Why Can't South Africans Learn
July 03, 2014, 12:00:03
It's 2014 and I'm still hearing calls for a ridiculous "running" game that is solely reliant on one player - in particular the flyhalf - running all bis lonesome into the best and most organized defensive units rugby has ever seen. It doesn't work. It can never work. If you want moments of individual brilliance as your main source of attacking impetus, then prepare to be disappointed; they have always been far and few between, that's the very reason why they the crowd get a thrill out of it when it happens. Then there's this garbage of "expression", "creativity" as these ambiguous qualities are supposed to be some beacon of hope for us one day unlocking defences. This New Age "feel-good" nonsense has NO problem solving properties and that is where it falls flat on it's face. South African rugby is passionate, but it relies too much on raw emotion to achieve anything. For one, it's exhausting and secondly, it's too erratic and inconsistent. Emotion is always changeable and unreliable. New Zealand spoke of this emotional influence in Bok rugby, and used it against us!
What I advocate is an increase in intellect by learning how to create. By understanding the technicalities of movement our players will be able to create opportunities. If you do not understand these technicalities of the game you cannot perceive what is in front of you, and that leads to predictable running and ineffective kicking as a last resort to get behind the defensive line. The smallest movement for creating space are two man plays. This is the next step up from individuals doing their own thing. It's a deliberate and organized movement to manipulate the defence and create the opening you desire. As defences have been improving coaches have been looking more and more t o League for answers to exploit these systems, and the answer modern coaches are implementing are three man plays which one in the team repertoire can create a breach at any point on the defensive line - it's been the core principle of England's back-line revival in recent years. So what then of the 10? He is fundamentally a passer or a kicker... not a runner. Australia are primary exponents of the flat attack, which is founded on the 10 engaging and fixing the opposition 10 and 12. It's not about running through them, as most South Africans demand, it's about preventing the 10 and 12 from drifting. There has to be movement around the flyhalf to make this work, and this is where South Africa are traditionally weak. It's about time that these imbeciles promoting headless-chicken nonsense be silenced. What they propose doesn't exist in Australia or New Zealand and will never exist in any successful side. Morné has been the best 10 in South Africa for a long time, but we have rarely made use of him. Fortunately we are seeing a turnaround as Meyer is considerably more intelligent than most South Africans. What have we seen in the past year or so? Morné using that deft pass and decision making to unleash our backs time and again, as he has done at the Bulls so faithfully! The tragic irony is that if South Africa had been better in their angles and timing of running, it may have taken enough pressure off our smaller 10s to allow them to have a go on their own a bit more, rather than being bombarded and flattened, as has been the case with Lambie and Goosen - though neither have a good rugby brain, so that's a big if.
In the end, until South Africans start to learn and develop, our rugby will never be number one. And this persistent garbage delusion of individuals running at will from wherever into whatever is holding us back. If this was the 1980s, sure it may be more fruitful, but defences were not organized then, now it take a lot more than just running to achieve top level results. If you think a 10 will ever be able to do it all on his own, then you are one deluded fool.