Roll out those Bok 'oldies'

2011-07-30 15:32

Comment: Rob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer

Cape Town - Let’s accept, shall we, that to an even greater degree now the Springboks are going to look “backwards” in their bid to go forward at the World Cup?

That is the conclusion that can best be drawn, I believe, from another ugly dunking for their largely second-tier squad in the Castle Tri-Nations Test against the All Blacks in Wellington on Saturday.

Say what you like about some rather glaring instances of cynical obstruction and the like by the home team and Alain Rolland’s excessive tolerance of it: we’re living in a dream world if we believe that poor officialdom was the root cause of the latest, six-tries-to-one walloping for the Boks.

The result adds to an increasingly unappetising list of heavy post-isolation South African capitulations to the old enemy.

And yes, I wouldn’t blame any proud Boks of previous generations - some of whom would have put their bodies on the line in New Zealand mud after weeks of sea passages and an array of other tough tour fixtures - for either turning in their graves or spluttering into their whiskeys over the surrender of another supposed “Test match” by a bunch of rookies clearly not yet best equipped to defend their patch in the richest traditions of this duel.

We must not be too cruel to these ill-prepared lambs to the slaughter - some of them will emerge stronger for the sobering experience to grace the jersey more honourably down the line, and hopefully in positional combinations far less untried than some thrust chaotically onto the paddock at Westpac Stadium.

Sometimes you must simply doff your cap in pure admiration, too, when Cory Jane produces a try of the virtuoso brilliance he did or when Zac Guildford streaks away for the touchdown in the corner from the kind of offload the current All Blacks have got down to an art-form so much more than most other top-tier nations.

But the fact remains that, however hopefully you may wish to cling to the occasional bursts of promise from these naive Boks on the day, they were still responsible for a record reverse on New Zealand soil, the 33-point difference eclipsing the 28-0 outcome at Dunedin in 1999 under Nick Mallett’s tenure.

Indeed, an unwanted new landmark in that department would probably have been reached had Dan Carter, otherwise wickedly inventive in open play, not had a rare, iffy game off the tee.

Where does it leave us? In broad terms - and obviously with a few exceptions - with a deeper faith and desire than a week or two earlier in the crusty characters who have stayed behind with the intention of flexing altogether greater muscle in the remaining Tri-Nations home fixtures (where it is imperative now that the Boks re-establish at least some modicum of momentum and respect) and then the defence of the World Cup.

Many observers know that it is a policy fraught with certain perils.

Just how badly do the medal-winners of four years ago really desire a repeat act? Can their 2007 “engines”, as it were, muster the required strength and sharpness to savour the chequered flag once more in the dynamic, Australasian-sparked climate of 2011?

Yet there is simply no time left for Peter de Villiers and company to contemplate any other formula but the one they’ve clearly long intended pursuing.

With South African set-piece play, especially, under scrutiny for all the wrong reasons this year - wow, the scrum was gory in Wellington - it is tempting to consider whether it is even wise exposing a known lineout master like Victor Matfield to too much activity in the Durban and Port Elizabeth return Tri-Nations matches shortly.

It is a delicate situation because, as much as cocooning him for the World Cup has to be a key quest, he also can’t hit a World Cup too entangled in cobwebs.

And who wants the much-required stamina and bravery of a Schalk Burger to fall foul of, say, a freak cracked jaw or broken hand in mid-August?

From the ashes of Saturday’s unpalatably one-sided encounter, I would suggest very few scorched souls worth saving as fuel for the Boks’ RWC fire, if you were to judge things purely on these particular 80 minutes.

Big Danie Rossouw and Jean Deysel did their commendable damndest to inject vigour in driving play and grunt in the mauls, Gerhard Mostert’s debut in the second row was reasonably lion-hearted, and if Juan de Jongh can turn those promising little exploitations of midfield half-gaps into more decisive raids over the advantage line, he might also grace rugby’s highest stage with aplomb when required.

Pat Lambie? Hmm, how fair would it be to negatively judge a youngster so obviously deprived of quality front-foot ball and arguably steelier than other Bok lightweights in the tackling chore?

Otherwise, though, for better or for worse, it’s increasingly about men we already know so well ...


  • eric.bunyaz - 2011-07-30 15:41

    let me guess.......we like getting SCREWED OVER by a team that seens to have NO guts,no passion,and chance in the world cup.....if this is something anything to go by .......then its time to fine a new team to can only take so much.......DIV must GO GO GO GO gaan huis toe ons soek jou nie!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      SAFCan - 2011-07-30 16:48

      Div must now accept that the winning team and game plan that White put together and he inherited has finally reached it sell by date. Failure to evolve the springboks style of rugby over the past few years has finally kicked our once formidable springboks in the nuts! Based on current form, it will be a miracle if we make it past the playoff rounds of RWC 2011.

      CenturionX - 2011-07-30 18:33

      Be realistic. These guys played much better than last week. There are still some who do not belong in a Springbok jersey and some who should have left two seasons ago. Hopefully Helium will be changed after the world cup and well get a coach who knows something about coaching. Our guys have the talent. It's just getting them into a team and playing according to game plan that suit our strengths. Hopefully the involvement of some new brains (read Erasmus) will help get the real Boks in fighting form. The All Blacks did not look that great today anyway. No way they'll win the world cup this year.

      Andy49 - 2011-07-30 18:49

      @SAFCan they should have been phased out at least a year ago to allow the new breed of youngsters to be exposed to this level, to wait until just before the RWC to experiment is crazy but there again we are talking about a crazy person are we not.

      Kaapie - 2011-07-30 19:54

      White's gameplan met its SBD a long time ago. Problem is the coaches and players failed to adapt. A general SA problem. But nevertheless I still support the Bokke!!

      Neles - 2011-07-31 12:30

      There is no such thing as a Jake White game plan. Only a traditional springbok game plan - deeply entrenched in the SARFU and now SARU divisions throughout professional and amateur ranks. Jake White merely allowed the players to play like they have throughout their rugby careers since their schooling years.

      StBad - 2011-07-31 18:53

      @SAFCan: Totally, with the calibre of players that he received after winning the last world cup PdV has pretty much milked all that he could out of these players and is now left with a bunch of (dare I say it) has-beens rehabilitating at home cos they can't manage a T3 and a RWC in the same year!

  • Jack - 2011-07-30 15:43

    But, will they be match fit? Will they be able to play 80 mins at full tilt? It's clear that the rookies are not up to the mark, but it seems that we are between a rock and a hard place: old hands who are over the hill, on one side, and rookies with no lead in the pencil, on the other.

      peter the gr - 2011-07-30 16:25

      The must exept the fact, the wont win the WC this time around, not with this wankers, young or old, it does not matter. The must start from scratch and build a team for the next WC. You cant win them all!!

      Frans Smith - 2011-07-30 21:00

      NO CHANCE - 4 years later any athlete is a shadow of hwat he was. there is one or two exceptions in world rugby i.e. mccaw - but to rely on a number of old players to play like they played in 2007 (and then we never even faced the ab's or the aussies)? zero chance! pdv has 4 years and he took us from no 1 backwards. after this world cup we will be 4th if we lucky or 5th ranked.

  • Erik Saether - 2011-07-30 16:05

    How the youngsters learning without oldies around to support them?

      gansgatte - 2011-07-30 16:24

      yip --worst of all i do not think this was our best B side -- we have players in the current cc who proved their worth in the S15 but was denied a shot in the TN, jake had the same disaster TN before the WC, and we won it, i still believe we can, too late to drop smith as captain - that should have happened after the previous WC. The AB could not put themselves under more pressure than they are currently under -- hot favourites playning the WC at home -- what pressure!!! -- the boks as things stand now -- not close, and again the French awaits the AB, cannot wait for the WC.

      Crusader Man - 2011-07-31 00:02

      @gansgatte You are really not worried about winning the world cup. Gee you obviously know something the rest of us don't. Since you know so much you will also know the France is in NZ pool... Even if we lose we will qualify.. Last world cup you guys won... True can't change that fact.. Possibly helped that NZ and OZ were both upset in the games.. Just wondering how SA played leading up to that world cup against NZ... This year we should both end up playing together in a Semi.. I know what supporters will be more worried... There is always pressure in big games.. Nz lost one test last year in hong kong cos Henry had always said that Carter would only play 60 min.. Oz won cos Carters replacement made 2 huge mistakes.. Is he still in NZ side NO !! Yes NZ isn't the same team without Carter.. but you should be more worried about how SA rugby is going.. Hey if we lose the world cup .. I can accept it if beaten by a better team on the day.. Thats life.. What about in between world cups you happy that your team crashes all the time.. You must be thick skinned..

  • call a spade - 2011-07-30 16:46

    Let us first see what kind of teams the AB and Aussies sent here, then we can judge again. Nobody wants to lose key players in the weeks before the WC. For that reason I agree that the tri nations should be abandoned in a world cup year. We had the same thing happening during the last WC. These guys will be playing each other in a world cup tournament in a couple weeks, which is way more important the winning the tri nations.The only purpose with the tri nations is filling the money coffers and TV contracts. My bet is that the AB and Aussues will also leave their key players at home and they will tell us we did it first. I for one did not expect a win on this tour so I am not complaining.

  • tiredofitall - 2011-07-30 16:49

    stop whinging about the ref, the opposition. with McGraw off the field and any other ref, we would still have lost. Truth is, we have no depth; so yes, bring back to old timers !

      Daniel - 2011-07-30 17:04

      Who's McGraw?

      Neles - 2011-07-31 15:38

      the hooker turned singer

  • ZumaGabe - 2011-07-30 17:02

    It was not the BOKKE. We now have the BA-FOKKE playing with a pretty flower on their chests

  • tiredofitall - 2011-07-30 17:22

    sorry Daniel. McCaw ! Did not combine my mental and physical efforts too well -- like the young Boks.

  • Kleinboet - 2011-07-30 17:56

    I would still spice my golden oldie team liberally with youngsters who have flair. What we really need desperately is some knowledgable people in the coaching team.

  • Sir Eidolon - 2011-07-30 18:03

    Rob, I guess you want the side to be stocked full of Bulls. Accept it - they're no longer the dominant team in SA, and their players simply shouldn't be in the Bok side.

  • bemused - 2011-07-30 18:09

    USELESS =abortive, bootless, counterproductive, disadvantageous, dysfunctional, expendable, feckless, fruitless, futile, good-for-nothing, hopeless, idle, impracticable, impractical, incompetent, ineffective, ineffectual, inept, inoperative, inutile, meaningless, no good, nonfunctional, of no use, pointless, profitless, purposeless, scrap, stupid*, unavailable, unavailing, unfunctional, unproductive, unprofitable, unpurposed, unusuable, unworkable, vain, valueless, waste, weak, worthless =BOKS

  • FerretGee - 2011-07-30 18:52

    All those calling for Divvy's head, forget it. Just like Jake White before the 2007 World Cup, Divvy has a watertight contract. That said, his selling Morne Steyn sown the river by playing him af fullback will do nothing for Steyn's confidence. Personally, he would have done better having Pienaar at fullback today, letting McCleod start at scrumhalf (as the only other scrummie on tour) McCleod and Lambie have at least played some games together and had that had failed, he could have replaced Mc with Pienaar, sent Lambie to full back and let Steyn finish the game at flyhalf as the game wore on. Basson is not an international wing either and Stegmann flattered to deceive again. Smit at least had a better game and Mostert stepped up to the plate. Our overall defence which was once our trademark has been woeful but, all is not lost, the regualrs will be back in two weeks and the world cup hasn't been won or lost just yet!

      OD - 2011-07-30 19:07

      World Cups throughout history so far been won on penalties and good defense. No World Cup so far has been won on the "expansive game". I will bet good money that Div and Co are bargaining on that again, hence their conservative approach to the game plan so far. If memory serves me right 2006 under White was an absolute nightmare with people baying for his neck and hammering on the coach's box during games. 2007 was not a great deal better, but we still managed to pull it off in the RWC that year with yet still a conservative game plan. So I guess all is not lost (let's hope at least).

      FerretGee - 2011-07-30 19:18

      @OD.. agreed. .

  • Kleinboet - 2011-07-30 19:12

    World Cups have been won on defence throughout history. Pick a WP/Stormers team and win the world cup!

      Kleinboet - 2011-07-30 19:13

      OK, we can import a couple of props just to make it a certainty!

      wouter.vanheerden2 - 2011-08-01 09:10

      the stormers have tried winning the super14/15 with airtight defence and both times they could not manage to win the competition. Relying on good defence will not 100% win you games you need a good attacking game plan as well when you have the ball in hand. You need to be good in both attack and defence both of which was extinct on saturday. So please before you want to pick a WP/Stormers team for the world cup go and make sure you know what your talking about boet because it would seem that u know as little as PDV knowlegde of Rugby

  • Andrew - 2011-07-30 19:13

    Rob, when Morne was getting bad ball from his forwards you did not protect him. Now that Lambie gets bad ball you do not want to judge him ........ a little hypocritical methinks. I need not tell you that on occasions flyhalfs need to play on the backfoot, when they can do this they are world class.

      Oukoos - 2011-07-30 19:26

      peter Grant is by far the best #10 in South Africa - but the selectors are just not interested. Stupid @#%$!

      Whoosa - 2011-07-31 05:55

      Peter grant, hahaha! He cant kick a cat out of a plastic bag mate! Not bad kicking at goal, but thats all hes got! But tacticaly and teratorialy, hes probaply the worst kicker in SA!

  • T-Boss - 2011-07-30 20:43

    Here is the log of the 2007 Tr-Nations, does it look like we performed well here?? No, yet we won the World Cup. Tri-Nations 2007 – Log Team P W D L PD BP TP New Zealand 4 3 0 1 41 1 13 Australia 4 2 0 2 -4 1 9 South Africa 4 1 0 3 -37 1 5

      Frans Smith - 2011-07-30 21:06

      here is the 2010 trinations; sa played 6 - lost 5 - won 1? with the PDV best 15? 2011 - same old same

      Frans Smith - 2011-07-30 21:10

      we won the 2007 world cup for 2 reasons (i know people dont want to hear it): 1) our favorable draw, 2) the french played 1 x game out of their skins to beat the ab's (with the help of a massive forward pass that the ref did not see?). all sa had to beat was a 2003 old wc england side (similar to what we have now, an old 2007 squad) and we did not even do that convincingly.

      Mickey Fin - 2011-08-03 06:28

      @ Frans Smith. Finally some one that is not scared to speak the truth and admits to the luck we had in 2007. For us to win this one, we need even more luck than in 2007.

  • ozwald - 2011-07-30 21:07

    SA rugby has stagnated,sadly...He is not the coach of that side and maybe for political reasons he may have gotten the job yet the fact remains the players are prepared to play for him- that is all that matters, if they truly believe they can win the world, they will! What has been the worst aspect of our bok team are the assisstant coaches- they have failed to have any impact on the team and maybe some players are reluctant to change. PDV is the manager of that team (is in the same way you describe a football manager) so yes his tactical is lacking but maybe his style is what we need to win to lift the trophy, we need new assistant coaches, simple as that.

  • Mike@CapeT - 2011-07-30 21:25

    Quite frankly, I am very concerned about our chances at the World Cup! Forget about todays performance (and last week). One cannot expect a 'B' team, put together at the last minute, to rock up and expect to beat an Aussie 'A' team and a (virtually) NZ 'A' team. No, the problem is that PDiddly has been dead set, ever since he took over, on winning this year's WC with the last World Cup team and, apart from a few new faces here and there, his team is 4 years older being led by a captain who is way past his best now. England couldn't do it....there is no ways we are going to be able to do it! The fact is, newer players should have been bled into test match rugby from the day he took over. He should have been putting his own identity into the team, not persevering with his predecessors identity. I don't expect the boys sitting in Rustenburg to do a hell of a lot better during the home run....they are, after all, 4 years older and too set in their ways....which is now outdated!

  • BardofAvon - 2011-07-30 21:43

    It seems like the proteas will have to build for the 2119 World Cup.

  • BCC - 2011-07-30 23:13

    A typical blame the ref response from a twat. The ref was fair and the ABs were awesome. The biggest contributor to the hiding dished out was that the springbox are crap.

  • Craig - 2011-07-30 23:29

    The Boks RWC hope are history!!!! PDV you freaking tool!!!!

  • WildWeb - 2011-07-31 00:11

    I bet Crusader Man has never been to NZ and only goes to Newlands to watch Stormers vs. Crusaders and join the other locals (false Crusader supporters) that cannot let history be history.

  • WildWeb - 2011-07-31 00:22

    @Crusader Man. Have you ever been to NZ ? Probably the same type that pitch up at Newlands only to watch Stormers / Crusader match and pretend you are a die hard fan born in NZ.

  • Laurent Riviere - 2011-07-31 10:07

    What a joke. One did not expect them to win, but all we ask for is pride. I mean at least be a little competitive. If I had seen that score without knowing the teams I would have said it was a top rugby team against the likes of Romania or Canada, NOT South Africa. Springboks, my backside. A Springbok to team of yesteryear would NEVER capitulate like that, TWO weeks in a row 'nogal' - pathetic to say the least. Yoy wanna see a rugby game watch thus week-ends game (NZ v's Aus) now that's rugby, and rugby players.

  • matthew - 2011-07-31 12:40

    it's fair to say that SA Rugby is on its way out! It was all a matter of time!

      Drewka - 2011-08-01 18:20

      Yes it is if the supporters are talking like you do...

  • gansgatte - 2011-07-31 13:34

    @crusaderman. i rather go into a WC as a dark horse than hot favourite, yes as a springbok supporter you need to thick skinned, with all the politics involved in our game its amazing what the boks achieve, the WC is about the game of rugby, there must be a winner and we have won it twice, does it make us the best team in the last 15 yaers or so, no, there the honors must go to the AB,but to win the WC is in any players/supporters mind the ultimate prize. what should worry you is that AB are again in a pool that does not present any real threat, only france, same story in the previous WC, i predicted your loss to the french, up to that game the AB had not have one real physical game, SA is up against Somoa & Fiji again. all the games leading up to WC counts for nothing if you win it!

  • WarrenDBN - 2011-08-01 15:32

    My opinion is that we are going to give our 'top players' a run against the auzzies in Durban and a 'watered down' All Black side in PE. This will allow us test whatever game plan or technical manoevres we have been working on / training for in rustenburg, I hope we don't do too well in these games, and think all is well for the world cup though, and I hope we don't do too bad either, and go on tour panick stricken. Either way I will be watching in full support of the bokke!!

  • WarrenDBN - 2011-08-01 15:40

    My opinion is that we are going to give our 'top players' a run against the auzzies in Durban and a 'watered down' All Black side in PE. This will allow us test whatever game plan or technical manoevres we have been working on / training for in rustenburg, I hope we don't do too well in these games, and think all is well for the world cup though, and I hope we don't do too bad either, and go on tour panick stricken. Either way I will be watching in full support of the bokke!!

  • Drewka - 2011-08-01 18:57

    Rugby is not all about winning season after season, cup after cup. Not that I liked what happened on Saturday, but if you have a close look at Springbok legends like Frik du Preez, Mannetjies Roux, Danie Gerber, Naas Botha, Joost vd Westhuisen, James Small, Andre Joubert..... etc.... how they rose from bad era’s in SA Rugby with bad international support, and became some of the best rugby players the world has ever seen.... then I’m not too worried about Springbok rugby. We have to lose a match or two to win something like the WC, and generate upcoming legends like Frans Steyn, Patric Lambie, Mvovo, Beast, Bismark . And we are a very proud nation, and no team is going to take that cup away from us that easily. The RWC united our nation for the first time since just after the Boer war, and i think many supporters on this website and some of the players tend to forget that. This is our cup, the symbol of what we can achieve when nobody else think we can. Rugby will be in our blood for many years to come..........

  • MB1810 - 2011-08-02 10:05

    I thought Deysel had a good game on Saturday and Mostert had a decent debut. I think Lambie was as good as can be expected of him behind a struggeling pack, he missed 2 tackles, but he was not a complete failure on defence, I think the AB's had Nonu pick him out and run at him as often as he can and I must say he did very well every time Nonu tried to run him over. I think the Boks' biggest issue on defence is their undecisiveness, they hang around and wait for the AB's to run at them, all they are doing is giving the opponents space to build up momentum and move forward. The guys might do better if they had a proper defensive structure in place - at this stage it just looks like everyone is looking at the man next to him and winging it as the game goes along. I can't blame it on inexperience either, the Boks had the same problem in last years Tri Nations and those were our veterens playing.

  • pages:
  • 1