Play Butch at flyhalf

2011-09-13 15:06

Comment: Rob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer

Cape Town - Butch James should be given another chance in his favoured No 10 jersey for South Africa when they encounter Fiji in their next World Cup Pool D match in Wellington on Saturday.

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He is just the sort of rugged, no-nonsense customer to lend essential defensive stability to the channel against the muscular, athletic Pacific Islanders who are, let’s face it, not averse to the sort of borderline illegal tackling style that once marked James’s play a little more routinely than it does today.

It seems an opportune occasion to “rest” Morné Steyn who, on second viewing of the champions’ stuttering Wales opener, did not appear quite as vulnerable in general play as some have made out, but is not best suited to playing these foes.

I would certainly retain him in the match-day 22 if possible, just in case the game is looking more ding-dong than the Boks would like and his particularly deadeye place-kicking might be a game-tilting factor late on if, disconcertingly, it comes to that.

But fielding James at flyhalf would also give the Springbok coaching staff a chance to examine once more the different elements James brings, also on attack, at a time when the predictability and conservatism of their game-plan is under scrutiny yet again.

With Jean de Villiers ruled out at inside centre, there is also an ideal opening, I believe, for Western Province colleague Juan de Jongh to be added to the mix: he is no stranger to operating in midfield alongside Jaque Fourie and may just further aid any quest to restore some sparkle and slipperiness to the backline as a whole.

De Jongh may not be the biggest unit in the world, but his commitment in the tackle is not in question: he goes in low and resolutely in the old-fashioned way and could curb the customary Fijian bid for great fluidity and Sevens-like running thrust.

Another option at No 12 might be Frans Steyn; put him alongside James and you wouldn’t fancy too many opponents to nonchalantly bump them off, would you?

But he played well at fullback against Wales - one of few Springboks to earn that label quite emphatically - so shifting him from that slot probably makes no sense at present.

Patrick Lambie’s versatility could also be considered … but again he seems the sort of player who might offer some aces off the bench if things get sticky.

The time may well have also come to finally take Bryan Habana, that eternal starter for franchise and country while not setting the planet alight, out of that mode and allow him to rethink and refocus.

It is one thing for him to constantly shake his head and lament so few front-foot opportunities coming his way - and, yes, they aren’t of late - but when the ever-audacious and spiky Francois Hougaard entered the fray at left wing during the fightback against Wales, it was noticeable how much appetite and awareness he showed in actually looking to create things.

If the Boks intend truly employing a squad system at this World Cup, and keeping as many players as possible match-sharp, it might make sense to give Gurthro Steenkamp a starting run at loosehead prop, because he badly needs solid time on the park, and use Beast Mtawarira for impact off the bench against the Fijians.

My own choice would be to prefer the vibrant, hard-nosed Bismarck du Plessis at hooker at the expense of captain John Smit, although against these opponents it may not matter too much if each gets, say, a half and in no special order.

The Boks could do a lot worse, if it is decided not to field Smit, than hand the inspiring Schalk Burger the leadership against Fiji - and maybe even give him a stab at No 8 ahead of Pierre Spies, with burly Willem Alberts getting a run at blindside flank and giving the underdogs some doses of their own punishing physical medicine.

If that doesn’t work too well, these two players can easily have their roles switched, after all.

My preferred Bok team to play Fiji:

15 Frans Steyn 14 JP Pietersen 13 Jaque Fourie 12 Juan de Jongh 11 Francois Hougaard 10 Butch James 9 Fourie du Preez 8 Schalk Burger (capt) 7 Willem Alberts 6 Heinrich Brüssow 5 Johann Muller 4 Danie Rossouw 3 Jannie du Plessis 2 Bismarck du Plessis 1 Gurthro Steenkamp

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  • jk - 2011-09-13 15:15

    butch should go to france to learn some etiquette...and game structure...and class...

      Milkman - 2011-09-13 15:43

      France by 8

      Francois - 2011-09-13 15:57

      France by 8?

      jk - 2011-09-13 16:04


      DeonL - 2011-09-13 16:05

      NZ by 28.

      jk - 2011-09-13 16:12

      kevin- jou taal boetie!!!

      Johnny-BB - 2011-09-13 16:14

      ....All Blacks = 2011 World Champions...!! ........Go all Blacks...!!!!

      chaka - 2011-09-13 16:21

      Butch should not even be there! The only thing he does best is collect yellow and red cards.

      Ed - 2011-09-13 16:31

      what have you been smoking?

      Voyager - 2011-09-13 16:32

      @chaka Geez bud - you stuck in a time-warp?

      LG - 2011-09-13 16:43

      jk, a physical fly half is just what we need. Unfortunately the truth is if it wasn’t for Money's phenomenal place kicking, he wouldn’t be in the Bok squad. I would have to agree with this article and the 'preferred' line up. But I still think that Ryan Kankowski should be on the park though.

      chaka - 2011-09-13 16:45

      Voyager, firstly not a bud and secondly that is my personal opinion. Can't stand the man and I personally feel that he should not have made the springbok rugby team. Once again let me make it quiet clear That is my personal opinion.

      LG - 2011-09-13 16:49


      soetdoring - 2011-09-14 01:30

      Butch is NOT our nr.1 flyhalf at the WC. WC matches are not show pieces, the only goal is to win matches. Recent past has shown that teams focus on defense with the number of tries kept to a minimum. A reliable kicker is therefore an absolute must and Morne wins this department by a country mile. With regard to defense, go and have a look at the stats of both players. Morne has in fact made more successful tackles than Butch. No, Morne is for me the better player at the WC.

  • - 2011-09-13 15:16

    Agree with you 100% Rob. I'd possibly consider playing Flo at 7 with Alberts coming off the bench with 20 to go. Flo will give us the added advantage at the breakdown and is also a great ball carrier.

      GILLBERT - 2011-09-13 15:23

      flo is like steggie and disappears in the big games

      Marx - 2011-09-13 16:17

      Gilbert, how many balls did Brüssow steal last weekend when the tight 5 was nowhere? Same principal applies for all the fetchers you know....

      Jasoneye - 2011-09-13 17:05

      Rob's comments on Bryan are shocking, he wasnt too bad on the weekend. Now JP on the other hand had a shocking game. What about Gio Aplon or is he too small because if he is then so id Hougaard.

      GraemeBB - 2011-09-13 17:09

      @Paddler - I agree with giving Flo a go. But it is so predictable that people will want to drop the "usual" crowd. James was borderline yellow again Sunday, and that when be did tackle. Morne was not as poor as some try to make, and a Flyhalf who is on the back foot the whole game will struggle. I thought his line kicks were good, and kicked important points. Inside centre - DeJong must get a go, with Lambie on the bench. If we need to, Steyn can move to centre, and Lambie can move off the bench to 15. I am a big Spies fan, but if there is no plan to use him in attack, why have him there?? There are far better no8 in the maul, and typical "drive" senario. Coaches, what is the plan, and then choose the best suited players! Although there will be head-hunting, I believe that the Bok team as a unit isnt jamming. With Bissie and Hougie on the park, it appeared as though the boks were more competitive. But change is needed.

      Northern Stormer - 2011-09-13 17:39

      @GraemeBB - My friend i like this comment of yours. we bumped heads on other articles before but I am partly with you on this one - Flo can do exactly the same as Brussow and he is more beefy for use against the Fidjians - Butch is a difficult caracter and maybe just we need saturday however I would play Lambie and bench both Butch and Morne for back-up ?? I am concerned about morne becasue his tackling was worse than the rest of the team and he really reminde me of a turnstile at OR Tambo - LOL Hougaard at no 9 and Bissie at no 2. Spies - well i don't want to offend you but yes he is better of the bench - play Burger there and then there is space for alberts and Flo - Your opinion ??

  • chappy - 2011-09-13 15:16

    Far too sensible for our coaching staff.. I agree 100% with your 15.

  • Rick - 2011-09-13 15:17

    I agree completely. It will also sound off a bell to the "first choice" players that if they don't improve their game drastically, they will lose their positions. But we all know PDV by now... he won't change that much in under a week. He hasn't go the courage to make such a bold move.

      jk - 2011-09-13 15:27

      WONT HELP...FRANCE BY 8...

      Rick - 2011-09-13 15:57

      jk - nothing and no one can help you.

      jk - 2011-09-13 15:57

      the french can...

      Rick - 2011-09-13 16:11

      Actually you are right jk - they can help you, they are known for their expertise in assisting people who have a mental illness such as yourself.

      jk - 2011-09-13 16:24

      and frog legs...

  • ŸÄ±Kleinboet - 2011-09-13 15:18

    Morne is the best flyhalf in the world, hands down. Rest him against the smaller unions, we'll need him against NZ and Australia. And please get rid of useless JdV, Habana, Schalk and JF. They WILL cost us the WC

      Rick - 2011-09-13 15:23

      what crap? Morne the best flyhalf. Who let you out of your cage? I'm use to jk talking rubbish but your comment makes him seem sane. I'd rather have those players you just called "useless" than Morne.

      Lean - 2011-09-13 15:26

      What are you smoking? Steyn is not even close to best. JF is the best backline player we got, in defence, and he sure as hell can take gaps too. Schalk is also a must, he brings a lot to the team, and has a huge workrate. You know nothing about rugby!

      ShRoOm PoPsiCLe - 2011-09-13 15:29

      Just another confused Bulls supporter..

      jk - 2011-09-13 15:36

      earl the pearl is beter...

      Rationalist - 2011-09-13 15:37

      @Klienboet - you sound like a biased Bulls supporter. Agree with Habana, but apart form that you are talking crap. The team is the Boks, not the Bulls. Playing in NZ and not Loftus. Grow up.

      Sharkie4ever - 2011-09-13 15:45

      And that is why you are a Kleinboet, so just somer listen here to your big boets!

      No8 - 2011-09-13 16:02

      Anti WP???

      DeonL - 2011-09-13 16:03

      The best kicking flyhalf of SA, best suited for NZ. conditions.

      SAFFA-CAT - 2011-09-13 16:15

      Hello @FakeKleinboet - Bored in Canada my friend? The trouble you cause the folk on these forums has no end.

      Bosman - 2011-09-13 16:17

      Idiot....did you watch the same game as the rest of us? Morne cant tackle....AT ALL...and he and grandpa Du Preez kicked away all possession. You cant win without ball in hand and definitely not with a flyhalf who cant defend. Francois Hougaard was our best player hands down. Put him on number 9.

      Johnny-BB - 2011-09-13 16:32

      ...the problem is Bryan Banana and Jean de Villiers..... they both can't tackle and they always want to intercept... ....weak links in back line....

      betterness - 2011-09-13 16:57

      Ye right .. best flyhalf... well he must be, considering that he doesn't slip a tackle, aggressive on defence, great pace, accurate passer and hardly EVER kicks the ball away... !!! Sorry bros,, he may be SA's best goal-kicker, but with the game having changed, and the power and agility of the big teams loose forwards, he has no place in my starting line-up. Our 9 and 10 are our nemesis I'm sad to say ... Hougard and Butch rather,, for me anyway

      LG - 2011-09-13 17:12

      ŸÄ±Kleinboet, hahaha, please tell me your joking? I would have to say, unfortunately, that flyhalfs is one position that SA rugby really lakes great talent. Hopefully young Lambie will soon be able to correct that

      Kevin - 2011-09-13 18:48

      He would be if he could tackle run and position himself on defence.

      Sakkie Van de Spuy - 2011-09-13 20:46

      Morne, is NOT the best flyhalf in the world...if you look at the full package (not just kicking), he is not even the best flyhalf in South Africa. Seeing that you only think non-blue bull players are useless, while conveniently forgetting FdP, Spies, Morne Steyn, I think you are either too subjective or have no clue... You can choose. How is Morne Steyn and his kicking going to help us, if we play 60% of our rugby in our own half. He can not kick to poles from his own half. Only Francois Steyn can. How is Morne Steyn going to help if we have to do double the defending? I have seen turnstiles making more stops than Morne Steyn. His defence is costing us 7+ points a game. His defence is the reason why there are so many gaps out wide. 3 players (1 wing, 1 centre, maybe the flyhalf) can not defend against 5 players (flyhalf, 2 centres, wing, fullback, maybe even a loose forward). Blaming Jean (who needs to tackle Morne's channel and his own, or Bryan, who get 2-3 players running onto him is not correct.

      Psy - 2011-09-13 22:45

      @ yakleinboet - Just matfiled and smith mate and mabe habanna thats not on form. Jaun de V is class - they dont call him the interception king for nothing!!!

      Chris in Oz - 2011-09-14 03:24

      Poor Turnstile Steyn does not know if the oposition went left, right or over him.

  • Robert B - 2011-09-13 15:21

    James Hook missed a couple of kicks and Wales lost. Morne Steyn didn't miss a kick and we won by 1 point. He also threw the pass that made South Africa's first try. What did Butch James do after coming on?

      BlueRaven - 2011-09-13 15:48


      Riaan - 2011-09-13 16:00

      ag please ouboet what game where you watching o sorry the one that morne kicked every ball away

      BlueRaven - 2011-09-13 16:07

      Riaan if you recall our last tri-nations game against Oz which we lost.... do you think if Butch did not fail with the boot maybe we would have won? Just asking. Which part of what Robert said is nonsense? The part where Morne successfully kicked at goal, while the Welsh failed? Or the part where Morne set up the Boks first try? As far as Butch's defense in that specific game... not much better than Morne

      Boks always - 2011-09-13 16:36

      At least Butch got a kick into no 5 from Wales (51st minute), luckily not seen by match officials and siting commissions otherwise we would have been without him for the rest of the cup. He needs to get control over himself otherwise we could loose matches

      Kaapie - 2011-09-13 16:51

      And how many tackles did Morne miss?

      Johnny-BB - 2011-09-13 16:56 many tackles did Jean de Villiers and Bryan Banana missed...??

      BlueRaven - 2011-09-13 17:00

      How many tackles did Butch miss? Then there is the question mark about his discipline as well, as "Boks always" so rightly pointed out.

      Kaapie - 2011-09-13 17:09

      Perhaps I should have said how many times Morne was run over by Roberts

      BlueRaven - 2011-09-13 17:51

      Kaapie what did Butch James do in that match that was so great? Please enlighten me? No Morne is not the greatest on defense. But he is our best kicker. What are you going to do every time a difficult kick needs to be taken, are you going to call him off the bench?? It is rugby not American football.

      Sakkie Van de Spuy - 2011-09-13 22:05

      @ all Morne Steyn fans. On the statement, that he is the best kicker. How do you know we do not have another kicker, if only MS kicks? The question is, would Francois Steyn, Butch James or Patrick Lambie not be able to make the same kicks? I tried to search, but to no avail. Would like to see the actual kicking stats of our 4 kickers. I am willing to bet, Morne Steyn is not that much better than the others. On the statement that JdV and BJ can not defend. Who is on their inside in both cases? How can good defenders suddenly defend bad? Because the man on their inside, does not defend his channel and leave the inside centre to defend 2 runners. He creates confusion and overlaps outwide. MS's defence is costing us 7+ points a game in tries. If not more, due to the pressure he creates which leads to penalties against us. Why did Brussouw make 22 tackles, instead of being the 2nd man at the breakdown? Becasue he had to defened MS's channel. On MS making the pass that made the 1st try. Are you serious? The pass had nothing to do with the try, it did not create a gap. The reason for the try was FS, handing off the wing and then running over the Fullback. FS made the try due to pure power. The question is rather, how many gaps did he create or put players through? How many meters did he make? What good will MS kicking do, when 1) He is kicking away possesion. 2) His kicks is not accurate / does not go out. 2) We are stuck in our own half (to far to go for poles)

      Mrgreeky - 2011-09-15 12:27

      @Sakkie Van Der Spuy, just to enlighten you bud, Steyn plays exactly as he is ordered to do by the coaches. The tactic of kicking the ball up is to put enough pressure on the opposition to either force them into making a mistake or to keep the contact point behind the advantage line. The conditions in NZ make the ball very slippery so an expansive game is out of the question, too many mistakes at the contact point. 90 % of the balls kicked are NOT intended to go out, a good up and under is only as good as the chasers, if you cannot put pressure, then there is less chance of them making a mistake. Good teams do not have there lines broken with normal play, a good kick can gain massive advantage.

      lionel.pretorius2 - 2011-09-15 12:54

      Wales had n converssion the ref disallowed because he was to stupid to use technology ? We never won Wales were cheated and Stey is super KAK .

  • Gareth Williams - 2011-09-13 15:22

    I would have Alberts at 8th man and keep burger at flank personally & where is Beast?

      jk - 2011-09-13 15:24


      Wayne Poisson - 2011-09-13 15:31

      Beast was invisible against Wales.

      Jasoneye - 2011-09-13 17:11

      Alberts is not an 8th man he is a flank, why would you play him out of position. 8th man has alot different role than flanks.

      OuBoerseun - 2011-09-13 17:33

      @Wayne - So which game were you watching, did you hear the okes down there give the "BEAAST" cry when he moved with the ball. vra maar net

  • VaderJakob - 2011-09-13 15:27

    Who would you use as subs. 1. Morne Steyn 2. Gio Aplon (Can cover wing and Full back) 3. Beast 4. Chiliboy 5. Francois Louw 6. CJ vd Linde 7. Pat Lambie

  • Wayne Poisson - 2011-09-13 15:28

    You know we're running out of luck when our flyhalves are Butch and Morne. Please let us just get through this RWC.

      Nikki - 2011-09-13 15:35

      ...who would you rather have Wayne? Lemme guess...Patrick LAMBie or Peter Grant? Patrick has his certain flair & X-factor but he doesn't come close to scoring POINTS at the rate that Morne does...FACT!

      bjay - 2011-09-13 16:07

      I think butch james should be played at number 22 come Saturday. Pat Lambie is mos die beste flyhalf wat ons het.

      Gavin_H - 2011-09-13 16:29

      Nikki, Nikki, Nikki. Please open both eyes and take off the blue shades. You say Pat doesn't come close to scoring at the rate that Morne does. Super Rugby this year, Morne played 16 games scored 216 points at an average of 13.5 per game (didn't score any tries). Pat played 14 games, scored 193 points at 13.79 per game (scored 4 tries). So Pat actually outscored Morne on points per game. FACT

      kosie - 2011-09-13 16:50

      @nikki, if you count only this years s15, lambie's kicking record is par with morne's, and he is young still improving, not saying he is ready now but he will be ready come 2015 RWC.

      pants - 2011-09-13 19:17

      Lambie is a natural flyhalve...and is not afraid to tackle.

      mycentswrth - 2011-09-13 21:35

      Well said Gavin_H, and I'm sure he has a couple of assists as well and Morne, null. So, there you go, Nikki, and while I'm at it move Hougard to # 9 and the bokke will score more tries.

      Superfish - 2011-09-14 03:23

      @ Nikki but at least Lambie can Tackle

  • Superdude - 2011-09-13 15:32

    Good post Rob, in a game against Fiji, might it not be wise to give Spies another run though, the game is likely to be more open and should provide Spies with a bit more room to run? Alberts in my view is better off the beanch...or so he has shown in a Bok jersey.

      Tits McGee - 2011-09-13 16:27

      completely disagree, spies does nothing yet he keeps getting picked. He has a couple of good runs against aus and then does goes back to doing nothing as usual. Kanko should have been given a chance - talk about the unluckiest guy in SA rugby. If the coach "MUST" play spies, then he should try him as an impact player bring him on in the second half if the game has become loose. but he is not my first choice at all, schalk IS a better 8.

      SAFFA-CAT - 2011-09-13 16:38

      Spies has had more chances than a serial more, no more, no more!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Marx - 2011-09-13 16:44

      Saffa, you don't think the whole pack was poor last sunday? It was the first game of the WC, I think all of these guys needed more game time before the WC, some of us are a bit too critical....

      Johnny-BB - 2011-09-13 16:52

      ..Pierre Spies at his worst, still bettter than Willem Alberts and Tortoise Duanne Vermeulen...

      SAFFA-CAT - 2011-09-13 16:55

      @Marx - apologies my friend. But you do know how I feel about the man as an international 8th man. Dit frustreer my net geweldig dit is al.

      Brannas - 2011-09-13 19:22

      Spies for Bok Captain

      Chris in Oz - 2011-09-14 03:35

      @Brannas. The captain needs to be assured of his place in the team. That is why John Smit should also not be captain. Spiertjies would probably not be used for much longer in this WC. He is useless and is getting worse. Plus he has absolutely no leadership qualities. Matfield is always a first choice at lock (when he's fit to play) plus he's an excellent leader. Schalk is also a first choice for his position and his captancy and leadership has improved significantly. JdV is a very good leader, but probably also in danger of losing his place to de Jongh. Those are our only three alternatives to John Smit. So if you stop trying to talk crap and stir, you will realise, our best bet for on-field captain should be Matfield with Burger as second option.

      klipmuur - 2011-09-14 09:27

      Saffa-cat, for someone who mostly seems fairly rational & knowledgeable, you lose your rag a bit when it comes to Spies. No matter how crap the team is in general - he seems to garner all of your attention! I won't throw a cheap shot and say something stupid like - you secretly fancy him, but I think you might be lacking perspective for some reason known only to you. I don't love him, but I don't think he deserves the lambasting that you ALWAYS dish out. Lekker dag verder.

  • Davearch - 2011-09-13 15:34

    Why Pietersen .. he does nothing .. his tackling is PATHETIC .. why not Lambie at FH, he tackles well .. Butch will be yellow carded

      Marx - 2011-09-13 16:52

      Why not? Stop bitching for a change and support our team, this was the FIRST World Cup game, against a side that have been preparing for monhs for this one game. Peterson is a very good rugby player and he deserves a chance. He didn't do much wrong on sat. Most of our guys missed tackles.

      adrien.mcguire - 2011-09-13 19:00

      The problem with Pietersen is that he blows hot and cold. On Sunday I thought he was very cold, however he does look for work . If the hot Pitersen tuns up on Saturday he is ideal against the Fijians

  • Robin - 2011-09-13 15:34

    Butch at 10, Frans 12 and Lambie 15 for me. We shouldn't need either Steyns big boot against Fiji? I like the idea of Hougaard at 11 too!

      Jasoneye - 2011-09-13 17:15

      hougaard is not fast enough! sorry but he is like the 7th fastest guy over 100 in the squad. and the big Fijians will run over him.

      Karoobloed - 2011-09-13 18:44

      @Robin 100% agreement with your 10, 12 & 15. However, Morne should be back at starting 10 for the big ones - he will certainly help to make sure that we at least get our vital initial kicks over so we do not play catch up rugby right off the bat.

  • Danro Odendal - 2011-09-13 15:37

    I agree with dropping Habana, maybe Aplon should also be given a chance at the expense of Petersen, he'll make every tackle and a bit more on attack!

  • Gitty - 2011-09-13 15:38

    I don't think Butch should play as flyhalf for fiji.He is a talented player and we should keep him in the bok squad.

      HadEnuf - 2011-09-13 15:58

      I was wondering when someone would notice the idiotic headline ! Well done sub-editor/s !

  • Banana_Republic - 2011-09-13 15:40

    Given Butch's performance in the opening game, I thought he was flyhalf for Wales, now we want to give him to Fiji.

      Redobserver - 2011-09-13 16:33

      No chance he would get in the Welsh team

  • Gazzo - 2011-09-13 15:40

    I agree, although I'd like to see Aplon in for Pieterson, who looked pretty listless against Wales. It would add a bit more creativity to our backline, and Aplon has proved time and again that he can handle himself against the big boys. I fear that we'll see pretty much the same team as last week though (apart from the injury-enforced changes), and that we'll only see any experimentation against Namibia. Not that we'll learn a whole lot from that game...

  • Janco - 2011-09-13 15:45

    James vs Steyn, hmmmmm, personally James will cost us a couple of penalties and possibly a yellow card, I would not pick him! Steyn's defence on the no10 channel leaves much to be desired but that is why we have flankers and an eighthman as a 2nd line of defence if necessary. In this game we need an attacking no10 and I think that Pat Lambie suits that role but we then loose the kicking accuracy of Morne - though choose there. I'd rather put Habana on instead of JP, simply because Habana can, if he is on form, maintain a high workload, JP is useless at the moment, Houggie at the other end. the rest of your your preferred team is spot on except I would swap Burger and Alberts, Burger is far superior in the no7 jersey. John Smit should maybe remain on the bench or maybe be incorporated into the coaching team as a motivator or sideline ass. coach - my opinion.

      Janco - 2011-09-13 15:50

      Deksels! I forgot about about Gio Aplon ..... OK, scrap Habana and put Gio in!

      Tits McGee - 2011-09-13 16:34

      did you watch any of the 2007 world cup, please tell me how many yellows james got? wait i will tell you - ZERO! he was brilliant with tactical play and defense. as for JP being useless are you on crack? he was everywhere on sat, making tackles and carrying the ball. as for our eightman covering flyhalf channel, pierre spies does nothing...schalk did all the work on sat, he should be 8, alberts to 7. john smit should start as he can absorb the pressure of the tight start game, once it loosens up then perfect for bismarck to make an impact.

      Janco - 2011-09-13 16:58

      @ Tits McGee, let's start with James, please do not refer to the previous WC as to measure his performance, look at what he did more recently for his Baths team and also for the Lions in the Super 15, he is back to old habits which will cost the Bokke at least 9 points if we are in our own 22 and maybe 10 minutes with 14 players. Now JP, apart from several crucial errors in defence, not mentioning the high tackle that cost us points, he is not on form, well wasn't really after the 2007 season. Look at the back ups for JP, Hougaard and Aplon, both faster than JP, stronger in defence and all-round game changing players as proven several times during the last 2 years whereas JP just faded away. John Smit should not be allowed near the field, period! Look at the impact that old Duppies made when he came on. The general consensus of JS's performance was that we were 14 players for 60 minutes in the Welsh game, consider that for a moment. Duppies would have a far greater impact, from the start, than JS will ever hope to have and then you have Chilliboy to continue where Duppies leaves off. Think with your head and not with your heart.

  • piet.strydom - 2011-09-13 15:49

    I thought Butch played for the Springboks....?

      Tolerant - 2011-09-13 16:08

      He was a sub.

      piet.strydom - 2011-09-14 15:06

      The heading use to read... "Butch to play for Fiji"....

  • Greegs - 2011-09-13 15:50

    How anyone can rate Butch these days? He brings absolutely nothing to the team and should have been left in SA. Schalk is a walking yellow card and Albert's should replace him. Flo for Spies.... - 2011-09-13 16:05

      When last did "the walking yellow card" Schalk get a yellow card?? 2009 Lions tour 2nd test? He made a million tackles on Sunday.

      Northern Stormer - 2011-09-13 16:20

      Can't even remember when last Schalk or Butch got a yellow ??? Maybe a short memory or maybe not ??

      Tits McGee - 2011-09-13 16:21

      watch the game again, schalk was everywhere...spies did nothing but get tackled backwards...

      Marx - 2011-09-13 16:34

      Northen Stormer, usually the guys involved in the game gets the yellow joking, Schalk is coming back from injury, we should be patient, he needs to play this weekend. Greegs, I personally don't rate James purely for the fact that his been playing in the North too long, Steyn faired better last weekend, mostly and only because of that huge boot of his, but I'm not all that comfortable with him either, he has admitted that he's struggling to adapt and I hope he gets it right.

      Greegs - 2011-09-13 16:45

      Its not all about tackling. He gave away a penalty and knocked on twice. That knock at the end of the match could have been devastating for them but the whistle went. Louw must come in for him and he must go to the bench for cover. Last time Schalk passed the ball was bloody one dimensional. As for Butch, he still tackles without his arms and it will end up costing us....! We need pace against the Fijians.....

      Northern Stormer - 2011-09-13 16:59

      @Geegs - Mate I am not sure I am on the same frequenzy than you - The only serious knock on and silly passing at the end of the game was between Snail Du preez and Hougie when the snail nearly sold him out inside our 22. Schalk did however lost the ball on a few occassions during the match with his stupid crashes into the Wales forwards - silly to use him for that i would say - in my opinion that should be done by the tight five !!! Schalk and Spiertjies should float as cover defence and assist Brussow to secure and carry the ball through openings - they should never let the ball go to 9 & 10 because they will in any case kick possession away and use the excuse that it's a proven gameplan - LOL !!!

      Marshall - 2011-09-13 17:38

      @Northern Stormer, Butch picked up a yellow against Italy in June last year when he was given a chance in the Bok side... he blew it! He has earned a few yellows since at the lower levels. He can also count himself very lucky not to have picked up at least two in the green jersey this season. He is simply too slow, too unfit, too clumsy, too weak with the boot, too dim to be making tactical calls, and too lucky to have made it into the squad. He will be fine against the smaller nations, but that is it, he should left out thereafter. That's what PdV get for spelling P-E-T-E-R G-R-A-N-T wrong!!

      Northern Stormer - 2011-09-13 17:58

      @Marshall - Okay I missed those yellows. I am a province supporter and yes Grant was also my 1st choice even before Morne but unfortunately we don't have him there. I am also not a huge Butch fan but at this stage anything is better than Morne - he was dismal on saturday !!! We also have Pienaar there but i really don't rate him at all - he should never have made the squad. The only choice then is Lambie and bench Morne and Butch ??

  • Byron - 2011-09-13 15:52

    I agree on butch,Hougaard and Schalk at 8. Alberts is wasted at 8- The sharks always tried to avoid playing him there

  • Zullie - 2011-09-13 15:53

    BIIIIIIIG problem at lock - what if Muller or Roussouw get injured? Alberts to lock?

  • call a spade - 2011-09-13 15:55

    What about Hougaard. Why not play him??? The man saved us the game against Wales. Play him at Scrumhalf to let du Preez get some think time. He will never let a team down.

      Grant - 2011-09-13 16:44

      I agree, and what's even better is that he got a semi-decent haircut so now he doesn't look like the Boksburg Spanner anymore. While we are on the topic: It seems like Francois Steyn's haircut done a lot for his game too :)

  • LionsFan - 2011-09-13 15:58

    hougaard at 9,butch at 10 ,francois steyn at 12 ,fourie at 13,alberts in for Brussow(we do not need a fetcher for this game) de jongh in for habana

      Janco - 2011-09-13 16:02

      "alberts in for Brussow" uuuuuuuuh, no! Brussow offers a lot more than Alberts, rather replace Spies with Alberts but leave Brussow just where he is.

      BlueRaven - 2011-09-13 16:32

      LionsFan I am so glad you don't get to select the team...

      LionsFan - 2011-09-13 16:42

      Ok blueraven your suggestions ? ,fair comment janco ,leave brussow put alberts in for spies and bring on spies 2nd half

      BlueRaven - 2011-09-13 17:23

      LionsFan, firstly let me say that I will not pretend to be a "rugby guru" by any stretch of the imagination and glad that I don't need to make the selections. Where I differ from you though is firstly Brussouw, he is a key player and needs to play ALL the games. Secondly Frans Steyn must play at fullback, for two reasons, his size (last line of defence) and his ability to kick monster kicks and get us out of trouble. I would give Fourie another go at 9, though he is not good at the moment, I feel he will improve and lacks confidence after his long lay-off due to injury. Morne at 10, Hougie at 11 and de Jong at 12, Bismarck at 2, Alberts in place of Spies, since Spies was useless (but he can sit on the bench). Smit must stay in in his hotel room, or be a motivational speaker on the side lines at best.

      Sakkie Van de Spuy - 2011-09-13 22:23

      If Morne Steyn and Jean de Jongh play next to each other...we might as well give atleast 2 tries to Fiji at the start of the game. We need a proven defender at inside centre, otherwise we will give Fiji a try freeway. As long as MS is at flyhalf, his channel will be open, we will have overlap problems wide and no attacking options. Dont know why everyone keeps on saying we need FS size at fullback? The only time, you need pure size is when you stand on the goal line and need to knock the runner back. Then, it does not matter where you play, you will be standing on the goal line, marking the runner. A fullback does not need to be "big" for defence, he however does need great hands, great field awareness, know how to defend the one on one situation (where you actually need to herd the attacker to one side and have the pace to catch him) and a decent boot to kick us out of trouble. In today's game, more than ever, you also need a fullback that can join the line. The ONLY fullback wiht all the attributes is Pat Lambie and maybe Aplon (although his defence has let him down sometimes). I do however agree, that FS monster kick does give him the advantage playing at fullback. He always wins the kicking contest and wins meters. But we can choose the best team, if we keep on kicking our possesion away like we did against Wales, we will have a tough time against teams that know how to protects the ball and use it to score tries. E.g. Australia, New Zealand, even Fiji / Samoa

      Chris in Oz - 2011-09-14 03:42

      @LionsFan. Normally I would have thought you are smoking something when you say Alberts in for Brussow. But I must agree with you this time. We need to rest our best players in the Fiji and Namibia games. Brussouw is prone to injury, so wrapping him up in cotton wool is probably a good idea. Get him and the other first choice players back for the Samoa game, which will be our toughest pool game. This will also then build momentum with the first choice team for the play-offs.

  • 100%RSA - 2011-09-13 16:00

    good team - I would like to see them play together

  • harry.booth - 2011-09-13 16:03

    for once 100% agree with the article. Hoping the selectors feel the same. Cum aaaaan bokke!

  • Crispy_Duck - 2011-09-13 16:03

    does Fiji need a flyhalf? ;-D

  • bjay - 2011-09-13 16:08

    I think butch james should be played at number 22 come Saturday. Pat Lambie is mos die beste flyhalf wat ons het.

      Carl Muller - 2011-09-13 21:26

      Elton Janjies....

  • johan.joostesnr - 2011-09-13 16:15

    A very well writen piece!

  • Northern Stormer - 2011-09-13 16:16

    Ek sal die volgende gebruik as ek PdV was;- (15) F Steyn (14) JP Petersen (13) Jacqui Fourie (12) Juan De Jongh/Butch James (11) Habana (10) Pat Lambie / Butch James (9) F Hougaard (8) S Burger (7) F Louw / W Alberts (6) H Brussow (5) J Muller (4) D Rossouw (3) J Du Plessis (2) Bissie (1) G Steenkamp met bench (16) B Mtawarira (17) Chilli (18) F Louw / W Alberts (19) CJ v d Linde (20) P Lambie / De Jongh (21) M Steyn (22) G Aplon

      chaka - 2011-09-13 16:32

      Leave Butch and JPP out of the game. The only thing butch is good for is giving away penalties and JPP is too scared to tackle.

      Northern Stormer - 2011-09-13 16:48

      @chaka - One cannot leave Butch out - we need physical guys against Fidji and he is better up to it than Morne. For JP I tend to agree but he had one bad game so far - maybe just maybe he will be back to form on saturday - Mvovo should have been in the squad !!!!

      RandomDude - 2011-09-13 19:38

      Yes Mvovo deserves to be there more than JP

  • Rooibok - 2011-09-13 16:16

    You can not stuff around with combinations now...we need game time with the best possible team on the field so that the guys can gel asap. We will need it if we go through to the next round!

      Janco - 2011-09-13 16:19


  • zaankotze - 2011-09-13 16:18

    reallly? the idiot who wrote this obviously missed the game on sunday. Who could forget the pointless kick upfield right into wales 's hands, after some great phases, that in the end conceded points against the Boks. I am sorry, but to agree with jk, perhaps he should go france to get some form of schooling. Or maybe, he shouldve stayed in the country in the first place and played the game the right way. Eitherway, dont change something that aint broke, and at the moment the Steyn and Du Preez combination is working perfectly for us, although my fav choice at flyhalf still remains Peter Grant. But in the end, Fiji isnt a walk in the park, and we need all 4 games in the bag, so stick to the game plan, and show us we are supporting the boys for a reason

  • Tits McGee - 2011-09-13 16:29

    spies out, he is a show pony and he does nothing! Schalk to 8, alberts starts 7. Francious louw covers. hougaard starts with habana on the bench - let him have a chance to play impact when the game is looser. otherwise picks are good, just bring bismarck on earlier

  • zaroblan - 2011-09-13 16:36

    Peter Grant should be there and not in Japan. He had one of the highest, if not the highest, kicking accuracy in the Super 15, tackles like a demon, lets precious little through the 10 channel ... and can cover 12 as well.

      Bootman - 2011-09-13 16:40

      Elton Jantjies should be in New Zealand. Now there'e an attacking, skillfull young fly-half. And the guy can kick too.

      Janco - 2011-09-13 16:44

      I would've also have liked to see PG there instead of Butch "Clothesline Arm, Yellowcard" James but alas our coach with his infinite wisdom decided otherwise. The same with Ruaan Pienaar .... why Pienaar when we have likes of Vermaak en Pretorius wasting away on this side? Ruaan isn't a good back up for either no 9 or 10.

  • BB - 2011-09-13 16:44

    Julle mag nie daai goed rook nie!!!!!!

  • LG - 2011-09-13 16:49


  • Sly Bacon - 2011-09-13 16:52

    We must have Morne on the park on Saturday to slot those kicks but not at flyhalf. Play him at fullback ?? Lambie and Butch can alternate at flyhalf........just a question of who starts.........Pietersen is useless dancing around like some spider and must go......Aplon in his place........has experience and success in 7's against Fiji........I would not want to risk Brussouw against Fiji or Samoa.....we need him for later.......Spies is not firing these days.........I agree Skalk gets a shot at 8........We need beef on Saturday so slot in Frans Steyn at centre which is his preferred position anyway.........what do you guy's think ?

      BlueRaven - 2011-09-13 17:04

      Morne at fullback? Seriously??? lol

      Janco - 2011-09-13 17:07

      Interesting choices, I can't say that I disagree a lot but I would just remove James' name from the list. Lambie, for me, is the better attacking no10 that we have, he's not afraid to run at the opposition but I fear that he's lack of experience on this level might be a factor. I'd rather rest Brussow in the latter part of the pool games, Fiji poses too much of a threat at this stage. Seeing that everyone is calling for Burger to be at 8, there must be some truth to that, so why not, anyone is better than Spies at the moment. I did not know that centre was Frans's preferred position .... you see, you learn new thing everyday. Morne might be out of sorts on 15 but you are right, we need him on the pitch.

      Bootman - 2011-09-13 17:15

      If you're going to opt for someone else at fly-half, I would try to accomodate Morne for his kicking ability. My question is this........would you really want him as your last line of defence?......and there goes your attacking option from the back. Alternatively, put Lambie at fly-half and give him the kicking responsibilties but have Morne on the bench as backup if Lambie fails with the boot.

      Northern Stormer - 2011-09-13 17:16

      @Sly Bacon - My friend with all due respect, Morne can't even defend or use the very narrow channel at no 10 - putting him at 15 would leave him with a lot more space and a huge section between two sidelines to cover and that my frien will be a disaster. Please keep him away from 15 !!!! We don't need Morne - Lambie and Frans Steyn actually matches his kicking abilities ! Leave Petersen - one can always bank on him - he will be better thsi time around - Aplon is a favourite player of mine but to small for this game I would think - maybe last 20 minutes to inject some pace ?? - I am of the opinion that Flo is just as good as Brussow and he is more beefy to counter Fidji - I will also go with him !! Goodbye Spies and yes move Schalk to no 8. If you slot Frans Steyn into no 12 then play Aplon - okay what do you think ??

  • Jacques - 2011-09-13 17:07

    Definitely like the look of this team! I`d perhaps have Frans at 12 and Lambie at 15 but other than that it`s a great looking team considering the injuries we have.

      Barry Edwards - 2011-09-13 17:14

      Not a bad starting side. AND as the article Butch should be at 10. 100% agree. Morne is a great kicking number 10. Unfortunately is was clear in the last game, this is is what we need on the bench not in the starting line up.

      Northern Stormer - 2011-09-13 17:22

      @Barry Edwards - what do you then think of the following ; - (15) F Steyn (14) JP Petersen (13) Jacqui Fourie (12) Juan De Jongh/Butch James (11) Habana (10) Pat Lambie / Butch James (9) F Hougaard (8) S Burger (7) F Louw / W Alberts (6) H Brussow (5) J Muller (4) D Rossouw (3) J Du Plessis (2) Bissie (1) G Steenkamp met bench (16) B Mtawarira (17) Chilli (18) F Louw / W Alberts (19) CJ v d Linde (20) P Lambie / De Jongh (21) M Steyn (22) G Aplon

      Barry Edwards - 2011-09-13 17:37

      @Northern..For your side...Fourie du Preez is still the best number 9. We all know his is rusty and had a bad game last time out. He needs game time. Habana...I dont know.. I think his rampant try scoring days are gone. Hougaard came on and did the business from Habana's position. I am a huge Lambie fan, I still think he should not be in the starting line up. Better to come on in the second half when hopefully the next three games are close to being won by the Boks. I say this cos we dont know what other injuries we are going to get. I dont think Beast had a bad game. Still why not get Guthro out there to start as well ? What is your opinion ?

      Northern Stormer - 2011-09-13 17:54

      @Barry Edwards - My personal feeling is that Du Preez is done and dusted and should not even be there !!! After his injury he never really recovered and he had a few games now and battle to get up to the standard he should be. We cannot gamble at this level with totally out of form players. I am not a fan but i am sure Pienaar is currently better ?? Habana on the otherhand also battled this season but he already showed some signs of improvement and he is constantly looking for work which is a good sign. My feeling - two more games and he would be back to form but then we need a game maker at 10 - Lambie !!! He is good, mature for his age, can read a game, can break the line and he is deadly with his kicking !! Guthro gets a chance in my team because he also was a brilliant player before injury and he really only need game time to get back to form - Beast will always be my first choice against the bigger nations because of the aura around him and his strength !! Okay shoot I am waiting !!!

      Barry Edwards - 2011-09-13 18:37

      @ Northern.. Great talking to you ! Ok. Lets have Hougaart at 9. But du Preez has to come in the second half for game time. I think we will find he (du Preez) will become first choice. Give Hougaart is at 9 then Habana comes back into the fold. Lambie should still come of the bench. He can play 15 (his favorite position) or 10. Depending on how the game is going, we will have great options on the bench. Pat an Morne. For position 1 agreed. And then the next thing. The captain. Muller ? (seeing all the senior players are injured or on the bench ?) Muller I think is a good choice.

      Northern Stormer - 2011-09-13 19:09

      @Barry Edwards - Agreement on Muller !!!

      Barry Edwards - 2011-09-13 19:20

      @ Northern. Ok lets see what the BRAINS of the BOKS actually do !

  • Eben - 2011-09-13 17:26

    @Sport24 chief writer ====================== Thank you, decent article. ======================

  • Dicey - 2011-09-13 17:26

    GOOD GOD ROB ... what has happened to you this week? I normally enjoy your pieces, but this is the second piece of rubbish in just 3 days!!! Butch is lucky to even be in the squad ... he certainly shouldn't be involved in any experimenting at this stage. He's there to be a backup to the backup player - lets keep it that way!!

      chaka - 2011-09-13 20:32

      Dicey, I absolutely agree with you!! - Butch should never have made the squad.

  • - 2011-09-13 17:27

    Lambie at 10 and Morne on the bench if as backup. Leave Butch out of the match day 22. The Fijians are a physical bunch and Morne is very important to our course.

  • Kevin - 2011-09-13 17:28

    Butch should be Flyhalf -Period

  • CharlesM - 2011-09-13 17:37

    I'll pick Hougaard in place of Du Preez. Du Preez does not clean the rucks quick enough. He gives the opposition time to organise their defence, while he is swinging his arms like a traffic cop. In the test against the All Blacks, Hougaard used to beat Du Preez at the breakdown too often. Du Preez is not doing his basics well enough. I'll go with Hougaard and James with de Jongh at 12, while retaining Frans Steyn at 15. I think Aplon should atleast be on the bench as well.

  • Sly Bacon - 2011-09-13 17:38

    @ northern stormer.......thanks..... your point regarding morne is a good one......put him on the bench then as backup ........then I would use Lambie at fullback and James at Flyhalf........James's discipline worries me but we have no other choice ??

      Jim Noakes - 2011-09-13 17:55

      Ok and what if we get 6 or 7 penalties,Fransie will only get 70% (the longer ones) and Lamb will miss ALL OF THEM if under international pressure,remember this is NOT super 15 rugby,WHAT ARE LAMBS INTERNATIONAL KICKING STATS?? The only replacement for morne is GRANT,but CAN GRANT HANDLE INTERNATIONAL PRESSURE AND SET UP MATCH WINNING TRIES?? !!!GET REAL!!! EP KINGS SUPPORTER

      Barry Edwards - 2011-09-13 18:05

      @Jim.. If we look at Butch's kick for post abilities with the Lions this year,it should answer your concerns. Indeed he also showed he is an attacking number 10 and can defend. I tend to think Butch is in his prime now. So based on his latest performances, why not put him there ?

      Northern Stormer - 2011-09-13 18:05

      @Sly Bacon & Jim Noakes - Yes Peter Grant was also my no 1 choice but for some reason unknown to us he was not even considered hence he went back to sushi land. We are stuck with Morne /Lambie/ Butch and Pienaar.Of these guys Lambie is the best option currently. yes his international kicking record is not well but hell guys one only get experience by actually playing and is the Fidji/Namibia & samoa games not just what the youngster need ?? Just a question that needs an answer ??? I think we have to take the chances now before knock out stages ???

      Barry Edwards - 2011-09-13 18:47

      @ Northern... I think we need to make sure we will the next three matches, hopefully before full time. So yes there guys of the bench need game time. Therefore I have replied to you above this thread. Great talking to you !

      Northern Stormer - 2011-09-13 19:13

      @Barry Edwards - the happiness is with me - Thx !!

      Barry Edwards - 2011-09-13 19:23

      @ Northern. Same here!

  • gatvol4corru - 2011-09-13 17:54

    and he still can not tackle,except with a swinging arm or dangerously. Not impressed with what I have seen of him. But then.Fiji also tackles like Butch :)

  • Kaas - 2011-09-13 17:55

    All this negative talk by SA supporters all having there own agenda's. Who are you people???? definately not Springbok supporters. Support all the players or get lost.

      Barry Edwards - 2011-09-13 18:09

      @Kaas ...It is just discussion boet. I got great respect for all the players, including John Snit. I am actually a big fan of his. I also got respect for the management of the Boks, including Div, unlike a lot of people on this site

      Northern Stormer - 2011-09-13 18:10

      @Kaas - My friend we are all ( and I hope I am talking about most of the guys !!) huge Bok supporters but we are all debating possibilities and opportunities and we are not negative at all. If we all supported - say Netherlands - just imagine how dull and boring this world would have been. Relax and join the chat and comments sections as we would like to hear all opinions !!

  • Sly Bacon - 2011-09-13 18:02

    @ Kaas........chill my china........we are fully entitled to express our opinions on where we would put players....this is a democracy and a rugby forum where there will be a difference of opinion but so what.......we are all Bok supporters enjoying the RWC vibe..........don't be such a chop

  • David - 2011-09-13 18:09

    More game time for Butch? Genius. Nobody has ever seen him play there before for the Boks. How about the coach sticks to his gameplan and stop chopping and changing. If you dont know by now what you have in each player you'll never know. Not a great article...

  • On the Verge - 2011-09-13 18:10

    I'd rather play Habana than Pietersen based on last week - and try a 4/3 split on the reserves bench with Chilliboy and Lambie getting a go.

  • Maryna - 2011-09-13 18:15

    This team could work. Frans could also be moved to centre with Jaque Fourie and Lambie on fullback.

  • Malcop - 2011-09-13 18:17

    Butch should play for the All Blacks. We desperately need to score penalty points in our favor, instead of giving them away, dead centre, in front of our posts. Botch is a plus one, minus three player. You have to be daft to even consider letting him step onto the field.