Boks go green in second row

2011-07-28 10:00

Comment: Rob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer

Cape Town – South Africans are accustomed to the “Blood Brothers” old firm of Victor Matfield and Bakkies Botha consistently running out together for Tests against old enemies the All Blacks in recent years.

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Between them they boast a reassuring total of 177 Test caps, 105 to Matfield and 72 to his Bulls colleague and friend.

But at present they are presumably holed up in what is spiritedly not being branded a “camp” in Rustenburg, as various resting or rehabilitating Boks earmarked for the World Cup thrash out strategy for the defence of the World Cup.

Suddenly it might be said the Springbok management are “blooding brothers” instead: this follows their highly questionable decision to pair the recent Sharks combination of Alistair Hargreaves and now France-based Gerhard Mostert for the Castle Tri-Nations Test against New Zealand in Wellington on Saturday.

First the good news: one will be more senior than the other. Now the bad: Hargreaves has three caps to his name, including two appearances off the bench, whilst 26-year-old Mostert – a year ahead in age terms -- will debut against the most difficult foes imaginable and in their own backyard.

It is not even as though Hargreaves and Mostert boast a particularly good synergy from their Sharks days together – the former has more customarily been in alliance with Steven Sykes, Leinster-bound on a three-year deal, with the undoubtedly talented Mostert’s career disrupted by long-term injury until fairly recently.

So it’s pot luck, really, as to how effectively the latest Bok second-row firm gels on Saturday or, indeed, whether they offer stout resistance to the anticipated black tide at all.

I am open to correction, but impromptu thought and some initial research suggests to me that the Boks will probably not have fielded such a rookie lock pairing since the country made its return from isolation against the very same New Zealand at Ellis Park in August 1992.

Then, we had been rather deceived by some parochial local critics into suggesting that, simply on the basis of their year-after-year achievements in the domestic Currie Cup, Adolf Malan and Adri Geldenhuys would quickly demonstrate their “world class” in maiden exposure to the real-deal international arena.

Instead the Boks were beaten 27-24 and only made the scoreboard look respectable courtesy of two late tries as the All Blacks slightly took their foot of the pedal in the last 10 minutes at altitude – South Africa were also thumped 26-3 by the Wallabies in the wet at Newlands a week later.

The host nation may be resting their veteran hard man Brad Thorn for Saturday’s encounter, but will still sport the gnarly, 62-cap Ali Williams at lock – a man who launched his Test career all of nine years ago on the end-of-year mission to England, France and Wales.

And even Sam Whitelock, the promising 22-year-old from the Crusaders, seems a veteran in comparison to the Bok duo with his 14 caps, albeit that only three of them have come via starts.

I know that Bok lock resources have become massively depleted even subsequent to the decision to leave Matfield and Botha at home, but find it difficult nevertheless to justify the retention of richly experienced Danie Rossouw among the loose forwards rather than comfortingly placing him that crucial bit closer to the boiler room for this occasion.

Without any disrespect to Messrs Mostert and Hargreaves, for whom sheer inexperience is no shame, the Boks look especially vulnerable at lock now.

I can only imagine the All Blacks plan to cash in ...


  • Bill - 2011-07-28 10:18

    Question One: Why in the name of all that is sane are we playing a Tri-Nations series in a World Cup year? Question Two: With a semi-representative team that certainly does not represent the best the country has on offer, do we expect to win anything in New Zealand or Australia? Question Three: With the state of our player resources and the comedy trio of coaches in charge is there anybody that seriously thinks we are going to make an impact at the World Cup? Question Five: Why does John Smit not do his enormous legacy and reputation toether with his many supporters a favour and retire before he blows it all away? Question Five: Is there any good cricket on anywhere during the Rugby World Cup period? I do not feel like watching the Green & Gold humiliated in New Zealand.

      Kevin - 2011-07-28 10:45

      To be frank in answering 1. Out of our control, we are committed to playing. 2. No 3. Yes 4. If i can answer on his behalf, cos he was Asked to represent his country 5. Google it, or check

      Pictureof - 2011-07-28 11:19

      one. because we can two. 35 - 10 to us on Saturday three. the coach is an AA posting Smit runs the team four. Because he runs the team five. good cricket?? whats that?

      roboman1 - 2011-07-28 11:34

      1. Because we have commitments to sponsore 2. Yes, we are the Bokke, we always expect to win 3. Yes, I do 4. ???? you cannot even count!!!! 5.a. Valid point, pity about that. 5.b. Stay tuned and watch the All Blacks choke as they always do in world cups, its going to be fun

      chucky123 - 2011-07-28 12:01

      1. I dont know but if i can guess is about the money for the Countries 2. No 3. Yes and we will win the WC 4. A lot of people said the same thing in 2007 about John Smit. He is our leader and we need him. He will be a 100% come WC. The problem is his Union. The Sharks screw with everyones rugby career. Take Lambie will play fullback while Frenchie Freddie is there. 5. We will not be humilated at the WC. But i would love to see your face when we make the final.

      JR - 2011-07-28 12:01

      Sup Bill! Answer1. It is a good testing ground for RWC preparations with the 3 top teams in the world. We could not ask for any better? Answer 2. Refer to Answer 2. Tri-nations during RWC year is not about winning. More focus is on the RWC. So its an oppotunity to give other players game time and try out new combinations. Winning Tri-nations would be a bonus. Answer 3. I seriously think we will make an impact to the suprise of many critics like yourself. Answer 5. I also believe there are more better No.2s on the field than John and think he should just be there for his experience. Answer 5. true supporters stand by the team through wins AND losses!

      ROOI DISA - 2011-07-28 12:23

      Ai tog, ek hoop ek is verkeerd, maar my gevoel se vir my die bokke gaan Saterdag harde bene kou. Die wereld beker gaan egter baie interessant wees.

      HJS - 2011-07-28 13:31

      You first 2 questions seemed to make so much sense that I was hovering over the Like button, then I read the c&*p after that and decided your comments not worth a 'vote' at all

      patrickb - 2011-07-28 14:16

      Point 1. It's an annual thing, get over it. Point 2. We will finish last. Point 3. We will not make the final four. Point 4. Smit, Habana, etc, never know when enough is enough. They will have to be kicked out in disgrace before the penny drops. Sadly our biggest problem is that clown called De Villiers. Point 5. Wasn't the CWC enough pain for you? After it looked like everything was playing into our hands, we screwed up again. At least nobody (with a brain) expect the Boks to get anywhere.

      patthehat - 2011-07-28 17:54

      I say comment after the WC With supporters like you maybe you should stick to watching cricket

      GraemeBB - 2011-07-28 22:53

      @Patthehat - the reason Bill started watching rugby is because he doesnt like Graeme Smith, and we lost to NZ in the CWC. You see, cricket can become very difficult when one cant count to four, so I guess that the rugby isnt going that well for him iether.

  • Anneleen - 2011-07-28 10:19

    Green (and Gold) in all the rows, thank you...Bokke!!!

      Kevin - 2011-07-28 11:47

      lol, u tjops.. Thumbing Anneleen down is like kicking a puppy.

      Anneleen - 2011-07-28 12:05's okay, really...this puppy is a survivor!

  • Carl vg - 2011-07-28 10:21

    I hope the "A" team gets motivated by our "B" team getting pummeled again on Saturday... If they can just pull up their socks and play like we all know they can, there could still be a chance come RWC...

      Makutu - 2011-07-28 10:26

      Infact our A team is worse bra... Not in every departtment but so many old guys will not keep up with the likes of Guilford and Israel Daggs. It happened last year and our coash hasn't dropped a single player from last year's Tri nations squad. They surprisingly dropped a player that was up and coming - Francois Louw. How pathetic.

  • Makutu - 2011-07-28 10:24

    Give the young guys a chance please. Whenn the Aussie youngsters came on the scene they were losing a lot of games. Look at them now. I saw a 22 year old Aussie lock stealing balls from our 25 year old locks in the lineouts. The future simply lies in the youth. The sooner we forget about Matfield and Bakkies, the better. We need to blood new talent. Matfield and Bakkies don't have the energy anymore. John Smit must just retire with immediate effect... Watch him on Saturday.

      GraemeBB - 2011-07-28 22:58

      Ok Makutu, lets send them packing. Who are your locks now? Please tell me who are we going to use.

  • Bulldozer - 2011-07-28 10:26

    Laat ek maar eerder nie iets negatiefs sê nie ingeval my vriend Paul my wil wikkel. Go Bokke!!!

      The_Fox - 2011-07-28 10:49

      Ja, mens kan nie eers realisties praat oor 'n saak nie dan word daar gesê 'n ou is negatief. Ek gaan seker nou weer uitgehaal word hieroor maar die Bokke gaan gelukkig wees om met minder as 30 punte te verloor.

      Bulldozer - 2011-07-28 11:06

      Truth hurts, maar nie almal like dit nie.

      BLOODY AGENT - 2011-07-28 11:33

      Dozer ek dink Sparkie en Paul is die selfde persoon,vinnig om te dreig dat hy almakl gaan moet maar dan onthou hy dit fisies sal moet doen en nie agter n rekenaar skerm nie.Dan fade hy,ek wag al 4 maande by Warmbad se Ocean Basket vir die viskop,sal seker nou maar moet huis toe gaan

      jk - 2011-07-28 11:43

      dozer-nie iets negatief nie, jinne javel- as dit gebeur dan wen die bulle die beker...

      The_Fox - 2011-07-28 11:59

      BLOODY AGENT, ernstige vraag: waar is die Ocean Basket in Warmbad? Ek weet van die Dros (wat baie swak is) en daar is in dieseldfe sentrum 'n Fish Aways en nog iets.

      BLOODY AGENT - 2011-07-28 12:06

      Fox ernstige antwoord ,twee geboue na o Hagans by die Waterfront tussen Wambad Toerisme en Maxi,s

      Bulldozer - 2011-07-28 12:23

      AGENT, jy's seker al gatvol vir vis.

      Paul - 2011-07-28 13:30

      Yes Bulldozer .... you better shut up!!.... Bloody angent you can collect your 1 klap at the same time ... as for me and Sparkie being the same person ... no we are not ... but we are alike ...can't stomach traitors like you guys .... so if any of you 2 are in Jhb ... lets organise this thing ... but please guys no lawyers / cops just us .... me against you 2 fools !!!!!

      BLOODY AGENT - 2011-07-28 13:45

      Paul,,angent? wtf, Repeat after me "Tik is not good for you,",,,,,,,,,,,,,,,Sparky ,doc,Paul,Mummford definitely the same sick ,weirdo,idiot,clutz,nuckelhead,,,,Dozer i think he overstayed his welcome on this earth,back to the planet uranus where came from

      Tools1 - 2011-07-28 13:47

      Hey im glad im not involved for a change, but can sombody for the love of God pull their foreskin over this guys head and f@*% some sence into him.

      Bulldozer - 2011-07-28 13:48

      Paul, how did I know you would end up living in Jhb? I'm still waiting for my e-mail. AGENT, it's more like Urektum. Bek is lekker groot nê vaalseun?

      Bulldozer - 2011-07-28 14:19

      Tools, do you know someone who can do it?

      Raka13 - 2011-07-28 14:39

      Paul = paulooka

      BLOODY AGENT - 2011-07-28 14:50


      BLOODY AGENT - 2011-07-28 14:52

      Dozer lol ja nogal,al weer terug op die biltong en rooibok,na 4 maande se gewag moet ek seker maar besef hy gaan nooit sy dreigement uitvoer nie en dat ek maar weer terug moet kruip in my Caravan

      BLOODY AGENT - 2011-07-28 15:01

      Dozer al wat Paul kan klap is velle

      Bulldozer - 2011-07-28 15:14

      Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

      GraemeBB - 2011-07-28 23:00

      As ons almal soos poep"Paul" kon wees!

      Paul - 2011-07-29 08:06

      lol..... what a joke you 2 are .... it must be nice to be unemployed, most probaly live off your parents ... parrasites.... you guys can call me all the names you like .... but these are reserved for you ... losers, traitors, backstabders, yellow bellies, softies, 1 smack Jack's , draadsitters, veraaiers ... the list goes on !!! You see what you guys don't understand is this .... I support our Boks through thick and thin ,win or lose, I will never insult a Bok player or coach , these guys give all they got and yes they might come up short sometimes . and as long as they give all that they've got what more can LOYAL FANS ask for ... I don't mind construtive criticism that adds value but you 2 just insult our Boks ,you have nothing to add but your STUPID COMMENTS .... GET LOST FOOLS !!!! GO BOKKE GO !!!

      Bulldozer - 2011-07-29 08:49

      Go Paul!!!!

  • Rob Rabbit - 2011-07-28 10:33

    The problem is not at lock - you have a third, but there is no eigthman - or decent blindside flanker - in fact little mobility at all. That is the scary part.

      BiggestBull - 2011-07-28 20:21

      Any news on Pierre Spies' injury?

  • Kevin - 2011-07-28 10:33

    Uggh... the only people making a big deal out of this is the newspapers, they just sensationalizing this whole Australasian tour. I for one am glad we resting our main manne, and giving some younger talent some caps, and a nice fat Springbok cheque, chance of a lifetime for these youngsters. Looking further into this whole thing is a complete waste of time. Far as i'm concerned, our priorities are in the right place. We should be backing these boys, not chastising them.

  • Ferrari Fan - 2011-07-28 10:42

    Frankly, neither Wynand Olivier nor Adrian Jacobs should smell a Springbok jersey. I would pick Robert Ebersohn ahead of either of these two (I know he's injured at the moment). So my centre combination for this tour would've been Juan de Jongh and Robert Ebersohn. Thumbs up if you agree.

      JR - 2011-07-28 12:08

      Adrian Jacobs is still regarded as one of the best distributors of the ball.

      StaalBurgher - 2011-07-28 12:15

      The sad thing is that injuries have hit the new comers as well. Both Ebersohn brothers and Elstadt should have been on this tour, unfortunately two of them are with injury. All 3 of them had ample play time during the Super 15 and performed WELL. Don't know what guys like Jacobs, Jantjies and Olivier are doing there as they did not even play that much and those that did (Olivier) hardly covered themselves in glory. It is good Sadie did not go as he also did not play much Super 15, next year they must include him if he shapes up with the Bulls.

      Green Oaks - 2011-07-28 13:28

      I didn't think there would ever be a time that I would be happy to see Adi Jacobs in the side, but today I am. Wynand Olivier is as useful as an ashtray on a motorbike.

      maloorsports - 2011-07-28 14:06

      @JR. Both Adie and Meisiekind hold on to the ball to long! They distribute the ball very effectively - to the opposition - when they have the c^&p tackled out of them with ball and all. If the two of them were more aware of what who was on their inside or outside they would be top class centres.

  • kiwi - 2011-07-28 10:46


      Obama Bin Laden - 2011-07-28 10:48

      Just like the All Pacific will fail in the world cup

      Kevin - 2011-07-28 10:49


  • The_Fox - 2011-07-28 10:48

    At least they are Eco Friendly.

      BiggestBull - 2011-07-28 20:21

      Any news on Pierre Spies' injury?

  • On the Verge - 2011-07-28 10:52

    The proof is in the pudding. Give these guys a chance. Hargreaves is the future Matfield, although I think he has better leadership qualities - and Mostert is as tough as nails - Bakkies without the bad reputation...Lets hope that Chilliboy can find his jumpers - he was poor last week. I'd rather bring on Strauss...

      maloorsports - 2011-07-28 14:01

      Never been a Chiliboy fan but in fairness the lad has shown serious improvement this season. Hope he has a blinder on Saturday.

  • thyspelser - 2011-07-28 11:03

    PDV and Company you are clueless: 1. You are struggling with locks, but then you select a lock at number 8. 2. The game currently is played at a high tempo; i.e. a. Select fast loosies and mobile hooker - what have you done? ignored Ryan, but playing 2 year out of form JS, with Danie at number 8? b. Ruan is not a solution anymore..what an oppertunity wasted by ignoring the inform he is also on his way to Aus Bottomline: If you wanted to experiment why not: 1. Select Danie as lock 2. Give Chileboy and Strauss a full go OR r u afraid JS will be shown short? 3. Give the young flair scrumhalves the oppertunities? 4. What about the mobility of props Coenie and CJ? All in all I hope Rassie brings some sanity, as he did with the Stormers, as the current 3 coaches must be the biggest clowns (heliums), together the last 2 years. My Aus an AB collegues are all laughing, because they cannot believe how such a lot of talent in our country can be utlised so badly at Bok level.

      LexLuther - 2011-07-28 12:01

      Thys: Agree 100%. Wish you were our coach! de Villiers has a good heart but he is just simply out of his depth.

      Raka13 - 2011-07-28 14:42

      Thys, Paulooka is die Snor polisie - hy gaan jou uitvreet oor jy sulke waarheid praat oor sy coach

      GraemeBB - 2011-07-28 23:03

      Almost agree - BUT, give Greyling another opportunity, even if he has two mediocre locks behind him.

  • Michael - 2011-07-28 11:17

    There must be a select few who are making a lot of money betting against South Africa in the rugby. Look, conspiracy theories and all...take a look a wonder: India won the cricket world cup. They hosted it and the umpire and tv commentator «didn't hear» Sri Lanka captain call heads! So, NZ haven't won the cup since 1987 when they decided to award themselves a new trophy. South Africa was under isolation, and the rest of the crop well, frankly, were found wanting in all departments. After that it's been SA,Oz and even the Pommies...but not them.So.... And seriously, the commentators, the «experts» and the fans are so fickle. They're the first to turn on our team. We haven't even played a minute in RWC and we've been ruled out already. The British & Irish Lions was the same. Oh they'll be undercooked, oh they're too old and tired, oh it's 1974 revisited. What happened? First Test we flattened them - save for coaching staff wholesale substitutions and the score would have been a lot different. Second Test we came from behind and showcase grit and sheer bloody will power to win. Let's just all give them if not a chance, at least the benefit of the doubt! Springboks all the way!!!

  • JP73 - 2011-07-28 11:18

    What about Anton van Zyl?

      jk - 2011-07-28 11:44

      praat jy...

      Ferrari Fan - 2011-07-28 11:46

      Rynhardt Elstadt

      Makutu - 2011-07-28 12:02

      Elstadt is injured at the moment.

      maloorsports - 2011-07-28 13:53

      Net so en dalk ook Franco van der Merwe.

  • Voorvel - 2011-07-28 11:52

    OOOOO Bliksem! hier kom 'n loesing. Ek gaan eerder visvang. Snorman moes Anton v Zyl en Klein Moaner gedraft het. Hulle experience kon ons deurtrek. Hulle kan ten minste die fight wen. Maar die snotkoppies gaan ons duur kos.

      maloorsports - 2011-07-28 13:52

      Net visvang, of visvang en drink? As ons vroeg genoeg begin suie is ons dalk gelukkig genoeg om die gme te mis.

  • Henry - 2011-07-28 12:10

    The questions does not come from a credible source, this man cannot even count from one to five? How can he make intellectual decisions on his own, huh probably because he is not answering anything, just asking questions!!

  • maloorsports - 2011-07-28 13:48

    Shees!! I thought smoking that green stuff from the former Transkei was illegal, but it seems as if a number of okes on this forum have had a serious pipe or two before responding to this article. I mean look at the comment from "Pictureof", SA 35 - NZ 10. Even as a joke it's crazy. I'm a die hard Bok fan but that does not make me stupid or naïve. We're going to get our a*&e kicked on Saturday!! Still holding thumbs for some luck during the WC.

  • LouisFLY - 2011-07-28 14:02

    I feel sorry for the players. Snorre ain't worthy, along with Thick Muir. It starts at the top, our coaching staff needs to go. Come Saturday we're gonna get slaughtered.

  • Drewka - 2011-07-28 14:58

    Inexperience is not always a bad thing. Matfield and Botha is not gona be around forever, and we need to build some experience for after the RWC. This tour is also a experiment by SA rugby to view our future players, so no matter what happens come Saturday, the inexperience would be 1 test cap further to their springbok career. Thankfully we have a team back home with lots of test caps that could stand up to any team in the world. Just wish bok supporters could understand this and support the green and gold regardless. SA people in general are bad losers, especially when it comes to the Springboks, but for future reference we need to give our youngsters some experience, and no better than against the world no.1.

  • Tools1 - 2011-07-28 16:09

    Yo fellow Rugby lovers. Spent some time on Rugby and Stuff a NZ rugby forum and you wont believe the worry about this Camp Rassie Draad thats going on. They scheem it some covert operation, to

  • Frans Smith - 2011-07-28 17:20

    Why do us saffas re-direct issues, rather than face it = then we start throwing stones at other rugby nations. Let me explain; we have issues in our rugby (i.e. unexperienced 3rd grade coaches led by an AA head coach, a captain that is sadly past his best and not by far the best hooker in the country, poor selections, to make it worse lots of injuries). Rather than deal with it, we throw stones at the AB'S (and sometimes the AUS'S), how they moan or how they are choke etc. Lets be honest, we won the 1995 worldcup due to "Madiba magic" (a very emotional comeback into world rugby, an attempt at reconciliation with Mandela supporting the boks, a great captain and a bloody great dropkick that even Stransky said he could never do again?). lets forget about the fact that the AB'S had the runs ("they were poisoned" by a waitress LOL??), then in 2007, the French played the only good game of the worldcup against the AB'S and beat them after a forward pass (they could have beaten anybody that day). That left us playing a "hassbeen" england side (previous world cup team with Martin Johnson, Wilkinson & kie). if we played the AB'S in the final??? This time, we r playing in NZ. This time we have the "hassbeen" 2007 worldcup players playing a style of rugby that if we want to win, we need 10 + penalties, because we r not going to outscore anyone in tries! Nobody has ever won the worldcup 2 x in 4 yrs especially if they use the same core players. 4yrs later, athletes slower, in any sport

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