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9957 Topic: Why Can't South Africans Learn

Status: Bok regular
Posts: 713
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.


Status: Bok regular
Posts: 1760
RE: Why Can't South Africans Learn
July 03, 2014, 13:48:13

 Good post. I've said it many times, we lack intellectual property in backline play. Sadly we also lack the basics like ball handling skills, something Oz and the Kiwis do with ease.

We also don't know how to advance the ball downfield other than to kick and our kicking isn't all that crash either. Sometimes I wonder whether the reason why our players crashball and die with the ball is because they either don't trust their hands or whether they struggle with passing the ball.


Status: Hall Of Fame
Posts: 9507
RE: Why Can't South Africans Learn
July 03, 2014, 13:51:04
To actually think that a professional player in SA could ever be questioned over their basic skills is massively insulting and a clear measure of ignorance on the part of the author  


Status: Hall Of Fame
Posts: 13150
RE: Why Can't South Africans Learn
July 03, 2014, 14:31:06
Sun Tzu

In essence you raised some realistic points - but also some dubious interpretations.  Nobody in his right mind wants players to run around aimlessly all the time.     The fact is that the issues you despise - creativity and creatuion of space are the really important issues in backline play.  Predictability kills backline play comprehensively.

Morne is the one poor player in that backline that does not meet any requirements other than kicking at goal.  His  predictability and as you state "deft passes" from a stand still position is what kills backline play.   Just  look at wgat the Stade Francais coach says about Morne Steyn: as quoted elsewhere by becs.    I have seen him playing in matches from his junior days.  In the Under 21 WC final in Argentina he was poor - and his kicking at gioal was atrocious - he nearly cost us the game.   Since then his goal kicking improved - the rest of his game remained at best average to poor because of his predictability and his playing technique.   Meyer tried to change his playing style but now we have a case of him not knowing when to kick and when to pass.

The other issue that Denny raised is also pertinent - some of our vackline players are shockingly poor in ball handling and timing of passes.  This has been less notable recently among most platers - but Hougaard gave two shockingly bad passes aimed at nobody on Saturday.   

The answer is that we must get a flyhalf that can read the game and decide on positive measures that would benefit the team - not somebody who has no ball sense - and Morne has none.  Then all your food ideas will come to fruition = with Morne at 10 - there is no chance of any improvement in that situation.




Status: Senior player
Posts: 3795
RE: Why Can't South Africans Learn
July 03, 2014, 14:58:29
Backline passing skills in South Africa are generally of a poor standard
Their are exceptions like Willie LeRoux, scrummies and flyhalfs. 

Many of the centres are crash balls only. They have no idea how to pass or time a pass, or run lines that supporting runners can get into position to recieve passes.

Look no further than the SuperXV. Our teams rely on the driving maul to score most of the tries. Only the Cheetas have a quality running game.

The backline passing skills are the reason more SA teams have not won the SuperXV, and the reason that South Africa rarely rank number one in the world. 


Status: Hall Of Fame
Posts: 8921
RE: Why Can't South Africans Learn
July 03, 2014, 16:02:47
Nice post Sun...but don't  expect the Goosenistas to understand what you are their tiny little minds they are still seeing pictures of Goosen winning the RWC running gloriously through acres of open space. Stupid hey? 


Status: Bok regular
Posts: 713
RE: Why Can't South Africans Learn
July 03, 2014, 16:33:55
Sad but true Moz, and in the end they set up their golden Goose for the plucking.

I don't blame our skills Sharkbok, they've actually improved dramatically post 2007. But a lack of planning and know-how on attack leads to hesitancy and strain as the individuals struggle to operate in any meaningful way; the result are handling errors, trips, or just stalling too long ball-in-hand and losing the opportunity. When the South African players are trained by foreign coaches the response is almost instantaneous, overnight they can play very effective rugby. The Cheetahs are an example of that organization and coherency. They don't play reckless running it from wherever headless turkey rugby, they are very structured. And they don't rely on an specific 10 to make that happen. They've played more 10s than any other SA franchise since 2008 and their attacking brand is always there. It's not who you play, but how you use them. The knock-on effect is that a player like Willie carries those principles through to the national team. He attacks shoulders, not bodies, as most of our players tend to do. Something so simple as draw and pass would drastically improve most of our performances. It's not skills, but knowing what you are doing. I read once in an old rugby magazine how French coaches used to ask their players about what they were doing on the field and why. They wanted them to learn to think. We need more of that.

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