Morné

When the bed you made becomes uncomfortable


Written by Morné Nortier (Morné)

Posted in :Original Content, RWC 2011, Springboks on 24 Apr 2011 at 11:55
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It is becoming increasingly obvious that Springbok coach, Peter de Villiers, is starting to push the panic buttons.

After De Villiers named his squad of 51 players for the National Planning Camp, I was asked on Twitter what Louis Ludik had to do to get an invite, especially in light of the fact that we only had one specialist fullback in the group.

My answer was that Louis had better get hold of a journalist, get close to him, and have him ‘write’ Ludik into the team because it seems that is how players these days get called up to the Boks.

It was a tongue-in-cheek comment, but after reading it, I felt there was more truth in it that what I originally realized.

I also just happened to catch the SuperSport magazine program, Boots & All, a program I usually try and avoid. I am pleased I did because in this program they had a chat to John Smit, John Plumtree and Peter de Villiers specifically with the issue on captaincy, John’s future as a Springbok and where he is playing.

Plumtree’s response was typical, he is coach of the Sharks and with that comes unique responsibilities. He will be judged on how the Sharks perform during the Super 15, and not how Sharks players perform in the Springbok setup.

John’s response was also typical, he is a player part of a team and he plays where he gets asked to play.

De Villiers’ response was a bit concerning for me though for a couple of reasons. He basically said his responsibility is to the nation and the Springboks, and that his mission is to bring the William Webb Ellis Cup back home.

On the face of it his comments seems fine, it is a song he has sung for quite some time now, but in light of the specific issue at hand being John Smit and his, and other senior players’ form, I find his attitude bizarre.

Every Bok coach has to deal with pressure, and every Bok coach will inevitably deal with pressure in a different way. I am also well known to back players and coaches before I fall prey to popular media or public opinion but that only goes as far for coaches as a them sticking to their convictions, no matter how tough the times, and backing the players that has backed him.

When coaches start doing complete 180’s I start losing faith in the way they handle their situation and pressures that goes with it.

This is not the issue surrounding John Smit, and I don’t want to turn it into one either, it is about Peter de Villiers who has seemingly lost faith in himself and his ability and is desperately trying to win over not only public and media opinion but also the respect of his peers.

The man has been vilified from pillar to post since his appointment, he is also not the best communicator in the world and although I never had a problem with his vision for rugby and the Springboks, he never really sold this effectively through either actions or words.

It’s a tough job, but it is something Peter knew from the start.

I admired his conviction in his own ability and how he always backed himself. As Jake White proved, it is a trait that will prove invaluable in a South African rugby context where you are more often than not, tried, judged and convicted in the media.

South African rugby is also littered with examples of the completely opposite of this, most recently, Nick Mallet who was convinced by his brains-trust to drop Teichmann in favour of Skinstad in 1999, and of course, Rudolph Straueli who was paranoia personified going into the Rugby World Cup of 2003 having been convinced that a boot-camp navy seals style was the way to go to build team spirit.

I would personally like to remind Peter de Villiers not only of these two men and how pressure got to them, but also of his convictions of the man called John Smit over the last 4 years since he was in charge.

It was De Villiers who flew to France to convince John Smit to come back and lead the Springboks. It was De Villiers who asked John to move from hooker to prop over a year ago, and it was John Smit who heeded every call.

Why now, months out from the Rugby World Cup, after 3 years of working together, can Peter de Villiers not show the same conviction in Smit – why now the doubt in Smit and his ability as a player (at prop or hooker) and his captaincy?

I am, by nature, a very pessimistic individual, and at times I might read way too much in small things. I do however put a lot of stock in the head space players and coaches find themselves in most of which can be judged, or picked up by what they say, and what they do.

If three years is what it took for De Villiers to doubt Smit’s ability as a player and captain, or realize that he needs outside expertise in his management group, then I can only read two things into that. One, he was never good enough to take on the position of national coach or two, like many before him, the pressure got to him and we are about to see a massive implosion.

Personally, I still don’t doubt his ability, but I am afraid that Peter himself is starting to.



49 Comments

  • Great article as usual. John Smit may just have helped Snor with a great game yesterday. I am one of his doubters and will be the first to admit, I think that 2011 was a year to far, but he showed me I am wrong yesterday. He is obviously happier playing at hooker and that is where Peter said he wants him, now as you say he needs to back him, and announce him as Captain. Your thoughts on Matfield would you play him ahead of Bekker??

  • Comment 1, posted at 24.04.11 12:23:56 by Whindy Reply
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  • @Whindy (Comment 1) :

    Yes, without a doubt.

  • Comment 2, posted at 24.04.11 12:24:55 by Morné Reply
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  • Heavy article Morne.

    One has to feel for PDV though – you can never keep people happy in SA, and its a strong ego indeed that can happily chart its own, unpopular, course for 4 years: Jake barely made it.

    Hopefully PDV is able to back his players and plans for just a few more months – but he also needs his players to repay his faith. Hopefully Barney showed the way for the other sleeping giants.

  • Comment 3, posted at 24.04.11 12:29:10 by Big Fish Reply
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  • @Big Fish (Comment 3) :

    I had to bring which is no doubt, a very happy mood around here down a bit ! ;)

  • Comment 4, posted at 24.04.11 12:32:14 by Morné Reply
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  • @Morné (Comment 4) :
    Happy but not delusional – we played against 14 men for 60 minutes.

    Can’t remember the last time we constructed a try from backline play.

  • Comment 5, posted at 24.04.11 12:40:48 by Big Fish Reply
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  • @Morné (Comment 2) : Watching the Bulls/ Force game, it looked almost as if the Bulls have lost confidence in their Line out. Bekker is the form player for sure.

  • Comment 6, posted at 24.04.11 12:41:53 by Whindy Reply
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  • @Big Fish (Comment 5) :

    There were a lot more good things from this match than any you played this year so far. You have a right to feel positive. On the issue of yellow cards, pressure results in individuals doing stupid things.

    @Whindy (Comment 6) :

    The Bulls have lost confidence in every single area of their play. Only one guy can bring this back for them, their coach…

  • Comment 7, posted at 24.04.11 12:49:09 by Morné Reply
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    MornéTeam captain
     
  • @Morné (Comment 7) : Not sure even he can, maybe Meyer needs to jump in. If they are unable to come up with a back-up plan, which they seemed to be trying, by spreading it wider, then I fear their 2011 season and title defence is over. Will be interesting when they get back to Loftus?

  • Comment 8, posted at 24.04.11 12:55:09 by Whindy Reply
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  • @Morné (Comment 7) :
    I’m pleased with the progress so far – just cautious of getting carried away.

    @Whindy (Comment 8) :
    Another weird factor is the lack of intensity that their forwards take into the drive – the Blue Blanket is just not the same.

    I fear that Ludeke doesn’t know how to get the players’ heads right – and I do believe that it is a mental issue mostly.

  • Comment 9, posted at 24.04.11 13:01:51 by Big Fish Reply
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  • I just hope Juan Smith is fit for the Tri Nations Matfield is not a captain and we need someone that leads by example.

  • Comment 10, posted at 24.04.11 13:12:20 by Danman110 Reply

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  • @Big Fish (Comment 9) : Its Weird, and reading the articles by young Dewald Potgieter, its not for lack of trying, the Aussies commentators picked up on something yesterday, they do nothing from deep and Spies needs some room to build up speed, then he is devastating but nobody runs from deep. I thought that John Smit had a couple of nice runs from deep!!

  • Comment 11, posted at 24.04.11 13:12:25 by Whindy Reply
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  • @Danman110 (Comment 10) : Whats wrong with John Smit??

  • Comment 12, posted at 24.04.11 13:17:26 by Whindy Reply
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  • @Whindy (Comment 12) : If John does’t start every game we are going to need a backup captain and Matfield is only alienating ever ref that blows a bulls game.

  • Comment 13, posted at 24.04.11 13:24:22 by Danman110 Reply

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  • @Whindy (Comment 11) :
    I heard that comment. But I think that Spies also runs too upright – gets taken low as a result. Compare him with Alberts, who, although tall, tends to run head down, and make good yards through the tackle.

    A similar comparison is between Beast and Bismark. Both are very strong, but Bismark looks to run solid and upright into contact, while Beast always looks to run through tackles – head down, small shimmy to create doubt, and then a big leg drive.

    I think both Bismark and Spies are powerhouses, but don’t have the best technique going into contact.

  • Comment 14, posted at 24.04.11 13:25:16 by Big Fish Reply
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  • @Danman110 (Comment 13) : Agree, he needs to go on a Dale Carnegie course for referee’s, what a twat with the moaning thing!!and continual questioning of every referee’s decision

  • Comment 15, posted at 24.04.11 13:27:40 by Whindy Reply
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  • @Whindy (Comment 15) : It really isn’t helping them with the 50/50 calls. And I see Fourie du Preez has also caught the bug.

  • Comment 16, posted at 24.04.11 13:31:40 by Danman110 Reply

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  • @Big Fish (Comment 14) : Albert’s had another huge game, I reckon he is the most consistent player in SA at the moment in terms of week in and week out performances!! Bissie definitely runs to upright, and you are right about Spies’ technique. No doubt it takes more that just speed and muscle

  • Comment 17, posted at 24.04.11 13:33:56 by Whindy Reply
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  • @Danman110 (Comment 16) : Thats why I like Craig Joubert as a referee, he shuts them up very quickly!!

  • Comment 18, posted at 24.04.11 13:36:23 by Whindy Reply
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  • @Whindy (Comment 17) : The coaches in SA have this idea that if a player is 100kg he should be a foward if they let Spies play at center he would have been devastating he has the pace and the size if you look at the AB centers we are a few kg to light at centre.

  • Comment 19, posted at 24.04.11 13:41:49 by Danman110 Reply

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  • @Danman110 (Comment 19) :
    Spies doesn’t have the hands or tackling ability for centre. Would make a decent wing though.

    Can’t help but feel that Kanko would also have made a legend 13.

  • Comment 20, posted at 24.04.11 13:48:39 by Big Fish Reply
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  • @Danman110 (Comment 19) : Well he played on the wing for the sa U19 or 21 not sure which?? Not sure he has the handling skills to play at center??

  • Comment 21, posted at 24.04.11 13:48:52 by Whindy Reply
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  • @Big Fish (Comment 20) : I used to play against his dad, who played wing/center for EP. He was bloody good as well!!

  • Comment 22, posted at 24.04.11 13:50:56 by Whindy Reply
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  • Just like some players get written into a team, it seems as if there is a current media agenda to write John OUT of the team and Victoria in. :(

  • Comment 23, posted at 24.04.11 13:52:19 by KSA Shark © Reply

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  • @Whindy (Comment 21) : Handling can be coached but pace and size can’t.

  • Comment 24, posted at 24.04.11 13:52:32 by Danman110 Reply

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  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 23) : Victoria the drama queen. :mrgreen:

  • Comment 25, posted at 24.04.11 13:53:47 by Danman110 Reply

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  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 23) : His Form is not helping, bekker is way better at the moment and in my opinion has enough expierience for us to do without big vic. However, I have to also own up to being one of the guys who wrote John Smit off!!

  • Comment 26, posted at 24.04.11 13:58:39 by Whindy Reply
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  • @Whindy (Comment 15) : He is trying emulate John Smit, but doesn’t have the people skills to do it properly.

  • Comment 27, posted at 24.04.11 14:03:39 by KSA Shark © Reply

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  • @Whindy (Comment 26) : The Problem is that the media is not writing about Victoria’s problems, they just write about how he as a good leader knows they have do or die games coming up. :sad:

  • Comment 28, posted at 24.04.11 14:07:06 by KSA Shark © Reply

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  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 28) : I would say they are done and dusted, but then again My predicting skills this year are nothing to write home about!! :evil: :twisted:

  • Comment 29, posted at 24.04.11 14:11:58 by Whindy Reply
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  • One great game doesnt make John the best 2 in the country, or the 2nd best for that matter. I predict that we will still see the core of geriatric Springboks get WC selection no matter what PdV says right now.

  • Comment 30, posted at 24.04.11 15:40:48 by Jarson (AddicteD) Reply
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  • @Jarson (AddicteD) (Comment 30) : Why not Habana caught one ball and scored one try and all was forgiven. :razz:

  • Comment 31, posted at 24.04.11 17:22:53 by KSA Shark © Reply

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  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 31) : Not by me and he is not a Shark. I don’t mind the Stormers selecting him time and time again :twisted: I’m a Shark 1st and then a Springbok.

  • Comment 32, posted at 24.04.11 17:56:56 by Jarson (AddicteD) Reply
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  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 28) :

    Classic example.

    BB Harmse has just written an article on News24 titled Annus horribilis for Bulls in which he slates there decision making refering to up and unders balls lost in contact, simple handling errors and just a sheer lack of desire on defence etc. but Matfield gets no more than ONE mention in the whole article and that is just a quote about the future.


    “We have to win everything from here on in if we want to stand any chance,” Bulls captain Victor Matfield admitted afterwards.

  • Comment 33, posted at 24.04.11 18:33:57 by KSA Shark © Reply

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  • @Jarson (AddicteD) (Comment 32) :

    Shark first and then a Bok?

    Thats so typical Blue Bull.

  • Comment 34, posted at 24.04.11 18:35:45 by Morné Reply
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    MornéTeam captain
     
  • @Morné (Comment 34) : Now that was not nice :wink: I was supporting the Sharks before I knew there were Boks and that’s how I feel :mrgreen:

  • Comment 35, posted at 24.04.11 18:44:13 by Jarson (AddicteD) Reply
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  • @Morné (Comment 34) : :shock:

    I think MOST supporters support their provinces 1st and then the Boks.

  • Comment 36, posted at 24.04.11 18:47:12 by KSA Shark © Reply

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  • @Jarson (AddicteD) (Comment 35) :

    That is fair enough, thought you were a local lad.

    @KSA Shark © (Comment 36) :

    Really???

    I certainly missed that memo!!!

  • Comment 37, posted at 24.04.11 19:17:29 by Morné Reply
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  • @Morné (Comment 37) : Very few admit it though

  • Comment 38, posted at 24.04.11 19:20:22 by KSA Shark © Reply

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  • @Morné (Comment 37) : I am local. I’m just not old enough. The 1st time I watched or knew about international rugby was World Cup ’95. I started supporting the Sharks/Natal from ’92 :razz:

  • Comment 39, posted at 24.04.11 19:32:39 by Jarson (AddicteD) Reply
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  • @Jarson (AddicteD) (Comment 39) : Come to think of it, the 1st Bok try I ever saw was Pieter Hendricks’ running around Campese for the opening try. :cool:

  • Comment 40, posted at 24.04.11 19:34:59 by Jarson (AddicteD) Reply
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  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 38) :

    I can believe that…

    @Jarson (AddicteD) (Comment 39) :

    Mate whatever got you to watch and love this game is good enough for me.

  • Comment 41, posted at 24.04.11 19:58:22 by Morné Reply
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  • john has a crack at a rubbish hurricanes team and everyone is singing his praises, the cheetahs scored more than 40pts on that lot.

    Re the article, de villiers deserves everything coming his way, he succumbed to the pressure of the sa rugby beast a long time ago. The peter de villiers who was punching tables when ricky scored the winning try in dunedin is not the same one that waffles incoherently at media conferences nowadays.

    What happened to the man who said he could improve the 2007 squad by 40% because they were playing like robots? As soon as results went pear-shaped in 2008 where he even got booed in durban he went back to a robotic kick n chase strategy which he was still clinging to last year!

    The bok team has not evolved one bit, so what value has pdv added to the bok set up, apart from backing the old warhorses? Has he introduced a new defence pattern, new cunning backline moves, has he improved our forward play from what is was in 2007?

  • Comment 42, posted at 24.04.11 20:35:58 by Megatron Reply

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  • Look for the silver lining guys. We only have to put up this pathetic blowhard for about 6 more months. :cool:

  • Comment 43, posted at 24.04.11 21:58:22 by klempie Reply

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  • Just watched invictus. . Still gives me Shivers. What an awesome movie

  • Comment 44, posted at 24.04.11 22:32:56 by Mocho Reply

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  • Cheers Morne ….good Easter Monday read !

    Interesting has got me thinking about our set up as well…..more to follow ! ;-)

    …and who I can write into the All Blacks. :cool:

  • Comment 45, posted at 24.04.11 23:13:02 by Hertford Highlander Reply
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  • @Hertford Highlander (Comment 45) :

    Hehe…

    Mate all the talent in the world (which is what you seemingly have), is sometimes more of a curse than a blessing as was the case in 2007…

    What counts in your favour however, is that (I am sure) Henry has learnt his lessons from 4 years back!

  • Comment 46, posted at 24.04.11 23:22:21 by Morné Reply
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  • @Morné (Comment 46) : ;-)

  • Comment 47, posted at 25.04.11 05:27:21 by Hertford Highlander Reply
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  • I just love being a shark supporter right now.

    Having visitors from up north while the bulls are on the slide is just magic! :twisted:

  • Comment 48, posted at 25.04.11 10:23:50 by Original Pierre Reply
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  • @Megatron (Comment 42) : Don’t agree with you too often, but that is spot on.

  • Comment 49, posted at 26.04.11 12:02:59 by rhineshark Reply
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