RE: Test team
July 16, 2012, 10:07:29
It is not what we think about team selection - we have different ideas about it and it is interesting discussions - it is who Meyer is going to select that would ultimately make up the team.
Meyer will in the first instance pick his favourite Blue Bull players and keep to his captain for the remainder of the year. His favourite players are the following:-
Kirchner, De Villiers, Morne Steyn, Hougaard and Spies.
Then he would look at other players such as the following:-
JP Pietersen, Francois Steyn, Etzebeth, Bekker, the two props in the team and Du Plessis.
That leaves three vancies - one on the wing and the two loosies. My guess is that those positions will be filled by Habana, Alberts and Coetzee.
The team will hence be as follows:-
13 De Villiers
12 Francois Steyn
10 Morne Steyn
3 Jannie Du Plessis
2 Bismarck Du Plessis
1 The Beast
We can argue till we are blue in teh face - but that will be Meyer's team. The problems that we face is that three of the Blue Bulls players are questionable. I started off rating the four Blue Bull players in the team and came to the following conclusion after three matches:-
Kirchner - 5
Steyn - 5
Spies - 4
Not really brilliant marks for qualification for Springbok selection. They will be in the team though - despite the marks given - because Meyer has a playing strategy in mind revolving around Morne Steyn. The main thing is ten man rugby - high kick and charge. That strategy can work if the kicks are accurate and the charging players get the ball in time. Repetitive usage of the strategy is doomed and it merely serve to hand the ball back to the opposing teams. For Meyer the backline is decorative and only there for defensive purposes and for chargoing after aimless kicks. Morne Steyn's problem is that his strategic kicking has deteriorated and the opponents knows eactly every time what is about to happen and take counter-measures accordingly. I do not think we can play the All Blacks in accordance with a fixed kicking plan like that - they will couinter-attack and render us in a bad position. The strategy should actually change - but it will not.
Insofar as the three specific Blue players rated above are concerned I would like to mention a few of their fatures in playing:-
Kirchner is good in attacking play - but hopeless under high balls kicked at him where he has to face oncoming opponents. His defence is questionable - but Meyer would argue that the ankle injury of Lambie is ruling him out of contention - so he has to go for Kirchner.
Morne Steyn's goal kicking has shown a slight improvement recently - but his strategic kicking is poor and he is a very poor linkage with the rest of the backline - so attacking backline movements are really out. Steyn used to be run at by oppoinents - because of defensive deficiencies - but his defence has improved somewhat. and although the opponents will still try that strategy - it is unlikely to be successful. Steyn would not be replaced at any cost - even though Grant is a much better link with his backline and can vary his game better. The ultimate solution to the problem could be Goosen - but in the interim Grant is in fact a better all round flyhalf than Steyn, but he wouldd never be picked ahead of Steyn.
Spies is really nthe worst selection of the lot. He has the speed of any wing - but for the rest he has never really adjusted to forward play. He is a poor number 8 and really should never be considered for selection. He vanishes out of sight for 75 minutes in any game he plays in and his ball handling skills are poor - he loses balls regularly in tackle soituations and for me any team containing Spies effectively consists of 14 players and not 15.
I would rather have a different selection and instead play Lambie at 15 and replace Morne Steyn with Grant. At 8 I believe that Meyer should pick Vermeulen - if he performs well in the semi-final of Super 15 - or play Kankowski at 8. In the altternative I would like to see Alberts at 8. move Coetzee to 7 and play Kolisi at 6.
The old argument on Brussow will follow in such an event. I believe that Brussow will not be considered for the following reasons. In the game against the Stormers Brussow was effective in poor playing conditions. However he gave away a penalty as well. Against the Bulls - despite his try - he was ineffective and gave away two penalties. Against the Sharks he played well in the first half and then vanished from sight - he was injured at one stage and that may have affected his game. Even then he gave away two penslties. That means he gave away 15 points in three games and that is where Meyer's argument comes in - too much of a penalty machine.
Personally i think that brussow is a good loosie - but he has a number of deficiencies. He is a strong - but slow runner and a good defender - but there are better loosies in SA. and he is too small and slow to make a difference in maul situations and in line outs. However, ultimately it is the penalty issue that would be decisive.
I have not mentioned the issue of the bench. here Meyer would select the following bench players:-
22 Lambie/Aplon. - Lambie if he is fit - otherwise Aplon.
My main problem is Greyling - he is useless and a trouble-maker looking constantly for penalties. There are much better props in SA, but the Blue Bull tag would help in this case.