De Villiers heeds wake-up call

2009-11-09 10:06

Gavin Rich

Johannesburg - One of the positive things about Peter de Villiers’s reign as Springbok coach has been his willingness to heed wake-up calls when they arrive, and it looks like he has done it again in the wake of the Leicester Tigers debacle at the weekend.

Admittedly, as with the fortuitous arrival of Heinrich Brussow, Jaque Fourie and Morne Steyn as first choice players earlier this year, the path to getting the right combinations was paved by injuries. But the Springboks will at least go into the build-up week to the first Test match of their European tour with most of the front-row players the critics believed should have been there in the first place in the squad.

And that includes big CJ van der Linde, the World Cup winning tighthead who has been left on the outside since last year’s Tri-Nations because he is playing club rugby in Ireland. Most scrumming experts have for a long time been convinced that leaving Van der Linde out is a mistake, particularly as Bok skipper John Smit has clearly struggled to make the conversion from hooker to the No 3 jersey.

Van der Linde, who last played for the Boks against Australia in the final Tri-Nations match of 2008, will join the squad this week following the withdrawal through injury of Jannie du Plessis. Having genuine back-up for Smit at tighthead should quell the misgivings of South African fans who would have been abjectly disappointed by the scrumming effort of the midweek team against Leicester Tigers.

The Bok team went down 22-17 to an under-strength Tigers team that set up the victory with an emphatic scrumming performance that induced possibly the worst performance from a Bok pack in several seasons.

Most critics questioned the omission of the Cheetahs front-row that had done so well in the Currie Cup when the squad was announced last week, and all those fears and concerns appeared vindicated as Gurthro Steenkamp, Chiliboy Ralepelle (later replaced by Bandise Maku) and Du Plessis wheeled back under the onslaught.

As it turned out, Steenkamp and Ralepelle joined Du Plessis in being injured during the mauling, so they too will be flown home, with the replacements being two of the men most thought should have been there in the first place – Cheetahs loosehead Wian du Preez and Adriaan Strauss. The only missing member of the Cheetahs front-row contingent is tighthead WP Nel.

It is anticipated the two Cheetahs will go straight into the Test match squad of 22. Theoretically Maku should be on the bench because he was selected into the initial squad ahead of Strauss, but it is unlikely any of the front-row men who were shown up at Welford Road will get a look-in for the Test matches on this tour.

The scrumming performance against the Tigers brought another reaction from the Bok management – they have decided to call in Pieter de Villiers, the South African-born former French prop, to help them drill the scrum in the Johannesburg training sessions that remain ahead of Tuesday night’s departure for France. The Boks play the first Test of the tour against France in Toulouse on Friday.


  • Rob - 2009-11-09 10:16

    The scrum has been an issue all year, ANYBODY could see it. Started against the B & I Lions already. Please can somebody explain how Pieter De Villiers is allowed to come from France to help coach us? Surely the French will be using him in their squad? Time for these token quota players to be laughed off and to start picking guys on form. Chilliboy is so far below par its a joke!

  • steminibos - 2009-11-09 10:19

    Maku would not know how to find a line-out jumper in a room full of midgets!

  • Draadtrek - 2009-11-09 10:20

    This bubble has to burst soon. It was due to injuries that those idiot selectors ( Twakkie ) were forced to choose the strongest side earlier this year. Their luck must run out .

  • gcr - 2009-11-09 10:20

    The real question that needs to be raised is - if the intent was to end the season with the least number of losses then why experiment with so many inexperienced players in one game. This is shades of matches the Springboks are played under Div's hand where they have either lost or almost lost because of the issue blood new players. Also why didn't he stick with those players who had played super 14 rugby they have at least had some experience at playing in tough matches. Also why didn't they take a full squad of these inexperienced players and let them play as junior Springboks aganist the top 5 Heineken teams and the French equivalent to blood them. Silly decisions when you want to remain undefeated - the record books will show that the Springboks were beaten by a lesser team - no reasons are entered into the record books as to why

  • Gert - 2009-11-09 10:22

    Just a pity the man don't learn. Remember, he only brought in Morne Steyn after pressure from the press and then Steyn saved us against the Lions. He preferred Jacobs over Fourie at centre??? He once again wanted to start Friday against France without Brussow. How daft can you be. Forget your favourates like Rose, Pienaar, Ralapelle end Maku and choices like Raubenheimer at this level. Please learn for once from your mistakes, Mr de Villiers, and maybe whe will have a change at the next world cup. Otherwise we are going to be humiliated!!!

  • Kuppy - 2009-11-09 10:28

    Gavin you are been to generous with Pvd only a total fool would'nt have known that the team he picked would have failed. He was the one that messed up totally now you say that he heeds advice, it is too late now. What about Pienaar as flyhalf when will he heed advice about that or Earl Rose etc etc etc etc. I wish you guys in the media would have the guts to say it as it is you are also part to blame that it takes so long for Pvd to wake up to reality. It looks like you are all scared to come out with the cold truth your article pussyfoots around what you mean to say, come on Gavin get balls man.

  • Mike,Vrystaat - 2009-11-09 10:28


  • Helium - 2009-11-09 10:29

    Ralapele cannot play 80 min. Ruabenheimer is not a shadow of the other in-form flankers in the country. The front row already show the selection erroes you`ve made. Piet Helium, this tour is going to bite you and your fellow selectors.

  • Dyl 01 - 2009-11-09 10:32

    The scrumming was terrible, but the back line was not great at all!! Does Earl Rose know how to carry a ball or take a tackle, he is the worst player ever and dont even think he could play at school levels. Heinie adams was a terrible scrumhalf and was very intimidated by the opposite team.

  • Jack - 2009-11-09 10:34

    Again SARU & the coaching staff has managed to turn a great idea into a disaster! Touring with an extended squad is an ingenious idea and people have been calling for it for years, but the purpose is supposed to be to strengthen your depth by playing your 2nd string guys in the mid-week games, not to play your 3rd/4th/ or even 5th choice players. Luckily though, the Rugby gods have smiled upon us again by taking care of some mistakes through some timely injuries, as it was at the beginning of the year, so let's hope that CJ will be brought into the squad, Adriaan Strauss will be on the bench & Brussouw will be playing.

  • Jeremy - 2009-11-09 10:35

    Get rid of Gary Gold!Man for man you can't tell me that we are physically weaker than our oppenents.It comes down to technique and this where Gary Gold is clearly out of his depth.Wasn't Gary Gold at Western Province when they battled for years with their scrummaging?

  • Blikperd - 2009-11-09 10:39

    Quota's are killing the Springboks

  • Gravy - 2009-11-09 10:45

    Pieter de Villiers is back in Cape Town. He will be coaching Villagers in WP club competition next year. He is not in the French set up hence his move back to Cape Town

  • Edwin - 2009-11-09 10:48

    Being re-active as opposed to being pro-active is simply not good enough if you are the Srpingbok Head Coach. PDV has simply shown his inexperience, inability and incompetence. He is a disgrace to Springbok rugby and has brought shame on the jersey! An honourable man would have resigned after a debacle like this, but then.........

  • Vuyisa - 2009-11-09 10:50

    Rob your grandparents and you has been a joke for the past 48yrs if you dig what I mean.

  • colin - 2009-11-09 10:55

    These fools just do not learn - PDV have silence you all and he will do it again once this tour has concluded - remember the 2nd Bok team only assembled within 4 days of the Tigers game and only had 2 training sessions - what did we expect the outcome to be with so little preparation. Lets have a 2nd England team play against the Bulls - we should be fair in our criticism and take into account all the facts - my view is if we cannot assemble a well prepared 2nd Bok team we should not be playing the midweek matches - why don’t we have tours were the 2nd bok team have games against teams like Tonga, Samoa, Scotland, Namibia, Italy and other lesser teams. To put a team together overnight and to expect miracles is not the solution - we should have a long term plan to enable the 2nd bok team to play regular rugby to enable the team to develope and to take the next step to the 1st team.

  • Yster - 2009-11-09 10:59

    What happened to the no overseas players rule? And why is WP Nel then still at home? We need a tighthead, we have a tighthead! WP had a great Currie Cup, but he'll probably move to the UK as well - just like all the other tightheads - to have to be chosen for the boks.

  • Too true - 2009-11-09 11:03

    I have to agree with Jeremy, Gary Gold seems to be the weak link in the SA setup. I can't remeber ever seeing any SA team struggle as much with scrumming. It can't possibly be that our tight 5's too weak? Beast,du Plessis,Smit backed up by Bakkies and Matfield,we can name some better scrummagers,but that pack shouldn't go backwards against any team(in theory) Div, do yourself and SA a favour, fire Gary Gold and get Os du Randt or Gert Smal

  • Edward dos Santos - 2009-11-09 11:08

    Its the best thing that could have happend to the Boks, and you know why? because loosing sometimes is good, it builds character, brings you down to earth and gives you a wake up call. Thats the problem with the All blacks they win most of there games between world cups and then when the shurbet hits the fan they dont have the character and determination to overcome

  • Houston - 2009-11-09 11:11

    @Colin, you are right and that is the point - if snor had selected players that were in form then their would have been a lot more continuity as most of the players would have been fully match fit due to playing regulary - not sitting on the bench or in the cheap seats watching the season go by.

  • MJV - 2009-11-09 11:14

    Yes, the front row got annihilated and we have now learnt. Why is nobody talking about the amount of missed tackles by Dewald Potgieter? Especially around the fringes of rucks, mauls and scrums? If think I'm talking cr@p, go and watch again... The best player on the park for SA was Ashley Johnson. He played out of his skin! I reckon the A team will kick. The lesson for the coaches need to learn is that our depth at international level is getting smaller. By playing these games however, is building some depth. Go PDV, I didn't like you, but now I do. Go Bokke!

  • Delano - 2009-11-09 11:23

    @Edwin. Only blind fools like yourself thinks that PDV is a disgrace.

  • Jean Schlebusch - 2009-11-09 11:23

    Rob, Pieter De Villiers retired from top flight rugby last year and he is not flying from France because he now lives in Cape Town. As for Mike, Vrystaat you truly are one of many "draadsitter" fans out there. When the team wins they are awesome, one loss by the C side and the Test team is the worst ever.

  • Monk - 2009-11-09 11:24

    Colin don't be a moron. The fact is that before this tour started people were saying that this is not the strongest most on form front row that PDV has selected. Then that scrum gets demolished. The detractors then have a right to say: "hey! we told you so" Also, don't forget the Tigers had quite a few players doing national duty against Aus. I would think if you took all the Springboks out of the Bulls squad and then played those Bulls against a second string English side you would expect England to win it - "take into consideration all the facts", clearly you don't... I agree with you that a full-length tour against tier 2 countries like Samoa, Fiji and Italy would suite a 2nd Bok side a lot better than these mid-week games!

  • to ROB( PDV suporter) - 2009-11-09 11:26

    Shame Rob it must be terrible knowing a person of colour is doing so much better than any "afrikaaner" coach in the History of South African Rugby. HAHA

  • hayikhona - 2009-11-09 11:32

    You Guys are bad losers; The Springboks must never looses in your eyes even if nothing is at stakes and new players are given a run; The coach must be crucified;

  • jjd - 2009-11-09 11:33

    the coaching staff has mud on their faces, and instead of cleaning it off they add even more. Why call in Pieter De Villiers as we have Os du Randt that showed is worth with the Cheetahs. Os is an icon, a master at his trade. What is wrong with snorre, wake up phone Os immediately!!!

  • Jono - 2009-11-09 11:35

    The Cheetahs scrum coach is Os. No wonder they are good. Get him out there, his scrum is!

  • Rod - 2009-11-09 11:35

    There is nothing positive about Dumbo de Villiiers !!!

  • Iggy - 2009-11-09 11:36

    Rob - Pieter de Villiers the SA born prop has moved back to SA from France and has settled in Cape Town.

  • Bren @ Colin - 2009-11-09 11:40

    Colin although in essence you are correct, but that was a club B side remember they had 5 of their team playing for England and a huge number of injuries. This was not there full strength side this was a team slapping combinations together to make up their team. So our so called B side which is meant to be some of the most promising up and coming talent, got hammered humiliated and destroyed by a 2nd team club side sorry but that is embarrassing.

  • @Dyl 01 - 2009-11-09 11:40

    ill-timed diss of Earl Rose dude, he was probably the best back on the Bok side on the night. Was decent under the high ball and put his body on the line..... but yes overall he does need lots of work to become the finished product.

  • Jaco - 2009-11-09 11:45

    Could any of PDV fans please explain why he did not pick Brussouw, Fourie & Steyn for the Lions. Only because of injury and pressure from the media they eventually got selected. Please explain why he did not pick Brussouw again for the test against the French, only because of injury he travel with the test team. Why must we first be humiliated by a 3rd string club team (18 first choice players not available for the tigers) before the players that should have been selected are flown over. Everybody knows the test team is being coached by senior players and everybody know PDV and his selections are affirmative nonsense. Nobody wants to hear it, does not seem nice, it’s unfair but only a fool would deny it. If this was not the case, why would you pick Maku instead of Andries Struass.

  • Baby Ewing - 2009-11-09 11:45

    How the hell can Div even consider bringing Pieter De Villiers to help the WP loser Gold when we have the likes of OS and Gert Smal to call on. The loss was a good wake up call, however I don't believe PDV will heed anything, his true inability to coach our beloved Springboks is starting to show as the old stalwarts (CURRENT PLAYERS) are having less input.

  • Jaydee - 2009-11-09 11:48

    A very disappointing match....Doesn't look very promising for the rest of the games....

  • Meh - 2009-11-09 11:50

    Vuyisa you fail.

  • alluncertain - 2009-11-09 11:57

    hmmm, i dont think PDV is a bad coach, but its kind of always the same, he makes a mistake, then the public sorta pressures him into correct decisions. Not always tho. He just doesnt look like a very confident coach yet. He is like a "windgat myteamisbetterandbiggerthanyourteam" kind of coach atm lol. And he has so many helpers its hard to relaly actually know what he brings to the squad. Does he have secret plans he writes down and uses?? Or does he like an american president sit there and wait for his intellegence to tell him what to do next? Whatever is happening, at least its working. Btw, im not gonna blame the quotasystem for the last weeks bad performance, im just gonna say that south africa doesnt have that much depth than people thought. our depths travel overseas hehe

  • Main OKE - 2009-11-09 11:58

    Pieter De Villiers is a joke...The team is only performing well on the structures Jake White set up. Any changes Pdv has made,have cost us! Boks started having scrum problems from Lions Tour, so Pdv put in Chilliboy who has been plagued by injuries since his magnificent performance in the under-20 side. ...and third choice bulls hooker Maku...who,,,yes Bandise Maku. Lionel Mapoe deserved a call-up ahead of other okes and OS should be coaching the boks on scrumming! Look at the cheetahs pack its amazing...i mean even Pierre Spies has some competition now with Ashley Johnson in the fray, but we are talking about Pierre Spies 'HE_MAN'. Quotas are killing our rugby AND WHY ARENT THERE QUOTAS IN SOCCER...I MEAN WE ARE TRYING TO TRANSFORM SOUTH AFRICAN SPORTS! ADios!

  • Gerald - 2009-11-09 12:16

    Can we please just recall Francois Steyn as well.

  • Madoda - 2009-11-09 12:17

    @Jeremy and Too true-Rugby fans are big jokers really.Not so long ago it was argued on this forum that PDIV knows nothing,Gary Gold is in charge and responsible for the success the Boks are enjoying,but all of a sudden the same Gold is a weak link,LOL,WTF??

  • sean - 2009-11-09 12:20

    @ PDV upporter : You clearly don`t know much about rugby , do you ? Please tell me what did PDV have to do ? He was given the perfect team , please note ,given !! S.A rugby was clever with that move to put in PDV , nie te dom nie , lol !! Just wait and see !!!

  • andrew - 2009-11-09 12:20

    heard Os isn't keen to coach players he played with? Go Bokke! All the best for Friday night

  • Thabo - 2009-11-09 12:27

    Eish...It's not ayoba to be so disrespectful to the national team and coach...HOWEVER....Supporting the team and coach,now that's AYOBA!!! Viva la SA

  • Rob - 2009-11-09 12:30

    Thanks for the explanation, never knew he was back. As for 'Vuyisa' and 'to ROB( PDV supporter)' , i have no problem with P divvy or the fact he is coloured. I have a problem with guys being picked when the not good enough end of story. if the whole team was black but picked on merit and won games i'd be psyched. Get rid of the chip on your shoulder.

  • Awa - 2009-11-09 12:40

    9 players of colour-disaster. Many of them did not even play most of the S14 and Currie cup-what are they doing in a Bok jersey-window dressing? Nokwe, Maku, Rallipele, Raubenheimer, Ndungane-overrated. Ruan Pienaar's tactical kicking was poor. I admit the Cheetah front row scrum better than the Bulls current front row, but they also totally outscrummed overrated players like the Beast, Smit, du Plessis brothers- so Sharks/Bok front row hopefully won't play Friday, otherwise we will be on the backfoot like last Friday.

  • LR - 2009-11-09 12:47

    Bring back Frans and Jean!!! It is so stupid to loose a game, just because you don't want to pick players playing overseas.

  • TheSilkJackal - 2009-11-09 12:53


  • Waleed - 2009-11-09 12:56

    its amazing how people forget how JW's second stringers (3rd stringers) got a heavy hiding from OZ prior to WC.. lol... short selective memories indeed .. at least be happy that these players has been given a chance, so now they can officially be written off and no more quibling about giving them opportunities, IMHO, this is only solution to that problem and the coaches have done exactly that, giving them the "you had your chance" option...

  • Dylan Jonkers - 2009-11-09 12:56

    Why do all you stupid posters keep posting such nonsense like WP Nel is so good, and Earl Rose deserve SA Colors, you are a disgrace to supporters like me in this country!!

  • Table Mountain - 2009-11-09 13:04

    Leister Tigers did exactly what we asked them to do, expose our second stringers to what they have to live up to if playing for the Springboks. We need more of these games to develop younger players. Allow PdV to experiment, this is the only way to identify the best for the future. Go Bokke, France will be a tough nut to crack.