RE: A not unexpected match.
August 25, 2013, 05:42:58
I agree with you that there are real problems and cautioned that the Soweto game was influenced by the yellow card issue - pointing out that the first 30 minutes of the test showed a vey even contest where we did not have the upper hand at all. This time that 30 minutes largely covered the whole match.
I pointed out before the Soweto test that there are deficiencies in the team and after the match an amount of ridicule about what I said before the game was really unbelievable. Four issues I highlighted before the Soweto test showed up badly yesterday, namely -
* the problems associated with defence and especially mentioning Basson and Engelbrecht combining at 13 and 14;
* the passive game associated with the Pienaar and Steyn half-back combination;
* the immobile back row issue; and
* the deficiencies of Kruger at lock
All of the above was clear yesterday. I was prepared to forgive Engelbrecht's defence deficiencies because of his attacking abilities - but have to admit that you were right and I was wrong when we dealt with the issue. The defence problem was back with a vengeance yesterday and could have cost us the game. Basson always was a useless defence - so I am not surprised about what happened yesterday.
I warned that Pienaar was a problem at scrum half because he was not really performing well for Ulster this year. Yesterday his service to Steyn was pathetically slow and ineffective. That coupled to the standard Steyn standard deficiencies in backline play played a major role in the poor backline performances yesterday - especially the handling errors were pathetic and a flyhalf knocking on a ball passed to him equals that of Jantjies standard performances at fly half.
The worst part of yesterdays performance was our back row combination. Yesterday proved without doubt that we cannot have a largely immobile back row combination and expect to win breakdowns and ball recovery in tackle situations. The Pumas back row outplayed the Springbok one totally. The Pumas back row players were quickly to break down points and they easily pushed us off the ball resulting in losses of possession and in overlaps in attacking play.
Kruger was pathetic yesterday and the sooner he is replaced the better. No grunt was badly in evidence and he was ineffectual in line outs as well.
There is much more wrong in the team than to replace Basson and Engelbrecht as suggested by you and think the problems will go away. Something drastic has to be done in respect of the other problems I mentioned constantly for a long time now and those include that -
* that Pienaar needs to go - he was ineffectual the whole year for Ulster and yesterday he was pathetic and his service slow and poor;
* We cannot keep the present back row combination. The immobility factor is killing us off completely and the Aussies and AB's will kill us off easily in the forthcoming tests. Al three loosies yesterday was totally ineffective in all aspects of the game especially in breakdown situations where they were absent and in ball carrying. I would suggest that both Alberts and Vermeulen were bad apples in the relevant regard and the sooner both - but at least one of them is gone - the better we can expect to perform.
* Kruger should be released to play in France soon and be out of contention.
To summarize - I believe like you that we should start with Serfontein and forget about Enngelbrecht at 13 - that could be done by eliminating Basson as a starting point. We can do that by moving Engelbrecht to wing or play Le Roux at 14 and Lambie at full back. Pienaar should go back to Ulster asap. I would rather see another option at scrummie. Either Alberts or Vermeulen or both of them should be sent packing. I would rather have a system tackler - as you called Coetzee and Labuschagne - than I have players too slow to get to breakdown points and to effect tackles in midfield and even wider out than is the case at present. The famous ball carrying capacity of Alberts yesterday was gone as well. Kruger - go to France - do not pass go - do not collect R200 (thinking of the monopoly board game that is).
Unless there are changes - the next four tests will be lost and the Springboks will be beaten into pulp by the Wallabies and the All Blacks - end of story.