UK scribe lauds Boks' Pienaar
Sport24 chief writer Rob Houwing (File)
Cape Town - Whether it will influence coach Heyneke Meyer remains to be
seen, but at least one respected member of the visiting English media
believes Springbok substitute Ruan Pienaar was the premier scrumhalf of
the Test series.
Eddie Butler, a former Wales captain and
long-time writer for The Observer, wrote after Saturday’s drawn third
and last contest in Port Elizabeth that England No 9 Danny Care
(officially named player of the match) had “brought a zip to the
position” but felt that Ulster-based Pienaar “looked the pick of the
scrumhalves in this series”.
Pienaar got good game-time in the
second half of each Test as the relatively unconvincing Francois
Hougaard was pulled off the park, and Butler suggested the former Sharks
favourite had limited time on the field “as a result of plying his
trade in Europe”.
Many South African critics have concurred that
Pienaar’s seemingly superior all-round game to Hougaard’s is worth
noting as the Boks now size up the Castle Rugby Championship.
Butler was relatively lukewarm about England snatching a dead-rubber draw to stave off a clean sweep.
was reassuring confirmation of the refusal by Stuart Lancaster’s team
to do anything other than keep going. Never give up. Chase every cause.
cussedness should be taken for granted, and stands out because it was a
rare positive. Did England develop as an attacking force? Not much.”
the same paper, Robert Kitson wrote: “A draw, in the end, preserved the
honour of both teams. JP Pietersen has been among the players of this
series and South Africa will be no pushovers in the inaugural Rugby
But former England and Lions lock Paul Ackford, in
the Sunday Telegraph, wasn’t quite so sure: “This was a Bok team that
never got out of first gear ... (they) need to regroup and rethink if
they are going to trouble the All Blacks this year.
was booing Morne Steyn at the end, so angry and frustrated were they at
the shapeless, lacklustre contribution of the Boks’ main organiser.”
He was generous to England for their courage and commitment.
had no right to be as gutsy and passionate as this. It was their last
game of a long season, which began over a year ago in the pre-World Cup
“Rattled in the first two Tests, they hung on in the third
to deny South Africa an embarrassing tenth straight victory. England,
and this should be writ large in capital letters, were magnificent.”
Hewett of the Sunday Independent ventured: “A dead game? Not for
England, who were full of life ... still breathing, rather more strongly
than their hosts, when Owen Farrell’s majestically unsuccessful attempt
at a decisive dropped goal signalled the end of a hard tour.
side deserved something for their efforts and were duly granted it.
When the Boks pushed ... they were repelled by a defence with real iron
in its soul.”