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5955 Topic: Etzebeth the key to beating the ABs

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Etzebeth the key to beating the ABs
August 23, 2013, 05:56:59

 So I'm not suggesting one player's performance can beat a talented team. But one players's impact on his fellow players can have that effect. When Habana was on the field in 2005 the Boks knew they had the fastest man in rugby in their ranks.....getting the ball to Habana in space galvanized the team. Likewise in  2009 forcing the lineout was a clear tactic because of Matfield's superiority.


The Boks have tended to beat the ABs when one unusual strength offset AB sophistiction....whether it be Matfield, Habana or Joost back in 98. Etzebeth is that kind of talent. He is immensely strong and an agile athlete as well. Etzebeth 2013 is a much more complete player than the 2012 model.


His presence convinces his team mates they can dominate physically. WP surged in 2012 when Etzebeth became available. Likewise the Stormers record this S15  was way better after Eben returned from injury.


Fast forward to the RC. The Boks are going to be very physical this year. The back row is comprised of very big, powerful men....and the reason to believe, as they say in marketing, is the presence of the strongest guy in the game. After Oz was thrashed last week AB hubris is at a peak. But the Boks have their own weapons, and building confidence after 7 straight wins.


This year it's all about the RC, the RWC is still a ways's going to be epic.


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RE: Etzebeth the key to beating the ABs
August 23, 2013, 06:06:59
Gotta beat wobs in Brisbane before you can get too excited about RC... Suncorp stadium is the only place in Australia where wobs have got an edge. Incidentally gotten some very nice tickets to this game and very much look forward to the visit from the bok.

I agree boks are on the build but argentina....? come on...

beat the aussies @ suncorp and then I'll weigh in on your belief....


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RE: Etzebeth the key to beating the ABs
August 23, 2013, 06:31:14
Well I don't disagree redsman. If things go according to script and Oz loses this weekend, the Brisbane game will be huge for Australia....having lost to the Lions, the ABs and having a poor record in RSA. A loss at Brisbane would be almost unthinkable. When the motivation is that strong, the big three usually produce. And with NZ's win last week, they have the crucial away win they need. So it's a big ask.....but the Boks have tended to win this thing when the expectations were pretty low....particularly in 2004 and 2009. Things have a bit of that feel again.


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RE: Etzebeth the key to beating the ABs
August 23, 2013, 08:00:50
I agree in principle though that the Bok are looking good with right blend of youth/experience and skill/size - albeit the experience may be at the expense of future proofing the team (aka too much experience)...

I too think that the real competition this year will be the bok v kiwi games - Ive resigned to the fact that McKenzie coached wobs will take till at least EOYT to find some form and get combinations sorted...


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RE: Etzebeth the key to beating the ABs
August 23, 2013, 08:14:14

With respect - playing Australia and New Zealand is vastly different from playing Argentina. Last year we beat Argentina convincingly in Cape Town following a collapse in Mendozqa and Brisbane - with putrid results afterwards. Everyone is agog about the match after Saturday - but is there going to be a repeat? We need to bear in mind that in the first half of the game in Soweto we really were not all that convincing and the Springboks in fact struggled for just about the whole first half to show superiority. Thereafter the Argentinians lost the plot completely and with some injury problems - as well as two yellow cards - the Springboks gained an advantage leading to a runaway win.

Where can we expect problems in games against the All Blacks and Wallabies? I think that the latter teams have made an assessment of the situation and they will realize where they can improve and turn our fortunes around. Unlike the second half of he test last Saturday there will be pressure on the Springboks throughout and we may find problems again like last year.

Our main problem in Brisbane and against the All Blacks centers around the back row. That is going to be where the games are going to be won and lost. Last year we had the same set of forwards as we are having and in the Soweto test the same back row. That back row in Soweto in particular was totally ineffective as is evident from the following statistics:-

Louw 0/0 0 0/4/4 0 0 0 0 0 5/2 0/0 0 0/0

Alberts 0/0 0 0/1/4 5 0 0 1 0 1/0 2/0 0 0/0

Vermeulen 0/0 0 0/4/1 0 0 0 0 1 6/0 3/0 0 0/0

For three loosies making a total of 12 tackles in a whole game (and missing 2) is showing a real deficiency and between the three of them they virtually made no impression in carrying balls and very little in line outs. In the same game the AB loosies made 30 tackles and carried the ball a total of 115 meters. The problem largely centers around the mobility of our back row.

The question remains could there be a repeat of the fiasco - and the answer is definitely. There is no way that an iommobile back row can compete against a mobile one. Are our loosies better this year than they were last year? The answer is a definite NO - they are not and that is where I believe the games will be lost.

We may have a better backline situation this year than we had in Soweto - but will it help. In Mendoza, Brisbane and Dunedin Morne Steyn disintegrated completely - will it happen again? Lets hop[e it won't - but there really is no real guarantee. In the Soweto test Jantjies flopped badly. We had the immobile Francois Steyn at 12 - and there we will be better. In Soweto we had a disaster in Taute at 13 and the equally useless Hougaard on the wing. Both flopped seriously in defence - but will Engelbrecht and Basson be any better? In attack we showed zero - because of the failures of our flyhalves. Lastly we had the useless Kirchner at full back. I cannot see how we can possibly be worse this year. In essence I think the backline would be more dangerous on attack - but that may be neutralized by Morne Steyn.

All in all - there was not much change in the team that played in Soweto and the two critical elements - namely the pivots and the largely immobile back row can cause serious problems for us again. Lets hope Morne will not disintegrate again - but my hope for improvement by the back row is really zero at all. If anything the three players involved are in fact even less mobile than they were last year.

I think we will - unlike last year - be better in Mendoza and will win against the Argentinians this year. In Brisbane our chances of winning is 50-50. I give the Springboks no chance of beating the All Blacks - away and at home - unless we field a more speedy and effective back row combination and can be assured that Morne does not flop again like he did last year.

That unfortunately is the situation again and I hope Meyer realizes that he cannot go into the fray with the present back row and look carefully at Morne's performances in the next two games - before making the final call as to the playing of Morne in the AB test to follow.

In any event we will see what happens on Saturday and will get a better picture as to what will happen subsequently.



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RE: Etzebeth the key to beating the ABs
August 23, 2013, 08:40:10

Redsman: Mozart & the rest of us finally agree with your previous endless drivel about "no one in oz cares" about oz rugby. We don't care About it either & simply overlook it. It's just a warm up game for the real big boys. ;)

oz should play argues there they will find the level of comp they will be comfortable with. Schedule it after the knitting contest so people can watch the excitement back to back.


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RE: Etzebeth the key to beating the ABs
August 23, 2013, 09:35:18

Mozart, fair comment about the motavation that Eben brings to the rest of the team but there are huge gaps.


As you correctly point out our loosies are really immobile. Then why on earth would the coach want to have a kick and chase strategy and play Morne ? Our loosies cannot chase, they are immobile. That whole plan is flawed.

Eben is going to go missing some time soon and it wont be his doing. He will be demororalised and will find giving inspiration to other members hard going all the time. What we need is for him to have some mates on his side. PSDT, Lappies, Reinach, Coenie, Siya, Lambie, Serfontien to name but a few. Straus to captain with an eye on the RWC.

The day cannot come fast enough when we have Goosen back and i really liked the look of the German Blodie from the Sharks. 

sasuke uchiha

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RE: Etzebeth the key to beating the ABs
August 24, 2013, 00:43:06


"Etzebeth 2013 is a much more complete player than the 2012 model."
i love that line, LMAO, :o)
and i agree with everything u said leading up to it, though the Boks having lightning quick habana on the field in 05 didnt stop the All Blacks from taking out the TriNats, :oP

i think that ezebeth is improving in leaps and bounds, he does look a lot better then he did this time last year, but the reality is how can u not look good when playing against the pumas, samoa, italy and a lionless scotland team???
add to that lady elizabeths zero impact vs the All Blacks in the sowetto, and i get the feeling hes going to be alittle nervous this time round, especially as he was so easily negated by the All Blacks.

its also a mistake to put all the Boks egg in the physicality basket, after all how has that worked out for u so far???
the All Blacks are more then capable of absorbing any of the physical stuff the Boks can thro their way, but the All Blacks speed and mobility is going too much for ur boys to handle.

i honestly beleive the wallabies are a better team then the Boks on paper, even though the form from their last three tests suggest otherwise.
as redsneck correctly pointed out, suncorp is a real fortress for the wallys and IMO the Boks will struggle there, after all the Boks are IMO the worst travelling team of the three SANZAR nations.

as for the All Blacks so called hubris, i bet u wont find article or quote from the All Blacks talking down their opponents after smashing the wallys last week, the fans are a different stroy but not the All Blacks. in fact, all the talk from the All Blacks camp has been how the wallabies have been unlucky and will be harder then ever.
i doubt that the Boks are worried about the All blacks at the moment either, and if they are then they are up poo creek without a paddle, cos they still have two tests to go before worrying about the undisputed No1 rugby team in the universe, :o)


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RE: Etzebeth the key to beating the ABs
August 24, 2013, 01:42:51

Etzebth spearheads the physicality of the boks, and combined with the backrow we have the most physical pack in the world


For the Springboks it is about implementing our game plan which is firstly dominating the physicality collisions- and then getting quick ball for our strong carriers to run onto over and over again.

This pull in opposition defenders and creates space through the middle or out wide, and also tires the opposition out being pulled into tacking our runners at full speed.


This goes back long before Meyer took over the reins.


The key to achieving this is controlling our own possesion at the rucks, as well as applying pressure on opposition ball.

If we can't do this then the most physical pack in world rugby will get blunted and be ineffective.


We have seen when playing against some teams especially Scotland and the All Blacks,  that when the boks allow the opposition to constantly interfere at the rucks we fall apart.


Scotlands is not a great team but they are good at the rucks, and they especially know how to stop the Springbok juggernaught pack from getting momentum.


Meyer has identified that the rucking of the boks is not up to standard. 

Recently a rucking specialist from Scotland has joined the coaching team. 

This should help to stop Mccaw & Co from jumping all over the ball and the ground. 



England were the most effective team at blunting the All Blacks at the rucks last year.

The All Blacks defence showed it was not that strong when teams gain parity at the rucks, or even dominate them. 


The Boks could choose more mobile looseforwards, but then our pack would not have the same ball carriers to dominate the line of advantage.

It is a case of having these carriers but still being able to recycle our own possesion quickly. 

We have seen an improvement of where our ruck play was for much of least year. Given that backline attack is also much better, we shall see an improved performance.


Argentina were not great, but the scoreline by the boks was much better in the same game at this time last year. 


The All Blacks play their own game plan. It is about getting the ball wide as quick as possibale and using the passing skills of their backs to move the ball from side to side until an overlap happens or a mismatch occurs- like a wing runnning at a prop. 

The All Blacks then have most of their forwards as fetchers rather than carriers. 

Carriers are about dominating the line of advantage, and fetchers are about ball retention.


The boks have more carriers than fetchers, so we like to dominate in the forwards before going straight through or wide when overlaps arise.


The All Blacks have a pack of fetchers that are smaller and more mobile so they can get to the ball first on their own possesion when the backs put it wide from side to side, and then also to get turnovers on opposition ball to counter attack from the backs.

This is driven by having a backline that has the best passing skills in the world.


If the boks play our game plan is about having more carriers that are not as mobile but stronger to dominate the advantage line.

We dont spread the ball from side to side with the backs non stop- Instead we first do multiple pick and carries in the forwards, and as long as we recycle quick ball we will dominate the line of advantage.

This will lead to recieving penalties which will lead to further domination of territory, and also gaps straight through or out wide for our speedy backs to run onto.


As long as we can retain possesion quickly at the rucks we do not need to go wide until an overlap happens as we can dominate the advantage line.

This allow our stronger carriers to keep running onto ball at full speed.


We then batter the opposition until a gap appears in the middle or out wide and then we spread the ball. 


 We do not need a pack of small fetchers becuase we do not pass it out to the backs right away to pass the ball from side to side of the field non stop.


It is only when the Boks are poor at the rucks that we cant implement our game plan. 

Our backs on attack and in defence are much better than a year ago, and our rucking has also improved. 


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RE: Etzebeth the key to beating the ABs
August 24, 2013, 01:43:03

I'm surprised Beeno isn't already gushing over this blog :)


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RE: Etzebeth the key to beating the ABs
August 24, 2013, 02:05:44

 Although it would be good to have one back up fetcher on the bench- either Brussouw or Deon Fourie just in case.


In 2009 with Brussouw in top form, this meant we performed well at the rucks- and our forward carriers therefore dominated proceedings. 


Brussouw had much more impact than Matfield in 2009. 


As in 2009, 2013 I think our rucking performance is more important than Ezebeth.


Coenie, Bismaark, Vermuelen and Francois Louw are all effective at the breakdown, but strong carriers as well.



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RE: Etzebeth the key to beating the ABs
August 24, 2013, 07:20:55

Your theory on using the forwards as battering rams and only occasionally passing the ball to the backline has NOT worked in Soweto and as a matter of fact did not work out since 2011. When we look at the tests against the All Blacks and Wallabies (in the away game) - their forwards are more effective in ball carries and form part of the attacking back line plays - resulting in regular overlaps occurring.

The immobility of our loosies is a main reason why the partnership between the forwards and backs of the AB's and Wallabies are so effective. The so-called ball carries of the Springboks rarely - if ever - worked against the said two teams as is evidenced by the stats provided above in respect of the Soweto test for example. There is not the remotest chance that it would work this year as well. With that approach a repeat of last years third on the log is inevitable.

We have to have effective counter-measures, especially since our inside backs tend to kick balls aimlessly and ineffectively leading to all team ball carrying counter-attacks and out loosies are nowhere in sight insofar as defence against counter-attacks are concerned.

That is far and away he main reason why your theories do not work out. We are trying to play the All Blacks and Wallabies with 8 tight forwards and no real loosies - even Louw is not the fastest loosie around. That is where we fail in tests and there is no chance we can overcome that failure this year as well.

Maybe - just maybe - the theory can work against NH teams - who plays a similar kind of game than the Meyer and your plan portrays - it can never work against the two strongest SH teams. it did not work out last year - and will not work out this year - end of story.

I say the two strongest SH teams - we do not count and come a poor third. We will end up as fourth ranked team this year and that is a fact of life we cannot argue against - not because we deserve such a low ranking - but because of defective team selection and a defective strategy. The Springboks should beat the Pumas today and will then lose at least five of the remaining 7 tests this year as a result of Meyer's team selections and strategy. Back to the just about 60% winning of tests this year - it could even be worse, we can lose against the French as well - which will mean a 50% success rate in tests - much worse than 2012 . All because of the same two cancers - poor team selection and a poor unworkable strategy.


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RE: Etzebeth the key to beating the ABs
August 24, 2013, 08:05:25

 Ai Baas Mike jy praat baaaie kak.  Why do you have to waffle so much?  A girl is just as delusional but he manages to talk the same amount of kak in three sentenses. 

Oh, has no one ever told you that quoting statistical points out of context is just plain silly.  If, for some reason, you do not quite understand statistica you should stay the [removed] away from quoting individual stats.


No one game can be compared equally to another unless the exact same conditions on the same field with the same players and the same officials are used.  If you quote a player's stats for one game and an opposing player's stats for another game you are already comparing [removed] with chocolats.  Djys dom my larnie, baie dom, hou liewe jou smoel styf toe, nê


One swallow does not make a summer but one swallow is all that is needed to inspire the flock to get going.  There have been ample examples in history.  The All Blacks are clearly a better inspired team with MacCaw in the mix.  They are even better when him and Carter are both there.  See how Fdu P lifted the spirit in the bok game.  Sure, we all know the whoohoo, the Argies were already beaten lalalala.  Netso, nê


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RE: Etzebeth the key to beating the ABs
August 24, 2013, 12:17:47

Great post, Moz but I still think defence will play a huge factor in beating the AB's. We don't have their skill, neither do we possess their attacking flair but if we can counter balance those deficiences with great set pieces and with agressive defence then I think we'll have more than half a chance of beating them.


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RE: Etzebeth the key to beating the ABs
August 25, 2013, 05:10:39

Thanks denny, but the post isn't looking so great today. The Bargies more than matched our physicality and  Morne saved our bacon. Yep defence is huge, as we saw today in the Oz/AB match. Those NZ tries were just too easy.....against a quality team like OZ.


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RE: Etzebeth the key to beating the ABs
August 25, 2013, 08:02:56

Etzebeth remains the key - but he needs support from the other forwards as well - and that support yesterday was sadly missing. None of the SA loosies were anywhere near breakdown points and were totlly ineffective in most facets of play yesterday. I think Louw will be OK - but he needs support from the other loosies and those were absent today. A carthorse like Alberts is not the answer - too slow and to complement him with another slow one - Vermeulen - is a ghastly mistake.

Our ball carriers were not supported in tackle situations - because the Pumas loosies were there miles before the SA loosies and other forwards pitched up. If the Pumas can do that - the AB's and the Wallabies will play the fool with us.

Then there was the pathetic Kruger - who did zilch yesterday - he definitely needs urgent replacement. And lastly - Steenkamp is an embarrassment - he needs to go as well.

Also - where I now agree with you m- is the need to get rid of Engelbrecht at 13 - move the bugger to 14 or he must also be replaced.

If Meyer had any idea about what we have to do next - he would go foior the following:-

15 Lambie

14 Le Roux

13 Serfontein

12 De Villiers

11 Habana

10 Steyn

9 Van Zyl/Reinach

8 Coetzee/Labuschagne

7 Kolisi

6 Louw

5 De Jager

4 Etzebeth

3 Malherbe

2 Du Plessis

1 Beast

16 Strauss

17 Du Plessis

18 Oosthuizen

19 Du Toit

20 Labuschagne/Coetzee

21 Van Zyl/Reinach

22 Engelbrecht

23 Catrakilis - to cover the flyhalf position.

I cannot see how else we can win even one of the remaining four matches in the Championship. The tests this year was against poor performers - yesterday was a real test against slightly stronger opponents and we failed badly. Time for reputation players like Alberts and Vermeulen (who actually do not produce anything of substance against stronger opposition) to go - and make our selections performance - based, otherwise we will lose 6 of the remaining 7 test matches this year as well.. That would put pay to Meyer's term as a coach - so he better be very careful about selections.

And he should forget about playing average players attached to foreign clubs as well. Another Steenkamp, Kruger and Pienaar fiasco should be avoided at all costs - we cannot afford passengers any longer.


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RE: Etzebeth the key to beating the ABs
August 25, 2013, 08:34:46
Bismarck du Plessis ahead of Adriaan Strauss, why? Frans Malherbe and Pieter-Steph du Toit are not injured? I think the same for the inclusion of Lappies Labuschagne and Lood de Jager in the squad, these youngsters need to be with the Boks. Also, Fourie du Preez should stay in the mix for the SA home games.


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RE: Etzebeth the key to beating the ABs
August 25, 2013, 09:07:14

We cannot go into tests against the AB's and Wallabies with the present squad. They will be neutralized completely insofar as mobility and application is concerned. Fourie Du Preez is NOT available for any of the remaining games - so there is no chance that he would be available - I would gladly have him - but that one is impossible.

I do not think that Strauss and Du Plessis as hookers would be an issue - one has to start - the other one on the bench - I do not care what they do about that one.

Pieter-Steph will be available next week and De Jager is now. Neither of them can be worse than Kruger. I would start De Jager and in view of the very limited recent game time - bring Du Toit off the bench.

And our main problem remains the immobile loosies. None of them ever got to breakdown points yesterday. The Argentine loosies outplayed them comprehensively and that is a fact of life. If the Argentine loosies could do that - it would be a disaster against the better Wallaby and All Black loosies. They would - like in the Soweto test last year be out of sight completely. That means whether we like it or not - we need strong loosies that can be at breakdown points timeously and also have ball skills and will not lose possession like happened yesterday, What is proposed is drastic - but unfortunately we have to look at what players did i9n Super 15 and go with form.


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RE: Etzebeth the key to beating the ABs
August 25, 2013, 18:58:56
I corrected myself, I mean Lappies Labuschagne and Lood de Jager Need to be in the squad, sorry for this hehe.And if du Toit is available, he needs to be there too. We don't need anymore Juandré Kruger, Bjorn Basson, Willem Alberts, Gurthrö the ineffective Steenkamp and Ruan Pienaar. Otherwise, we should keep Duane Vermeulen in the bench.

Can we put Bismarck at prop?


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RE: Etzebeth the key to beating the ABs
August 25, 2013, 19:12:05

 Pieter Steph du Toit and Lappies would bring some more mobility. They are also both effective at the ruck and strong carriers as well- so we need to find a place for them asap.


I would say that Alberts has been the loose forward that has not contribued much so far this season- although his tackle stats are amongst the highest. 

Vermulen has been solid. 


Flouw has not been effective at the breakdown. We need a backup fetcher on the bench. 

Deon Fourie seems to be the only option we have as he is effective at the breakdown. (Brussouw is now eating suchi so way out of the picture).


Or we need to retread Laberschage into an openside flanker. 


We do not produce many openside flankers because it is not in our nature to steal possesion and cheat at the rucks


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RE: Etzebeth the key to beating the ABs
August 25, 2013, 19:31:03
Your totally right Sharkbok, Meyer should give a shot to Deon Fourie, he deserves it.

sasuke uchiha

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RE: Etzebeth the key to beating the ABs
August 26, 2013, 01:39:14


if lady elizabeth is the key to the Boks beating the All Blacks, then the pumas just locked ur key in the car, LMAO, :oD
lady elizabteh was pretty invisible, a mirror image performance of him vs the All Blacks last year, but i have to say the way he handled senotare when the puma mistakend lady elizabeth for a sandwhich got a nod of approval from me, before then i would have wagered on lady elizabeth throwing another headbutt with more fist cuffs.
given the Boks were under the pump, that level of composure was a big plus. pity he did nothing else though.

All Blacks only have two known fetchers in their forwards and not the whole froward pack as u imply, hore and McCaw and McCaw doesnt even major in pilfering anymore, in fact he hasnt done so since 2008, so wrong [removed]ysis there regarding the ABs, but i hope meyer makes the same assumptions, will make the wins coming our way that much easier.

still dont know why the Bok fans are so "its all about the pilfer" every player who plays in the forwards can contest the ball, and thats the key, contesting, this means forwards getting of their asses and hitting those rucks for the whole 80mins, and not for 45mins before hoping they get their podgy puffing asses subbed off for a break.

i cant stop LMAO regarding how fickle u fans are, last year louw was this and that, this year its time for someone new, lolz.

deon fourie would be a good inclusion, but why would u want to play him against the All Blacks or wallabies when hes untested??? the window of opprtunity that the pumas provided is now gone for that relasitic option to be a reality, but then again ive seen meyer do dumber things.

lappies is in the same boat, but his mobility and spXV form would be worth the gamble IMO.

bringing bizzy in might be a good option, consdiering he excels with turnovers at the breakdown, but i would still pcik strauss over him easy, IMO strauss offers more round the feild and also has the better form.

my forward pack
1 beast, 2 bizzy, 3 c oosthuizen, 4 e ezebeth, 5 j kruger, 6 f louw, 7 l labushcange, 8 d vermeulen
16 a strauss, 17 s kitshoff, 18 j du plessis, 19 f van der mewe, 20 m coetzee
enough power and grunt to get the work done and more importantly, do it for the whole 80mins.


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RE: Etzebeth the key to beating the ABs
August 26, 2013, 04:59:27

All 15 players should be pilferers. If you arrive at the breakdown early enough, by all means, pilfer away. Tends to result in a penalty anyway. Counter rucking is the way possession is usually won  

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