RE: Experience versus Rookies
December 29, 2012, 08:48:19
Experience is a requirement for initial success - but ultimately it implodes badly. Experience has two bad elements to it, namely -
* experience causes havoc ultimately and no team has ever won successive WC's because it becomes the only real norm for selection `- coaches are afraid to drop under-achievers because of fear of the unknown;
* quality of performances deteriorates the older players become since they feel assured that irrespective of what happens and what they produce they are assured of selection.
Both deficiencies hit SA badly in 2011 and the end result is that we now have to start building a new team for the next WC. What made it worse is that most players left the fold because they were either too old to continue playing or they wanted to optimise the limited playing time left to them by accepting better-paying foreiggn contracts.
That left a relatively small number of expereenced players for Meyer to look at and the problem was that it was that the few experienced players left let the team down even worse than the newbies did. We only have to look ar the average to poor performances of the so-called experienced players to realize the magnitude of the problem faced by Meyer:-
* Kirchner was ar best average insofar as performances is concerned;
* De Villiers was average - at 13 in fact poor;
* Francois Steyn produced nothing this year
* De Jongh was a major flop at center - not only in tests - but also in Super 15
* Morne Steyn was a rank disaster;
* Hougaard was so bad at scrummie - that even Meyer found it necessary to replace him
* Spies had the distinguished record of playing for ten minutes in each game and vanished from sight;
* Steenkamp was poor in the one test and average in the other
* CJ van der Linde was a major disaster and should never have been selected
The above had an equal if not a more major role in the under- performnces of the Springboks this year - the best that can be said about them is that they were even worse let-downs than some of the new players selected. Meyer himself said that he made major errors in selection and some of the above are really prime examples of players that should have been bundled out of the team earlier rather than later.
Meyer also selected some real incompetents as new players and drop them soon enough. Exmples of these are Greyling, Werner Kruger, Engelbrecht, and Jantjies.
In view of the fact that the more experienced players were under-performing and is likely to continue to under-perform in 2013 - there is one reality we have to face - and that is that we cannot rely on experience only as a norm for selection. It can play a role - but should only be used if contenders for selection are on par in the 2013 Super Series and only then should an experienced player be picked ahead of an inexperienced one.
Unfortunately that is a reality of life now and I think that the only realisitc norm should be performances on a sustained basis in the coming Super series - nothing else.