Div favours direct approach

2010-12-01 22:23

Stephen Nell

London – If the Springbok rugby tour to the United Kingdom and Ireland achieved anything beyond the results, it’s to settle any debate in the mind of coach Peter de Villiers about the playing style his team will use in future.

“If you can go through people, why try and run around them?,” De Villiers said on a philosophical note on Wednesday about the South African style that has been established over decades.

As if to illustrate the point, De Villiers picked two props – Tendai Mtawarira and Werner Kruger – on his substitutes bench for Saturday’s match against the Barbarians at Twickenham.

Kruger was called up after De Villiers decided not to expose Jannie and Bismarck du Plessis to risk. The Du Plessis-brothers are apparently still feeling the weekend’s bumps and bruises.

De Villiers has also not picked a specialist fetching flank for the weekend and rather opted for three big loose forwards in Willem Alberts, Juan Smith and Ryan Kankowski.

“We are a direct team. It will be suicide to move outside our structures against the side that the Barbarians picked. They will look to run from everywhere because they have strong backs and a mobile pack. It will be suicidal to play to their strengths,” said De Villiers.

“Keegan Daniel is a utility loose forward rather than a No 6 that plays to the ball. I’d rather opt for a bigger player that can punch holes and then send Keegan on when the game opens up.”

Three of the players in the Boks’ run-on side – loosehead prop Coenie Oosthuizen, flyhalf Elton Jantjies and centre Andries Strauss – will all make their Bok debuts. The same will apply to Kruger and reserve scrumhalf Charl McLeod if they are sent on, though the match does not carry test status.

As is the case with lock Alistair Hargreaves, Jantjies and Oosthuizen have toured with the side without seeing any action in the tests.

Not only will Jantjies be the Boks’ general, but he will also kick at goal. Patrick Lambie was picked at fullback.

“I learnt more about Elton these past three weeks than what I saw in the Currie Cup. My observation in the Currie Cup was that he’s a technically sound flyhalf that sparked the Lions backline,” said De Villiers.

“What I have learned here is that he is a thinker about the game, will question things and make a contribution rather than just sit and listen. He’s a very strong character.”

De Villiers is hoping Strauss gives him “stability” in the Bok midfield.

“He’s a good organiser on attack and defence. We need someone like that without Jean de Villiers there. It’s important to have someone that brings some calm to Elton,” said the coach.

“Andries was the most effective defender at No 12 in the Currie Cup and was responsible for a lot of turnover ball and getting momentum for the Sharks. I hope he can do the same for us.”

De Villiers believes the match against the star-studded Barbarians backline will be a good learning curve for his youngsters.

“It can make or break a player and I believe it’s the biggest test of these young players to date. We’re not focusing on stopping the Barbarians, but on playing to our pattern. If we can first get forward momentum and then take the ball wide, I believe we’ll be on the right track to the World Cup.”

The Springbok team is: Patrick Lambie, Odwa Ndungane, Adi Jacobs, Andries Strauss, Lwazi Mvovo, Elton Jantjies, Francois Hougaard, Ryan Kankowski, Juan Smith (capt), Willem Alberts, Alistair Hargreaves, Bakkies Botha, CJ van der Linde, Adriaan Strauss, Coenie Oosthuizen. Substitutes Bandise Maku, Tendai Mtawarira, Werner Kruger, Flip van der Merwe, Keegan Daniel, Gio Aplon.


  • noreason - 2010-12-02 02:35

    what is it with De V and Adi Jacobs?

      markwmilligan - 2010-12-02 04:50

      I agree. The guy is a has been. His defence is shocking. Maybe there is a love connection.

      strawbsj - 2010-12-02 06:43

      Maybe they are family......if Div could he put put his wife (ex-wife) in the team.

      Alan - 2010-12-02 07:40

      if you look correctly when Adi came on at centre things were more stable at outside centre so at the moment i think we dont have a better choice with all the injuries!!

      StaalBurgher - 2010-12-02 18:52

      Yes, with all the injuries he is about on that second tier of players.

  • Neilson - 2010-12-02 03:32

    “If you can go through people, why try and run around them?,” - Wow this must be the most idiotic thing I have heard from him ever! In my books this overtakes any talk of tutus and lion catching in the bushveld. I used to think Div was more clever than credit was given to him, but this definitely proves me wrong. Who will run through who? Opponents also gym, drink their protein shakes, and last time I looked most opponent teams were running through our defence, especially NZ, but more often than not they will run around you. What are we going to do when we don't have the ball? Run through people to make the tacle, with much heavier and slower players??? I hope he learns his lesson, or at least that the players wont listen to him.

      AJ - 2010-12-02 06:43

      Yeah we have not been exactly running 'through' people the whole year have we..

      GVA - 2010-12-02 07:03

      Its the easy way out! Less for the clown to do just tell the players bash the ball up, put your bodies on the line I will be on the sideline if you need a shoulder to cry on. You play that type of rugby every game you need to take a squad of 66 players on tour!

      SSDD - 2010-12-02 07:56

      Well I agree with him. This is what one is taught since school rugby - run forward and straight, go down, have support right there with you and move in to next phase. The end of the day if you try and run around opposition, you don't win any ground , you run away from your support and you get pushed back. We need to move straight and forward – phase after phase, which will result in pressure put on them. You get more tired from tackling than being tackled. Just my thought, use it, don’t use it.

      sannahan - 2010-12-02 18:12

      Yes, SSD, that is why we are where we are. Around implies clever passing, putting players into gaps, side-stepping, body swerves, acceleration. We have surrendered to Brute Force and IGNORANCE. Abovementioned skills and flair are NO-NO's. No wonder the young, inexperienced Wallabies made fun of us IN South Africa. You need powerful running, but you also need the counterbalance. The Sharks don't have all the big names, but they still managed to rip physically stronger sides because they are NOT one dimensional. If our forwards cannot outgun the opposition, we are in serious trouble because we have no well-drilled well-oiled alternatives.

      Jaco - 2010-12-02 18:18

      Back to the one dimensional no brainer game plan of stampkar rugby - we want to see proper / exiting backline play like all other teams are doing presently. We have the players to do so, we only need a proper backline coach.

      James - 2010-12-02 18:28

      yup on the money Neilson... Where's plan B when the opposition don't allow you to run through them...? Oops sorry, we don't have a plan B. It's crash/barge or fail... Div style

  • slg - 2010-12-02 04:14

    More wholesale learning on the job from our inexperienced and under-qualified coach. How long is this going to go on? This should be happening at other lower levels of the game.

      darquan - 2010-12-02 05:51

      I am just glad this is not in a test. Rather give the youngsters this opportunity to get a feel for the higher levels than during a Tri-Nation campaign.

  • MarkStruwig - 2010-12-02 08:00

    Ok if this article doesn't prove that he is the dumbest plank in the world then nothing ever will. You disgust me Pdivvy!

  • edwin - 2010-12-02 08:49

    just resign DIV. you have no idea what u doing

  • Shistirrer - 2010-12-02 09:11

    Whoosh. I know whoosh. It's the sound the World Cup makes when it flies right past us. The slump the Boks are in is due to exactly this idiotic style of play, a.k.a. "stampkar rugby". The Bulls used this tactic with success a few seasons back, but it's not even working for them any more. Might as well pick 22 forwards for the match then, backline players are of no consequence because they will never see the ball, and be reduced to tacklers only. Idiot.

  • Tazman - 2010-12-02 10:09

    Please Please SARU. Loose this wannebe Coach. SA was a proud rugby nation and now we are the laughing stock because of one person. When Carel du Plessis (Rugby legend) took over and did not perform you fired him faster than ......... Now you sit on you're behind's and watch the show. I hope it is entertaining and you laugh you're asses of, because that is the closest you are going to get to the RWC trophy with wannebe coach at the helm.

  • James - 2010-12-02 18:31

    "If you can run through people, why run around them"... this comment is just beyond belief.. Rather easy for any opposition to "read our game"!

      Ivan - 2010-12-02 21:25

      He's changed his tune a lot from last year and the year before. He knows he cannot get a backline going thus he has cottoned on to the fact that we genetically produce monsters that can pound opponents into a bloody pulp. He knows that this has to be his ticket out of a very tricky situation. But like I predicted last year, it is not sustainable. You simply have to have a functional backline. We were far from adventurous under Jake, but we could hurt teams badly ball in hand. We offered a genuine threat. No we are back to where we were under Straeuli, totally reliant on set-piece dominance and raw physicality. But will it attain seven straight wins? In 2007 we had a very physical draw, many underestimate that, and I can see us being tested like that again. In 2007 we were versatile enough to adapt to most situations, now? I cannot see the same thing happening. I think we have one big game in us ala 1999, but no more then that.

  • Ivan - 2010-12-02 21:20

    Adi was very weak on defence and did little ball in hand. When he came on our backs were not as involved as they were in the first half,so to suggest stability created by Adi is more than flawed. Adi is not Bok material. I would like to have seen what de Jongh could do at 13 as he bombed at 12 thisy year. He looks a much better prospect at 13. But it wasn't to be. adi really will have his work cut out. He''ll need to finally deliver defensively and do more than look for a pass behind the gainline. He needs to be the link that Smith is for NZ. Nothing fancy, just functional. You do not have to be an all out running team to be effective ball in hand, as NZ have shown when they play structured, calculated rugby. In fact, it exposes frantic attacking teams badly, like we used to do under Jake. Absorb what they have to throw at you and hit them on the counter attack. Adi needs to be the player to allow that to happen. 13 is the best place for a playmaker to setup opportunities. I don't think he'll succeed, but I wish him all the best, hope he proves me wrong.

  • franssmith100 - 2010-12-03 17:17

    Sad to say...Babas (and Mallett) vs inexperienced 2nd string predictable bok side (with PDV) - i think, if the Babas gets anything close to 40% possession or more, Babas by 10 to 15 points.

  • leneshzn - 2010-12-04 22:30

    Pdv is an absolute idiot..mallet had just a week to coach a bunch of ragtags and he beats jake's old boys...when is the penny finally going to drop on SARU and south africa in general...lets get rid of the dead wood(ie.pieter de villiers) and bring back mallet or may already be too late but at least we won't be embarrassed at the world cup2011

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