I’m spotting a trend amongst SA rugby blogs, guys. It’s called “see a bandwagon and hop right on”.
Not me, though. You know I like to go against the grain and for that reason, I am determined (once again) to not needlessly pan Peter de Villiers and his team selections until they have clearly lost us games that we should have won. I guess I just like the underdog – unless, of course, the underdog happens to be playing against the Sharks.
So, I reckon we can pick an INCREDIBLY competent test 22 out of the bunch that de Villiers has chosen and, in fact, the only really tricky part is finding a job for Frans Steyn to do that isn’t too demeaning for a man of his talents. John Smit may not have played prop for a good few years (although rumour has it he played a fair bit of prop in the French leagues – that doesn’t count, cos the stinky Frogs know nothing about skrums, ek sê!) but he was one of the finest age-group props ever to emerge from our school system and is one of the brightest and hardest working guys that I know. If anyone can make a success of this transition – and will be prepared to put in the hard work necessary – it’s John.
I find it amazing how many people just plain haven’t done their homework about his exploits at junior levels either. There seems to be a pretty strong perception out there that John was a loosehead at school. He wasn’t. He always wore three. I know, because I was there. He played for the Boys’ High first team for three years, Craven Week and SA Schools, as well as for both the Sharks and Boks juniors as a tighthead. It was only when he made his senior debut in 1997 that he was converted into a hooker.
Right, so that’s one problem put to bed. A front row of Beast, Bissie and John Smit… what a mouth-watering prospect for Bok fans (and not just those of us who tend to view things in black and white). Add the old firm of Bakkies and Victor (who’s going to play much better without the ill-fitting captain’s armband) and you have a tight five of note. Our loosies are superb, as always, provided the right number 8 gets a start.
So, Ruan Pienaar then. I mean, come on. Guys, we don’t have any other flyhalves. Who exactly was Pietie meant to pick? Peter Grant? He’s been there and thereabouts for three seasons now and has just never made the step up. Morne Steyn? Asseblief, ou pêl, trek uit jou blou trui en dink bietjie! He falls to pieces whenever there’s any pressure. Gaffie du Toit number 2, if you ask me. What about Willem de Waal and Chris Rossouw? Hell, maybe Braam van Straaten is still fit? Or maybe we could find a pair of crutches for old Petoors and drag him along instead.
No, I don’t buy it. We have all been saying for years now that it’s probably Ruan Pienaar’s destiny to play Bok flyhalf. Peter has simply followed the shortest route to get us to that point – thrusting the jersey onto him and telling him to just stop whining and go do it. I think the results will be phenomenal. Far better than trekking yet another useless carthorse up North with us, only to see him crumble.
So, the only real question is this: How do you somehow manage to get BOTH Jean de Villiers and Frans Steyn to play inside centre at the same time?Tweet