The Ruckers Forum

Forum » Rugby » Springboks » A New Gameplan?
Login to reply
2187 Topic: A New Gameplan?

Status: Bok regular
Posts: 1098
A New Gameplan?
September 07, 2012, 19:07:40

A new playing style? Plan A, B, C and D? Here is the problem. Every team does the same things that the other does. The difference is emphasis. Where you place your emphasis is where your strengths will be. In order for the Boks to be more complete, they need to re-establish those old strengths with a new group of players up front and learn to be more effective when they use the ball. The gameplan does not change, there is no revolutionary plan B. It doesn't exist. That's just the nature of the game.

This brings me onto the issue of creativity. There is no room for creativity in rugby. Rugby is akin to chess in every way, hence great puzzle-solving abilities are required. That's how you unlock defences. Creativity is emotional expression, how does that transfer over to rugby in any constructive way? It doesn't. The Boks are a very emotional side, we lack nothing on that front, but we lack the thought processes involved which are essential in playing a higher level attacking game. Players such as Patrick Lambie, Conrad Jantjies, to name but two, have fallen into this 'creativity' nonsense, and watch as their decision making skills have regressed to the point of complete and utter uselessness. Then there is Goosen, a very bright prospect. However, he is not quite the complete player that most would have you believe. He is a very good decision maker, but it is the entire dynamic of the Cheetah backline that is the difference. Not only that, the Cheetah's are the first South African side - be that domestic or international - to use their forwards as much as the New Zealanders do, not only as heavy-traffic ball carriers, but as links in structured AND unstructured backlie moves. Key ingredients here that South Africans have not picked up on because of this obsession with 'creativity' and the over-emphasis on flyhalf play above all other components. Look up on past Tri-Nations campaigns and see how much more New Zealand use their forwards; here's last years stats:

Passes by forwards/backs

NZL: 114/310
RSA: 68/165

So, the big obstacles for Meyer. The work at the breakdown is still a big issue, though for differing reasons than under Peter. He wants his big ball carries in the back row with many lineout options, yet the whole fifteen man effort in protecting the ball is non-existant. I noticed that when Jean and out back-three took the ball wide, the ball was very easily lost, and this left us quite vulnerable when transitioning into defence. Then there was accuracy from phase-to-phase from our forwards. Quite often Hougaard was left completely unprotected or the ball was simply stolen. I don't see anything wrong with what Meyer wants to do, it is all very sound, but the players are not executing these things at all well. Were Brussow there it would still be a very big issue. So what can we conclude? The next-gen players are inferior to the old guard. Kruger, Bekker, Etzebeth, Flip... not a patch on Matfield, Bakkies and Roussouw. Strauss does look a good bet at hooker, but lacks Smit's presence and big game productivity. Losing Steenkamp this year was not helpful either. We just have to accept the fact that this is a weaker team than we are accustomed to. When put into context, this team has actually done very well to get the results it has achieved thus far. We would have lost most of the those games under Peter, Viljoen and Straeuli. The gameplan is not the problem, Meyer has to sift through our players and settle on a new spine for the team. Trying to implement an elaborate expansive game - something New Zealand do not do - would only convolute the problem and leave us more vulnerable. As it stands Meyer wants to add layers as the team develops and I simply cannot accept any criticism of that. South Africans need to grow up and embrace reality.


Status: Bok regular
Posts: 1117
RE: A New Gameplan?
September 07, 2012, 19:41:13

Welcome back! We have lost quality and xp in a lot more positions than lock. Etsebeth et ali are still pups, so don't be too hard on them. Sad that there wern't more quality xp available when the old guard retired. Its gonna take a couple of years to really get back to standard though.


Status: Bok regular
Posts: 1098
RE: A New Gameplan?
September 07, 2012, 20:21:04

When you don't develop a team over a number of years you run the risk of a big slump. It happened to Germany in football towards the end of the 90s, but they knew exactly who their next best were, as did Australia in cricket over a number of years. South Africa's understanding of their players comes exclusively from the media, who are almost always wrong. We've found out just how inflated some reputations really were now they don't have the old guard there to hide behind. The media don't appreciate what kind of task Meyer has at hand. He knows there are overrated players out there and he knows he will be castigated if he selects exactly who he wants. The fans simply have to got to fathom so kind of perspective. Take the Lambie/Kirchner debate. Lambie is by far the media darling, yet Kirchner has always been better. This was brutally emphasised in the England series. It will take time, but Meyer will get there. Keeping things simple is the best approach.


Status: Bok regular
Posts: 1243
RE: A New Gameplan?
September 07, 2012, 20:38:04

 Is Requiescat the French word for breath of fresh air? Nice to hear another perspective !! I have also said that the players are not executing the gameplan. Nice point about emphasis - when the Boks were winning the emphasis was on pin-point kicking both at goal and in-field with box kicks and up and unders as well as stellar set pieces.


Morne has been pitiful kicking to goal, Hougaard's box kicks and territorial kicking has been brutal (Pienaar should be a big upgrade here) and our set pieces, particularly the lineout, have been bad. Bekker has been a big disappointment (Matfield seems so much better in hindsight) managing the lineouts.  Was very impressed with the job Kankowski did in that regard with the Sharks and I think it would be interesting to see what he could do with the Bok lineout if put in charge of the calls.



Status: Hall Of Fame
Posts: 12981
RE: A New Gameplan?
September 07, 2012, 21:19:28


Thank you very much for a well-balanced comment.   Jowever, I do believe that the players mentioned by you in the last year they played for SA was past their sell-by date - they were tops in 2007-08 - but after that they were more or less on par with the present squad.

There is obviously need for rebuilding of a team with comprehensive skills- but then we start to look wider than the present squad.   You mentioned Hougaard and the fact that he was not protected - but Hougaard caused a lot of problems for himself by his slow service to the backline.   I have stated reperatedly in the past that I regard Hougaard as a good wing - but not good as a scrummie..

Insofar as execution of any game plan is concerned  I believe that the the players must have ball sense.   Unforunately that is a quality entirely missing in the flyhalf and center players.   Their first reaction is to kick or play crash ball.    The main problem in fact is not the loosies and even the locks - it is in fact the dull anid unimaginative Steyn combination.   Bad news that one.

The answer obviously is to accept losses at this stage and start with a skills development programme of younger and upcoming players.    I believe there are younger and better players that could be built up into a really formidable squad to compete in th 2015 WC - but the development programme should start NOW.  

By the way - a line out jumper depends on the sccuracy of the hooker in throwing in the ball.   In the Argentina game mentioned we lost one line-out, but nobody but Strauss is to blame for that.    I believe that Mattfield was good in line outs - but hopeless insofar as other aspects of the game is concerned.  

Kirschner is really a useless player - sorry to disagree with you there. 


Status: Bok regular
Posts: 1098
RE: A New Gameplan?
September 08, 2012, 01:18:18

Very true oimatey! That's where a great deal of rebuilding begins, and the biggest reason why I believe we have done well to get the results we have at present. Of the four Championship sides and England, we were the most vulnerable. I more than anticipated Argentina doing well at home as well. The fact of the matter is the Bok/Arg tests have been of better quality and far greater intensity than that of NZ/Aus. Something to keep in mind. I don't see any reason to persist with Bekker, Juandre and Etzebeth are the future, both our best locks at present. Bekker could never make it through a campaign anyway, even if he was our best that is too much of a liability to base a large portion of our game on.

Leave a reply:

You need to be logged in to leave a reply.

From The Sideline