Bok brew looks spot-on

2009-11-10 18:08

Rob Houwing - Sport24 chief writer

Johannesburg – The Springbok senior brains trust appear to have responded positively to the key warning signs that came out of their dirt-trackers’ debacle against Leicester Tigers.

If some may consider the match-day 22 for the Test against France in Toulouse on Friday notably lop-sided in favour of forwards - and of the tighter variety in particular - at least pro-active steps have been taken to prevent the Bok top-tier team suffering similar indignity in the scrums.

The side announced at Monte Casino here on Tuesday is striking for the cover options it provides in the heart of the engine room: you can assemble a pretty compelling entire tight five from the bench options.

Not only are injury-necessitated late call-ups Wian du Preez (loosehead prop) and Adriaan Strauss (hooker) of the Cheetahs immediately promoted to the Test bench, but Irish-based tighthead CJ van der Linde earns a similar nod.

With Andries Bekker and Danie Rossouw also among the reserves, the second row is comprehensively covered, while the latter provides loose-forward options if required at blindside or No 8.

You could argue that if Bok backline players freakishly topple like trees in a storm in Toulouse, resources may be dangerously stretched - the only backs in the 5-2 bench split are Wynand Olivier and the versatile (which is a comfort) Ruan Pienaar.

But if there are obvious risks in this formula, at least South Africa should not be caught with their pants down against France in areas of play that were rather hideously exposed at Welford Road last Friday.

Maybe you can question the morality of coach Peter de Villiers resorting to Leinster-based Van der Linde as back-up to captain John Smit at tighthead: aren’t overseas-based Boks supposedly persona non grata while not in the domestic fold?

What must Jean de Villiers and Frans Steyn be making of this?

Then again, there is also a case for defending De Villiers’ decision on the grounds that, for what might just be the toughest game of the tour, having a 56 Bok-capper around is better than blooding yet another greenhorn like WP Nel right now in a taxing environment on the other side of the equator.

Various Bok debutants, after all, had looked like rabbits in the headlights against an uncompromising and “pumped” Leicester.

The coach justified his stance at the press conference thus: “Look, I had a vision for after 2011 … taking younger guys amidst experienced players on (this) tour, so that they could get used to the culture of Springbok rugby.

“But some experienced players have got injured so I’ve gone back to some similarly experienced ones for (immediate needs), and the plan to have some of the others ready for post-2011 is still intact.

“We lost our entire front row last Friday night, so do you bring in further new players from South Africa who can’t be proven yet, or go for someone who knows the structures and has played with the (senior) guys before? We’re pleased to call on someone with such experience.

“We expect a huge onslaught. But we also know we have the firepower to deal with it.”

A pleasing feature of the Test 22, perhaps, is that for all the emphasis on gnarly tight forwards, the starting loose trio may just surprise the French - who have plumped for big, physical counterparts - with its mobility and explosiveness.

Heinrich Brussow and Schalk Burger pair up on the flanks once more in a quest to cause havoc at the breakdown, while Ryan Kankowski, deputising for injured first-choice Pierre Spies at No 8, gets a further chance to show that he can gallop around with aplomb while hopefully also “mixing it” a bit when necessary against opponents traditionally not averse to a spot of cynicism and mongrel.

Captain Smit, meanwhile, told Sport24 on the eve of the senior squad’s departure for Europe that the Boks’ approach would be to try to de-emphasize the “end-of-year-tour” tag, with its implied suggestion of season-ending fatigue.

“It’s a pretty short tour this time - our approach is that it’s not an end-of-year mission but rather three games where we’ve got to defend what we’ve worked so hard for.

“There are two ways of looking at it: yes, you could say there is more to lose than gain on a trip like this.

“But the more we win the more the pressure builds and the ante is raised. We’d rather be in this position (after so successful a year) than going on a European tour trying to redeem ourselves or salvage some kind of pride.

“The guys enjoy putting that jersey goes over their heads … it’s (automatic) motivation.”


  • Gatt Miteau - 2009-11-10 18:38

    Peter de Villiers had a vision beyond 2011. The rest of us agree that the Boks have to look beyond the world cup, it's just a pity the selectors left all the quality youngsters behind. As an Aussie living in this country it pleases me that the Bok coach can't tell his ass from his elbow.

  • Cullart - 2009-11-10 19:15

    And 'gat' I wonder what quality youngsters you are talking about... all your mates I suppose

  • Wallie Whatyamacallit - 2009-11-10 19:31

    Zane Kershner is a one dimentional kick-and-charge, mog-it-troffe Currie Cup B player only. Naas Botha was Adi Jacobs' tackling coach. Viva les France!

  • OpenSecret - 2009-11-10 19:33

    @Gatt Miteau If that is the case, surely you fancy your chances as Head Coach of the Australian Rugby team with their outstanding win-loss ratio this year. Im sure Robbie Deans must be quacking in his boots.

  • Fleckie - 2009-11-10 19:49

    Its a good side playing on fri but it could b even beta, with no Spies i think we def gonna battle. D.Vermeulen is a guy who should have been blooded this tour, he would also b cover for a J.Smith in the future. Wat if Fourie gets injured just b 4 world cup ??? we needed to take another quality 9 on tour coz lets face it Heinie is there coz of his colour. Glad Chilli is no longer part of the tour coz Strauss is far far beta. PDV is making a huge mistake playing Adi at 12, Pdv constantly tries proving a point wit his black players which are not up 2 std.He's a racist wit a chip on his shoulder

  • Gatt Miteau - 2009-11-10 19:55

    @Cullart. Duane Vermeulen, Tiaan Liebenberg, Burton Francis, Francois Louw, Deon Stegman, Lionel Mapoe, Anton van Zyl, WP Nel, Fabian Juries. Players from different teams and different colours. NO DISCRIMINATION.

  • Cool Artikel - 2009-11-10 20:54

    Cool article

  • Vic J - 2009-11-10 21:02

    If this is PdV vision for 2011, he must visit a eye specialist as he has no vision for the future. Just look at he young talent that has played in the last super 14.

  • @Fleckie - 2009-11-10 21:32

    and why is Pvd a racist.....John Smit himself confessed any other coach in SA would have been to proud to admit his shortcomings and would be too proud to listen to anybody.....It is no secret that theres some political pressure on Div to transform the team.The truth is he only listens to the politicians untill the team loses ,then he makes the rights choice and select better players...Pieter De Villiers is a good coach and we should be thankful that he doesnt mess with the starting 15 due to political pressure..Supersport had a broadcast on his achievements since junior level already and its is very good...It is destiny for him to become the most successfull coach ever in SA.

  • William Shakespeare - 2009-11-11 00:23

    Great bench

  • John Smit?? - 2009-11-11 00:27

    Some clown mentioned how John Smit has boosted PDV as a great coach. Of course he will! Any player in SA will because you must be an idiot to criticize the national coach while playing rugby! John Smit is the luckiest Bok ever to have played so many tests and never being a merit selection. He should be the first one to go. At the most he is good enough (only due to his experience) to be a backup for Bismarck although you actually need a young player to backup Bismarck. John Smit is kak and his captaincy totally overrated.

  • Tommygun - 2009-11-11 05:43

    The french have a great side, but cool heads can rattle them. When the French are rattled the don't usually come back. That said I think it is going to be a huge challange on Friday.Good luck Bokke.

  • bokbef*k - 2009-11-11 07:02

    quotas still alive and well in SA sport. how can Davan Raubenheimer (who?) be better than D Vermeluen? Where is Lionel Mapoe en Joe Pietersen. go and read the aussieboer blog ( Die Burger blogs) on the Boks history against the Frogs.

  • Shit hitting the fan - 2009-11-11 07:52

    With all the "unknown" new players in the team, we should have known trouble is looming. Tell me again who is that No.7 flanker or rather plonker of last week's game again. There is a good reason why he is unknown - becouse he is KAK. At least he is not white and that counts more in this racist country. The @sshole didn't even scrum last week. Same stupisity with the inclusion of Jacobs and Kankowski. Kankowski always dissapears in games where it gets tough and Jacobs can't even tackle a girl. Against tough opposition you need tough players. I can just see our scrum being bullied again with Kankowski hanging on like a bat. With CJ back, one must ask the question why Steyn and Jean Div are being punished for playing in Europe. Answer is actually easy - it gives Twakkie the opportunity to pick his politically motivated rubish. If they fail again and again, Twakkie will just say that he didn't have a choice as our first choice players opted to apply their trade overseas. Double standards just like government. Will we see Twakkie in parliament after his coaching stint? He is already an ANC puppet, so I guess so. If the French hit their straps on Friday, it could be a thrashing and I think that's exactly what's heading our way. At test level you pick the best, end of storey. Would just love to see Sir Earl Rose alongside Jacobs in a test team - could be lot's of fun and funny. Even an out of form prop can sidestep them. Springbok rugby is becomming antother ANC f@#k-up. I don't think I'm even going to waste my time to view the game on Friday. I am not into cheap politics. To my fellow BOK supporters - I just hope the wrong French team runs on the field on Friday. If the right team arrives on match day it could become really messy. Can't wait for the after match excuses - it's just as funny as the "unknown" players picked ahead of quality players back home. And for all those racists - I'm referring to black and white players. I don't need recism as an excuse to justify myself.

  • Jakes glow is fading - 2009-11-11 08:13

    AD Jacobs at inside centre. i say no more.

  • @Wallie Whatyamacallit - 2009-11-11 08:31

    talk about one dimesional players - Johan Roets(Bulls), Frans Steyn(Sharks), Hennie Daniller(Cheetahs) the list goes on. Come guys get your facts straight and stop being so narrow minded. And Adi Jacobs is a better player than Wynand Olivier. stop bitching about crap and support the team and the coach. there has been so many coaches that have done worse but you still try to bring PVD done.

  • Wave Dude - 2009-11-11 08:56

    @sht hitting the fan - go crawl back into the hole you came from. The Boks, under PDV, are tri-nations champs and victors over the BIL, We are also 7s world champs and Super 14 champs. Yet you still find something to moan about (last week's game was all about blooding young players who may one day go on to become great springboks). You're the racist chop who probably still speaks about 'them' and 'us' - catch a wake up boet - the old (and not better) South Africa is long gone.

  • FrikkelsVdMerwe - 2009-11-11 09:35

    The truth about SA rugby is so sad. Politics have triumphed! This "rascism" should be eliminated and Bok-positions should be based on performance and talent! In other words take JP Peterson,Kershner,Juries,Olivier,Rose and all this lack-of-talent players from the squad. What was the reason for SA winning the world cup? the coach! The colour and the talent of the Bok-squad has faded....Adi Jacobs is alot better than Olivier. John Smith is the best captain available for the Boks. Kankowski is a young player yet extremely talented, but should be kept in Spies's shadow for a while and gain a little more experience.

  • Converted - 2009-11-11 09:52

    Peter De Villiers has picked up as much flak for not having enough black players, as any other coach did. Don't be dumb enough to believe that he is racist an the bitter pill for us' whities' to swallow is the fact that we all expected him to fail. Well he hasn't and good for him, I couldnt care less if the whole team is black, blue or green just as long as we keep winning. Who gives a fick about a club team, we lost but it would have been invaluable experience for those players, remember how bad JP Pietersen was in the beginning and how we all thought he was a quota inclusion? Now he is fanfickingtastic. PDV has my support, and so does JZ and BC if they keep shooting criminal duckheads

  • Sean@Shit hitting the fan - 2009-11-11 09:57

    What the hell are you so unhappy about? Just look what we have accomplished this year. Tri Nations, B&I Lions... If you're not getting any at home, don't come spread your negative k@k on the sport blogs. I too was a PDV critic, but when are we going to accept his success as bok coach and acknowledge we might have been wrong about him? Go Bokke!

  • Megabull - 2009-11-11 10:07

    @wave dude Where the F******** did divvy had anything to do with the BULLS winning the S14? Wake up man. Adi is not a no 12 he is a no13. Kano is to small...... Where is Alberts no 8 for the Lions? Colses player to Spies we have. Zane ? Ok who else maybe Hennie from FS. Joe from weerprobeer is to SMALLLLLLLLLL! On the bench as uitility back. Hougie. Not Pienaar. Hougie can play no.9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15. Last go bye bye John Smith. He is way past his sell by date.

  • Ebi Hanslo - 2009-11-11 10:10

    There is only one thing to be said, Adi Jacobs indside center ... finish and kla.

  • Joe Fedup - 2009-11-11 11:33

    Adi Jacobs, ..the Boks weakest link... ..goodbye...

  • @Megabull - 2009-11-11 11:58

    Megabull - You are the weakest link.....Goodbye....................

  • Megabull - 2009-11-11 13:38

    @me Is that all you can say? Proof me wrong.........

  • GD Martin - 2009-11-11 14:15

    Adi's defence has tightened a lot of the past few years but unfortunately he was back to his old ways this season. Am also not sure if his undoubted skill and running lines will be usable on wet pitches. He cannot get too many more chances though and it is up to him to take his now as Olivier, as one dimensional as he is, has had a very solid year. As for 'Shit hitting the fan' - mate you are a complete embarassment! Am not sure what you are all so bitter and twisted about but you need to take a tissue to that issue! And Kanko is too light - have you watched him play? Did you watch Rob Louw or Bob Skinstad play? Do you realise that you can have 2 different types on 8's? Not everybody has to be the run you over type, sometimes skill, speed and vision can work wonders. And I defy you to elaborate on when he goes missing in tight games, that is the domain of Spies my friend - although he has gotten a lot better recently in the tight stuff. Yes they got the selection wrong last Friday. Yes they should have taken the same Emerging Bok team as faced the Lions on this tour but do you honestly believe there is a racist politically motivated plot to turn the Sprinboks into a completely black LOSING team. I think not mate - but like myself and the selectors differing opinions are a fact of life. You must be a real gem around the braai pal spewing your indignant bile - or perhaps you are the quiet guy in the corner who only vents his spleen with the comfort of anonimity. Get some perspective or just let it go.

  • Denése - SHARKS SUPPORTER - 2009-11-11 23:02

    IT WILL BE SOOOOO FUNNY IF Adi Jacobs scores some tries on Friday night. No selection will please everybody. I think de Villiers has made a good selection. Go Spingboks!!!

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