Loftus dilemma for Div

2010-08-24 09:10

Gavin Rich - SuperSport

Johannesburg - Considering his team has lost four games in a row and has won just five in 11 Tests played since last year’s domination of the Tri-Nations, Springbok coach Peter de Villiers has a surprisingly upbeat view on life.

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There were no signs of the pressure that he must be under when he faced up to the media at Loftus on Monday as he turned his attention towards the final stage of a Tri-Nations campaign that has been nothing short of disastrous for his men. After four matches, the Boks have just a solitary bonus point for losing by less than seven to the All Blacks at the FNB Stadium last Saturday.

While many critics are treating a home defeat at altitude in front of nearly 100 000 patriotic South Africans as a massive blow to the psyche – after all, if the Boks can’t beat the All Blacks in that situation and when playing with such passion, when are they going to beat them? – De Villiers has taken a different view.

“I have watched the video of the match over and over again and what I have realised is that I got too caught up in winning and losing last week and didn’t focus enough on the team performance,” said De Villiers.

“We were five to seven minutes away from glory. If I was to make it personal and to say they played for me then I would have to say the players really stood up for me. That makes me feel really good.”

However a year ago the Boks were the dominant force in the southern hemisphere tournament, and it is a sign of how far they have slipped that their coach can be finding consolation and positives from a defeat which came on a day when all the external factors were in South Africa’s favour.

The two remaining matches are against an Australian team that has not won at altitude since 1963, and while skipper John Smit has focused the goal on winning the Mandela Cup on offer to the team which wins the best of three battle between the two nations, the reality is that the All Blacks match was the one that could have turned around public sentiment.

Against a rebuilding Wallaby team they should be expected to win at home, and it will be another unwanted piece of history if they don’t as it would mean the Australians have broken their post-isolation duck on the Highveld.

There is already much justification for the clamour for change to both leadership and team management, and De Villiers does not make it easier for himself by his apparent refusal to recognise that there are things that need to be rectified.

But defeats at home to Australia and a last place in the Tri-Nations would almost certainly be the last straw and force SA Rugby to act, so De Villiers should be pleased that he could be in a position to choose his strongest combination of the season when the team is announced lunch-time Tuesday.

What would stand in the way would be if Juan Smith’s abdominal strain is serious enough to keep him out, which seems unlikely. Schalk Burger did enough at the breakdown against New Zealand to justify the retention of the same loose trio that did duty in the last match, and Danie Rossouw must surely return as the starting lock partner for centurion Victor Matfield now that he has recovered full fitness.

Francois Hougaard’s form in his first start as a test player was excellent, but it is when you get outside of him that the selection dilemmas start arriving. Juan de Jongh was good against the All Blacks, but his Stormers teammate Jaque Fourie is now back from suspension and ready to play.

“I was speaking to All Black assistant coach Wayne Smith, who I respect as a real rugby man, after the game and he said I have an interesting choice to make,” said De Villiers.

Given where the Boks are at the moment, and the desperate need for a win, he will surely go for experience, and reunite Fourie with Jean de Villiers – a selection which, along with several others, is really long overdue and should have been made during the overseas leg.

There is a clamour for the head of Bryan Habana after his defensive error that enabled Richie McCaw to score the equalising try at FNB Stadium, but the left wing did look sharper than he has in a while and Loftus, where Saturday’s match is to be played, is his old stomping ground.

Presumably those who want him dropped are thinking that Gio Aplon could move to wing, which would create space in the last line of defence for Frans Steyn.

The most reassuring aspect from a South African viewpoint of Monday’s training session at Loftus would surely have been the sight of Steyn’s booming boot sending the ball soaring into the distance. Clearly the Racing Metro player has lost none of the power in his kicking boot and that will come in handy against Australia.

But De Villiers is not sure he will select Steyn straight into the starting team.

“The player (Aplon) who played in Frans’ position against the All Blacks did not do badly, and we should be careful of changing for the sake of changing. But to become sentimental on anything I do means that I don’t make the logical decisions to take the team forward,” said De Villiers.

The Springbok team to face the Wallabies at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday at 17:00 will be announced at 13:00 on Tuesday.


  • losers - 2010-08-24 09:15

    AA PDV + QUOTAS = LOSERS... ...HA HA HA HA ..!!

  • please read - 2010-08-24 09:24

    there is nothing wrong with our team, coach or captain. In fact, they are the best in the world. What is wrong then? The all blacks are a rugby nation and their pride and glory lies here. They host the WC next year - do we really believe that they wont be/come prepared? They are a full blown ready WC side - making there mark - SA boks just needs to step up and match them. We have not reached that level of commitment or realisation. Wake up boys - the time is now. See the trinations as an early alarm.

  • Ja ou Snorbek - 2010-08-24 09:24

    Top afrigters vd Bokke is in die verlede gedrop omdat hul kaartjiepryse bevraagteken het maar die clown weet hy kan niks oorkom nie.Sy arrogante, dikvellige houding irriteer 7 soorte k@k uit meeste van ons.As jy nie seker is oor Frans nie hoekom de f@k het jy dan gefight om hom uit Frankryk te kry?Drop die 3 dikg@tte,Januarie, Smit en Chilliboy en bring Bismarck, Liebenberg en enige ander no 9 in die CB in Januarie se plek.Aplon bank toe as impakspeler en Frans op 15.Jaque en Jean op senter en Morne Steyn sy finale kans. Gooi useless no-skills Spiertier poefter Spies uit en bring Kankowski of Vermeulen in.Ag sorry man jy skuld John Smit mos en Januarie en Chilliboy is KWOTA spelers so hul al 3 bly.Aplon is seker die nuwe Tiger Woods (re Pienaar) van SA Rugby en Spies moet nog n kans kry want dalk, net dalk perform hy in 1 uit 15 toetse op Moftus.GO AUSSIES SHAGGA BOK want verloor is die enigste manier wat ons die gatkant van Snor,Spies,Januarie,Smit,Chilliboy en n paar ander dalk mag sien.

  • Gonzo - 2010-08-24 09:25


  • kudobok - 2010-08-24 09:29

    i would drop habana for the bulls super wing van den heever and drop jp pieterson for francois hougaard on the other wing when fourie du preez is back and obviously sacrifice someone for frans steyn and there you already have a power line up for the world cup.....its time habana starts keeping the bench warma s he seems to have gotten a little too comfortable in that wing position

  • Is he all there? - 2010-08-24 09:30

    oh dear we were seven minutes away from glory!!!!WTF I'm feeling sorry for BOK supporters. It's not fair that they have to have this idiot coaching their team. Field your best players when is this circus going to end?

  • rhineshark - 2010-08-24 09:31

    Delusional Div

  • Gonzo - 2010-08-24 09:31


  • cj - 2010-08-24 09:43

    Excellent article Mr Rich. You've hit the nail on the head. The refusal to face up to the fact that last Saturday was a watershed match, showing that the Boks have gone backwards, when they have been perfectly poised to consolidate their dominance over the past year, is inexplicable. The coach has been finally and clearly exposed as falling short, given the substitions that he made and failed to make on Saturday. A three year old will tell you it was stupid to replace Smith and Hougaardt, and not bring on the fresh legs of Ralepele for the tired ones of the captain, how can we be expected to be satisfied with a national coach that makes such obvious mistakes ? The problem is that wins against OZ will again lull them into a false sense of security.

  • ray - 2010-08-24 09:50

    The current coach believes he has the abilities of his predecessor. He will continue to tell everyone that everything is in order as the man is being paid a small fortune every month. The scoreboard tells a different story. You see it is easy to bulldust some people some of the time but it becomes more and more diffucult to bulldust everybody as the scoreboard results keep on repeating itself....

  • scrum cap - 2010-08-24 09:51

    Yet another case of foot in mouth disease from Div: "But to become sentimental on anything I do means that I don't make the logical decisions to take the team forward." That, dear folks, is the problem. We have a coach who must be the consumate "sentimentalist" throughout his entire tenure as Bok coach thus far, as NONE of his decisions have ever been logical. In fact the vast majority of these, whether they be selections, substitutions, game plans (or lack thereof) defy logic altogether... Major changes in the coaching personnel are needed, and pronto....The Boks will definitely NOT win the RWC at this rate, so make the changes now as there is nothing more to lose!

  • Selma - 2010-08-24 09:53

    Ontspan mense, julle verstaan nie vir die PdV nie. Dis alles deel van die plan om die Australiers en All Blacks en Franse en Engelse en Iere om die bos te lei. Hul gaan houtgerus by die WB opdaag en dan gaan die Bokke hulle horings gee soos min. Hoekom moet PdV na die oorsese klubs gaan? Het hulle dan nie epos of fakse nie?

  • bloubulblog - 2010-08-24 09:54

    gaan kyk hierna en dink weer oor spies se bydrae.

  • Pieta. - 2010-08-24 09:54

    Dit word nou regtig tyd dat ons span kies op meriete en vorm. Daar is te veel spelers wat op reputasie speel en keer op keer net weer gekies word. Pierre Spies is sekerlik die ondoeltreffendste losvoorspeler in die 3nasie-reeks en hy laat die springbokke altyd een man kort by die afbreekpunte. Hy gaan nie soos ander in by die losgemale nie . Habanna kan gerus curriebeker gaan speel want ek dink hy is pateties. John Smith het sy 100 toetse gespeel en nou kan enige van ons top 4 hakers wat beter is kans kry. As die span op meriete, vopm en kombinasies gekies word sal ons nie verloor nie . Die hulpafrigters moet ook vervang word.

  • Bok 22 - 2010-08-24 09:55

    1. CJ van der Linde 2. John Smit (captain) 3. Jannie du Plessis 4. Danie Rossouw 5. Victor Matfield 6. Schalk Burger 7. Juan Smith 8. Ryan Kankowski 9. Francois Hougaard 10. Morné Steyn 11. Juan de Jongh 12. Jean de Villiers 13. Jaque Fourie 14. JP Pietersen 15. Frans Steyn 16. Bismarck du Plessis 17. Gurthrö Steenkamp 18. Flip van der Merwe 19. Pierre Spies 20. Jano Vermaak 21. Butch James 22. Gio Aplon

  • LJE - 2010-08-24 09:55

    "But to become sentimental on anything I do means that I don’t make the logical decisions to take the team forward" - Since when has PDivy EVER been known for logical decisions and coherent communication? Being that beacon of emotional stability that he is....

  • BLIKSIM - 2010-08-24 09:55

    Come now Divvy have you no shame look at your eyes stop smoking that stuff and resign haha

  • Jack - 2010-08-24 09:55

    Every Rugby supporter must have seen this comming DIV was a Bee appointment that latched on to a succesiveful and winning Team,now that things are falling apart a little knowledge is need to make the right decissons to correct,Him and his backup team unfortuntely do not have this ability and it is only going to get worse.

  • BLIKSIM - 2010-08-24 09:56

    Come now Divvy have you no shame look at your eyes stop smoking that stuff and resign haha

  • BladeRunner - 2010-08-24 10:03

    Div you do not retain a player who 'did not do badly' - you find someone who will do excellently! Frans Steyn at full back please. Habana could do with being dropped, it may make him hungry again, or look at his technique which I hate to say is sorely lacking at the moment.

  • Johnno - 2010-08-24 10:08

    Of course he's upbeat despite the pressure. He knows he can't be fired no matter what the results. That's how Affirmative Action works.

  • Durban Poison - 2010-08-24 10:12

    @ Bok 22. In the light of the past 2 months lets think about this: 1.Fine 2.Bismark 3.Fine 4.Fine 5.P. vd Merwe 6.&7. Fine 8.Dwaine Vermeulen 9.Fine 10.Frans Steyn 11. That strong bugger from the Sharks & 12. & 13. Fine 14.Geo Aplon 15. Conrad Jantjies. There are enough "old" players left in this team to assist the young talent. Do with the bench what you want. Spies, Smit, Matfield, etc. use them carefully though.

  • Chris - 2010-08-24 10:12

    Bring vir Oom Eddie Jones in om handjie by te sit. Hy het na alles die WB vir ons gewen en nie Jake White nie.

  • JJ - 2010-08-24 10:12

    I must admit, I think Habana needs to be dropped until he regains form - he has been off form since the 2nd game of the S14. I agree with the idea of moving Aplon to 11 and slotting in Steyn at the back. The centres are a real problem, experience versus the step and pace of de Jongh - what to do? I am a big fan of Jean but for this match I would start with de Jongh at 1st centre and see how it goes. Finally Olivier will be moved off the bench back into provincial rugby where he belongs. We need to replace Smit now - there are 3 hookers who are better than him. Perhaps Juan Smith for captain? Also, Spies has been fairly ordinary - unless he improves quickly I think that it's high time that we test out the battering ram, aka Duane Vermeulen...he might not be as fast but he is definitely stronger

  • skywalker - 2010-08-24 10:15

    5 to 7 minutes from glory and he sends on Ricky January who can't even make his provincial bench long as this clown continues to stick with has-beens he will continue to LOSE..!

  • PDV/Quota-Hater - 2010-08-24 10:17

    ....Go Aussies..!! Go Wallabies..!!!

  • Uncle - 2010-08-24 10:21

    It was quite evident from watching them warm up on Saturday that there is very little focus and discipline. Matfield and Spies are the most at fault. Horsing about as though it was beach rugby. You practice like you play. It really is time to drop the utterly skill-less Pierre Spies. We are sick of his zero commitment attitude.

  • Pielle - 2010-08-24 10:27

    Div is i great coach...................................................... Vir Tennis

  • norman - 2010-08-24 10:28

    Seven minutes away from glory -really- I personally think that if the game went on another two minutes we would have lost by a further ten points.The coach is an idiot who doesnt have a clue,and for that matter niether does his BEE appointed boss Dreamy Hoskins.

  • uge - 2010-08-24 10:36

    Fair weather supporters should not be allowed to comment. I know we tend to hammer the refereeing thing, but it is a fact that New Zealand have been blatantly benefitted by biased refereeing. If a supporter ignores that fact, then his opinion regarding the coach is worthless. You don't even understand the dynamics of beating the AB's how can you make a decision re the coaching staff? Calling for the coaches head is an embarrassment and you should look closely at your motiviation. I suspect that you hate BEE...

  • Viv - 2010-08-24 10:38

    So happy that this tool has a upbeat view on life - the supporters however dont! PDiv sucks and is slowly but surely destroying SA rugby game after game. I just dont understand how this man can be left in charge. We are the SA public should als have a choice in who is the coach. PDIV SUCKS AND SHOULD BE FIRED IMMEDIATELY!!

  • So What? - 2010-08-24 10:40

    He is probably upbeat as he knows he has the backing of the men in power. Probably been told his job is safe. Maybe he reads these blogs and enjoys it when he sees he is taking the proud tradition of the Bok down the drain with him, as everything else in this country, and that he is getting the supporters close to a heart attack. Maybe, just maybe what was said yesterday must be done - everyone stay away from the next two matches. That will send the message, not us just moaning and groaning.

  • amier jouley - 2010-08-24 10:48

    if we get a white wash the coach must step down with dignity

  • amier jouley - 2010-08-24 10:51

    if we get a white wash the coach must step down with dignity

  • MyRugby Mate - 2010-08-24 10:54

    @ Bok 22 - Think you'll be pretty close to getting the selections right, looking forward to seeing (hopefully) Jean de Villiers and Jaque Fourie team up in the centers. Roll on the weekend, best of luck Bok.

  • Suurpoep - 2010-08-24 10:57

    Smit is too old now. Habana and Pieterse must be replaced NOW !!!!!!

  • LOEKIE - 2010-08-24 11:09

    Team 1.CJ 2.Bismarck 3. Beast. 4,Danie 5.Victor 6.Schalk 7.Juan 8.Ryan 9.Francious 10 Morne 11.Gio 12 Jean 13.Jaque14.JP 15.Frans

  • @ Bok 22 - 2010-08-24 11:11

    Good team.. How about; 1. CJ van der Linde 2. John Smit (captain) 3. Jannie du Plessis 4. Flip VD Merwe 5. Victor Matfield 6. Schalk Burger 7. Juan Smith 8. Ryan Kankowski 9. Francois Hougaard 10. Morné Steyn 11. Juan de Jongh 12. Jean de Villiers 13. Jaque Fourie 14. Gerhard Van Den Heever 15. Frans Steyn 16. Bismarck du Plessis 17. Gurthrö Steenkamp 18. Danie Rossouw 19. Pierre Spies 20. Jano Vermaak 21. Loius Ludek 22. Gio Aplon

  • Edwin - 2010-08-24 11:13

    I cannot believe that SARU is allowing this incompetent clown to continue running Springbok rugby into the ground! But then again, we all know what folls SARU themselves are!

  • Boks4Eva - 2010-08-24 11:18

    @Ja ou snorbek Hoekom maak ons jou nie coach nie, want jy weet duidelik baie!? Hierdie mense wat hulle monde so vol het van alles en almal, irriteer my grensloos en dan nog sulke gekruide taal daarby. At the end of the day - it's just a game and leave it to the people that know what they are doing and STOP being so judgemental - Geez, SA citizens - no wonder our country is the way it is .... no one has time for each other anymore. We need a special DAY OF PRAYER for our country to get rid of all the hatred and negativity.

  • @ PDV/Quota-Hater - 2010-08-24 11:41

    Ok! Thanks!!! We heard you in all the comments that are available on all the sites. In the begin I thought it was a prefound statement. Now I do not want to be associated with it anymore. Reason: You spoiled it. You made it one dimentional that made it common. Can you produce a well thought through remark? Except something like " Go Ausies!! Go Wallabies!" It's posiable. Just try harder! Ha, ha, ha!!!!

  • Spliff - 2010-08-24 12:24

    Raak ontslae van Habana en sommer ook van Victor en Spies. Aplon is te klein maak nie saak hoe groot sy hart is. Kies spelers wat perform en graag daardie groen en goud oor hulle kop wil trek.

  • PDV/Quota-hater - 2010-08-24 12:26

    ...Go Aussies..!! ...Go Wallabies..!! .....Go Aussies..! ..Go Wallabies..!! ...Go Aussies..!! ...Go Wallabies..!! ...Go Aussies..!! ...Go Wallabies..!!!

  • rid - 2010-08-24 12:54

    ....GET RID OF THE RUBBISH TALKING SNORRE AND HAS-BEEN JOHN SMIT... ...and select Bismark du Plessis, Francois steyn and Juan Smith as Bok captain... ...and Heyneke Meyer as coach..

  • koos - 2010-08-24 13:23

    Without McCaw and Carter, I'm sure we can beat the All Blacks. We were without Bakkies, FdP, Mossie, Bismarc, Brussow, Frans Steyn...notice that there is some gamebreakers on the list. Next year we will be fetching the World Cup in NZ

  • Pilgrim - 2010-08-24 15:16

    Hananna should have been dropped and Jaques Fourie played on the wing. Juan De Jong deserves to be in the side.

  • Kiwi in Vienna - 2010-08-24 15:58

    2 guys don't make a winning team.....only the collective can do that. OK, Carter and McCaw are great players but the way the AB's are shaping up they seem to be employing tactics that will cover for any injuries that may befall key players such as the aforementioned. Carter had an off day with the boot albeit still strong in the field of play but I believe Reid is being groomed to assume more of McCaw's responsibilties should the unthinkable happen. We all saw what happened last year when McCaw and Carter were out injured (although I believe that the Bokke were the stronger outfit anyway) and currently there are no players in NZ that could fill their shoes to the same extent. Graham Henry is a shrewd old fart; he won't take any chances...he's cooking up something you can sure of that.

  • Siwi - 2010-08-24 20:04

    What does this mean from DIV“I have watched the video of the match over and over again and what I have realised is that I got too caught up in winning and losing last week and didn’t focus enough on the team performance,” said De Villiers. And well beam me up Captain I need to go back to the Ego Ship “We were five to seven minutes away from glory. If I was to make it personal and to say they played for me then I would have to say the players really stood up for me. That makes me feel really good.”

  • MJM - 2010-08-24 21:07

    this is why you can win the WC but never be the best team in the world: "I got too caught up in winning and losing last week and didn’t focus enough on the team performance"

  • Kiwi in Vienna - 2010-08-25 08:30

    It's all about me, me, me...... Sounds like your coach has developed a bad case of narcissism.