Not worth the gamble

Written by Morné Nortier (Morné)

Posted in :Original Content, Springboks on 17 Nov 2010 at 11:19
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Since reading most opinions on news websites and the mainstream media I cannot get that irritating tune of Kenny Rogers called The Gambler out of my head.

It’s nothing new. Ask 100 people to select his Springbok team for any given test and you will get 100 different teams.

Some of these teams will be well motivated on the perceptions or observation of the ‘selector’ but for most part if you look at blogs specifically, you will find an obvious tendency for these ‘selectors’ to favour players from the team they support.

The current tour to the UK is important for many reasons.

After a disastrous Tri-Nations the Springbok management, coaching staff and players are looking to restore some faith and pride in the jersey and the general public. This tour also provides the opportunity for this magnificent group of players to add yet another accolade to their impressive CV by winning a Grand Slam for the 5th time only in history, and the first since 1960/61.

Then of course there is also the small matter of the Rugby World Cup next year, and finalising the squad of 30 players that will go to New Zealand to hopefully become the first team in history to successfully defend the Rugby World Cup, and given the spate of injuries to first choice and some regular fringe players, an opportunity to discover the next Bryan Habana (debutant on the UK tour in 2004) or Francoise Steyn (debutant on 2006 European tour).

Depending what you value most from the above, your motivation for wanting to select, or ‘rest’ (nice way of saying drop) some players will also play a part.

One thing I believe most people are forgetting, is looking at the most important aspect of introducing players to the highest level of rugby, the players themself.

I have discussed and written about the success, or lack of it, of some teams with regards to building squads and depth quite often in the past. I have also continually used one team as an example of how to do things, or how I believe it should be done and given their success, and most importantly sustained success over the last 5 years or so, I don’t think I am far off.

Four individuals currently on tour have been the flavour of South African rugby in recent months. They are Elton Jantjies, Patrick Lambie, Lwazi Mvovo and Willem Alberts.

All of them have had magnificent seasons for their respective provinces not only in the Currie Cup, but also in the Super 14. They are (rightly) identified as the future of South African rugby, and potential Springbok legends.

But herein lies the problem.

If I make the statement that it is my belief that South Africa probably has the worst record of identifying and more importantly, managing players, I do not think many will disagree with me.

I can also name a host of players, who at the time they rose to fame domestically, were praised as the future of SA and Springbok rugby, but today find themselves either in the rugby wilderness, or playing for some club in Europe.

There are some statements Jake White has made in his career as coach and now rugby expert that I do not agree with, but one comment he has made I could not agree with more. He mentioned that when a coach, especially at test (or Super 14 level even in my view) level decides to cap, or introduce a player to that level of rugby, he must be as assured as he possibly could  be, that the player will in 2 or 3 years time, run out for his 50th cap at that level.

An 80 minute game of rugby can, and has, defined players, and players futures. Thus the importance for a coach to introduce a player to a certain level of rugby is not only dependent on whether that player has the ability or skills necessary to compete at that level, but more importantly that it’s done at the right time, and in the right environment to ensure the transition for the player is optimized, and with the view of making a positive impact on that player’s career not only for that match, but where he will be in 4 or 5 years from today.

I read with interest recently how Chiliboy Ralepelle’s career started and developed. Not really that you can call it development as it regressed more than anything else, but the one thing that stood out was Heyneke Meyer’s insistence at the time when Chili was introduced to test or Springbok rugby, that it was too early for a player many believed will be the future Springbok captain. Now forget the doping scandal, Chili’s career has basically been destroyed thanks to the poor management of this very talented individual’s career. And it’s not just Chili, think of guys like Gaffie du Toit, Brent Russell, Brad Barritt, Shaun Sowerby and many, many more.

Now come back to today, and the seeming insistence that Elton Jantjies, Pat Lambie, Mvovo and Alberts simply has to be given a starting position in the Springbok team.

Are they good enough? Hell I cannot personally think of anyone else in the SA Rugby circuit at the moment that are better than these guys at the moment.

Do they deserve it? Of course they do, there is no question.

Must it happen right now? Absolutely not.

Before Habana’s injury which forced young Lwazi into the starting XV these individuals (with the exception of Jantjies who is yet to earn a cap) role they occupied coming in mainly off the bench was exactly the right way to go about things.

I mentioned before how I always refer to a certain team when raising an argument for a roadmap, or framework to ensure sustained success, and successful development of players. This team is of course the Bulls.

You will almost exclusively find that the Bulls use a specific formula when they identify, blood and introduce players to top-flight rugby. Firstly, they select players that can play the game strategies they employ, and the guy coming in or being introduced into the setup, plays very similar to the guy they replace in the team. Secondly, and more importantly in my personal view, you almost never find a player introduced into the team, or combination within a team, that is not experienced or where he is not surrounded by experienced players.

It is the framework and philosophy that has seen the Bulls dominate domestic, and Super 14 rugby in recent years, with, or without their superstar players or Springboks. And it is a recipe that should be followed even at test level.

How people want to introduce Alberts on the openside of the scrum in a position he has never played in professionally if memory serves, into a combination that has never played together, is beyond me. Quite simply, for Alberts to get a start, he either needs to replace Juan Smith on the side of the scrum, or be selected ahead of Kankowski or Spies at the back, and given how Kankowski has played for the Sharks in recent weeks and the fact that he is the (un)official back-up to Pierre Spies, I find it absolutely absurd that people are suggesting he has to be forced onto the openside.

Pat Lambie has had a magical year. He shot to prominence in the Super 14 when he ran out at fullback for the Sharks and became a star in the Currie Cup when he was moved to flyhalf. To insist Lambie has to start at flyhalf, at the expense of our only place kicker who averages over 80% at test level and join up forces in a half-back combination with a player (Hougaard) that has only started less than a handful of tests in the position, is equally absurd.

This weekend we will field a back-three against Scotland who will boast a collective 20 test caps between them in Kirchner (made his debut in 2009), Aplon (made his debut in 2010) and Mvovo (who will earn his first test cap).

The withdrawal of Habana has forced this move now, and it is the best one we can possibly field at the moment from players on tour, but should Habana have been fit there is simply no doubt in my mind he should have started as was originally the plan. If anything, De Villiers could have risked keeping Aplon at 15 in place of Kirchner with Habana and Mvovo on the wings but the point I am trying to make is rather obvious I believe.

I know the general sentiment, it is only Scotland hey? Well I am don’t know about any of you guys out there, but I have seen too many close games between the Boks and Scotland, or Ireland (whom the Scots have beaten a couple of months ago at Croke Park), or Argentina (whom the Scots have beaten in a recent test series in Argentina), or even France (whom the Scots gave a massive go in the recent 6 Nations) to believe it is going to be a walk-over. The Scots came in cold against the All Blacks, similar to how Ireland came into the first test against the Boks, but they are too good to make the same mistakes twice.

I would love to see Jantjies, Lambie, Mvovo and Alberts become test legends as much as the next guy, because they are that damn good, but for once, I  actually want to see this be done successfully, and not see careers pissed away because of bad management.


  • Bad management to me is playing a hopelessly out of form Brian Habana and Pierre Spies for an entire year.. Not just riding out a slump, which is understandable, but a year’s worth of droth.

  • Comment 1, posted at 17.11.10 11:29:04 by Sportbilly Reply
    SportbillyVodacom Cup player
  • Very good read Morne ;-)

  • Comment 2, posted at 17.11.10 11:33:53 by wpw Reply
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  • Thanx Morne – yet another good article & the voice of reason :grin:

  • Comment 3, posted at 17.11.10 11:42:08 by diablo Reply

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  • Personally I’ve seen us win the World Cup twice, yet never seen us take the Grand Slam… I know which I’d prefer.

    As for the players being blooded too young – I think thats more down to the individual than to the process.
    For every Gaffie du Toit there’s a Francois Steyn.
    As for the other mentioned – Sowerby has gone to have a magnificent career. The fact that he didnt do it in SA is quite irrelevant – he’s won numerous plundits in France, including player of the year.
    Similarly Barrit is in the England squad despite only moving to the UK a couple of years back.

    Whether a player makes it is simply down to their own mental fortitude.
    A different sport, but somebody like Sachin Tendulkar made his test debut at the age of sixteen and didnt buckle under the pressure.
    Then you get players that make their debuts at 25 and still fluff their lines.

  • Comment 4, posted at 17.11.10 11:44:18 by VinChainSaw Reply
    VinChainSawTeam captain
  • Good read though Morras – enjoyed the arti.

  • Comment 5, posted at 17.11.10 11:44:33 by VinChainSaw Reply
    VinChainSawTeam captain
  • @VinChainSaw (Comment 4) : I think he was trying to say that they were poorly managed in SA. They should’ve contributed more to the Boks and seeing how they’ve done over there proves it.

  • Comment 6, posted at 17.11.10 11:51:05 by molly Reply
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  • ….so basically they are not currently good enough !

  • Comment 7, posted at 17.11.10 12:02:07 by Hertford Highlander Reply
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  • Chilliboy more talented than ??..

  • Comment 8, posted at 17.11.10 12:05:15 by bergshark Reply

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  • G’day hertford

  • Comment 9, posted at 17.11.10 12:06:58 by bergshark Reply

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  • Does their performances overseas say something about the league they playing in now,perhaps?

  • Comment 10, posted at 17.11.10 12:10:07 by bergshark Reply

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  • @Sportbilly (Comment 1) : I agree with you! How long exactly should you flog a dead horse. I suppose some will point to Spies’s last 2 games and think that they are justified. I also agree with Morne. Introduce players into the team with experience around them. A players like Albert could have been introduced beside Schalk and Juan earlier in the year though and he would have had more experience now but instead we kept playing Spies out of form. Don’t you think it’s the perfect time to introduce new players when an established player is going through a slump?

  • Comment 11, posted at 17.11.10 12:12:10 by Pokkel Reply
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  • love your sentiment morne, but do you really think sa can beat a desperate england playing ten man rugby with the current law interpretations? and had habana not broken his hand should we form players in a big match like that. i don’t want to see wholesale changes, but you have to play players with their tails up. bulls and sharks both competed in a s14 final in 2007 surprisingly to most the rwc was made up of players of these two teams. now bulls may have won the super rugby tournie, but it was playing 10 man rugby while other teams experimented with their backlines. since then bulls rugby is losing a little ground while the 15 man teams are succeeding. so why is the bok team filled with bulls players? i agree sense must prevail, but to the extent of leaving the 2010 cc mom out the team?

  • Comment 12, posted at 17.11.10 12:18:26 by try time Reply

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  • Wouldn’t drop spies now,coz he is playing quite well(guess he has been played through his slump in form at the contributing cost to five 3N defeats)

  • Comment 13, posted at 17.11.10 12:22:12 by bergshark Reply

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  • @bergshark (Comment 9) :


  • Comment 14, posted at 17.11.10 12:22:27 by Hertford Highlander Reply
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  • “How people want to introduce Alberts on the openside of the scrum in a position he has never played in professionally if memory serves, into a combination that has never played together, is beyond me.” funny how you under estimate the guy. when he came on he did more postive work than stegmann. and definitely looked better than schalk has in that position all year.

  • Comment 15, posted at 17.11.10 12:22:47 by try time Reply

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  • @bergshark (Comment 13) : although his defence is still questionable

  • Comment 16, posted at 17.11.10 12:23:28 by try time Reply

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  • England seem very dangerous ball in hand.. In the backs !!! Ashton has plenty of gas and looks quite muscular..cueto was very lively and a conastant threat..foden is gonna give us head-aches with his running the ball back at bok defence..and their scrum !!!

  • Comment 17, posted at 17.11.10 12:27:23 by bergshark Reply

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  • But first let’s focus on the scots lol

  • Comment 18, posted at 17.11.10 12:30:37 by bergshark Reply

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  • @bergshark (Comment 18) :

    They are good ball in hand …just don’t tackle !

  • Comment 19, posted at 17.11.10 12:32:28 by Hertford Highlander Reply
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  • @VinChainSaw (Comment 4) : Sowerby would have played for France already if he hadn’t been capped by the Boks for a few minutes…

    How many times have we seen a massive talent play for the Boks and end up on the scrap heap? It is criminal.

  • Comment 20, posted at 17.11.10 12:35:32 by lostfish Reply
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  • @lostfish (Comment 20) :

    Congrats on your Cup !

  • Comment 21, posted at 17.11.10 12:39:07 by Hertford Highlander Reply
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  • Let’s start from the top.

    @Sportbilly (Comment 1) :

    Habana has been disussed in some details yesterday, or at least I gave my view on him. Pierre has been quite good this tour, this specific piece centers around the UK tour, not the 3N, all of the above mentioned players were not in contention during the 3N.

    @VinChainSaw (Comment 4) :

    Pretty much what Molly said, my angle here was solely looking at it from a Bok perspective, and as I guess is the case with you, I want a Grand Slam.

    @Hertford Highlander (Comment 7) :

    I believe I answered that quite directly in the article? ;)

    @bergshark (Comment 8) :

    My reference to Chili was specific to his rise to stardom as a youngster, which is well documented, and how it has been screwed up – my exact fear for some of the players mentioned above.

    @bergshark (Comment 10) :

    We beat Ireland for the first time in almost a decade at home, cannot even remember when last we beat France at home (where Sowerby specifically is currently playing), scraped home against Wales the last two years as-well as Scotland. I think you understimate the quality of rugby over there.

    @Pokkel (Comment 11) :

    I think the article address the issue of not only replacing a player going through a slump, but the emphasis is more on the player being introduced and ensuring you give him every chance to become a star or veteran. My concern is not Spies, or Habana, or Morne Steyn or even Frans, my concern is ensuring that we give Lambie, Mvov’s etc. every chance to become the legends we know they are capable of becoming, and that requires proper management.

    @try time (Comment 12) :

    Be careful not to base your team, or its player’s success over one Currie Cup tournament. Of course it is a major boost, but you and I can both name a host of players in our own views who will only be good Currie Cup, or even Super rugby players, but have struggled to make the step up. Lambie has not yet played Super rugby at 10 as an example, Mvov’s, limited exposure, Jantjies the same with the only exception here being Alberts, and unfortunately Alberts competes with arguably the best loose-forward SA has in Juan Smith.

    It is not sentiment either, it is a genuine concern of mine. And given how Sharks players in the recent past have been lost to SA rugby, or how young geniusses (Frans) have gone through a terrible slump since his spectacular rise in the World Cup in 2007, I would have expected the Sharks to share a similar fear.

    @bergshark (Comment 17) :

    England is on the up, but far from the finished article. I watched the Pom/Aussie game, and the Aussies were utter shit, with England scoring opportunistic tries after dominating upfront – they won’t have that same dominance over us in the fatties department.

    @lostfish (Comment 20) :

    Re-enforces exactly what I am trying to say.

    Finally, there is another angle not covered here. Any player no matter how young is either mentally ready for this stage or not, whether it is done in the way I suggest above or not. But for us, the only guys that will know where any player I mention above finds himself mentally and physically will be the player himself, and the coach.

    Heyneke warned us against Chili, Mitchell has recently warned us against Jantjies. Heyneke was right about Chili, and I would rather not want to prove Mitchell right either.

  • Comment 22, posted at 17.11.10 12:53:37 by Morné Reply
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  • @Morné (Comment 22) :

    We must do a podcast soon ! ;-)

  • Comment 23, posted at 17.11.10 12:59:26 by Hertford Highlander Reply
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  • @Morné (Comment 22) : yes but we should we stay where we are with the 10 man game morne brings and play catch up next year. or do we do what all the other teams are doing and that is experimenting and seeing how to best utilise the “new” laws. we all know morne can kick, but the backline is deadwood with him there. scotland would have been a great test of lambie’s ability. if he is battling you can always fall back on the tried and tested. but i don’t want to see the boks trying to play catch up next year, while everyone else is tweaking their teams. we all forgave jake white for his shockers when he won us a trophy, but we all ridicule mallett for wasting his opportunity after all the work he and teichmann had done. and no-one must mention rudolph.

  • Comment 24, posted at 17.11.10 13:01:58 by try time Reply

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  • @Morné (Comment 22) : holy hell dude… I think that might be the longest comment ever!

  • Comment 25, posted at 17.11.10 13:03:57 by robdylan Reply
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  • @Hertford Highlander (Comment 23) : Thursday… lemme send the email

  • Comment 26, posted at 17.11.10 13:04:21 by robdylan Reply
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  • @try time (Comment 24) :

    How much will we learn from playing Lambie against the Scots?

    If he has a blinder, and we put 50 past the Scots you and I both know a lot of people will say it is just the Scots, the AB’s did the same to them.

    I mean I mentioned to Hetford that although I reckon SBW was amazing against the Scots, I want to see him against BOD and D’Arcy before jumping on the band wagon.

    And also, if we scrape a win like we did last year you can imagine that the same criticism voiced against Ruan at the time who played 10, will be done against Lambie too and it will be two steps forward, and 6 back as far as faith from the public and media is concerned with the youngster.

    However, put Lambie in the 10 shirt in a Super 15, have him play 8 or 10 games there and perform great, and there would be absolutely no doubt would there?

    So just what will we learn?

    Also do not forget, we have a Grand Slam to win here, now I might be the only one that reckons this is important, but it is still up for grabs and having Lambie, even if only from the bench and playing the odd 20 minutes exposure in 4 games, exposed to such an historic and important achievement will have a much more positive impact on him as a player in my view than being the flyhalf that makes the crucial mistake to cost us this possible feat.

  • Comment 27, posted at 17.11.10 13:09:33 by Morné Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 25) :


  • Comment 28, posted at 17.11.10 13:10:08 by Morné Reply
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  • @Hertford Highlander (Comment 21) : Thanks!!

  • Comment 29, posted at 17.11.10 13:11:49 by lostfish Reply
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  • @Morné (Comment 27) : i am not disagreeing with you. but it will be a good confidence booster for the players outside him that will get quality ball and have a chance to get in the game. so instead of the centers getting to bash it up, we get to see what they can bring to the team when they get space. as i said we all know what morne can do. lets see what the backline can do if lambie plays.

  • Comment 30, posted at 17.11.10 13:24:28 by try time Reply

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  • @Morné (Comment 22) : One thing than I am happy about is that Kanko gets to play AT 8 with a full strengh pack( Stegman is highly debatable though) to see how he performs.

    For interest sake taking the injuries and suspensions into consideration what team would you have picked for the Scotland game?

  • Comment 31, posted at 17.11.10 13:25:48 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @Morné (Comment 27) : i also want the grandslam, but i cannot see it happening with stegmann and morne. but i wouldn’t mind being wrong.

  • Comment 32, posted at 17.11.10 13:26:25 by try time Reply

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  • @try time (Comment 30) :

    I said the same thing, mentioned it last week to Rob too in a private conversation.

    But with our disruptions at center at the moment (Frans is not a 13′s ass) and a complete new back three, will he accomplish anything at all?

    I know its conservative in my view to prefer Morne in this instance, but I would rather be conservative in this instance given the dynamics of the team as it stands and given the recent doping scandal which no doubt plays on the guys minds.

    If we put 20 or 30 up against the Scots give the kid 30 or so minutes no probs.

  • Comment 33, posted at 17.11.10 13:27:45 by Morné Reply
    MornéTeam captain
  • @Pokkel (Comment 31) :

    Wouldn’t have changed much, but would have selected an entire Sharks back-row in Kanko, Alberts and Keegan, with Juan and Stegmann on the bench for experienced cover.

    Would have kept Morne in there, but definitely also pick Hougaard at 9, and I would have gone for Adi outside Jean, Steyn at fullback, Mvovo and Aplon on the wings and Kirchner on the bench.

  • Comment 34, posted at 17.11.10 13:31:13 by Morné Reply
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  • @Morné (Comment 33) : to put 30 up you need tries, not penalties kicked by steyn. agree on frans not being a 13. i would swop jdv and frans. also give jdv a little less work load as he has taken a pounding this year. we have a lot less to fix than scotland does. a couple of tweaks won’t turn us into a losing team.

  • Comment 35, posted at 17.11.10 13:35:31 by try time Reply

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  • @Morné (Comment 34) : I like your team a lot better than Divvy’s….but looking at your argument above wouldn’t it have been risky to play Albert (1 test) Keegan (debut) and Kanko (? not a regular starter) together?

  • Comment 36, posted at 17.11.10 13:35:42 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @Morné (Comment 34) : I suppose the backline is a mess with all the injuries. It would have been nice to start Lambie in this bankline:
    15 Steyn
    14 JPP
    13 Jaque
    12 de Jongh
    11 Habana
    10 Lambie
    9 FdP

    I’d love to see what de Jongh could do with Lambie on his inside.

  • Comment 37, posted at 17.11.10 13:37:56 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @try time (Comment 35) : How you doing TT?

  • Comment 38, posted at 17.11.10 13:41:07 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @Pokkel (Comment 36) : But that dynamic has worked together before. They know eachother quite well.

  • Comment 39, posted at 17.11.10 13:42:21 by molly Reply
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  • @Pokkel (Comment 36) :

    What Molly said ;)

    @molly (Comment 39) :

    You know me so well :razz:

  • Comment 40, posted at 17.11.10 13:43:47 by Morné Reply
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  • @Pokkel (Comment 38) : well thank you sir. does your pink jersey go with your lingerie. :lol:

  • Comment 41, posted at 17.11.10 13:46:29 by try time Reply

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  • @molly (Comment 39) : and, begrudgingly, won a CC. :sad:

    @Morné (Comment 40) : YAY!

  • Comment 42, posted at 17.11.10 13:48:09 by molly Reply
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  • @Pokkel (Comment 37) : now morne says us bloggers go along provincial lines in our selections. well here i prove him wrong. don’t put jpp anywhere near the bok team. his form is as bad as habanas. i am happy with aplon (a province player nogal) and mvovo.

  • Comment 43, posted at 17.11.10 13:49:03 by try time Reply

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  • @Morné (Comment 40) : I expected that answer but I was playing devils advocate ;-)

  • Comment 44, posted at 17.11.10 13:50:02 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @try time (Comment 41) : I don’t know….I’ve never worn either of those :wink:

  • Comment 45, posted at 17.11.10 13:53:08 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @Pokkel (Comment 37) : and i would go hougaard (bulls) ahead of ruan and jacques (poefters) ahead of adi. so bam to his bloggers provincial lines theory. :lol:

  • Comment 46, posted at 17.11.10 13:54:06 by try time Reply

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  • @Pokkel (Comment 45) : but maybe I’ll ask my wife to :mrgreen:

  • Comment 47, posted at 17.11.10 13:54:35 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @Pokkel (Comment 45) : :lol:

  • Comment 48, posted at 17.11.10 13:54:44 by try time Reply

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  • @Morné (Comment 27) : You also didn’t back Lambie in the final, I remember you saying that De waal will be the difference because he knows how to play finals rugby, he’s experienced and an excellent kicker. You never learn do you. ;-)

    But seriously, Morne is crap, not you, Steyn :mrgreen: and I think maybe the best way of proving this would be to bring on Lambie for the second 40 against the Scots.

    Unfortunately, morne, with Morne Steyn on the field we won’t be 30 or 40 up by half time. More like 12 if even that. Which means Lambie will again get only 20 or so min.

    At some point you have to give the kid a real go. The problem with the players you mentioned in your article, (Gaffie, Russell) was not that they were selected to early. The problem was that coaches never had faith in them. Never gave them an extended run in their position. Same goes for Ruan at 10, I still think if the coaches had put some faith in him he would have been our no 1, 10 now.

    And in the B&I Lions tour he played good general rugby, the only thing that was lacking was he’s accuracy at posts. So why not tell the guy we’re going to cover you in that area for a while. Get another kicker, but leave him at 10 because you feel he’s the best.

    This is what messes players up, not getting capped early, to me that’s just a little ridiculous. We have had many young players being capped very early who went on to become Bok regulars. Schalk Burger springs to mind, Jean De Villiers is another. And I’m sure if we look back we will see that the most special players was backed right from the start. It’s continuing to back them that counts not when you select them.


  • Comment 49, posted at 17.11.10 14:08:18 by Letgo Reply
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  • @Letgo (Comment 49) : Well said

  • Comment 50, posted at 17.11.10 14:11:34 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @Letgo (Comment 49) :

    I recall Morne predicted a Sharks win in the final!! :roll:

  • Comment 51, posted at 17.11.10 14:16:55 by wpw Reply
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  • @wpw (Comment 51) : i recall morne being wishy washy. :lol:

  • Comment 52, posted at 17.11.10 14:19:32 by try time Reply

    Super Rugby player
  • Eish Morne this is so longggggggggggggggggg

    but i will read it its just going to take some time my friend :oops:

  • Comment 53, posted at 17.11.10 14:20:29 by chaz Reply

    ChazTeam captain
  • @wpw (Comment 51) : Morne predicted a WP win in the final.

  • Comment 54, posted at 17.11.10 14:43:02 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @wpw (Comment 51) : @Pokkel (Comment 54) : Sorry, WPW but Pokkel is right and he predicted it saying that the Flyhalf position will be crucial. He was right, just not about who would win that battle. Lambie, hands down.

    I would pick a great flyhalf over a great kicker any day.

  • Comment 55, posted at 17.11.10 14:47:41 by Letgo Reply
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  • For every Gaffie Du Toit type disaster there are a heap of players that have thrived when bought into the test arena at a young and inexperienced age.

    Frans Steyn, JP Pietersen, Schalk Burger (Jnr) and Jacque Fourie amongst others made their debuts before their 21st Birthdays.

    Pierre Spies, Joe Van Niekerk, Adi Jacobs, Conrad Jantjies, Bob Skinstad, Bryan Habana, Jean De Villiers, Ashwin Willemse, Juan Smith, Pedrie Wannenburg, Jacques Cronje Butch James, Ruan Pienaar and De Wet Barry all donned the green and gold before they were 22.

    Os Du Randt, Ryan Kankowski, Marius Joubert, Juan De Jongh, Fourie Du Preez, CJ Van der Linde, John Smit, Heindrich Brussouw, Wynand Olivier, Adriaan Strauss, Dewald Potgeiter, Beast Mtawarira and Stefan Terblanche all ran on for the first time before they were 23.

    If the right temperament is there back the boytjies. I believe it is.

  • Comment 56, posted at 17.11.10 14:55:25 by Sportbilly Reply

    SportbillyVodacom Cup player
  • @Letgo (Comment 55) : I recall being quite happy about his prediction because of his predictions in the semi’s :grin:

  • Comment 57, posted at 17.11.10 14:55:57 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @Letgo (Comment 55) : lambie a great already? maybe we should see him in the S15 first…

    @try time (Comment 12) : as for the bulls playing 10 man rugby in the S14, i have to point out at this stage that our wings, gerhard van den heever and francois hougaard scored 8 and 7 tries respectively, and this was outside of morne steyn, wynand olivier and jaco pretorius (and listening to most of the bloggers here, are definitely in the top two\three players in their respective positions).

    Morne, great article. helps to point out to some bloggers that there are more dynamics involved in picking a side, than you’d think at first glance.

  • Comment 58, posted at 17.11.10 15:06:57 by bloubulblog Reply

    bloubulblogUnder 21 player
  • @Letgo (Comment 49) :

    Nice post Letgo and I agree with most of what you have said. Starting a player who is too young or too inexperienced is not the problem, it is persevering with and backing that player after his debut that will lead to the player turning into a legend.

    IMO it is far more unfair on Lambie to give him 15 minutes at the end of a pressurized game against ireland for example than it is to start him against Scotland. Lambie might not have ever played flyhalf at S14 level, but he showed to even his harshest critic that he had BMT when he came on as a novice fullack.

  • Comment 59, posted at 17.11.10 15:08:08 by jonnow Reply

    jonnowSuper Rugby player
  • @Letgo (Comment 49) : Ruan never gave himself a chance in that position. He made it clear it wasn’t his preferred position. He was also a bit too mentally fragile melting down when he missed a kick or two.

  • Comment 60, posted at 17.11.10 15:10:18 by lostfish Reply
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  • @bloubulblog (Comment 58) : Yeah, I believe he’s great already. And he already did the Super 14. Maybe not at 10, but still played at that level and was one of the standout players since his arrival on the scene. You just know with some players.

    Btw, do you really think the Super 15 standards can get much higher than a Semi-final against a full or near full strength bull side and a quality WP side? These were the two teams to compete in the Super 14 final, were they not.

    It’s not like Lambie had two reasonably good games. He had an awesome season rounded of with two class performances against two Top provincial sides. That’s as good as it gets.

    I will say it again. Give the kid a shot.

  • Comment 61, posted at 17.11.10 15:13:21 by Letgo Reply
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  • @jonnow (Comment 59) : Yeah and definitely don’t start him against England after giving him only bits before that.

  • Comment 62, posted at 17.11.10 15:15:29 by Letgo Reply
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  • @lostfish (Comment 60) : Your right about Ruan not giving himself a chance, but don’t you think his coaches’s wavering confidence in his ability had an influence also.

    It’s never nice playing when you know one wrong move will cost you your spot.

  • Comment 63, posted at 17.11.10 15:17:31 by Letgo Reply
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  • @Sportbilly (Comment 56) : And if you go even further into the stats, you will probably see that most of these players didn’t play many seasons at provincial level before getting picked.

  • Comment 64, posted at 17.11.10 15:26:38 by Letgo Reply
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  • @Letgo (Comment 61) : you seriously think lambie is a great already?

    a great talent and prospect, yes. but a great flyhalf?

    not yet.

  • Comment 65, posted at 17.11.10 15:28:51 by bloubulblog Reply

    bloubulblogUnder 21 player
  • @bloubulblog (Comment 65) : Is Francois Hougaard great yet?

  • Comment 66, posted at 17.11.10 15:30:35 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @Pokkel (Comment 66) : nope. that’s why i am not proclaiming him as such.

    i referred to one of letgo’s previous comments where it was made clear that lambie is a great flyhalf.

  • Comment 67, posted at 17.11.10 15:32:23 by bloubulblog Reply

    bloubulblogUnder 21 player
  • @bloubulblog (Comment 65) : Don’t forget he plays for the Sharks. ;-) :twisted:

  • Comment 68, posted at 17.11.10 15:32:27 by McLovin Reply

    McLovinAssistant coach
  • @Letgo (Comment 63) : Didn’t a certain coach of his refer to him as the Tiger Woods of rugby, that sounds like someone backing his talents.
    I seem to remember him getting plenty opportunities at FH, he just couldn’t offer the consistancy Morne did. And Morne had a break out season at 10 in his first year, how quickly we forget that.

  • Comment 69, posted at 17.11.10 15:32:31 by molly Reply
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  • @Letgo (Comment 63) : I think the Bok coaches needed to sit down with the Sharks coaches and discuss the management of the player and included the player.

    It was unfair on the player to start him at flyhalf against the B&I Lions, he had only started 4 games for the Sharks at flyhalf during the S14. 2 in the beginning and the last 2 games. He was put between a hard place and a rock and had stated time and again that he wanted to play scrumhalf.

  • Comment 70, posted at 17.11.10 15:40:25 by lostfish Reply
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  • @molly (Comment 69) : I think Ruan did great at 10 for the Sharks. He never played there for a whole season though. Always on and of. Who would like to get those stats. I think in 2008 he started of as our 10. Then got injured in game 3 or 4. Then got back and played 9, as michalack was then the preferred 10.

    When did he ever get an extended run.

    And Morne Steyn only ever looked slightly impressive, because he followed a guy like Derick and he played with one of the best scrummy’s ever.

    He’s never done much more than pass to Wynand and kick for territory. Also he fits the game plan of the Bulls like a glove.

  • Comment 71, posted at 17.11.10 15:42:11 by Letgo Reply
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  • @molly (Comment 69) : That same coach also referred to Earl Rose in the same statement. Where is Earl Rose now?

  • Comment 72, posted at 17.11.10 15:43:21 by lostfish Reply
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  • @Letgo (Comment 71) : Sorry Letgo, I was talking strictly Boks, Morne got a couple records in the 2008 TriNations if I remember correctly, helped us win the B&I Lions tour and did pretty well for a while… there is no doubt he is missing FdP, but FdP will make alot of players look a lot better, not just Morne.

  • Comment 73, posted at 17.11.10 15:47:13 by molly Reply
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  • @molly (Comment 73) : Yes that’s all good & well, but he’s not a Shark remember. ;-) :twisted:

  • Comment 74, posted at 17.11.10 15:48:51 by McLovin Reply

    McLovinAssistant coach
  • @bloubulblog (Comment 67) : And I will stand by that. A player does not have to have 3 or four seasons behind his back to be great.

    I also think Hougaard is a great scrummy. He will replace Fdp, sorry Ruan, and stay there for quite a while. And JdJ, great 12 and will take over from Jean.

    That’s my prediction. The first time I came to know of Jean de Villiers I said the same thing. I said it of Joost van der Westhuizen before he made his first cap for the Boks.

    Granted I have been wrong before, but not because the player wasn’t great, just because the coaches didn’t know their potential. ;-)

  • Comment 75, posted at 17.11.10 15:49:08 by Letgo Reply
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  • @lostfish (Comment 72) : I’m just proving that he gets the backing. Earl was the only shining light from the EOYT last year, as much as it pains me to say that. He could’ve been good, if he had his head in the right place. He doesn’t, not PdV’s fault and weirdly you don’t see anyone blaming him.

  • Comment 76, posted at 17.11.10 15:49:19 by molly Reply
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  • @molly (Comment 73) : Morne helped the boks win purely because he was steady and a good kicker. Had Ruan been given a few more chances in the position he could have become a steady, but also great 10.

    I don’t think we would have lost with Ruan at 10 anyway. We would have scored more tries and kicked less penalties.

  • Comment 77, posted at 17.11.10 15:52:03 by Letgo Reply
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  • @lostfish (Comment 70) :

    Ruan played flyhalf under Div at U21 level!! :roll:

    Ek sé maar net!! ;-)

  • Comment 78, posted at 17.11.10 15:54:14 by wpw Reply
    wpwAssistant coach
  • Excellent article Morne and I totally agree with you.

    Anyone remember this game: South Africa vs Scotland in Edinburgh 16 November 2002?

    I was at the game, the Boks lost 21-6 and it was probably the worst performance I’ve EVER seen from a Bok side. I was sitting in an executive box alongside former Scottish players and they were shaking their heads, saying this is NOT a Springbok side. We fear the Springboks but this side is so poor.

    Take a look at the lineup that day:

    L.Van Biljon
    J.Van Niekerk

    How weak is that? Players like Marco Wentzel and Uys were stars of the Currie Cup but were totally shown up at international level…the same as Wessel Roux. These guys had one good CC season and were then selected for the Boks. Deon Carstens was also selected as a tighthead and far too early in his career. And how many of you even can remember Friedrich Lombard?

  • Comment 79, posted at 17.11.10 15:54:26 by Villie Reply
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  • @molly (Comment 76) : It’s not backing a player to say I believe his an excellent player, but you only play him once or twice then drop him. His action said that he thought he could be great, but he didn’t have enough faith to give the player a chance to prove that.

  • Comment 80, posted at 17.11.10 15:54:59 by Letgo Reply
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  • @Villie (Comment 79) : we didn’t say every player that has a good CC season should be selected! You have to find the balance. Some coaches don’t know how to do that.

  • Comment 81, posted at 17.11.10 15:57:45 by Letgo Reply
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  • @Letgo (Comment 77) : Ruan WAS the starting flyhalf in the the first 2 lions test.
    In the 1st test with Ruan at FH, we got 2 tries, both by forwards (Brussouw and Smit). Ruan got 2 conversions and 2 penalties.
    In the 2nd game, I don’t know when Steyn came on, but we got 3 tries (Habana, JPP, TWG13), 2 conversions kicked by Morne, so I’m guessing he was on the field for at least 2 of them, oh, and they’re backline tries. Steyn also got 2 penalties, Frans got 1. Want to know how many the starting flyhalf got? None.

  • Comment 82, posted at 17.11.10 15:58:22 by molly Reply
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  • @bergshark (Comment 8) : Shimmy Shimange?

  • Comment 83, posted at 17.11.10 15:58:42 by Original Champion Reply
    Original PierreSuper Rugby player
  • @Letgo (Comment 80) : And between 2008 and 2009 he started 5 tests in a row at FH. Was rested in the last test (dead rubber) against the B&I Lions, and started again against NZ before PdV decided he’d rather take the points on offer. Especially with the forward pack we had, Brussow was winning penalties left right and centre.

  • Comment 84, posted at 17.11.10 16:02:48 by molly Reply
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  • @wpw (Comment 78) : That was years ago. He had played a few games at flyhalf before. The point I was trying to make is that in 2009 he only started 4 games at flyhalf during the S14 (all when Not Any Goode wasn’t around or injured)

    I don’t think it was fair on the player to stick him in at flyhalf and expect him to play a blinder when he had hardly had any game time in that position. It also didn’t help that he missed a kick and you immediately saw him start falling apart.

  • Comment 85, posted at 17.11.10 16:05:10 by lostfish Reply
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  • Gavin Rich reckons that the whispers are that Lambie might get a start against the Poms.

  • Comment 86, posted at 17.11.10 16:08:37 by McLovin Reply

    McLovinAssistant coach
  • @McLovin (Comment 86) : Serious :shock: Talk about chucking him in the deep end.

  • Comment 87, posted at 17.11.10 16:13:10 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @McLovin (Comment 86) : that is truly backward thinking… I don’t think there’s anyone who has more faith in SuperPat than me, but even I wouldn’t throw him in at 10 against England without giving him proper run there against the Scots first.

  • Comment 88, posted at 17.11.10 16:14:09 by robdylan Reply
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  • just reading the article it is a valid point ,however a year out from the wc we should be looking at our best players and gettting them ready to play at that level. Scotland imo can only ever offer a spirited game of hard rugby ,something a guy like willem alberts would thrive in ,regardless of where he played ,again ,whne lambie played against morne this year in the cc ,he out classed him. The cc final is probably as hectic as a testmacth in terms of tempo .For me , I would have no problem starting alberts at 6 and lambie at 10 given it is scotland .I believe that alberts especially adds something to the combo of spies and juan becuase they played better when he was on

  • Comment 89, posted at 17.11.10 16:27:52 by baw Reply

    bawUnder 19 player
  • @baw (Comment 89) : still can’t get over how awesome your avatar is!

  • Comment 90, posted at 17.11.10 16:28:38 by robdylan Reply
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  • @Pokkel (Comment 87) : @robdylan (Comment 88) : Yip. :|

  • Comment 91, posted at 17.11.10 16:35:48 by McLovin Reply

    McLovinAssistant coach
  • @robdylan (Comment 90) : haha thanks ! :)

  • Comment 92, posted at 17.11.10 16:42:15 by baw Reply

    bawUnder 19 player
  • @Letgo (Comment 49) :


    That is quite different.

    For one I ‘predicted’ Willem to dominate in the CC final based on how finals are played, and that WP learned from the mistakes the Bulls made in the semi’s.

    You will remember me referring to score-board pressure all the time, and if we go back to finals of any kind, a place-kicking 10 like Willem, who has won a couple of finals himself, is vital.

    However the way the game was eventually played by WP, with Schalk inexplicably going for line-out after line-out from kickable positions, laid rest to that thought didn’t it?

    Also, memories seem to be very short.

    Morne Steyn was absolutely magnificent in the Super 14 this year, playing one of the more complete games at 10 I have seen from the Boks in quite some time (Butch in the 2007 RWC was the only other one that impressed me).

    His distribution, kicking out of hand (not to mention posts), and variety in his play was world class, and if a flyhalf for the Super 14 had to be picked for 2010 I would be surprised if Morne missed the cut.

    I am no fan of Morne, I think his game is limited but I also think he misses Fourie. And yeah you could make a good case for Lambie but we;

    a) Have not seen him in a Super 14/15 against the best of Aus or NZ at 10.

    b) We have only seen him with one scrummy playing the perfect game to compliment his strengths – similar to what Fourie does for Steyn.

    So no, I am not sold on what you said unfortunately.

  • Comment 93, posted at 17.11.10 19:18:51 by Morné Reply
    MornéTeam captain
  • Another thing I picked up…

    Rumors has been doing the rounds that Lambie is going to start against England.

    And I have read quite a number of reservations of people (that rate him highly as many do here) that this is asking a bit much, or throwing him in the deep end?

    Now going on what I have read above, from the faith many have in him, if he is good enough right now for a test starting spot at 10 then surely he is good enough for a test starting spot against any other test playing nation, including England (or even New Zealand)?

    If we are talking about a player ready for test rugby, he is ready for test rugby, irrespective of what team he is up against?

    Did Morne Steyn not have to make his debut against the B&I Lions, arguably the toughest series of tests outside of the World Cup?

  • Comment 94, posted at 17.11.10 19:26:58 by Morné Reply
    MornéTeam captain
  • And that, is my point of ensuring a player is brought into the test setup correctly, where if called upon, he will take up any challenge, without reservation.

  • Comment 95, posted at 17.11.10 19:28:35 by Morné Reply
    MornéTeam captain
  • @bloubulblog (Comment 65) : he is a lengend my friend :mrgreen: still a lot to learn maybe nt just practice and time will tell in the old end but he will be like no other in the Sharks Tank :lol: lets just hope he it will not go to the head but very good player :mrgreen:

  • Comment 96, posted at 17.11.10 21:53:18 by chaz Reply

    ChazTeam captain
  • Lambie still only 20 years and 1 month young..

  • Comment 97, posted at 17.11.10 22:05:20 by bergshark Reply

    bergsharkSuper Rugby player

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