Baby Boks fall from their cot

2012-06-04 22:47

Cape Town - Perhaps we need to be just a little less reflex and hot under the collar in branding South Africans who support various New Zealand rugby causes instantly traitorous.

Could there be at least some element of such people throwing their weight behind teams from that country because they simply seem to play a more vibrant and joyous game so much of the time?

There is often talk of sides from our country playing to “traditional strengths” ... which to all intents and purposes means trying to pile-drive and/or boot their way to victory.

At the Danie Craven Stadium in Stellenbosch on Monday, day one of the IRB Junior World Championship, hosts South Africa understandably had main-game billing ... but ended up being massively eclipsed by the “Baby Blacks” who lit up the preceding game with their enthralling commitment to ball-in-hand play, composure and sharpness of mind.

Yes, it was a bit like pitching up for a highly-touted movie and thinking as you shuffled out that you’d actually preferred the ads and trailers, thank you.

It is true that we may only know just how good the New Zealanders were as their badly beaten opponents, Samoa, advance in the tournament; maybe the Pacific Islanders will take a few poundings not dissimilar to the 63-0 outcome suffered here, and some perspective will be required.

A gut feel by many at this stage, nevertheless, will be that once again the junior All Blacks will be a sprightly crop and the ones to beat if anyone else genuinely fancies the 2012 crown.

South Africa? Sadly they’re instantly and just a little humiliatingly on the back foot, courtesy of a showing of great resolve by an Irish team who theatrically celebrated their deserved 23-19 victory as though it was the highest point of their sporting lives. Who knows, maybe in some cases it will turn out to be exactly that.

Losing captain Wiaan Liebenberg afterwards bemoaned a few decisions that he felt had gone against the Baby Boks at the breakdown, an area which was critical to the Irish success because - often by entirely fair means, mind - they produced some epic counter-rucking.

And although I tend not to like immediate post-match pitch-side interviews with skippers because they are still out of breath and unable to compose their thoughts to the best extent, maybe he could have been just a wee bit more magnanimous, too, toward the winning team from the Emerald Isle.

It was a flustered, imprecise and too often static display by the Baby Boks, so highly touted beforehand because of their supposed infusion of Super Rugby-knowledgeable players. We quickly discovered that this alone is not a passport to triumph.

Poor Steven Kitshoff, the loosehead prop who has been so impressive for the Stormers, had a night to especially forget: he found himself pinged a couple of times at the set-piece and unable to get a good left shoulder going, so much so that at the break he was subbed for the bodily phenomenon that is Ollie Kebble, and the South African scrummage at least recaptured self-respect to an extent.

In fairness, there was always the danger that Kitshoff would enter this tournament weary from so many weeks of gruelling industry in his maiden full campaign for the Stormers; coach Dawie Theron may have a selection poser at No 1 for the fast bounce-back quest against Italy at the University of the Western Cape on Friday.

Theron had said in the build-up that he wanted his side to dominate the collisions and be unerring at the lineout and scrum before the ball would be consistently delivered to the three-quarters.

The trouble was, none of his aims came to fruition on the park ... and when a South African team fancying their gung-ho physicality rather gallingly get a taste of their own medicine, as happened, all manner of vulnerabilities and uncertainties can come home to roost.

“It was brilliant from the lads; no one shied away from any contact,” Irish captain Niall Scannell gushed in his own appraisal of the fixture. The hooker’s accuracy in that regard could not be faulted.

Frustration from the 9 000-strong support in Stellenbosch became vocal during the first half, as Bok starting scrumhalf Abrie Griesel - commentators say he is a better player than evidenced on this occasion, which is a relief - eternally botched his tactical kicking (an obsession, sadly) and was later replaced by Vian van der Watt in the 49th minute.

That did seem to bring the backline as a whole to a bit more life, which is something to pick up as a crumb of comfort, going forward in the event.

There was also endless energy from the open-side flank Shaun Adendorff, whilst towering Lions lock Paul Willemse thundered over for a good try, using his 130kg frame to
forceful effect.

But the fact that his less-than-subtle touchdown was the only one the Baby Boks got, with the rest of their points coming from flyhalf Tony Jantjies who did his level best to keep them in the hunt with his accurate boot, somehow indicated the South African inability to woo the audience with positivity.

The Baby Boks supposedly hogged 55 percent of possession. But what to do constructively with the “pill” is something we were better educated in just one game earlier ...


  • Citroes - 2012-06-04 23:12

    It really was an inept performance. They played like a team that hasn't gelled yet.

      Walter - 2012-06-05 07:03

      Yes, I think we're going to have to move with the times and change our game plans and patterns. The All Black and Australians really showed us up with their slick handling and intelligent play.......... and the Irish if you like. I have a fear that the 'Boks will play the same stereo-type game on Saturday. Certainly hope the poms don't show us up.

      Rory - 2012-06-05 08:06

      Gelled? It looked like these guys hadn't even met each other yet! A anumber of our top schools would have punished these "future hopefuls". It was a really poor poor performance with no apparent game plan other than to "donder" the irish wiff there strengff. But what can you expect when the coach is an ex prop? Wont be wasting my pink ticket on these boys again......sorry.

      robert.dekramer - 2012-06-05 09:03

      Dawie Theron and Brendan Venter should know that "Bumper Car" game plans are antiquated and hardly win games. The Irish read the game plan 5 minutes after the start and from there on it was only a matter of time to loose the game.

  • Greg - 2012-06-04 23:13

    Very poor display of tactical play by Boks . Well done to the Irish.

  • Ken - 2012-06-04 23:23

    It was the most frustrating game to watch!.......Please let us not play like this against the Poms this weekend!

  • Provence - 2012-06-04 23:27

    “Baby Blacks” who lit up the preceding game with their enthralling commitment to ball-in-hand play, composure and sharpness of mind. Springbok rugby just cannot make that happen. We are playing voortrekker rugby. Ons ploog voorentoe maar boer agteruit.

      Timothy - 2012-06-05 05:19

      I for one find kicking and bulldozing your way over the opponents very entertaining that is why rugby is a physical sport. nothing wrong with playing that type of rugby if you play to your strengths.

      Clive - 2012-06-05 17:36

      Tim, if "kicking and bulldozing (our) way over the opponents" got us results, then we could probably learn to live with it. But we must do it properly and selectively, not 100% of the time with poor decision making and sloppy handling. Any half-smart and well-coached team that has the strength and willpower to front up will find us out very quickly - as the Irish did last night. It was a really brainless performance, I'm afraid, and hopefully the coach realises this.

  • ryan.spencer.585 - 2012-06-04 23:28

    Dawie Theron, take Pitso with you and go.

  • greggmac - 2012-06-04 23:30

    Dawie Theron is clueless. How can he pick Paul Jordaan, who has been outstanding for the Sharks, on the wing? What a waste! Why the obsession with playing players out of position? In addition, the stupid and telegraphed kicking from both the scrumhalves cost the game. 2 charge downs and 2 tries to the Irish. So predictable. No attempt to play positive rugby. only Plan A which consisted of smashing up in the forwards and then the number 9 hoofs a high ball. Got what they deserved!

      J.D. - 2012-06-05 07:02

      !00% Agreed greegmac. Utterly frustrating how scrumhalves first try to organise everybody else except themselves while the ball is available, putting his side under pressure and then telegraph he is going to kick anyway only to have the kick charged down. Du Preez started this and it is now championed by Hougaard. I understand that the law will will be changed to stop this insanity. Beside the poin nowt but for this reason only they must play Hougaard at wing.

      Gary - 2012-06-05 12:12

      Spot on!!!

  • Manus - 2012-06-04 23:32

    Depressing. No vision from the halfbacks, no skill from the midfielders, no imagination from the coaches. A herd of buffaloe - big, strong and bloody dumb!

      Provence - 2012-06-05 00:03

      I agree boet, why are we so scared to play rugby will ball in hand??

      Provence - 2012-06-05 00:07

      I agree boet, why are we so scared to play rugby will ball in hand?? As Campese says, you can't score without the ball in your hands. Is this very difficult for the coaches to understand. On the other hand if our rugby players are really clueless and without skill, then I agree, kick the ball and see if the opposition makes a mistake. So, are our rugby players clueless and without skill????

      stefan.vanderspuy - 2012-06-05 07:17

      @Manus. No, but I think many of our coaches are.

      stefan.vanderspuy - 2012-06-05 07:17

      I meant @ Provence.

      Chumscrubber1 - 2012-06-05 09:16

      Even in s15 games, we kick away everything, then suddenly when behind on the scoreboard, our okes start playing rugby with ball in hand and suddenly look good. You wonder why they did not do it in the first place. It surely has to be a deep seated mentality inherited from school days. At school the bigger teams win due to such big size differences between kids, but as soon as they're a bit older they're all the same size - then the formula no longer works. Smacks of doffness. No wonder we remain second best to the All Blacks.

      Meldyth - 2012-06-05 13:17

      Agree.....the recent school boy rugby games were way better than last night's dumb-ass performance !

  • Zimbobwe - 2012-06-04 23:53

    Brace yourselves for more of the same this weekend. The ossewas selected by Meyer will be found licking the pommies heels. Unfortunately this is South African mentality when it comes to sport. We are scared to loose trying new and exciting method. We'd rather stick to the tried and tested dinosaur rugby!!!

      stefan.vanderspuy - 2012-06-05 07:20

      We need someone like David Campese to come and coach out side, especially the backs. Is he in the market?

  • Provence - 2012-06-04 23:58

    So HM says the structures are in place and Springboks will play according to their strengths, which is what we saw? There are some boring rugby years ahead for all Springbok rugby.

      bfvillet - 2012-06-05 00:30

      In the past the forwards did the hard work to set the platform for the backs today it is all about the forwards the heroes are the eighthman locks and loosies even props.The backs are only there to defend no wonder there is no place for creative players like aplon de jong and eberson.If we want to move away from playing this kind of rugby then we should stop appointing coaches like theron and meyer.This mindset is not only at senior level but also at school level now.Creativity and flair is sacrificed for big and strong while in NZ and other countries it is encouraged

  • brian.heunis - 2012-06-05 01:40

    Paul True, Dawie Theron and now HM seem to talk quite a BIG game, however nothing seems to come form it! To many structures, in my humble opinion. Rugby is not such a difficult game!!!

  • Vincent - 2012-06-05 01:54

    Imagine that! Some head lines of 24 are as hilarious as Nandos advertisements.

  • Blip - 2012-06-05 03:38

    How does a loosehead prop get a "good left shoulder" going? Against what?

      stefan.vanderspuy - 2012-06-05 07:26

      Maybe scrumming the turf...

      trevor.dean.10 - 2012-06-05 08:51

      Kisthoff was useless. Maybe too much Super Rugby is a bad thing for these youngsters.

  • terence.wessels.1 - 2012-06-05 05:26

    The Baby boks were beaten up badly at the breakdowns they lacked vision with ball in hand and our starting no.9 was pathetic really a disappointing performance from a baby bok team with so much talent.

      stefan.vanderspuy - 2012-06-05 07:31

      Every scrummie now wants to copy FdP who started this mindless "kicking to nowhere" crap. Gareth Edwards from Wales, one of the best scrumhalves ever, kicked, but he used his kicks wisely and they always put the opposition under pressure.

      Maxine - 2012-06-05 08:27

      I thought they were both pathetic but this may be because they were told to kick and kick some more. Seemed they didn't even think just kicked.

  • Wesley - 2012-06-05 05:43

    They played like the Smiley Kids second team, very poor

  • Craig - 2012-06-05 06:00

    Inept, pathetic, dumb performance!! Once again it shows how far behind SA rugby is. When will SA rugby realise that the kicking game is a dead art form. What is a joke is this Bulls idea to get forwards to line up in a row feeding the ball backwards, you simply telegraphing to the opposition that you going to kick & give possesion to them. Paul Jordaan is a talented player wasted chasing after kicked ball. Someone should teach the hooker how to throw in to, too many lost lineouts. One wonders if the reason for the game plan is to get players used what will be future game plans when at a senior level, which then gives us idea how the Boks will play against England on Satyrday, kick & chase!!

  • Chriskoi1 - 2012-06-05 06:15

    Dit gaan nag wees as hulle eendag die groot trui moet aantrek dit maak my bekomerd dit het gelyk of hulle glad nie eers moes speel nie hulle was maar net nog n' spannetjie op die veld Dit was Pateties jpng manne Pateties

  • Bomb - 2012-06-05 06:33

    Weak scrumhalf play, weak line-out play, very poor protection of the ball in the tackle and breakdowns. You could see that this team was exactly trying to play a predetermined game plan and when it didn't work, no one had the vision to change it. They kept on sticking with something that didn't work. The player's decision making and initiative is "coached" away. How both the scrumhalves and the hooker made this team, is beyond belief. That lead to the start of the problems, line-out mayhem and the ball that took forever to get to the backline. Very poor decisions by the centres on various occasions when the ball just had to go to the points. One ray of hope at least was the flyhalf, Jantjies.

  • Stephan - 2012-06-05 07:15

    They looked under coached and individualistic,seems there was no time to gel as a team,maybe infusing super 15 players was'nt such a good idea. They should have played more practice game to start to function like a team. There seems to be enough individual talent but no cohesion. And pretty pls just run with the ball boys,bit of advice \forwards do your job upfront and give your backs space to run.\

  • Zion - 2012-06-05 07:33

    With all the sentimentality and displaced patriotism circulating since historical times in south Africa re rugby I would definitely call this title of this article traitorous and demeaning.I, personally have no argument with the concept of patriotism. When I suppoert the AB team there is no rancour reflected against any other team whatsoever. As for falling out of their cot then much may be applied to the local supporters and their ill-formed opinions.

      Caleb - 2012-06-06 02:53

      I like it, well said

  • Bootman - 2012-06-05 07:50

    Didnt PDV win this thing twice?

      Caleb - 2012-06-06 02:46

      I think you will find that SA has never even been in the final. NZ has won the tournament everytime it has been played.

  • Schalk - 2012-06-05 07:55

    Onthou albei driee wat @ die Bokkies gedruk is, was n bal wat af geklap was..... Gee hulle nog n kans, hulle is afgebring aarde toe!!! hulle gaan nog mooi rugby speel vir die res van die RWC 2012 wag maar net en sien.

      phillip.beukes.5 - 2012-06-05 15:35

      hoe kon hulle af aarde toe gebring wees, hulle het nie eens gespring nie.... een bal na die ander in die lynstaan verloor, en dit met n man wat oor die 2 meter lank is... bel vir Victor, laat hy net vir julle wys n mens van 2 meter kan ook spring....

  • deanmpeters - 2012-06-05 07:56

    Not very intelligent rugga by the baby-boks.. Becoming as predictable as the bokke. The problem with "playing to our strengths" is that once the opposition nail you at your own strengths, then you are lost cause there is no plan-B.

  • Pierre - 2012-06-05 08:22

    The only thing worse than the refs performance, which was shocking!! (If there is a tackle made, you can fall over the ball and seal it off.. Ireland did it all game), was the Baby Boks Half back pairing.. No communication between the two, and a lot of worthless kicking.. Need to make a change at half back if we want to win!!

  • Maxine - 2012-06-05 08:23

    Bobby Skinstad was shocking last night. He blamed Paul Jordaan 3 times for things he had little to do with 1) he didnt miss the tackle that created the break for the irish forst try. That was th number 12 and not him on the right wing. 2)he didnt dive in with the shoulder and give away a penalty, he was at the bottom of the ruck. 3) you cant blame him when a pass to him is forward! This guy has his favourates and if you not one then he bashes you. Hardly Unbias

      duncan.biyela - 2012-06-05 09:35

      Bob Skinstad is the only one who is consistant.... consistantly rubish! He is always shocking, He studied his trade of commenting in Australia, The art of being biased. I switch to the Afrikaans commentary when Bob and Mathew P are on!

  • Karen - 2012-06-05 08:32

    Wow, what a revelation the All Bkacks are! What skill and quick thinking- the rugby of old with backlines passes that arrive at the wings and with overlaps created along the way. None of the Bok obsession with the centres being crashball bullies only but skill, skill! Watched the SACS vs Rondebosch derby this weekend and saw similar skills. What happens to these talented kids when they leave school.? Rugby has evolved but when will the Meyers and Coetzee's see this???

  • jt.thom.3 - 2012-06-05 09:25

    And now the Baby Bok captain is blaming the ref too. Do SARU supply captains with a handbook that says: "In case of losing a close game in international competition, blame the referee's ability to regulate the breakdown"?

  • Bokfan - 2012-06-05 10:00

    If Pitso could get fired so should the dinosaurs at SARU because there is NO INTELLIGENT RUGBY DEVELOPMENT GOING ON ANYWHERE IN SA. Go watch the top school teams as I do and you will see very little slick handling very little brilliant interplay but a lot of crashballs a lot of barging and a lot of inept tackling. This has to change at school level or the BOKS will be nowhere in five years time.

  • Koos - 2012-06-05 10:17

    The players are not robots. gameplans is a good thing but poor Abrie Griesel was told to do tacktikel kicking and dont have the skills for it so why go wiht that gameplan.

  • Koos - 2012-06-05 10:21

    rugby players are not robots, so poor Abrie griesel was told to do tacktickle kicking an doesnt have the skills to do that. so come on let the boys play a little to their own feeling of the game, or rather play what the situation is at the time.

  • jacques.joubert.swart - 2012-06-05 11:01

    I'm becoming fed up with this. In the World Cup I thought ''well, all our veterans are forwards, let's stick to that''. But the ''Bulls'' style of rugby is becoming unbearable. They literally TRY to slow things down. Last night our scrummy stood at the base of a ruck for 30 seconds while our forwards did this retarded ''form a seven man line to extend the ruck back into your own 22'' formation, and his kick STILL got charged by a damn prop forward! If they are wasting our youth like this, who knows where our rugby is going to end up? I also think we over-rate our 'physicality'- how often do you REALLY see the Bulls, or any SA Super-franchise, for that matter, ruck anyone of a ball? Didn't see it happening last night, either. Just becasue you choose to run straight into peple doesn't make you particularly good at being physical. The Boks are in for a torrid time if this mentality is to prevail. Ps., our seven form isn't exactly inspiring either...

  • Gary - 2012-06-05 12:10

    I actually watched most of this game, they were absolutely shocking, running around like chickens with no heads, they didn't seem to have any game plan whatsoever. Very concerning, they will have to improve infinitely if they are to make any impression in this tournament. SHOCKING

  • faan.roetz - 2012-06-05 13:56

    This was a game to forget. Griesel took a serious bump and should have been replaced. He led the collapse in the backs after the forwards failed to find rhythm. They are good young Springboks that will do anything to repair their reputation and will learn to play for each other, which at this level is what saves you from falling apart as a team. Individuality is still a problem as these young men are used to being stars in their home teams. The English commentary was of the lowest standard I have ever heard. Bobby S and his boys deserve yellow cards and a referral.

  • sgrussell87 - 2012-06-06 20:12

    No Mr Houwing, you support your country. If you don't support your country how can you justify being a part of it? Forget the flag and the identity, the songs and the lack of service delivery...a country is made of the people who live in it, you are your country; that is all we have and if you don't support yourself, hell china you are delusional. South Africans who support New Zealand have no faith in themselves and that is what makes me saddest of all.

  • pages:
  • 1