Morné

Do we really need a ‘fetcher’


Written by Morné Nortier (Morné)

Posted in :Original Content on 25 Aug 2010 at 13:27
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If you want to know what has gone wrong with the Boks or what the All Blacks are doing right, why not just look at how they play?

I mean it is the simplest way to see how something works or doesn’t work isn’t it?

Or are we looking but not actually seeing or understanding what is happening right in front of our eyes?

So exactly what are the All Blacks doing differently from the Springboks (or for that matter Australia)?

Well the simplest way I can put this is that they simply apply themselves better to the game of union as it is played and officiated at the moment. Tactically they are smarter and they have a far better game strategy than South Africa.

So much has been made of the Springboks success of 2009 and how the team currently misses the likes of Brussow and Fourie du Preez in particular, and although I agree that the loss of players is disruptive to any team it is by no means the primary reason for the success, or lack thereof that we are currently seeing with the All Blacks and Springboks respectively.

There is currently a huge interest in the ruck or tackled ball area and rightly so, it has become the most important part of the game. South Africans however in analysing their situation and perceived weakness in this area are getting it wrong – specifically with what, or who, this can be turned around.

Of course I am referring to the favourite old topic of the fetcher and his importance and today, much like a couple of years ago I think his role is overstated.

Skills to win the ball on the ground and turn-over possession is vital, but it is not limited to one person or position (role) nor is it a situation or instance controlled or reliant only by or from one person.

How is this? Well just look at how the All Blacks are playing and focus a bit on their so-called fetchers in Richie McCaw and David Pocock.

In all the Tri-Nations games to date none of these players forced a ruck turn-over. In fact, team statistics favoured South Africa in all but one test (Soweto test) as scoring the most ruck turn-overs sometimes even double that of the opposition team.

Defensively McCaw only scored one defensive turn-over in all the tests he has played against the Springboks, Pocock none. Even Matfield has done better than that!

So what is all the bloody fascination with the role of a fetcher, and South Africa’s lack of one?

But wait, how is it we still lost the contest if this is the case? Why are we still beaten at the ruck then? Why is Pocock and McCaw such a bloody nuisance in this area?

Well to answer that we need to define what is important when winning the ruck as a contest.

There are three main areas in the modern game which are vitally important if you look to have a hope in hell in winning the ruck situation.

1) Balance of the loose-trio AND tight 5 (sub-factor, technique applied and used by the players)

2) Speed and commitment/numbers to the breakdown (sub-factor, clear role definition of players)

3) RESPECTING POSSESSION

So let’s go back to McCaw and Pocock.

Their effectiveness is not measured by ball-pilfering skills or steals as is the common definition of a fetcher. It is measured more by their speed and technique to, and at the tackled point or ruck.

Their effectiveness is also amplified or helped by roles of other forwards in this area enabling them to spoil, or slow down opposition ball thanks to a clear role definition to those players (primarily props and locks in close-in channels and their loose-trio partners in rucks or tackled areas further wide or away from the original point of contact).

And finally and most importantly, with possession won or secured, possession is kept.

If you study the All Blacks their attention to detail and role definition of specific players in defensive and offensive rucks you will be amazed. It is very clear their ball carrying forwards, cleaners, pillars, spoilers, loiterers, etc. are clearly defined within the team and when you put all that together, and you hunt as a unit in both defensive and offensive situations, you are almost unstoppable.

In short, McCaw and Pocock are so effective because the whole unit responsible to control this area makes it possible for them in addition to their individual skills.

That is quite simply clever rugby. It is also quite simple rugby but it is dependent on the points raised above of which respecting possession and not kicking it away, and clear role definition plays a vital part.

But even that would be useless if it was not for one very simple thing, hunting as a unit and committing numbers to the breakdown.

Apart from one test, the very first Tri-Nations test in Auckland, Australia and New Zealand committed more players to offensive rucks (when they had possession and sometimes a count of 100 more in a match than the Springboks) and less players to defensive rucks compared to the Springboks. (In the first test SA committed one less person to a defensive ruck than New Zealand).

What does that tell you?

Well it tells me quite a number of things most importantly of which are;

This is the reason why the All Blacks and Australia had so much possession, handled the ball so much more, created more line-breaks and effectively scored more tries and generally look more effective running the ball by committing numbers to rucks on attack thanks to quick, quality ball they produced.

This is the reason the Springboks always look out on their feet having to commit more players to defensive rucks than their opponents and defend themselves physically into the ground.

This is the reason the Springboks cannot close out a game.

    However, for some reason the Springboks insist in kicking away possession forcing themselves to commit to defense and defensive rucks, most notably Francois Hougaard at scrumhalf who kicked 9 times in the match at FNB Stadium with not one of them being defensive kicks.

    So I understand the perception in wanting a player in the mould of McCaw and Pocock for the Springboks but make no mistake, for that to work for the Springboks they firstly have to change their game-plan or strategy and secondly, success in this area will be more dependent on how you work as a unit in this area of the game, than it will be relying on one specific person, or one specific role – the so-called fetcher.



    64 Comments

    • I reckon you need to join our little podcast gang Morne..

      Great read, lots of insight there.. as always!

    • Comment 1, posted at 25.08.10 13:31:47 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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    • I agree Morne…one person can’t change our fortunes and the most frustrating part of all of this is that most of us can see this but not the coaching staff. Look at the turnaround at the Sharks in the CC. They have a much higher respect for possesion and while Botes and to a lesser extent Daniel are the ‘fetchers’ it’s been Hargreaves, Sykes and the front row that have been comitting to the rucks and mauls that have made them so effective in retaining possesion. It’s also not just the work of the forwards every single player in the team needs to know their roll in protecting the ball.

    • Comment 2, posted at 25.08.10 13:47:45 by Pokkel Reply
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    • Morné, I registered just to compliment you on this article. Very insightful!

    • Comment 3, posted at 25.08.10 14:23:31 by vanmartin Reply
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    • @vanmartin (Comment 3) : Come back for more especially Morne’s articles

    • Comment 4, posted at 25.08.10 14:24:50 by Pokkel Reply
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    • Hear! Hear!

      I believe that the AB’s are executing very well on things like play at the ruck, hence their superiority. Nothing revolutionary with that though. :lol:

    • Comment 5, posted at 25.08.10 14:28:45 by Big Fish Reply
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    • @Pokkel (Comment 4) : I’ve been lurking for a few weeks now. Sharksworld is already one of my regular rugby reads.

    • Comment 6, posted at 25.08.10 14:35:46 by vanmartin Reply
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    • Fantastic read, agree 100%, interesting facts there as well.

      Our tight 5 seems a lot slower than the AB’s around the park especially when it comes to hitting rucks.( I think the individual players are actually slower as well especially when comparing the front rows) Where the AB’s have specific roles, too often our forwards would walk on the field getting into a position to bash it up rather than deciding to hit a ruck, because he might have hit the previous 2 for example. This is where the right balance of players would come in I suppose.

    • Comment 7, posted at 25.08.10 14:39:38 by frikkie se broer Reply

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    • Very good article Morne… and I think the shift in the application of the law has had a big influence on the importance of committing players to the offensive rucks.

      Fetcher implies that this specific player has a duty that requires him to get the ball from the opposition. In other words, to attend defensive rucks and try to disrupt or steal opposition ball, but with the shift in the rules, there has been a shift in the most important role of the “fetcher”. Cleaning out the attacking rucks. So maybe we should start calling the ‘fetcher’ the ‘cleaner’.

      This still wouldn’t exempt the rest of the team from committing themselves to the rucks, but players do have main responsibilities and the cleaner should be the guy who has the most attended rucks stat next to his name. Having said that, if the rest of the team don’t pull their weight in this area, it won’t make a difference how many rucks the cleaner gets to.

      Not that defending rucks and turnovers and the fetcher role should be completely forgotten, disrupting and slowing down the ball as much as you can within the law is still important, but a defenders chances of getting penalised at a ruck situation has become so big, that it’s almost not worth getting involved in this area when you could be another defender in the backline.

      This is why teams started kicking the ball away so much before the shift in the rules, because your chances of getting the ball back at the breakdown was way better than it is now. Therefore the Sharks built a whole season and good results on the emphasis of turnover ball.

      What you do with your own possession has become so much more important now, because teams are protected by the law and can keep the ball for longer periods, you will have to be very sure before you just give away possession. When you make a kick you need to make sure its a good one. When you have a ruck you need to make sure you get the ball back for as many phases possible.

      The Sharks got this and are seeing results in the CC, the Bulls and WP also kept possession as much as they could during the S14, yet we see that the Boks are still not grasping this concept.

      Morne you should have a word with the Coaches, help them out. :smile:

    • Comment 8, posted at 25.08.10 14:59:52 by Letgo Reply
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    • @vanmartin (Comment 6) : It is the best rugby site around. :grin:

    • Comment 9, posted at 25.08.10 15:03:33 by Letgo Reply
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    • @frikkie se broer (Comment 7) : Not just that, but the AB’s position themselves to be at the right place to clean out quickly. Our forwards stand around with no specific goal in mind. Every player in the NZ team know’s where to go next.

    • Comment 10, posted at 25.08.10 15:35:42 by Letgo Reply
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    • @Letgo (Comment 8) : I still think that under the right circumstances that ball can be turned over with counterrucking and I don’t see it used enough. Because it’s difficult to steal ball under the new law interpretations defensive teams commit less players to the ruck and then because of that the offensive team also commits less players. I think if a team can spot when the offensive team are not commiting numbers to the breakdown it open the door for the defensive team to effectively counterruck and steal the ball legally.

    • Comment 11, posted at 25.08.10 15:39:34 by Pokkel Reply
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    • Morne…this is the best rugby article of the year IMHO

      I agree with Rich…would love to have a chat with you on our Podcast sessions.

      We all had an off the record rant about this very point last night.

      *RESPECTING POSSESSION* that sums it up for me !

      Keep up the brilliant work.

    • Comment 12, posted at 25.08.10 15:50:07 by Hertford Highlander Reply
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    • @Pokkel (Comment 11) : Good point, so we just found the reason why a ‘fetcher’ would still be important. Usually a guy described like this (Brussouw) knows exactly when to go into these situations and steal the ball. Other players just ignore this area altogether. Or waist their time and effort in situations where the ref will just order them out of the ruck or even penalise them.

      You always need a few guys committing to the defensive ruck, otherwise, like you said, they other team will have more and more players on attack. Putting pressure on that area is still important, I think maybe it has become more difficult too determine when exactly and how many exactly you should commit. You need someone to organised the players. Another role I’d give to the fetcher, or even better scrummy. Du Preez probably did this, I know he organises the defense.

    • Comment 13, posted at 25.08.10 15:55:13 by Letgo Reply
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    • @Letgo (Comment 13) : Bigger players like Deysel and Alberts should be more aware of counterrucking opportuinities. I guess the game is so fast now that this isn’t something that will be so easy to coach.

    • Comment 14, posted at 25.08.10 15:59:08 by Pokkel Reply
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    • @Hertford Highlander (Comment 12) : ‘Respecting possession”…and knowing exactly that demands.

      You could have all the good intentions to respect possession, but without the right answers of how to do it.

      Anyone must know by now that, that is the key, it’s implementing that idea that is more difficult. That’s why you still need a good coach, even though the answer seems so simple.

    • Comment 15, posted at 25.08.10 16:01:33 by Letgo Reply
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    • @Hertford Highlander (Comment 12) : @Letgo (Comment 15) : The 2nd AB’s/Aussie game of the season at Wellington(I think) must be the rugby game with the least amount of kicking I’ve ever seen….now that was all about ‘respecting possession’ Carter started kicking tactically a bit towards the end of the game but overall a great example.

    • Comment 16, posted at 25.08.10 16:05:39 by Pokkel Reply
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    • Morné, great article and analysis. Whatever your day job is – GIVE IT UP!

    • Comment 17, posted at 25.08.10 16:07:43 by rhineshark Reply
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    • @Pokkel (Comment 16) :

      ;-)

    • Comment 18, posted at 25.08.10 16:08:06 by Hertford Highlander Reply
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    • @Hertford Highlander (Comment 12) :

      Imagine Big Fish, Morne, KSA, you and Rob all discussing things like we did last night. I would pay just to listen!!

    • Comment 19, posted at 25.08.10 16:10:14 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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    • @Pokkel (Comment 14) : Brossouw know’s a thing or two about this, maybe he should give a few tips.

    • Comment 20, posted at 25.08.10 16:14:03 by Letgo Reply
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    • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 19) :

      It was a good crack last night wasn’t it !

      …the unofficial SW Live (uncut) ! ;-)

    • Comment 21, posted at 25.08.10 16:15:31 by Hertford Highlander Reply
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    • @Pokkel (Comment 16) : It starts with the forwards though. If they’re doing a good job and the backs just kicks it away you really don’t know what you’re doing. Like Morne Steyn. :|

    • Comment 22, posted at 25.08.10 16:16:47 by Letgo Reply
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    • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 19) : Don’t give them any ideas, I don’t want to pay to listen. :mrgreen:

    • Comment 23, posted at 25.08.10 16:17:44 by Letgo Reply
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    • @Letgo (Comment 23) :

      So much would have to be edited that it wouldn’t make sense…..if it did in the first place ! :lol:

    • Comment 24, posted at 25.08.10 16:19:48 by Hertford Highlander Reply
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    • It did get kinda messy at times with 3 people talking at the same time!!

      But worth stayin up late to hear, I learn a lot from all you guys!!

    • Comment 25, posted at 25.08.10 17:11:28 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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    • Why thank you all.

      But we are all just stating the obvious aren’t we?

    • Comment 26, posted at 25.08.10 18:03:46 by Morné Reply
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    • Some other stats I saw on RT to show you how much the AB’s adapted their game…

      In 2009 the All Blacks turned over 13 rucks per test in the Tri Nations
      In 2010 the All Blacks turned over 13 rucks per in the Tri Nations

      In 2009 the All Blacks conceded 17 turnovers per match in the Tri Nations
      In 2010 the All Blacks conceded 12 turnovers per match in the Tri Nations.

      In 2009, the Half back pairings of the All Blacks kicked 22 percent of their possession away.
      In 2010, the Half back pairings of the All Blacks kicked 10 percent of their possession.

      In 2009, the All Black forwards handled the ball 49% of the time and the Backs 51%
      In 2010 it is 40% forwards and 60% backs.

    • Comment 27, posted at 25.08.10 18:25:01 by Morné Reply
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    • @Morné (Comment 27) :

      In 2009, the All Black forwards handled the ball 49% of the time and the Backs 51%
      In 2010 it is 40% forwards and 60% backs.

      Does this mean the AB forwards are hitting more rucks in 2010 ?

    • Comment 28, posted at 25.08.10 18:32:56 by Hertford Highlander Reply
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    • @Hertford Highlander (Comment 28) :

      Or the backs just get more quality balls to play with and the forwards are doing their primary jobs…

    • Comment 29, posted at 25.08.10 18:45:17 by Morné Reply
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    • @Morné (Comment 29) :

      Forwards still seem to be out handling (total handle count) the other Tri Nations teams….or am i misguided there ?

      Speaking of primary jobs….

      ….. that old fella Brad Thorn …shit he seems to be hitting some rucks !

      …..the other guy that has really impressed me this year with his workrate is the young kid Sam Whitelock, appears to get through a power of work (really quickly) !

      I realise Stat’s aren’t everything, bur gee whiz they give you an interesting insight ! :cool:

    • Comment 30, posted at 25.08.10 18:53:39 by Hertford Highlander Reply
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    • @HH

      I am in the process of getting all the NZ stats in a nice reading format..

      I will do a review after the Tri Nations, comparing all three nations in a number of categories..

      Maybe we can all chat about it, like which stats you would like to see, then I can do it according to that..

    • Comment 31, posted at 25.08.10 18:58:29 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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    • @Hertford Highlander (Comment 30) :

      No you won’t be misguided because they are outhandling other forwards but it is because they have so much possession to start off with.

      Thorne is immense for the AB’s, but it comes back to role definition.

      Thorne’s direct opposite number in the last test Flip van der Merwe hit only 20 rucks in the last test…

      Thorne a massive 39 times, double that of VD Merwe and only behing McCaw (46, majority on attacking ball) for the AB team.

      Even the sub Whitelock hit more than VD Merwe (21).

    • Comment 32, posted at 25.08.10 19:00:41 by Morné Reply
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    • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 31) :

      Gee that’s a big effort… Morne is probably the man to talk to, Letgo is another one that is a Stat’s expert.

      I have a view …which may not surprise you ! :cool:

    • Comment 33, posted at 25.08.10 19:01:48 by Hertford Highlander Reply
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    • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 31) :

      For one I would like to know how many ‘attacking kicks’ not for territory (going for the line and discarding penalty kicks) was successfully retained by all teams…

    • Comment 34, posted at 25.08.10 19:05:30 by Morné Reply
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    • @Morné (Comment 32) :

      Interesting…. i think it is really interesting if your a geek like Richard lol…..to look at splitting the rucks.

      I am a big fan of Tom Donnelly…mainly because he is our only All Black from Dunedin, but i thought it was interesting that he appeared to hit no defensive rucks. I started to wonder was he displaying amazing judgement, or was he off the pace and lazy. I’m hoping the former.

      I can’t live in a town without an All Black.

      Flip recieved huge praise after his efforts on Sat. however on the face of it his numbers didn’t really stack up

    • Comment 35, posted at 25.08.10 19:08:31 by Hertford Highlander Reply
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    • @Hertford Highlander (Comment 35) :

      The splitting of the forwards into the two halves of the field (vertically) is an old Crusaders trick and extremely effective.

      And as you know the ball sometimes gets played on one side more than the other…

      What I read from Donnolley’s stats is that he is primarily a link player (go back to role definition) or hybrid forward. He has a 100% successful gain line crossing stat and he, together with Kevin handles the ball more than any other tight forward.

      So that tells me he is not a primary pillar or defender or cleaner but a momentum player.

      I can again only go back to role definition and in the same breath as I mentioned how Richie’s job is made so much easier with other guys doing their job, I can only say the same of Donnelly.

      And this is just in open play stats, not what he does in the tight or set phases…

    • Comment 36, posted at 25.08.10 19:29:05 by Morné Reply
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    • @Morné (Comment 36) :

      Your a breath of fresh air …we must chat more often !

      Donnelly for Prime Minister then ! :lol:

    • Comment 37, posted at 25.08.10 19:38:35 by Hertford Highlander Reply
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    • @Hertford Highlander (Comment 37) :

      Chiefs and Highlanders my fav NZ teams!

      I married into Scottish afterall!!! ;)

    • Comment 38, posted at 25.08.10 19:40:55 by Morné Reply
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    • I must just add though, the AB’s are by no means perfect, hell they were 7 minutes away from a loss last weekend regardless of stats…

      But they are a far better off than the Boks at the moment.

    • Comment 39, posted at 25.08.10 19:44:40 by Morné Reply
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    • @Morné (Comment 39) :

      I knew there something i liked about you.

      Agreed re: AB’s

      Let’s face it if the Bok’s and AB’s were at full strength….. McCaw and Carter aside, i’m not sure too many AB’s would get into the South African side. IMO

    • Comment 40, posted at 25.08.10 19:54:39 by Hertford Highlander Reply
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    • @Hertford Highlander (Comment 40) :

      The difference between winning and losing at this level is absolutely marginal.

      I would personally put it down to 1 or 2 %

      But that 1 or 2 % is what makes the difference on the scoreboard – the situation was similar last year.

    • Comment 41, posted at 25.08.10 19:57:25 by Morné Reply
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    • And with that I am out, ciao.

    • Comment 42, posted at 25.08.10 19:59:48 by Morné Reply
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    • @Morné (Comment 42) :

      addios !

    • Comment 43, posted at 25.08.10 20:04:41 by Hertford Highlander Reply
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    • @Hertford Highlander (Comment 40) : ?? :???:

    • Comment 44, posted at 25.08.10 21:18:22 by Original Log Leader Reply
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    • we don’t need another hero!

      I mean fetcher

    • Comment 45, posted at 25.08.10 21:33:15 by robdylan Reply
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    • jeepers, but editing this dern podcast is tough

    • Comment 46, posted at 25.08.10 21:49:58 by robdylan Reply
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    • Thanks guys, this has been a really interesting thread…

    • Comment 47, posted at 26.08.10 07:42:57 by CS Reply

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    • One thing’s for sure… players don’t do the stuff we’re talking about instinctively… so IMO there can be no doubt the AB’s are a far better coached team.

      Maybe Jake White should go back to his roots and join the Boks as an analyst (as in his days under Mallett)… clearly we’re missing this role in our current management team

    • Comment 48, posted at 26.08.10 07:48:26 by CS Reply

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    • Good stuff Morne. I really feel that the Boks are short of the “Jake White” analytical acumen. Maybe you’re the man!

      On the point of that, please give us your opinion of the Pierre Spies factor. A lot of people feel that he dissapears in tight games. Do you have any Stats on him? I certainly think our composition of the losse trio is not right.

      My loose trio: 6 Brussouw/Louw, 7 Smith, 8 Burger

    • Comment 49, posted at 26.08.10 08:14:09 by catfish Reply
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    • @catfish (Comment 49) :

      I think people are really unfair towards Spies.

      Two things are important to consider here.

      Pierre’s main role is a ball-carrying forward but unfortunately, the Boks simply did not have any ball in the whole of the 3N!

      That apart, Pierre outclassed his opposite number 8′s (Reid and Brown) in getting over the gain line with the little he got, he also got a line break in every single match.

      Tackling he is not far off, and even better in some instances than his Ozzie and NZ counterparts.

      Where he falls off the wagon is work done at rucks but again, it is not his job.

      The problem is that the inability of our tight forwards to do the basics nullifies the impact of Pierre.

      I believe much has to do with what people believe Pierre should do, or what he is capable of, and because they do not see it on the park they create a perception that he is useless.

      Similar to Matfield who according to most, looks tired (hell even our coach said this) and uninterested. Bloody hell Matfield is the hardest working tight forward in the Bok pack!!!

      I find it amusing at times how people call for Pierre to be replaced. Not the fact that they want him replaced but who they want to replace him with…

      Alberts and Vermeulen are two main candidates but what people forget is that they are totally different number 8′s than Pierre and Kanko. It will bring a totally different dynamic to the Bok team and the balance of the pack and also the roles of players.

      Personally I think Vermeulen is useless although he is probably our best defending number 8 but I seriously dont rate him as a ball carrier.

      Alberts is a more complete number 8 but like I said, totally different dynamics he brings to the team so their has to be a mindshift and mindset change within the team to total strategy and how this now changes.

      Just one such replacement would affect the whole team dynamic but it is actually one I am in favour of.

      As you I do not believe the balance is right.

      The only loosie in my view that is a given and will have his name engraved into the team sheet every game if fit, is Juan Smith – I will built the trio around him.

      Like I said I am more of a Vermeulen/Alberts fan so I would pick either of them at 8, but then I would require speed on the tear-away side. (Some wants Schalk at 8 but I simply think he does not have the game-reading ability for the position).

      I think you all know my theory around fetchers by now and I, surprisingly to some, will want a hybrid type player at 6. Speed, handling, linking and deck ability (see its last on my list) being the skills I would look for.

      Two players in SA has this, Brussow (although his linking and handling play can improve) and Keegan Daniel…

      Luke Watson is a prime example of a hybrid loosie. Speed of a tear-away, game reading and skills of an 8…

      Spies and/or Schalk from the bench depending on the opposition. My bench will almost always have a 5/2 split given the dynamics of the game today and where it is won and lost.

      Post 2011 RWC Deysel to take over from Juan Smith, Potgieter also now comes into the picture and then there is still Pickard’s grandson whom I think would have developed his game (he is limited imo) a bit more by then…

    • Comment 50, posted at 26.08.10 08:42:10 by Morné Reply
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      MornéTeam captain
       
    • @Morné (Comment 50) : I have to disagree with you regarding Spies…as much as he might have a defined role in the team and that may not be working due to the factors you’ve mentioned his tecnique is highly questionable. He is way to upright in his running and on the few occasions that he does actually hit a ruck. I don’t really care if you have a defined role in the team but everybody should be able to do the basics right and Spies just doesn’t IMHO. I agree with players having specific roles but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t hit a ruck when required.

    • Comment 51, posted at 26.08.10 09:11:30 by Pokkel Reply
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    • @Morné (Comment 50) : This is a comment I left on RT yesterday regarding Spies. I’d like your comment on it.

      My honest opinion about Spies is that he is musclebound. He seems to battle to bend down and play the ball on the ground. A classic example is the McCaw try on Saturday. He didn’t go down on the ground to try and get hands under the ball. Have you seen how Spies always hits a ruck with his chest and not with a shoulder? He just doesn’t look confortable bending at all. He is also too upright when he goes on his runs and is usually stopped quite easily.

    • Comment 52, posted at 26.08.10 09:16:30 by Pokkel Reply
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    • @Morné (Comment 50) : What would your ideal Springbok forward pack be for interest sake? The forwards should be coached either by Proudfoot or Plum.

    • Comment 53, posted at 26.08.10 10:13:01 by Pokkel Reply
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    • @Morné (Comment 50) : Morne, which players would you pick for the 2011 World Cup squad?

    • Comment 54, posted at 26.08.10 10:17:53 by vanmartin Reply
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    • @Morné (Comment 50) : I totally agree with you on Mr. J. Smith. He IS the forward pack! However, you have now confirmed that Spies is not the working forward, but a runner, which is exactlty everyones problem with him. First and foremost the hard yards must be done before you can start running? Schalk Burger, has a very good abillity to read the game, more so than Spies. Have you ever seen Spies doing classic 8th man cover at the back? Burger has that vision as well as hands (ex-cricket slip catcher). So, yes, the jury will remain out, until the Boks get go-fwd ball and Spies runs everyone into tattereens…

    • Comment 55, posted at 26.08.10 10:33:19 by catfish Reply
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    • @Pokkel (Comment 51) : @Pokkel (Comment 52) :

      Just about every single ball carrying forward in SA has the wrong technique. Spies does hit the ground quite quickly on contact but again, so do most.

      For the right type of game plan, Spies can be a devastating weapon. For the type of 8th man he is, and if I played that type of game, Spies will be my number 1 choice.

      But as mentioned, I prefer to go for the other type of 8th man personally and to use a guy like Spies as an impact player.

      Important to note though on impact players and my view on them… I think they are used wrongly or limited by design in current coaching trends. I would for instance, use an impact player in the first 30 minutes of a match depending on the opposition and game strategy, rather than the last 30 which is currently the norm… But that is a whole new discussion and thread.

      @Pokkel (Comment 53) : @vanmartin (Comment 54) :

      It is an extremely difficult question to answer because it is not just about putting a team down on paper – that team has to play a certain way to a predetermined game plan or strategy – so I might put names down on a piece of paper and you won’t agree with it, but then you don’t know what type of game plan or strategy I have in mind…

      So I can tell you what changes I would like to what we currently see.

      I would play Smit at loosehead, Bismarck at hooker and Jannie or BJ at 3. That would be my preferred front row.

      Loosies would be a player like Brussow or Daniel on the tear-away, Juan and a number 8 in the mould of Alberts/Vermeulen.

      Halfbacks would remain as in 2009, hopefully both rested and refreshed.

      Centers are difficult, Jean would be my 12, but I am not sure to use De Jongh or Fourie at 13 – currently still leaning towards Jaque.

      Wings are a real headache, but again if fit I would bank on Habs and JPP.

      Without a doubt, Frans as my fullback.

      Spies and Schalk impact players, Guthro and CJ covering props and since I have two international hookers in my front row already and given the front row subs laws I actually will seriously consider not picking another hooker on the bench. A Guthro or Beast type of player who are massive impact players will be preferred on my bench.

      Also a player like Andries Bekker, another person with massive impact covering lock, Spies and Schalk covering loosies, and two backs on the bench in Hougaard to cover 9 and the back three, and Butch to cover 10 and center.

    • Comment 56, posted at 26.08.10 10:47:44 by Morné Reply
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      MornéTeam captain
       
    • @Pokkel (Comment 52) :

      I missed the comment, what was it about?

    • Comment 57, posted at 26.08.10 10:51:25 by Morné Reply
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      MornéTeam captain
       
    • @Morné (Comment 56) : I really like your combo’s and agree on all of them. With Habana out of form at the moment I would play Jean de Villiers @12 and de Jongh at 13 with Jaque at 11.
      @Morné (Comment 57) : I copied and pasted the comment so it’s the comment under comment 52
      ‘My honest opinion about Spies is that he is musclebound. He seems to battle to bend down and play the ball on the ground. A classic example is the McCaw try on Saturday. He didn’t go down on the ground to try and get hands under the ball. Have you seen how Spies always hits a ruck with his chest and not with a shoulder? He just doesn’t look confortable bending at all. He is also too upright when he goes on his runs and is usually stopped quite easily.’

    • Comment 58, posted at 26.08.10 11:00:32 by Pokkel Reply
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    • @Pokkel (Comment 58) : Jaque has looked very good at wing a couple of times he has played there and he is a great finisher.

    • Comment 59, posted at 26.08.10 11:01:42 by Pokkel Reply
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    • @Pokkel (Comment 58) :

      I would personally take every single Bok ball carrying forward and put them through an intense contact session program.

      A while back I wrote a piece on stepping, the power step, footstrikes, etc.

      http://www.sharksworld.co.za/2008/09/21/the-whiteboard-sessions-dominating-contact/

      But that is not only limited to Pierre.

      There is also a real need to educate our players on how they support the ball carrier.

      It is my opinion that ball carriers almost never ‘isolate’ themselves… Support players allow them to be isolated. The All Blacks and Ozzies are brilliant at this, just look at their skills in off-loading in the tackle, and producing, protecting, and placing quick ball on the deck and this all has to do with how well your support players play.

    • Comment 60, posted at 26.08.10 11:15:31 by Morné Reply
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      MornéTeam captain
       
    • As for Jacque on wing, very good option, and very good point you make.

      I dont think it would weaken the team at all.

    • Comment 61, posted at 26.08.10 11:16:11 by Morné Reply
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    • @Morné (Comment 60) : Thanks for replying.

    • Comment 62, posted at 26.08.10 11:19:00 by Pokkel Reply
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    • @Morné (Comment 60) : I always enjoy your insights….have you still not been offered a job with SA Rugby as technical advisor or as a paid journalist?

    • Comment 63, posted at 26.08.10 11:24:10 by Pokkel Reply
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    • @Pokkel (Comment 63) :

      Hahaha nope, and nope.

      I dont want to become corrupted as most journalists are and you cannot pay me enough to become involved with SA Rugby! ;)

      Coaching is helluva tough, I am just a mug-punter like all guys here.

    • Comment 64, posted at 26.08.10 11:26:52 by Morné Reply
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