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3639 Topic: Our Center Situation (2)
clevermike

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Posts: 11914
Our Center Situation (2)
February 05, 2013, 17:27:31

Something went wrong with the computer system and the previous posting of Saffex became a mess.  Because I think it is a particularly interesting topic I am going to read in the appropriate comments into this message so as to give members a chance to comment on it:-

SAFFEX'S MESSAGE

 

Saffex

Status:Rugby Legend
Posts: 3100
Our centre situation
February 05, 2013, 01:56:42

There are two certainties a) Jean is done and should no longer be involved in the Bok set-up b) de Jongh is no test centre, not physically able to impose himself on attack or in defence.

 

What do we have to work with? In Frans Steyn we have an established test star who at 25 has many years of quality rugby left in him. He was good in 2012 and we should see more of the same and even better this year. So we have our 12 sorted in Frans.

 

The art is now finding a partner for him and the options are numerous. Leading into 2013, it would appear that Jan Serfontein might just be the answer. He made a massive impression for the Baby Boks, got little opportunity in the CC and has now announced his arrival with a mouth watering performance in the Bulls S15 warm up match. Lets just hope the Bulls play him this S15 for we need to see him tested. He is a 12 that is equally at home at 13.

 

The other prime candidates are Taute, Jordaan, JJ Engelbrecht and de Allende. Taute will sadly probably be wasted at 15 for the Stormers but this does not prevent the Boks using him at 13. Jordaan is a class act and should get plenty of game time at 13 for the Sharks as should JJ for the Bulls. de Allende looks a real talent who is equally at home at 12 or 13.

 

Outsiders who wont get much S15 game time sadly are Pat Howard and JP du Plessis of the Stormers. It will also be interesting to see how Sadie goes with the Cheetahs - he should get plenty of time on the park.

 

So could Meyer think outside the box and select a 12. Frans 13. Serfontein centre combo - certainly worth serious consideration


 

SHARKBOK'S RESPONSE

Sharkbok

Status: Senior player
Posts: 1130
RE: Our centre situation
February 05, 2013, 02:53:11

It is looking like the most center depth in years at the moment.

Perhaps some of the younger players have also noticed that SA teams have been fielding too many one-dimensional crash ball centers, and have stepped up on the skills. Serfontein is allready looking better at 19 than most bok centres over the last 10-15 years.

 

Frans Steyn should be a certain starter 12, with Jordaan at 13.

They will have had most of the SuperXV to have formed a center combination.

Serfontein is the logical choice for the bench as he can cover both center positions.

-

Johan Sadie may come back into the reckoning and Tim Whitehead could be an outside option due to his specialist inside center experience.

Sadie just needs to forget about the Bulls experience last year, and get back to his 2011 form and then he will be a contendor for the boks again.

Sadie at his best is a much better option at 13 on attack than Taute-who just looks cumbersome and slow of the mark with little step to speak of and little sign of a passing game. He reminds me of Jorrie Muller when playing at 13, hopefully he will be better at 15. Although is the current number 13 at the Cheetas not one of the better players and vice captain. Perhaps Sadie can play inside center as well.

Missie Oliver can play at 12 for the Bulls initially with Serfontein at 13, but during the season both Missie and especially Morne Steyn need to be phased out.

Morne sooner than later. Morne is the type of player that had his best games behind a winning pack, and the Bulls pack of 2013 will not provide that platform. Instead Pollard should become the incumbent at 10.

Not sure about JJ but expect that if Serfontein is not playing 12, he is going to be on the bench for most of the season.

Delande needs to start at 12 and stay there. Jean Devilliers can offer more at 13 where his passing game is less required. Likewise with JP and Howard, they need to get game time through the season at 13.

Dejong can cover wing or just be a utility back on the bench. Dejong lacks the skills to get his wings into the game, and given that JDV is not the best passer around these 2 are like watching paint dry.

The Stormers have the most depth at center so they will have plenty of time to rotate the bench

 

 

MY RESPONSE TO SAFFEX

clevermike

Status:Rugby Legend
Posts: 3365
RE: Our centre situation
February 05, 2013, 05:55:21

Saffex

In essence I agree with you about the center situation. I also believe that De Villiers should be phased out as a matter of importance - especially since he will be 32 years old this year and not really a candidate for the future - that is for the 2015 WC. Mozart and some others will argue that he actually was the best performer as center in 2012 - which he in fact was - but that is history and we need to think of the future here.

Francois Steyn

In essence Francois Steyn should be the answer at 12 and I thought that when he became available in 2012 we would have a major weapon at 12 against the English and in the Championship tests. However, he really was performance wise in some ways disappointing - even though you and some othes disagreed. There could have been a reason for that and that is that he played outside a non-performing flyhalf in Morne Steyn. The latter never was an attacking flyhalf - he always stood too deep in the pocket and was a kicker more than a passer of balls. That left Francois Steyn in a difficult situation - since he too was forced into standing too deep. He consequently received balls with defenders virtually on top of him and had very few options available to him. In the process tje nly real option available to him was enfoced crashballing.

However, there was some occassions where he did have a bit more space an that is where he was osmewhat disappointing. He showed some negatives by running rather slowly straight at the opposite defender, thus not trying to draw defenders towards him - and he virually never passed or off-loaded balls effectively in tackle situations. In view of the very tight situation insofar as defece is concernced - the latter elelments are very important in the inside center position in particular and when it is absent it really is a negative.

In essence Steyn in 2012 was really somewhat one-dimensional if you look at mtach statistics. In essence he passed only 20% of he balls rhe received to his center partner or tried to kick vey unsucessfully - two of the rare kicks were very poor and landed his team in serious trouble. The rest of the balls he handled (80%) he crashballed - often enough on or behind the gain line.

The question remains whether the latter play was the result of him playing outside of Morne Steyn and forced upon him - or whether he himself developed negative tendencies.. I think that Sten himself will have to show whether he has still the abilities required of an attacking inside center in him and whether he will overcome the negative tendencies observable in his performances in the tests in 2012. He has an excellent opportunity to prove that he can still be regarded as an efective attacking weapon in the Springbok backline. In Super 15 - where defence is normally less tight than in tests and opponents are frequently not players on international level - he can really show whether he still is an attacking center option.

Steyn in Super 15 will play outside of Lambie - who as a very skillful player is much more attack-orientated and a much better passer of the ball. If Steyn in such circumstances showed the same tendencies as he did in tests in 2012 - we really will be faced with a problem in our quest to have a more effective backline operation. 80% crashballing will definitely not be acceptable. A further positive will be that Spencer is the backline coach for the Sharks - and he is very likely to be in a position to get Steyn up to standard as to attacking center play.

Although I on this site often enough played devil's advocate and tried to provoke discussion - I am afraid there really was some negatives in Steyn's performances and he needs to cut it out before he can be regarded as an automatic future selection. If those negatives persist in 2013 Super 15 - we would be in a really sticky situation and may be forced to look at other alternatives.

Serfontein

To my mind Serfontein is the classic no 12 center - powerful in running and illusive to boost. He has a very good in off-loading capacity in tackle situations and is an excellent passer of the ball. At 19 years of age - he already is the full package insofar as inside center play is concerned. I believe he is the best center coming through that we have had in a decade and proved that at age of 18 when he was the player of the series in the Under 20 WC in 2012.

The Bulls did use him in their Under 21 team in 2012 and he played a major role in the said championships. He was only used on CC-level in one game - namely the game at Newlands against WP - and in that game he was part of a bad overall team display and did not show much.

One thing about Serfontein I am unsure about is his ability to play at 13. In all the games he played in he always played at 12 - that applies to both the Under 20 WC - as well as in the Bulls under 21 team. Technically it will on paper be possible to assume that he would be able to play at 13 as well as he does at 12 - but there are differences between playing at 13 and playing at 12. Those differences can be seen in the difference in performances of a player like De Villiers in 2012 - he was a much better player at 12 than he was at 13. Will Serfontein be equally good at 13 - nobody really can say or assume that he will be - he will have to play at 13 to show whether he really is.

Should Steyn not live up to expectations - I think Serfontein will definitely be the answer at 12. He to my mind remains our best hope for a more effective attaking bakline.

Taute

Taute has all the physical abilities we can expect from a center - and although he did play well in the Under 20 WC as a 13 - he never played at center for over 2 years since then and did not show up well enouh when moved from full back to center after playing for virtuallyt wo years only as a full back. I think that was recognized by the player himself - as well as Meyer and Coetzee and will play exlusively for the Stormers at full back this year. You are correct in what you said when you mentioned "Taute will sadly probably be wasted at 15 for the Stormers but this does not prevent the Boks using him at 13". Meyer will however definitely noit pick him at center - without some really recent proven abilities in that position and for the time being I cannot see how he would be in contention for selection.

Jordaan

Being a smallish player Jordaan probably has the best skills set of all SA players that played at 13 in 2012 - as you said he is a class act. Jordaan has also shown sme exceptional abilities when he played at 12 opposite SBW in the Super 15 final against the Chiefs. However, I view him primarily as a 13. I think aside from his skills - he has another advantage over all the other players mentioned and that is the speed factor - he really is a speed merchant. Persnally I think he is obviously not as strong a runner as some bigger players - but he is a slippery customer and hence a very good prospect.

Another aspect of his game is his tendency to go and look for work and thus helped his team in all kinds of ways. I can remember in particular two incidents wher it played a major roll in the outcomes of games. Both happpened in games against the balls He went in and successuly wrestled the ball loose from maul situations. In one case he himself scored a try and in the other case it resulted in the scoring of one of the most spectacular tries scored by any SA team in 2012.

I would really like to see how he develops in 2013 and if he keeps up his performances in 2013 to my mind he really should be the automatic selection at 13.

De Allende

This player was really the surprise package that came forth during the 2012 CC games. The first real glimpse of him was when he was brought on from the bench as a wing in a few CC games - my own question was "who the hell is he?" He never really played on Under 20 level and was an unknown quantity - but not for long. he soon enough showed on the wing a remarkable try-scoring ability.

He is physically a big man - but also very speedy and a strong runner. Basically the biggest surprise was that he was selected by Coetzee at 12 in the CC final. He had a very good game and showed very good skills in all aspects of center play. In reading up on him I found that the Under 20 WP coach thought that he is such a good player that he himself will decide whether he wans to be a Springbok or not - a very high accolade by all accounts.

What position should De Allende play in? He was excellent on the wing and equally good at 12. That being the case the assumption is made that he will be good at 13 as well - but we will not know until it is proven as such. We may get a glimpse of his abilities at 13 in the warm up game on Saturday when he is likely to play at 13.

I think that De Allende is also a class act. Personally I would like to see a center grouping of Serfotnein, Jordaan and De Allende as our centers of the future - the fact being that Serfotnen is only 19 years of age and the other two 20 year-olds.

Other Centers mentioned

I think the others will have to prove that they can in fact compete with the star three - Serfontein, Jordaan and De Allende - and there is no indication that they will be in fact competitive.

I believe that Meyer should take the bull by the horns and use the three star playes in the June tests and forget about the present players - who have all shown some negatives already. They with Goosen and Lambie around and with Habana and Pietersen on the wing will to my mind produce the most attacking Springbok backline we have seen in the past 20 years. If Taute gets his act together at full back - we will have the real McCoy to admire.

 

MY RESPONSE TO SHARKBOK

 

 


Saffex

Status: Hall Of Fame
Posts: 8516
RE: Our Center Situation (2)
February 05, 2013, 17:45:17

Well Shark for a start you are very wrong when it comes to Jean at 13, he was a complete failure there in 2012. There is no need to discuss Jean, he has to go if we are to progress.

 

Its simple, Frans to start at 12 with the likes of Serfontein, Taute, Jordaan, JJ and de Allende challenging for 13 at this stage.

 

If we lose Frans, then Serfontein can slot into 12, his preferred position.

 

The other good options at 12 are de Allende, Frans Venter and Whitehead

 

I will add two other youngsters to the list of 13 prospects and they are current Baby Boks, Dries Swanepoel and Tyler Fisher - these two are the real deal and will challenge soon


clevermike

Status: Hall Of Fame
Posts: 11914
RE: Our Center Situation (2)
February 05, 2013, 18:00:48

Saffex

In essence I agree with you about  the issue of Serfontein if Steyn does not make it - and also that  De Allende may be next choice.   After that I would say - based on perfromances for the Bulls and Sharks could come in Whitehead and Venter.

Not sure about Serfontein at 13 though - he has not played at 13 as yet and may not entirely fit into that position - would definitely prefer him at 12.

Based on performances on higher level - ie Super 15 for instance - the best performer at this stage was Jordaan by a proverbial mile.   Serfontein could chhallenge for that position - but I think he should first be tested on Super 15 as a 13 before we can really say he is a candidate.

Taute has in the first instance have to play continuously at center to get him to adjust properly to that position - something which is unlikely to happen.   He looked like :falling between two chairs as the saying goes and was somewhat mixed-up as to what his role was on Saturday.  That will come right too though.   Engelbrecht will have to start performing much better than he did on CC level to even be a consideration at all.

I take your word for it that Fisher and Swanepoel are very good -and will have a good look at them in the Junior WC - and thereafter in their provincial franchises.

My ideal center combination remains Serfotein, Jordaan and De Allende - with one of them on the bench. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Saffex

Status: Hall Of Fame
Posts: 8516
RE: Our Center Situation (2)
February 05, 2013, 19:59:54

Serfontein has played 13, he did so in the CC last season. I also see de Allende being able to play 13, maybe more so than 12, but time will tell.

 

Its all to play for. The only certainty for me is Frans at 12........anyone of Taute, Serfontein, de Allende, Jordaan and JJ are talented enough to grab the 13 spot - we can't go wrong.

 

Sadly however, we have Meyer in charge who has already naively voiced that he wants Jean captaining the Boks this year - what a stupid and short sighted move this is and typical of his conservative approach.

 

Dont be surprised to see a centre combo of Jean and de Jongh once again - pathetic really


clevermike

Status: Hall Of Fame
Posts: 11914
RE: Our Center Situation (2)
February 05, 2013, 20:37:18

Saffex

Meyer may be a slow learner - but I think we have seen the last of De Jongh at 13 - even Meyer must realiza he is a very poor choice.  

As far as I know the only game Serfontein played on CC level last year was against the Stormers - I was watching all the games and also looking for Serfomntein all the time.  The Bulls center combination always was Venter at 12 and Engelbrecht and rarely Sadie at 13.   Against the WP Serfontein replaced Venter at 12 - the only CC game he played in in 2012 - and I am certain he never played on CC level at 13.  It may have been on Under 21 level - but never on CC level.  Sorry I have to differ from you in this case.

The other issue that I am not entirely convinced of  is that Francois Steyn is an automatic choice at 12.  I think his performances on Super 15 level will indicate whether he will be the ideal no 12 attacking center we are looking for.   I for one am going to study his performanes with an eagle eye and will definitely give him all credit he deserved.   If hi performances is on paar with what he produced on Suoer 15 and test level in 2012 - I will definitely be very unhappy if he is selected at 12 for the Springboks.

I believe we must get away from the 2012 dead backline syndrome the Springboks suffered from.   De Villiers and De Jongh were even worse for the Stormers than the Springboks were.   That is part of the reason why the Stormers ultimately failed and that also was very noiceable in the tests last year.   If Francois Steyn shows that he can draw in opposition defenders by not running straight at his opposing number and off-load  balls effectively in tackle sitiuations (something he never did last year) it will be a sign that he is succeding.  If he continues like he did and is still selected we can kiss improved backline performances good bye.   However, he has the potential and with the guidance of Spencer can  improve his performances - so lets hope for the best. 


mozart

Status: Hall Of Fame
Posts: 7805
RE: Our Center Situation (2)
February 05, 2013, 20:58:01

Forgive me if I throw cold water on all this stuff. Firstly, Jean was our only competent centre in 2012. By the numbers, and to the eye he was our best....the only centre that could actually beat defenders.

 

Francois Steyn ballooned into a massive cumbersome chap.......and his stats were terrible, confirming what we saw with our own eyes. Look at videos of the 2007 RWC, then look at Steyn in 2012 the deterioration is shocking. Can he come back? Maybe, but if I were betting I'd say the chances were greater that Jean sustains his level than Fransie recovers his form.

 

For the rest Taute was a total disaster, Jean was obviously better at 12 than 13 and de Jongh never asserted himself. Engelbrecht failed at CC level.

 

Unfortunately I simply can't see into the future like Dave when he picked Taute, Engelbrecht and Sadie. So I don't know which of the youngsters will step up. We have seen enough of Jordaan, including his S 15 final performance, to have good feelings about his chances.

 

On Serfontein, my guess is we will hurt him if he is rushed. But perhaps he is one the few ....like Bryan, Jean, Fransie and Etzebeth who can leap into test rugby. The S15 will tell, and I'm sure there will be good and bad moments.

 

Like the ABs I would force the young guns to displace the incumbents on the field of play. For the moment it's certainly Jean at 12 and perhaps Jordaan at 13. No sense in saying much more..


Saffex

Status: Hall Of Fame
Posts: 8516
RE: Our Center Situation (2)
February 05, 2013, 22:53:27

Moffie we have heard all we need to from you on the topic of centres. Any clown who thinks Adi is great and Fourie was poor is hardly in a position to comment on centres.

 

This is confirmed with your call on Jean being our best centre in 2012 - what a joke, he was a complete flop at 13 and marginally better at 12.

 

By contrast Frans was our best 12 and this was confirmed by the player rating he was given. Taute was our best 13 with ease.

 

Trust you to want to retain the past it Jean, you are about as progressive as our coach, the one that achieved all of 57%

 

Moffie its best you keep your trap shut when it comes to centres.


clevermike

Status: Hall Of Fame
Posts: 11914
RE: Our Center Situation (2)
February 05, 2013, 23:51:11

Mozart and Saffex

Let m throw cold water on both of you.   First of all - De Villiers was by far rhe best center in SA in 2012 when he played at 12 - at  13 he was not up to standard.   Steyn definitely showed serious deficiencies in 2012.   He was slow of the mark and ambling along straight at his opposing number who tackled him with ease.   When carrying the ball - about 80% of all the balls he received - he consequently crashballed while rarely getting over the gain line.   No efforts that a person can expect from a reasonably good international center.    Because his stats were so bad - Saffex refused to accept them.

That brings me to Jean de Villiers - he was better than the other SA centers - but also contributed nothing that would  make him an above-average center.   What is most important is the man is 32 years of age thiis year and will be 34 at the time of the next WC.   He is not so good that a peson must persist with him at all costs.   He may still play some international rugby this year - but he should in fact be replaced sooner rather than later to give his replacement a chance to gain some expereience on international level.

Mozart was enthiusastic about De Jongh as a center - but his stats and his performances showed he is NOT an international center.   If Steyn does not improve in Super 15 this year it should be lunacy to select him at 12.  Saffex said he was the best center - yet he and Morne Steyn combined well to create the dead backline syndrome that killed effectively all backline play.

I do not normally rush in to choose new players.   However, in the Super 15 warm up games the passed weekend Serfontein and De Allende were really the standout players.  What they did was better than the pathetic efforts of both Steyn and De Villiers.   Thet avoided the dreadful repeated crashballing by passing/off-loading   balls effectively in tackle situations - they made effective line  breaks and they scored tries.   Playing on the level they did show their massive talent.  Neither of you would have seen the games and cannot realistically say anything about the performances.

We all know by now that Jordaan was on Super 15 level the best no 13 centerin SA last year.   Taute played 3 games in that position.    Engelbrecht more than that - but his achievements so praised by Saffex amounted to two line breaks in which he gained not more than 10 meters in each case and then crashballed - no contribution made to anything else.  Jordaan made four times more line breaks contributing to points being scored in virtually each case and also scored tries himself.   I just watched a video on his firsat Super10 game he played in - coming from the bench for the Sharks.   Within five minutes he played a major role in a try scored by the Sharks.   He got the ball ten meters inside the Sharks 25 dribble kicked it into space - picked up the ball himsel and sent the wing away to score the resultant try.   I call it ball sense - which is not all that evident in Engelbrecht and Taute.

Now we have a case that Meyer will have to deal with a major decision within the next year,   He can retain the rather ineffecive over the hill De Villiers and the under-performing Steyn and kill future development of backline play - or wiith the 2015 WC in mind start off with a center combination that would take us through to the WC

Steyn still have  a chance to get his act together - De Villiers cannot due to the age factor survive international rugby for another year.  

Mozart there is one thing I do not understand.   O'Connor was 18 whe he started to play for the Wallabies - why should Serfonten - an extremely strongly built youngster - be broken by his selection at this stage?

Lastly - we have to see what happens in Super 15 this year - so lets wait and see and then continue with thi discussion - bearing in mind that an essential requirement for seletion is high level performance   on a sustained basis.

,

 

 

    


mozart

Status: Hall Of Fame
Posts: 7805
RE: Our Center Situation (2)
February 06, 2013, 00:03:41

Serfontein may be fine....unlike you chaps I simply dont know. O Driscoll also burst onto the scene early. Most of the great centres do show early. The question is, is Serfontein a great centre. As usual in RSA he is already annointed. I just prefer a little senior rugby evidence. I mean look at Sadie , a year ago he was in half the Bok teams the okes picked.


clevermike

Status: Hall Of Fame
Posts: 11914
RE: Our Center Situation (2)
February 06, 2013, 04:29:14

Mozart

Annointing playes is Saffex's idea - insofar as I am concerned there is only one real test players must pass - an that is sustained high level performance.   We will have the opportunity to see how Serfontein. De Allende and Jordaan would perform on Super 15  level.   Jordaan already showed on Super 15 level that he belongs - we know nothing yet about the other two players playing on that level.

From what I have seen in the two warm-up games I believe that Serfontein and De Allende would make the grade and there are really people in the know that said that - but I would rather see sound evidence over a number of games before I would support them for selection on Springbok level.

Incidentally I find it very funny.  Saffex dismiss actual performance stats - dne in respect of a number of games - that should provide some norm indication - and stick like glue to prsonal ratings made by individuals - mostly journalists.

As an example - the stats indicated that Jantjies was a flop in the Soweto test - jet he was given a high rating by Gvin Rich.   I raings by idividual journalists really a better norm than stats - I should think not.

Looking at the stats and seeing with our own eyes how Francois Steyn actuually performed inthe tests he played in - one an only come to the conclusion that the rating was done as a skyscraper without foundation. 


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