RE: Young Bok side
November 14, 2012, 08:32:35
There are some really serious issues that is left out of Saffex's young Springbok team and that in the main relates to the basis for suggesting a team as he did. Reasearch in fact indicate that the average age of the Springbok team and bench is already low compared to other teams. In the case the average team age is in fact 25 years - taking into account that the average age of All Black players are 29,9 years. In the case of the Springboks the average age of the forwards is 24,9 years - whilst those of the All Blacks is 32 years of age.
A further factor is the age of individual players. The above study was based on the test team playing in the Championship and revealed that there were out of the 22 players selected 1 player 31 years of age (Jean De Villiers), 1 player at 30 years (Liebenberg) and 6 players at 29 years of age. The above 8 players are in fact not from an age perspective candidates for the 2015 WC. Those 8 players would have to be replaced - preferably by 2013.
The main argument here is that due to the already relatively youthful team - the competition for positions should be essentially based on form of players and not necessarily on age. What is really the issue here is that players will have to be selected based on performance and not on the perceived age criteria only. The other aspect is physicality. There are doubts about players like Oosthuizen ever be in the mix again due to injury problems and some question marks have also been raised about Goosen - although the former is serious and the latter really a smokescreen - since there is no evidence on the latter that indicates career-threatening injury.
The above relates to a basis for the discussion of future selection in individual positions - now lets look at the actual position on the ground - bearing in mind that you actually need at least 2 players to cover each position:-
There is no dount that at 29 Kirchner should be on the replacement shortlist. He is really not a house on fire and performance-wise his age cannot be countered by peformance. That leaves a gap for two players. The most likely first choice competitor will be Taute. Based omn 2012 form the potential second choice would be Ludick. However, the real two candidates will only be clear after the 2013 Super series.
The present incumbents are Habana (29) and Pietersen (26). Based on purely the age factor Habana should be out - but he is an exceptional talent and is likely to go on and play effectively until 2015. There are a substantial number of potential back-up players that could make their name in 2013. Those include Mvovo and Rhule, but there are other potential candidtes out of contention at present that could be added.
These really are the most problematic positions from a team selection perspective
There is no doubt that De Villiers (31) will probably be out by the next test series. The other players who thus far played in the starting line up or from the bench are Francois Steyn, Olivier, De Jongh, Taute and Engelbrecht. Two of the players mentioned have already effectively eliminated themselves from candidature and they are Taute (prefers selection at full back and is likely to play in that position for the Stormers) and Engelbrecht (under--performance on lower level). Olivier is not really a serious contender at all. .
That leaves Steyn and De Jongh. I will discuss the 12 position first and then 13. There are in fact candidates that can fill anyone of the two positions. In essence I think that candidates should be considered for 13 based on the situation as to selection of the no 12 position.
Most people think that Steyn is an automatic choice - but the question is - is he really the automatic choice? Strictly based on his performanes in tests this year there are indeed question marks about him as well. He tended to be a crashball player this year - with zero off-loading skills. I still think he would play a better game outside a more enterprising flyhalf than Morne Steyn. However, he will have to enhance his candidature by improving markedly in 2013. I still hope he does so and I put Steyn (26) down as first choice - average performance in Super 15 in 2013 could still eliminate his candidature. The issue relates to the second choice 12. The second choice would to my mind come from either of the following:-
* Jordaan - he was very effective in that position in the Super Series final. From studying his play in detail he is often playing much nearer to the forwards in maul situations than is normal with no 13 centers. Performances in Super 15 and CC level indicates he could be the top choice in either 12 or 13 depending on whether Steyn makes the Grade at 12.
* Whitehead - a very good player with an eye for line breaks - but slight deficiencies in speed and off-loading could be a factor here.
* Serfonetin - brilliant in the Under 20 WC - but has not really played for the Bulls on higher level this year. Problem is his Bulls contract. The latter is a killer insofar as center development is concerned. The list of failures include Sadie and Engelbrecht. Serfontein was in fact the third choice no 12 of the Bulls and was effectively kept out of contention for 12 by Olivier and Venter - two very average players. I hope Serfotein gets serious playing time in the 2013 Super Series. If he does not he would be wise to get out of his Bulls contract and move on. Under the circumstances not a serious contender at this stage.
* De Allende - his coach rates him very highly - but he has the potential to be a stronger candidate than people imagine. He is physically very strong and is speedier than Steyn. Insofar as line breaks are concerned - he is in some respects better than Steyn already - he off-loads well in tackle situations. Could be the surprise packet next year. He will be the top Stormers candidate for replacement of De Villiers on Super Series level next year.
Here really there is problem. The only 13 remaining from the squad this year is De Jongh. In 2012 he had a very poor year insofar as performances are concerned. He showed some flashes of potential in 2 of the 18 games he played in this year - namely in the Rebels game and in the CC final. He is a good defender - but harmless in attacking play - too many negatives in that aspect of the game. He will get the opportunity to play in that position in the test against the Scots and also in Super 13 next year. Based on overall performances this year he is out of contention - with a very small chance of selection if he shows above-average performances in the forthcoming test and Super 15 next year.
That leaves the race for this position very open. Based on Super 15 and CC performances this year - the only real candidate is Jordaan. He was the standout player in that position this year. The rest is not easy. Ebersohn of the Cheetahs was the only 13 that shows some form in Super 15 this year - but he is not a serious candidate. Other names mentioned are Pietersen - but he is a world class wing and an average center. People may argue about that - but the results speak for themselves. When he played at 13 for the Sgarks the overall results of the team was unfavourable ( they lost games in the early stages when Pietersen was actually playing in that position). However, when moved to wing he scored tries and became ten times the player he was at 13. There is virtually no chance that Plumtree will repeat his 2012 experiment in the relevant regard.
That leaves a serious problem as to the two "vacancies" for 13 - if Jordaan is to play at 12. This could potentially come from the following youngsters: Howard, Du Plessis and Small-Smith. Of the above only Du Plessis made more regular apperances for the WP CC games and the other two players was basically used in the Under 21 teams. What was interesting was that with Du Plessis at 13 - the WP backline was much more potent than it was with De Jongh in that position.
On the whole the position is wide open and will depend on stand-out performances by all potential candidates in Super 15 next year.
The only real contenders are Goosen and Lambie.
Morne Steyn is playing a style of rugby that neutralizes back line play and is really not a contender. The much hyped - up Jantjies will get ample opportunities to play for the Stormers in that position. In reality he has so many negatives in his play - effectively ignored by the media and was so poor in the Soweto test - that he is at this stage probably the fourth or fifth candidate for selection. Hype won't help - he will have to be way above average in next years Super 15 to be even considered as a serious candidate.
Pienaar is at this stage the only real candidate. With the serious dip in form of Hougaard - there is no other real contender. Hougaard could improve in the 2013 Super Series and has a lot to prove. If Hougaard does not improve - the other candidate could comne from Reinach, Groom, Pretorius and Vermaak. It would be interesting to see what is produced by Super 15 next year.
The players that was invovled this year was Spies and Vermeulen. Spies to my mind is a wing that is not really a loosie. Vermeulen is a very hard grinder - but not speedy at all. II think Vermeulen should rather be be a contender for the number 7 jersey. I think the Super 15 series will be significant - but think that the position will end up being filled by Coetzee and Botha
Albers is the present occupant. No doubt a hard grinder - but more of a tight forward than a loosie. The other contenders are -
* Burger - has not played rugby for a year and there is no guarantee that he will reproduce what he did in the past. Hope so - but he will have a lot to prove in Super 15.
* Vermeulen - a hard grinder - that would let no team down in any game.
* Elstadt - very similar in style to the other two players and will no doubt make his mark in 2013.
No real choice at this stage - but the two required candidates are likely to come from the above four players.
Louw is the only serious candidate at this stage. There is a number of other contenders that could stake their claim next year in Super 15 next year. Those include -
* Brussow - very disappointing and ineffective this year. Very unlikely to make the grade.
* Fourie - was really an eye-opener this year in CC and could stake a strong claim next year;
* Kolisi - started of in this position in Super 15 this year like a house on fire - but faded in the later games before injury. His performances in 2013 will be watched by all to see whether he would be in contention.
Bekker (29) is the real deal - but has injury problems and may fade out of contention. If he is not available then there are other contenders to be considered:-
* Kruger - a very average line-out player that is mobile - but with limitations - he is a Meyer favouite, but not necessrily a standout player.
* Bressler - same as Kruger.
* Du Toit - a really top class player - very mobile and effective in line-outs. I think he would be the stand-out partner for Etzebeth and will make the grade. Watch him with interest in Super 15 next year.
The only serious contenders are Etzebeth and Flip van der Merwe
Beast and Jannie Du Plessis are the serious two players in the team and will remain so next year. Van der Linde and Steenkamp are jokes in bad tatse. The future back up players would probably be Oosthuizen (if his career-threatening injuries can be solved), Kitshoff and Malherbe. Ouside chances would be Van Rensburg, Cillers and Nel.
Only two serious contenders. Bismarck Du Plessis and Strauss
If I was Meyer I would watch and analize the Super 15 performances in 2013 and then decide on the way forward insofar as team selection is concerned.