De Villiers plots RWC defence

2010-06-18 17:19

Witbank - Hardly a media conference goes by that there isn't some reference to next year's World Cup in New Zealand by Springbok coach Peter de Villiers or even the players who are interviewed separately afterwards - and if one thing is clear, it is that De Villiers' planning is in place for the defence of the World Cup.

Everyone may not agree with what that planning entails, and the combinations and options he has in mind might not have the approval of all critics - nor the fact that the team taking the field is not necessarily South Africa's best.

"We realise that," is the coach's reply. "I know that every time the side loses, whoever plays in it, it is a loss for the Springboks, not a defeat for a side that many see as weakened.

"But we are working towards a goal," he said before - and after - the Test against Wales.

Such are the riches in players at his command at the moment that no team selected can really be called weak, albeit not the best available. The way in which the teams have been mixed with senior players/stars combining with youngsters makes for a rather formidable side every time - something it wouldn't be if the De Villiers had decided to play a straight B-side.

Asked why lock Flip van der Merwe, one of the season's greatest successes, wasn't given another run on the bench against Italy on Saturday after being yellow-carded five minutes after coming on which ended his debut, De Villiers explained that they were grooming Alistair Hargreaves as a No 5 lock. "He has to learn from Victor (Matfield)," he said - the inference being that Van der Merwe, in playing and training with the three Test veterans Matfield, Danie Rossouw and Bakkies Botha at the Bulls, is getting the necessary mentoring.

De Villiers also preferred to go with Ricky Januarie at scrumhalf rather than Ruan Pienaar as it would give him a feeling of confidence to get more regular playing time - and the knowledge that there is a belief in his ability will make him a better player.

Flyhalf Morne Steyn will probably be rested for next weekend's second Test against Italy in East London and Victor Matfield, depending on the fitness of John Smit, will most likely also get a break. This week Wynand Olivier and Danie Rossouw are being rested.

De Villiers also wants to give Butch James a run at flyhalf against Italy and Pienaar will probably play the whole of the second half on Saturday as scrumhalf.

And who knows, Gio Aplon could move to fullback to give Bjorn Basson his second cap on the wing while Juan de Jongh will come on as centre when James moves to flyhalf.

At the Springbok team announcement on Tuesday when Schalk Burger still seemed confident of being fit for the Test on Saturday, De Villiers intimated that he wanted the veteran flanker to play in order to see how Dewald Potgieter would fit in with Burger and another experienced campaigner, Potgieter's Bulls team mate Pierre Spies.

"We're looking at combinations," De Villiers said then - and now has two rather similar players at flank who unfortunately will not be free to play their own game as No 7s.

In another attempt to leave no stone unturned with a view to the World Cup, the Springbok medical team and its regional counterparts have met to plan the management of the country's senior players in the lead-up to the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.

The meeting of medical and conditioning teams from Springboks and the five Vodacom Super 14 regions - including doctors, physiotherapists and fitness conditioners - met with the approval of De Villiers who addressed them at the meeting in Cape Town.

"I am now reassured that our players are in safe hands, both nationally and within their regions," De Villiers said afterwards.


  • BALSAK - 2010-06-18 17:45

    If this article is true , than there is no place for Zane, Wynand and even Morne in this team. As defence is not there strong points?????

  • Rock Solid - 2010-06-18 18:16

    It's all very well to look at combinations, but this constant experimentation is disruptive and can produce awful results like last year's losses to the Leicester Tigers, France and Ireland. These results tarnish the proud record of the Springboks, such that Ireland, for example, can boast that they have not been beaten by the Boks for three years. Playing Pienaar at scrum-half makes sense, but how much confidence can he, too, gain there in one half of a match against Italy, when he has been persistently picked at fly-half by PdV, failing time after time in that position. Believe me, Butch is not the answer at fly-half either. PdV needs to be more decisive and start settling key players into the position they will play in next year, while identifying and developing talent in weak positions. Moving and mucking players about is counterproductive. That means keeping Frans Steyn as fullback, for example, and backing him too, and giving him confidence there, rather than sticking with Zane, who persistently fails at international level, and backing Ricky to give him confidence as scrum-half when he is not as good as Ruan or Fourie at scrum-half. PdV should be fielding the strongest team possible for games against the world's top sides, and working to ensure every back-up player on the bench is just as good as the player he replaces. Not only a brillant 1st XV, but depth is what counts in World Cups. It's time to start settling our top players into place and to stop chopping and changing and unsettling those players. Experiment against Italy if you must PdV, but please, start being more decisive sooner rather than later. After all, a loss can always be blamed on "experimentation", and maybe you are hiding behind that and have a loser mentality behind the bravado? Field the best XV Boks and let's see what they can do.

  • darkwing - 2010-06-18 18:38

    Div is spoilt for choice.

  • KingBoggom - 2010-06-18 18:56

    When can we see an article about Caster? She is hot! Even hotter than Nora in Egoli! Go Stormers!!

  • Joeman - 2010-06-18 18:56

    I cant agree with Butch... he is a liability.. slow and poderous. Ok for the wet fields of the Uk but the faster fields here.. OVer the hill and far away

  • KingBoggom - 2010-06-18 19:23

    Matfield is a liability, he still hasnt proved himself at test level. We need Fondse or Nico Luus. The more Stormers in the team, the better. They are players for the big arena.

  • IsiTrupi - 2010-06-18 19:30

    KingBoggom, I have to agree about Caster. Back to rugby. Why isnt Wikus Blaauw and Brok Harris in the team?? They are our best locks in the country. They destroyed the Bulls in the Heineken Cup final!.Schalk Burger must get a chance at inside centre. The opposition wont be able to stop him and we will get forward momentum.

  • WTF @ BALSAK - 2010-06-18 19:35

    Balsak, the last two RWC have been won on defence. (Eng 2003, SA 2007). It isn't pretty play, but it's damn-near indomitable. So it is an entry-level criteria for any player in the Bokke that they must have a strong defence, and you can't have someone like Kirchner at fullback when their defence is so poor.

  • George - 2010-06-18 20:18

    @ darkwing - yes he is but still gets his hookers wrong

  • BloubulTerbllance - 2010-06-18 21:48

    Waar is Steggies?

  • Michael Bowery - 2010-06-18 22:43

    Div! Dont plot leave it to the players and you'll be alright. You have the best team in the world so don't up.

  • Michael - 2010-06-19 07:19

    Old Snor still has the problem of picking the team to be politically correct. Here is what will make or break the team. First he has to pick the politicallly correct numbers then fill in as best he can to win the RWC. To pick a team to be in contension is easy but to fullfill the criteria required by politics, his team selections is much harder. It looks like the Beast is out as he is not SA born, big hole in front row. So lets see what the final squad will look like.

  • BALSAK - 2010-06-19 07:25

    The BEST defencive team in the S14 was the STORMERS, if this article is GENUINE and TRUE, it actually means ALL STORMERS MUST be SPRINGBOX!! And please BLOGGERS I'm not BIAS!!!!Your thoughts will assist??????

  • Lew - 2010-06-19 08:11

    Hehehe!! Between BALSAK & KingBoggom, who needs official comedians in this country??!! Victor hasn't proved himself at test level, and Wynands' defence not being his strong point.....You guys are killing me!!! Next you'll probably come up with Malema being a great example and awesome leader?!?!

  • JACK - 2010-06-19 08:13

    Div is spoilt for choice and will catchup with him soon.

  • jt - 2010-06-19 08:28

    Div can experiment now, but he should be carefull not to make the same mistake Graeme Henry did in their buildup to RWC. He experimented proved he was on the right track with so many good players coming through the ranks. Problem was that he did not settle his best 15 and they came unstuck when it mattered most. Div will know about this and finish his experiments, so he can settle the team for Tri Nations. Coaches have come far realising that you need to settle your best 15. Bulls and Stomers were succesfull in their campaigns as they fielded their best available team every Saturday. The old notion of Super 14 being long and senior players needing rest have been replaced by consistancy in selection and fielding a settled team. Div, as other SA coaches are sticking to this and they are on the right track, although it might be neccessary to rest the likes of John and Victor - same as what Jake did with Os.

  • Claudeus - 2010-06-19 08:49

    Diff Please COMBO number 1 =Ruan @9 Steyn @10 and Steyn @15 and leave the history class, we dont need has beens, please.

  • @Bloubul - 2010-06-19 08:52

    Steggisis not in the team because he is not the best no6 in the country. He also gives away too many penalties

  • SR - 2010-06-19 09:03

    no team has ever won it twice in a row...... and it look like SA will be the first team do it and then be the only 3rd time Champs. Go Bokke!!!!!!!!!!!! Stormers defence + Bulls attack = RWC 2011 Winners

  • joe @ BALSAK - 2010-06-19 10:34

    omw wot a pie. u dnt seem to know much abt rugby. having the whole springbok team consisting of stormers players is just retarded. not that the stormers are a bad side but thr are weaknesses in the team like in any club side. the springboks should consist of the best PLAYERS sa can offer. Morne best fly-half in the world fourie best scrum-half, matfield best lock in the world. and wot if we decide to play a more attacking game instead of defensive then we should take out all stormers players and put in all bulls players? then we would miss out on center fourie habana on the wing and it's the same for the sharks cheetahs and lions if the players play wel they deserve a shot. if this still hasn changed ur mind then u hav to ask urself one question. Am i really not bias?

  • Gary Hirson - 2010-06-19 13:34

    I heard a joke once... a young bride, very nervous on her wedding day asks her aunt, whose been married for over 40 years, what's the secret to marriage bliss. Aunt," It's simple skattie, your uncle makes all the big decisions and I make the small ones." "What decisions do you make aunty? asked the young bride. "Oh I decide on what schools your cousins needed to go to, where we should live, what banks we should be with, and when to visit the doctor and dentist." The young bride answers," Geez aunty, those sound like really big decisions. Uncles decisions must have been huge. What did he decide?" The Aunty replies,"he decided on who should be captain of the Proteas, who should coach the Springboks and where Bafana, Bafana should train." By reading the above comments I believe that there are many successful marriages out there.

  • haha - 2010-06-19 13:40

    Who cares if we lose in the build up to the World Cup... in rugby it is only about the World Cup. Nothing else really matters.... you can ask the All Blacks about that.

  • Objective - 2010-06-19 22:10

    Stegmann does not give away "too much penalties". Don't be rediculous. Francois Louw gave away more penalties this season. Stegmann has a higher workrate. If you say Stegmann isn't the best 6, Louw is, then we could say that is your opinion and you could say your opinion is vindicated by the Bok selection. But need I remind you that there is numerous selections that aren't correct, that even you would agree with; Hargreaves, Maku, Januarie etc. Stegmann is the best we have available along with Brussow.

  • Bakkies - 2010-06-27 14:07

    All Blacks & Wallabies building slowly, come World Cup both has potential to peak, I predict Boks to selfdestruct-remeber the All Blacks of 2007???funny enough at both World Cups 95 & 2007 the Boks were not the best team going into the tournament.

  • Jet - 2010-06-30 09:30

    Why do all the stormers supporters keep going on about why there favourites are not in the sqaud ? Victor is a leader and stalwart of the side, not saying the youngsters should not be blooded in at this time ! Some of the comments above are so rediculous and do not belong on this forum. I wish the blog admins would not publish cr@p comments, it makes the reading unpleasant. I am also one for being unhappy about politics playing a role in sport especially at this level. Bottom line is the best side is not always chosen and this will cost us as fans and as a country. Most times the coach is forced to make up numbers (never mind what colour the coach may be).

  • ian - 2010-07-03 15:16

    Ruan is not the right option ,he is keeping specialists out of the game.There are better scrummies and flyhalves.Januarie is ok but there are better options,but those options are getting the race mate card just like Chilliboy

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