RE: Moffie talk us through de Jongh at 13
November 25, 2012, 16:44:46
The reality of de Jongh is that he is not a bad player, he does punch above his weight, has good pace, good step and technically a great tackler - but what Moffie fails to comprehend and what he wont acknowledge is the fact that de Jongh is out of his depth physically.
If de Jongh was the player he is now and weighed 98kg, he would be the perfect answer at 13 for the Boks.
As was evidenced in yesterdays match, space is at a premium in test rugby. By the time a 13 gets the ball, he is in traffic. In traffic, a 13 needs both skill, pace and physicality to beat his man. de Jongh is short of the physicality element and therein lies the problem and why he will never make it as a test player.
Defensive patterns are so structured and tight at the highest level that centres are forced to take contact constantly. You cannot rely on skill alone. You have to impose yourself physically and this is where size counts. You need to take contact and gain forward momentum, de Jongh at 85kg is never going to do this. When he takes contact he is driven back. The likes of Jean, Frans, JP and Taute are able to take contact, drive forward and ideally offload. Its not pretty but its the reality of the modern game, where the league style of play is coming into union more and more. Ultimately the aim is to create enough phases drawing defenders in and creating space for attackers to strike - but we are talking ideal world here - in reality traffic plays more of a role than space. The best exponents of creating space are the AB's, they are the one side that have mastered this and they do this by doing the basics so well. Their 9 clears the ball immediately and has a fantastic pass on him which creates extra seconds for his 10......from there is all about pace on the ball, angled runners, dummy runners, players looping and support players always being on hand to carry the momentum forward.
Conversely traffic plays a part in defence as well. Centres need to be physical enough to drive players backwards or stop them in their tracks. de Jongh is not able to do this. What he is good at is making low technically correct open field tackles away from traffic.
Its traffic and contact that is de Jongh's enemy.......traffic and contact dominate test matches and therein lies de Jongh's misery and why he will NEVER make a test 13