 Jean de Villiers 13 Juan Jongh 14 JP Pietersen 15Joe Pietersen or Pat Lambie….