Div, Smit come under fire
Cape Town – The form of Springbok captain John Smit and selections by coach Peter de Villiers have come under fire ahead of Saturday’s second Tri-Nations Test against the All Blacks.
Former Wallabies coach Bob Dwyer pointed out a few problem areas for the Springboks in a column for website www.heavensgame.com.
“I fear that they have a problem with selection. John Smit was way off the pace – again! Fourie du Preez has been impossible to replace, and surely there is a better three-quarter line in South Africa than the one chosen last weekend,” writes Dwyer.
Smit’s statistics in Saturday’s first Test did not make for impressive reading when put next to that of direct opponent Keven Mealamu.
The Bok skipper has already admitted that his throwing at the lineouts was not good and it shows in the statistics.
South Africa lost three of their 11 lineouts against New Zealand for a poor success ratio of 72,73%.
The All Blacks won all eight their lineouts and also took quick throws to ensure that Victor Matfield was not given the opportunity to compete for their ball.
While Matfield was still among the players that made the most tackles, the Kiwis succeeded in nullifying the traditional strength of the South African lineout.
Smit’s work-rate was not good when measured against that of Mealamu.
However, it should be taken into consideration that the statistics on www.ruggastats.com shows that the All Blacks had 57,58% possession against South Africa’s 42,42%.
Even so, the Bok captain made less tackles (9) than Mealamu (11).
South Africa’s hooker position was on Wednesday identified as a “problem area” by Western Province head coach of talent identification Jerome Paarwater.
Paarwater assisted the Boks on their European tour last year.
“The lineouts, in particular, were a disappointment because John could not find his jumpers. Chiliboy Ralepelle has played so little rugby that the coach is probably not comfortable with sending him on the field earlier,” says Paarwater.
“Gary Botha and Tiaan Liebenberg were the form hookers in the Super 14. If there is a problem, they should be able to solve it quite easily.”
Paarwater also believes South Africa should kick the ball further out so that New Zealand are prevented from taking quick throws.
At the back, it may well be that the doubts Dwyer raised were on picking centre Jean de Villiers out of position on the wing and Wynand Olivier at inside centre.
Gio Aplon and Juan de Jongh impressed in those positions in earlier Tests, while De Villiers is actually an inside centre.