Boks on Tour

Most missed Springbok?

2010-12-03 10:05
Jaque Fourie (Gallo)
Friday debate starter – Tank Lanning, Sport24 editor

London – With just 80 minutes left of the Springbok season, and with only the weekend left of my jaunt to the UK to cover the Bok tour, I thought it a perfectly apt time to revive the Sport24 Friday debate.

This being the time when we use the comments at the base of story not to attack the author (although I do have a thick skin, so feel free), but to crack on the Friday work avoidance techniques. You pretend to be working, but actually you are debating furiously online with like-minded souls …

This week then … Which of the many existing Springboks that missed out on the Grand Slam tour have the Boks missed the most? And I stress that they must be existing Boks, lest we widen the debate just a tad too much.

Listed below, then, are the players, to my mind in order of “Most missed”, along with the reason I think they were missed …

Jacque Fourie
The Bok pack has been fantastic on tour. As have half backs Ruan Pienaar and Morne Steyn in playing to a structured 10 man game. It’s outside these two where the problems have come. As fans we have called for the Boks to play a more ball in hand type of game, but in reality, we have just not had the strike power in the centres to do that. Jacque Fourie would have changed that at inside centre. Not to mention the difference he makes on defence, where he is the unquestioned general.
Juan de Jongh
Based on the above, and on the fact that Frans Steyn was an unquestioned failure at 13 for various reasons, I think De Jongh’s quick feet and pace of the mark were missed badly.

Heinrich Brussow
We could have an entire Friday debate on the role of the fetcher, and to be honest, based on what I have seen in the last 4 weeks, my thinking with regard to the need for a fetcher has changed a little. As a massive protagonist for the out and out fetcher, perhaps winning the collision and making sure the ball is presented well negates the need for such a player. But that is a big perhaps! Also, with Bismarck du Plessis having had such a good tour, he was able to fulfill the fetcher role. Deon Stegmann, though, given so many opportunities on tour, is not in the same class as Heinrich Brussow.

Fourie du Preez
No doubt the player that a lot of people will feel was most missed, it’s difficult to argue against that. But Ruan Pienaar played well, and together with Morne Steyn, they were able to dominate proceedings – mostly. I do not think Scotland-gate would have happened if Du Preez was around, though. He makes Victor Matfield a better captain by making some of the decisions, and he certainly makes Styen a better flyhalf through taking some of the pressure off him.

JP Pietersen
Big and strong, and an excellent defender, he would have been perfectly suited to the fields out here.

John Smit
As a hooker, I think it can safely be said that Bismarck du Plessis is the better player, and as such Smit was not missed at all in that regard. But his captaincy was definitely missed. He would never have lost his rag like Matfield did in the Scotland game. Problem is, how do you make him skipper if he can’t make the side?

Schalk Burger
In a race for the starting lineup with Heinrich Brussow, I think the Bloem boy wins handsomely these days. But given Stegmann’s lack of ability to step up to the plate, playing another strong running ball carrier like Burger might have made for a better loose trio. Especially given the work Bismarck was doing at the breakdown. That said, Willem Alberts has definitely arrived, and he might now be the go to man should you go with a runner rather than a fetcher …

Danie Rossouw
Flip van der Merwe is a good player, and proved his worth on this tour, but I still feel that Danie Rossouw is a better option on the bench. Primarily a lock, he can cover for both Matfield and Bakkies Botha, yet he also adds value in that he can play on the side of the scrum.

Gurthro Steenkamp
As strong a season as the Blue Bull loosehead has had, I think the Beast has proven that he is the man for the number 1 Bok jersey. It would have been a very different story had Beast been injured though.

Right, enough banter from me. Go mad, get that coffee, and let’s have a chat. Next week we will be talking cricket or sevens, so let’s use this opportunity to talk real rugby for the last time in 2010 …


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