Boks scramble for positives

2011-07-24 12:04

Sydney - Matters have reached a pretty sorry state when the biggest positive a Springboks captain can take out of a 39-20 defeat to Australia is that the scoreline could have been "uglier".

That was, however, the normally upbeat John Smit's take after his weakened and inexperienced team were pummelled by a rejuvenated Wallabies side in the Tri-Nations opener on Saturday.

The Australians beat the Springboks in the tight exchanges before unleashing their potent backline and had scored five tries to go 39-6 up before an hour of the game had been played.

The world champions will take some solace from more than 20 of their frontline players being back in South Africa nursing injuries but they will have to up their game considerably if they are to avoid humiliation against the All Blacks next week.

"It was disappointing but it could have been uglier," said Smit, who scored a late consolation try to celebrate his 103rd Test cap.

"What I enjoyed about this younger side is they chased to the death. There were some tries going begging for the Wallabies, and there was a lot of guts chasing to make sure it didn't happen.

"Those are the kind of things we can draw upon. When these guys felt that when we got go-ahead ball and got control of the game and a little bit of composure, they realised how easy it can be. But they will rue the fact that at this level turnovers can really hurt you.

"They will pull a couple of positives out of this for sure but it's not a great result for us. We'll have to learn from this, let those guys take the experience and then be pretty harsh on Monday."

The Springboks toured with a weakened party in the 2007 Tri-Nations before going on to win the World Cup but coach Peter de Villiers indicated once more that this was not a ruse to rest his best players.

"It's not by choice that we brought so many new guys here, I felt sorry for John at one stage," he said. "To be the captain is one thing but to have some leadership around you, to calm down the new guys, it was non-existent today.

"I hope the lesson that they learn ...(is the difference in)... playing for your country at Test level and Super 15 level is quite remarkable."

Injury problems continued to mount for De Villiers, who has called up uncapped lock Gerhard Mostert to join the touring party in Sydney after a string of injuries to second row forwards.

Johann Muller, who has played 23 Tests, returns to South Africa on Sunday after failing to recover from a hamstring injury that forced him to withdraw from the team to play Australia earlier in the week.

Another lock, Flip van der Merwe, injured his ribs in the opening minute of Saturday's match and had to be taken off in the first half while Muller's replacement Alistair Hargreaves suffered an abdominal strain during the match.

That all came after Andries Bekker, who has won 24 international caps, was ruled out of the World Cup on Saturday because he requires surgery for a ruptured ankle tendon.

"It never rains but it pours, eh?" said De Villiers.

"Are there any locks left in South Africa? Then again, you have to overcome these things, that is your challenge in life and hopefully you'll be a better person in the end."

The Springboks will remain in Sydney until midweek before flying to New Zealand, where they meet the All Blacks in Wellington on Saturday.


  • Steven Fischer - 2011-07-24 12:29

    Biggest problem with the Boks is their complete lack of a defensive pattern/structure. Sort this out and you may have a chance. Oh and start with Mcloed-Lambie combination.

      Wytie - 2011-07-24 13:46

      fully agree - on attack they actually looked very very good, but could not defend for thier lives... and hate to bring provisionalism into this, but the blue bulls players were the most guilty of missing tackles, particularly morne steyn !!

      Joe Soap - 2011-07-24 14:52

      Agree - Steyn is not in good form, give Lambie a go.

      Karoobloed - 2011-07-24 19:01

      I think even Smit realizes that he has overreached with his personal RWC 2011 ambitions, and feels guilty about putting personal income and glory above the fate of the Boks and other number 2's who are streets better than him. The over-the-hill captain that has to provide great motivational speeches under his own goalposts - sad... How about this run-on team?: 15 Aplon 14 Basson 13 De Jong 12 Jacobs 11 Mvovo 10 Lambie 9 McLeod 8 Kanko 7 Deysel 6 Brussow 5 Hargreaves 4 Rossouw 3 CJ 2 Ralapelle 1 Oosthuizen

      Carl Muller - 2011-07-25 08:01

      Where is Sarel....we need the bests scrum half....And Lambie...

  • Magmansa - 2011-07-24 12:33

    I'm getting so sick of them referring to this team as "youngsters". The aussie team has way more younger players. How do u explain that Divvy an smitee?? If this "B" team was really about experimenting with youngsters they would have played a game before this test, and given guys like the Eberson twins, Sadie, Gerhard van den Heever, Coenie and Ryno Benjamen a go. Rather than guys that have been given opportunity after opportunity and failed, like Olivier and Jacobs or guys who have never even showed a glimmer of being world class worthy like Ndungane wtf!

      StaalBurgher - 2011-07-24 16:48

      van den Heever should've been in the Bok mix ages ago but the sold but average Ndungane brothers will always get in ahead of him. There are political considerations remember!

  • pieterc - 2011-07-24 12:36

    Best for old John boy to keep quiet for now and rather try to save some face next weekend....but then again, it is the All Blacks in Wellington?

      Jack Turner - 2011-07-24 14:38

      God, and whoever else, please help this sorry bunch next week-end....

  • Obama Bin Laden - 2011-07-24 12:44

    Pathetic when the Springbok captain has to look for positives in a drubbing like that. Rather just be honest and say were were smashed and we're ashamed

  • Stompies - 2011-07-24 12:49

    "To be the captain is one thing but to have some leadership around you, to calm down the new guys, it was non-existent today. And all along we thought you were the leader, who in spite of your old age, still get to play!!

      Ruggerman - 2011-07-24 13:13

      your point being?

      Bandleader - 2011-07-24 14:34

      Read properly! PDV is saying that John usually has senior payers to calm down the youngsters. This time he had no leadership support. Leaders rally people around them, they do not just bark orders, not so? Still, pretty dumb statement from the clown coach.

      Oukoos - 2011-07-24 22:02

      BANDLEADER, Ruan Pienaar (27) with 43 tests and 57 super rugby caps not a senior player? Wynand Olivier (28) with 28 test and 71 Super rugby caps not a senior player? Danie Rossouw (33) with 45 test and 102 Super rugby caps not a senior player? A pretty lame excuse from PdeV

  • edalsg - 2011-07-24 13:00

    Its time the "springbok" emblem was repaced -----These teams are no longer worthy of it and retired Boks must be cringing watching this bunch !! Our Affirmative Backline had to watch the forwards score the tries !!!!!!!

  • Frikkie De Wet (CJ) - 2011-07-24 13:02

    Positives: Aplon, Mvovo, Danie and even Deysel for the short time he was on. The rest were very poor. Basson showed once more why he is not of internation quality. Olivier is a great currie cup player and even Super rugby, but at international level he is shocking. Our tactics were very off. Divy picked a team based on the fact it was gonna rain. . . and it costed him. You cant play kick and chase rugby against a side like the Wallabies and expect to win. It worked in 2007 when we had the players to pull off such a tactic, but rugby has moved on and so should we. No doubt this isnt our strongest team and players are being rested, but come on, we have the depth to pick a side that is at least competitive against the Wallabies and AB's. Agree with a lots of the other readers. . . Give Lambie and Mcloed a go. Use the tri-nations to test out combinations and rest the top players and lets be 100% ready for the WC.

  • BardofAvon - 2011-07-24 13:03

    A coach would help.

  • smallies - 2011-07-24 13:06

    wonder maar net wat sou sarel kon doen daar sy diens aan steyn sou beslis vinniger gewees het

      Joe Soap - 2011-07-24 14:56

      Looks like Sarel might be carrying an injury. He was in Kimberly for yesterdy's game against the lions but watched from the sidelines, even if Div did want him I dont think he is available for selection.

  • adw - 2011-07-24 13:07


  • Hayden - 2011-07-24 13:07

    The only positive i can get: very good rugby lesson &learning curve to these inexperienced guys that its really tough playing Test &that the next time they speak to media to rather shut up &do business on the field. No doubt these guys have huge potential &i honestly thought we were going to win by a whisker but sadly our combinations didnt compliment each other especially coming second at the breakdowns. I dont mind giving these guys another run against NZ with a few changes from the Aussie performance. 15 Gio Aplon, (Average game) 14 Bjorn Basson, (Expected much more from him) 13 Juan de Jongh, (Didn't recieve much but with ball in hand looked dangerous) 12 Adi Jacobs , (Had a shocker of a game, has potential to prove other wise vs NZ) 11 Lwazi Mvovo, (Average but really tried) 10 Pat Lambie, (Looked very creative when replaced Steyn) 9 Charl McLeod, (Promising youngster that wasnt even used) 8 Danie Rossouw , (Showed great physicality- Boks man of the match) 7 Ryan Kankowski , (Average performance but can bring about a spark) 6 Jean Deysel , (Why didn't they start on Deysel the Lion) 5 Johann Muller (Captain), (Hope is available- also a promising youngster with great leadership abilities) 4 Flip van der Merwe, (Average) 3 Werner Kruger, (Average) 2 CJ van der Linde, (Experience in the scrum) 1 Chiliboy Ralepelle (Big difference when he came) Subs: 16 Dean Greyling, 17 John Smit, 18 Ashley Johnson , 19 Deon Stegmann, 20 Ruan Pienaar , 21 Wynand Olivier , 22 Morné Steyn

      Wytie - 2011-07-24 13:50

      you want to play CJ at hooker?? and Chilli at prop/// Dude, clearly rugby is not your game..... go watch soccer

      AirAction - 2011-07-24 14:54

      Aplon was useless ,He cannot tackle .Far to small .

  • Sprinkaan - 2011-07-24 13:07

    I think the biggest positive from the game, it was only 80 min long

  • jay - 2011-07-24 13:09

    Did anyone expect the Aussies to sit back after their defeat against Samoa? Our boys were outplayed and yes, Super 15 is NOT Test match standard. Let`s look forward and not back. We need to be sharp and always concentrated. Lack of these gets punished at TriNations level. Even with our "top players" qualification for the quarter final of the world cup is not a given... SA be warned!!! Time to sharpen the tean now!!!

  • Johann - 2011-07-24 13:40

    Ja what can you say more than a pathatic team.The backline players like Aplon and Olivier and the 2 wings are to small built for this tuff breed of men from down under.You cannot stop a runaway tank with a schooter.

  • Juggernaut - 2011-07-24 13:48

    Do we have a backline coach for the Boks?

      Jack Turner - 2011-07-24 14:43

      Why...what the hell for...? We have that not enough....This affirmative bunch picked the "Prick"..Now let them live with him.....

  • moeggeploeg - 2011-07-24 15:44

    The only positive thing I can see is that we will be rid of snorre and smit after this wc.

  • Ryan - 2011-07-24 18:21

    Sa Rugby has not evolved since day one. Big dumb forwards, and not quite as big dumb backs, with no creativity, and a "skot skiet en donder" approach to everything. When your entire country relies only on the biggest players to crash your way to victory, eventually you will be found wanting for skills. Every oter country out there, that plays good international rugby, has a variety of players, some big smashers, some gifted playmakers, and some are fortunate enough to be both big and gifted. Any SA player of size that has a natural playmaking gift is coached into the ground, told to not express flair and skill. Keep it in the pack, rumble down the field. Our backs are taight to smash a hole in the backline, not create holes with good moves etc. Now heres the biggest problem, the top sides (Aus , Nz, sometimes France england and Ireland) Have players JUST AS BIG AS OURS. Maby in the 90s and before, were we able to outmuscle everyone. NOt any more. Training methods have completly shut the door to our "size" and everyone else has caught up. Not only that, but the other teams are FITTER! How often do we fade in the 2nd half. Our players are big, unfit, and coached into the ground "SMASHSMASHSMASH". It starts at school level, where all the players with talent (like brent russell) Werent in our 1st team, Because they were smaller players. Skilled players in SA rugby are treated like skilled spinners in our cricket "What is this strange "spin" you talk of? go carry the drinks".

      Charl Norman - 2011-07-24 21:10

      Our coach is a moron - thats about it. We have plenty skills and talent.

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