KSA Shark ©

Does de Villiers know who the best Boks are?


Written by Andre Bosch (KSA Shark ©)

Posted in :In the news, Springboks on 22 Jul 2008 at 10:04

Is Boks coach De Villiers picking certain players more on reputation than current performance, asks Ashfak Mohamed.

The time has come for Springbok coach Peter de Villiers to make some tough selection calls for the home leg of the Tri-Nations series.

Having won only one match out of three, albeit an historic first-ever triumph over the All Blacks in Dunedin on their overseas tour, the Boks have not looked a settled unit.

There have been changes in every match of De Villiers’s tenure so far this year, which shows that he is either not sure of who his best 15 players are or, more tellingly, that he is picking certain players more on reputation than current performance.

At flyhalf, Butch James continued his good World Cup form against Wales, but in the three Tri-Nations Tests, he was not convincing at all. He is unsure of his tactical kicking, he seems to have great difficulty in getting his line away, while his biggest strength, his defence, has also let him down.

James did not have nearly the same influence on proceedings as either Dan Carter or Matt Giteau, and if on top of that he misses tackles, then why is he in the team?

De Villiers will to think carefully about giving Stormers flyhalf Peter Grant a proper chance to prove that he can cut it at Test level.

The one-off Test against Argentina in Johannesburg on August 9, the week before the massive Tri-Nations game against the All Blacks at Newlands, is the ideal opportunity for De Villiers to see if Grant is good enough.

Grant was the top South African flyhalf in the Super 14. This was his second season at that level, so surely he must now be given a fair chance in the Bok side.

De Villiers must also make a firm choice at No 8. Joe van Niekerk was a surprise selection against the All Blacks. He did not stand out in the Wellington Test, but improved in Dunedin. He was then left out in Perth, with Pierre Spies starting. But Spies, as he has throughout this year, again looked off the pace.

Ryan Kankowski was the top SA No 8 in the Super 14, but unfortunately got a bad knock to his head against Italy. He may have been still recovering from that knock, but he should also start against Argentina, as he has terrific pace and is ideally suited for the new-era fast-paced game under the ELVs.

And, talking about loose forwards, where does Luke Watson fit into all of this? De Villiers started with him at flank in Schalk Burger’s injury-enforced absence against Wales, and then played him off the bench against the All Blacks.

Perplexingly, Watson was dropped for the Wallabies game, even though the Aussies had two specialist fetchers in George Smith and Phil Waugh.

De Villiers will obviously not contemplate dropping Victor Matfield, but it has to be said that Matfield was well below his best in two of the three Tests. On Saturday he uncharacteristically dropped a few kickoffs, did not really feature in general play and did not look to be a particularly inspiring captain either.

Andries Bekker has made a telling impact every time he has come off the bench, so Matfield needs to step up and remind us that he is the best lock in world rugby.

Francois Steyn’s status in the squad also has to be clarified. Is he a flyhalf, outside centre, fullback or utility back? I would leave him on the bench to cover all those positions, if he must be in the squad. Steyn did not have a good Super 14, so what is his claim to a Bok spot? Last year’s performance at the World Cup? That should not be the yardstick for a place in the team.

Other positions under scrutiny include fullback, right wing and scrumhalf.

Conrad Jantjes has been mostly outstanding this year for the Stormers and the Boks, while Percy Montgomery is the veteran with the calming influence.

At No 14, JP Pietersen leapfrogged Tonderai Chavhanga and Odwa Ndungane to start the last two Tri-Nations Tests, but has not impressed. De Villiers should make use of Chavhanga’s extreme pace in the drier SA conditions.

Ricky Januarie was the match-winner in Dunedin with a superb solo try, but he struggled to clear the ball from the breakdowns in Perth. Whether that was his fault or the forwards not protecting him is up for debate.

Fourie du Preez made an encouraging return from a hand injury for the Blue Bulls in the last two weeks, so De Villiers will have to decide what he is going to do there.

The Boks can still grab the Tri-Nations, but they have to probably win all three Tests at home to have a chance of clinching the trophy.

They certainly can do it, but it will be up to De Villiers to show conviction and make a few brave selections if his team are to triumph.



33 Comments

  • There have been changes in every match of De Villiers’s tenure so far this year

    Therein lies one of our biggest problems.

  • Comment 1, posted at 22.07.08 10:26:46 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©Head Coach
     
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 1) : Dick’s influence? :twisted:

  • Comment 2, posted at 22.07.08 10:30:22 by molly Reply
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  • @molly (Comment 2) :

    Yip

    I said it yesterday. With this talk of playing ruan at 10 against the Argies the Week before we take on the AB’s in a vital clash has DM written all over it. :evil:

  • Comment 3, posted at 22.07.08 10:40:21 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©Head Coach
     
  • De Villiers will obviously not contemplate dropping Victor Matfield, but it has to be said that Matfield was well below his best in two of the three Tests. On Saturday he uncharacteristically dropped a few kickoffs, did not really feature in general play and did not look to be a particularly inspiring captain either

    And there is another problem :evil:

    He is more a “drol in die drink water” than a leader. Naas summed it up well when Matfield got binned “The thing we all complained about actually won us the match”

  • Comment 4, posted at 22.07.08 10:43:34 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©Head Coach
     
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 4) : Matfield needs a swift kick up the arse, he thinks he’s bigger than the game again.

    Remember when JW dropped him, and the Bulls did too, Matfield came back and performed as we all know he is capable.

  • Comment 5, posted at 22.07.08 10:46:19 by molly Reply
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  • .no he doesn’t..but I do :mrgreen:

  • Comment 6, posted at 22.07.08 10:55:02 by CoffeeShopBok;-) Reply

    csbSuper Rugby player
     
  • This Ashfak dude is on some serious medication I am sure of it.

  • Comment 7, posted at 22.07.08 11:02:08 by MorneN Reply
    Author
    MornéTeam captain
     
  • Andries Bekker has made a telling impact every time he has come off the bench

    Please!??! He made no impact if you wanna ask me…he was like a 2nd Matfield…

  • Comment 8, posted at 22.07.08 11:36:46 by Hmmm Reply

    HmmmSuper Rugby player
     
  • @Hmmm (Comment 8) :

    And how do you replace a Bakkies with a Bekker…Bekker is a No 5 lock and he does not make even half the impact Bakkies does in the tackle ball situation…

  • Comment 9, posted at 22.07.08 11:42:20 by Hmmm Reply

    HmmmSuper Rugby player
     
  • Conrad Jantjes has been mostly outstanding this year for the Stormers and the Boks

    Unfortunately he has not been outstanding for the Bokke…he looked good with ball in hand but the oppo flyhalves found too much space at the back (twice as many balls hit the pitch with Jantjies than with Percy)…Jantjies is unable to contest the ball in the air…fine under the high ball when no one else goes for it…and his punt kicking (the one aspect you’d expect him to be much better than Percy) has been average at best….and his up and unders are almost as bad as Butch’s….

    And last but the worst of his play…and is not just average but unacceptable….is his defense/tackling…

  • Comment 10, posted at 22.07.08 11:48:11 by Hmmm Reply

    HmmmSuper Rugby player
     
  • @Hmmm (Comment 9) : Cause PdV didn’t want to replace the captain. Bakkies was our best player on the field and was scaring the crap out of the Aussies and he gets replaced? While the premadonna Matfield stays on cause he looks as fresh as a daisy cause he’s done nothing all game.

  • Comment 11, posted at 22.07.08 11:48:18 by molly Reply
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  • Speaking of subs, bringing Mujati on in the last few minutes when we have a scrum to defend on our 5 metre line was suicidal…

  • Comment 12, posted at 22.07.08 11:49:34 by molly Reply
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  • At flyhalf, Butch James continued his good World Cup form against Wales, but in the three Tri-Nations Tests, he was not convincing at all. He is unsure of his tactical kicking, he seems to have great difficulty in getting his line away, while his biggest strength, his defence, has also let him down

    I don’t know if this is just coincidence….but it seems Butch has been and continued being great playing in the old rules…but from minute one he has been real bad playing in the new rules….
    Is it that maybe he is to slow? Or it too frantic for him?
    Maybe he is struggling to adapt…but after 3 games and advice from fellow team mates you’d think he’d catch on by now?

  • Comment 13, posted at 22.07.08 11:51:51 by Hmmm Reply

    HmmmSuper Rugby player
     
  • Are we playing Argentina under the old or new rules!??!

  • Comment 14, posted at 22.07.08 11:52:38 by Hmmm Reply

    HmmmSuper Rugby player
     
  • @molly (Comment 12) :

    LoL….that’s true…and luckily the scrum collapsed and we got the free kick…even our sports related prayers are answered…

  • Comment 15, posted at 22.07.08 11:54:08 by Hmmm Reply

    HmmmSuper Rugby player
     
  • @Hmmm (Comment 13) :
    Have to fully agree with you re Butch and his impact under the old rules as opposed to the new ones. Im not sure though that 3 games (at the absolute highest level) is time enough to master the ELV’s. Having said that I think maybe the real reason is that Butch is too slow at present. I say at present because I think he needs a nice long rest to recharge his batteries, after which one should relook at his “slowness”. Unfortunatly I dont think playing on the heavy fields in the UK is going to help his future Bok chances.

  • Comment 16, posted at 22.07.08 12:52:04 by Salmonoid Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
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  • @Salmonoid (Comment 16) :

    True…why not ask a CC side if he can join them under the new rules!??! Or can he not play for any other team other than the springboks and his Euro club?
    Sure the Sharks wont say no!??!

  • Comment 17, posted at 22.07.08 12:56:19 by Hmmm Reply

    HmmmSuper Rugby player
     
  • @Salmonoid (Comment 16) :

    Not just his physical slowness…as if he gets frantic and then just reacts…and more so than not does it not work out for him…
    His un-and-unders were the worst I’d ever seen…non of his tactical kicks went where they should…his clearances have been poor…etc etc…maybe the game is just too fast for his brain…I donno!??!

  • Comment 18, posted at 22.07.08 12:58:51 by Hmmm Reply

    HmmmSuper Rugby player
     
  • @Salmonoid (Comment 16) :

    Plus they are fighting against the new laws!??!
    So who knows what version they will play there…

  • Comment 19, posted at 22.07.08 12:59:32 by Hmmm Reply

    HmmmSuper Rugby player
     
  • @Hmmm (Comment 19)
    If his burning ambition is to still play for the Boks then Id say that yes he should be playing his rugby in SA and Im sure the Sharks would love to have him back but I think he still has a 2 year club contract to see through. I dont think Bath will be willing to release him too soon especially if they continue playing the old rules.

  • Comment 20, posted at 22.07.08 13:08:46 by Salmonoid Reply
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  • Whether Peter knows who the best 15 is we can debate.

    But it is absolutely clear Ashfak has no clue…

    Chavanga on dry fields? Is this dude for real?

  • Comment 21, posted at 22.07.08 13:16:03 by MorneN Reply
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    MornéTeam captain
     
  • Chavangha needs to play as well as he did in the S14 before he gets another call up.

    Ashfak is an idiot.

    Before the TN started he wanted a loose trio of Watson at 6, Burger at 7 and Juan at 8. :shock:

  • Comment 22, posted at 22.07.08 13:28:05 by wpw Reply
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  • Chavhanga should NOT play for the Bokke.

  • Comment 23, posted at 22.07.08 14:11:25 by Kal-El Reply

    Kal-ElCurrie Cup player
     
  • I just wonder whether the writer of this article, Ashfak Mohamed, really knows against which troubles he may go.
    Nowadays in South Africa it is not permitted so freely to doubt on Snor’s rugby knowledge…neither to criticise him…
    Throwing away 2 out of 3 tests at Antipodes and just winning one by a whisker, without never showing real world class plays and game plans, must be considered a huge success of transformation…

  • Comment 24, posted at 22.07.08 14:16:14 by H.O. Reply

    H.O.Under 21 player
     
  • Stop being so hard on Ashfak, he’s the only reason we have so many WP players in the bok squad, he just wants to get a few more in. Nothing wrong with that. :wink:

  • Comment 25, posted at 22.07.08 14:35:02 by molly Reply
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  • @MorneN (Comment 7) : As long as it’s organic… :lol:

  • Comment 26, posted at 22.07.08 14:46:16 by Charlie Reply

    CharlieSuper Rugby player
     
  • HO

    I suppose you can do a better job??? :roll:

  • Comment 27, posted at 22.07.08 14:58:18 by wpw Reply
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  • @H.O. (Comment 24) :

    Hey…PdV is making mistakes…and we will voice it…but he has done good too…and we need to appreciate it…
    Gambles can cost you (ask Jake)…as long as you make them at the right times to ensure you still get the required end result…
    It PdV case….3N trophy…and I believe we can do it…

    He just needs to work on his skills on how to play to the ref!??! We on the receiving end there too much….
    Jake was good at it….

  • Comment 28, posted at 22.07.08 15:04:58 by Hmmm Reply

    HmmmSuper Rugby player
     
  • @wpw (Comment 27) :
    a better job? what? :wink:

  • Comment 29, posted at 22.07.08 16:56:11 by H.O. Reply

    H.O.Under 21 player
     
  • Aai H.O.

    I suppose you are entitled to your opinion…

    Just give the guy a chance.

    Jake never ever won in NZ and one has to remember he had quite a few opportunities to do so and he failed each time.

  • Comment 30, posted at 22.07.08 17:04:03 by wpw Reply
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    wpwAssistant coach
     
  • @MorneN (Comment 21) :
    This dude really wants to be Dale Granger’s successor as WP Praise-Singer.

    He would love to have both Chavanga and Watson in the Bok team, and had it not been for the present dip in WP fortunes, probably Aplon, Brock Harris and Wylie Human too.

  • Comment 31, posted at 22.07.08 19:17:08 by Big Fish Reply
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    Big FishAssistant coach
     
  • @wpw (Comment 30) :

    No problem.
    As time goes ahead and the Boks will lose their dignity, then you will understand.
    Ciao

  • Comment 32, posted at 22.07.08 19:26:23 by H.O. Reply

    H.O.Under 21 player
     
  • @H.O. (Comment 32) :
    Aaah, but will you understand when they don’t?

  • Comment 33, posted at 22.07.08 19:35:40 by Big Fish Reply
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