Richard Ferguson

Bok selection countdown – Front row


Written by Richard Ferguson (Richard Ferguson)

Posted in :Original Content, Springboks on 16 May 2012 at 11:01
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We are only four Saturdays away from the Boks hosting the English in Heyneke Meyer’s first series of matches as coach, and while the Boks are favourites to win the series quite comfortably, the make up of his first team is still open to much debate.

I will be doing a series of articles discussing all the positions and the players that we will most likely see take to the field at Mr Price Kings Park come 9 June 2012.

Let’s start at the front and see if we can come up with a front row worthy of wearing the Green and Gold, and able to give the English a hard time in the scrums.

Looking at the form of players in the Super Rugby season so far, the front row is far from an easy selection.

Meyer could be very conservative and select the tried and tested, albeit John Smit-less front row of Beast Mtawarira, Bismarck du Plessis and Jannie du Plessis. The problem with that is that the Beast has only seen two weeks of action, and even though he has made all the difference in the front row of the Sharks, his match fitness can still be questioned, as well as that he is yet to come up against a tough scrum since his return.

The other glaring weakness in that trio is Jannie du Plessis, who has been far from his best so far this season, and even though the return of the Beast has improved the Sharks scrum dramatically, his individual play is not quite where we have seen him peak.

The Bulls front row has been in good form for most of the season, with Dean Greyling, Chiliboy Ralepelle and Werner Kruger forming a formidable combination. Of the three, Kruger has the best chance of stepping into a Bok starting position, purely based on the lack of form shown by Jannie du Plessis, but I will not be surprised to see all three these players in the squad, with Greyling as backup to Beast, or even potentially starting, and Ralepelle the second choice behind Bismarck.

Others who might come into contention, but are more surprising than conservative selections, are Coenie Oosthuizen and Adriaan Strauss from the Cheetahs, Pat Cilliers from the Lions and Steven Kitshoff from the Stormers. Coenie Oosthuizen’s disciplinary record counts heavily against him, but Strauss, Cilliers and Kitshoff are all in amazing form, and should form count in Meyer’s eyes, one or more of these could see themselves in the green and gold.

Meyer’s probable pick:

1.Beast Mtawarira
2.Bismarck du Plessis
3.Werner Kruger
16.Chiliboy Ralepelle
17.Jannie du Plessis

Ferguson’s form selection:

1.Beast Mtawarira
2.Bismarck du Plessis
3.Pat Cilliers
16.Adriaan Strauss
17.Werner Kruger



52 Comments

  • The ability to play both side counts in Coenie’s favour, and that is ideal in your bench prop… Who else can play with both equally effectively? It’s why CJ van der Linde always gets called up…

  • Comment 1, posted at 16.05.12 11:06:39 by The Quirk Reply
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  • @The Quirk (Comment 1) : Agree with you. Coenie would be on my bench.

  • Comment 2, posted at 16.05.12 11:11:17 by Ben Reply

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  • Coenie is only versatile in that he’s an equally kak scrummager on either side.

    PLEASE can we keep this bad-tempered show-pony away from the Bok side?

  • Comment 3, posted at 16.05.12 11:12:05 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 3) : Being crap on either side of the scrum didn’t seem to stop CJ van der Linde from amassing a bunch of caps…

  • Comment 4, posted at 16.05.12 11:13:21 by Culling Song Reply
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    Culling SongSuper Rugby player
     
  • 3 is a tough one to pick. Jannie doesn’t deserve to be there imho. I’d go with Beast and Bissie as my 1 and 2. With Strauss on the bench for Bis.

  • Comment 5, posted at 16.05.12 11:13:46 by Ben Reply

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  • @The Quirk (Comment 1) :
    @Ben (Comment 2) :

    I hear what you guys are saying, but he got given in the scrums against the Stormers, against a much less fancied pack..

    Not much help if he can play both sides, if neither side is especially strong.

    And as far as I can remember, Jannie can play either side as well..

  • Comment 6, posted at 16.05.12 11:14:53 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • Thankfully this versatility over actual ability debate will come to an end later in the year when a full front row will be on the bench..

    No more CJ van der Linde type caps for players..

  • Comment 7, posted at 16.05.12 11:16:34 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • I think Rich has it spot on… Beast, Jannie and Werner will be the 3 props in Meyer’s 22. I have no doubt he’ll go to Greyling as his next-best 1.

  • Comment 8, posted at 16.05.12 11:21:04 by robdylan Reply
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  • What about bringing BJ Botha in? He’s been the best SA tighthead of the last few years and should have been at the World Cup! Pity he was released to play club rugby and got injured!

  • Comment 9, posted at 16.05.12 12:12:24 by ChrisS Reply
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  • @ChrisS (Comment 9) : Agree, Beast, Bismarck & BJ.. Jannie gets handled at Loosehead every time I’ve seen him play.

  • Comment 10, posted at 16.05.12 12:28:01 by Ernie Reply

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  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 6) : Fair point, scrums always go backwards when CJ comes on, and i’d much rather have a specialist there. Just trying to get into the coaches head…

  • Comment 11, posted at 16.05.12 12:30:05 by The Quirk Reply
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  • Where is Guthro? Retired or overseas? Anyone think Heyneke might pick him?

  • Comment 12, posted at 16.05.12 12:38:45 by Ben Reply

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  • @robdylan (Comment 3) : Giving the Cheetahs some motivational snippets before Saturdays game, are you.

  • Comment 13, posted at 16.05.12 12:52:50 by Salmonoid Reply

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  • @Salmonoid (Comment 13) : perhaps, perhaps… although they never seem to lack for motivation when they face us

  • Comment 14, posted at 16.05.12 12:54:17 by robdylan Reply
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  • Coenie Oosthuizen has been awesome ,I know some have their concerns about his penalty count but its something that can be worked on.

  • Comment 15, posted at 16.05.12 12:59:49 by Talent Reply
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  • @Talent (Comment 15) : One of the buggers we need to neutralize on our own ball

  • Comment 16, posted at 16.05.12 13:03:58 by Bokhoring Reply

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  • Beast, Bissie and Werner should start.

    Wouldn`t it be great for the Sharks if Meyer gives Beast and Jannie the cold shoulder for this series though?

    Well Rested props when the super 15 resumes could help us a lot! :mrgreen:

  • Comment 17, posted at 16.05.12 13:12:18 by Original Pierre Reply
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  • Lets not also forget a possible suprise inclusion of either BJ Botha, Guthro Steenkamp or Heinke Van Der Merwe…even Mujati…Meyer has said he will pick the best players available for the Boks.

  • Comment 18, posted at 16.05.12 13:39:25 by SheldonK Reply

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  • @Original Pierre (Comment 17) : Somehow I have an idea that Werner is not the best scrummager – not sure if it is valid? I do recall the Rebels loosehead folding him twice in a row

  • Comment 19, posted at 16.05.12 13:40:29 by Bokhoring Reply

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  • @Bokhoring (Comment 19) : Your idea is correct! Do we not remember what happened when he did play for the Boks? he got shunted backwards, sideways and inside out!

  • Comment 20, posted at 16.05.12 13:43:43 by SheldonK Reply

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  • @SheldonK (Comment 20) : Was that against the monster Italian? Castrogiovanni? Who did he buckle into a mess of tears and pain on our last tour to mud island…

  • Comment 21, posted at 16.05.12 13:59:25 by The Quirk Reply
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  • @The Quirk (Comment 21) : I may be wrong but wasnt it Steenkamp or Greyling? Chilliboy got stuffed up that match too

  • Comment 22, posted at 16.05.12 14:03:52 by SheldonK Reply

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  • Oh how we miss the versatility of John Smit in out front row..

  • Comment 23, posted at 16.05.12 14:09:46 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • @The Quirk (Comment 21) : You thinking of the tour where BJ Botha needed to be called in just to stabilize the scrum?

  • Comment 24, posted at 16.05.12 14:17:08 by Bokhoring Reply

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  • Werner Kruger is ULTRA kak..one of the worst tightheads ever to become a Bok. If he is selected the Boks will get drilled in the frontrow, especially as the front row is probably the Poms strongest suit! I don’t even think Heyneke Meyer will be silly enough to make that mistake!!

  • Comment 25, posted at 16.05.12 15:28:24 by Villie Reply
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  • @Bokhoring (Comment 19) : Hmmm that`s a concern. Even with Bekker and Etzebeth behind them?

    Emergency Call to BJ Botha ! :mrgreen:

  • Comment 26, posted at 16.05.12 18:20:07 by Original Pierre Reply
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  • Its was the tour to Mud Island 2009 I think – Steenkamp was almost retired prematurely by Castrogiovanni vs Leicester! Then when we played Italy it was Castro again – prob the best TH on the planet at the time – with the Italian scrum is hugley dominant form. Smit started the game at tighthead, and when he moved to hooker and BJ came on a TH, the difference was palpable. We started dominating Italy almost immediately. Realy pity BJ hasn’t reached his potential in a Bok jersey, for whatever reason. Interestingly Matfield got the above completely mixed up in his biography, suggesting Smit was coping fine at TH in that game. I’m by no means a Smit critic, but even I laughed out loud after reading that.

  • Comment 27, posted at 16.05.12 18:32:01 by neilster Reply

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  • @Villie (Comment 25) :

    Good call. His performances in Australasia last year were embarrassing. He’s had a couple of good performances for the Bulls this year. Outside of that he’s been average in a team that doesn’t ask much of its props.

    Rob obviously has a big problem with Coenie as a person because he can’t wait to tell us alll how k@k he is. Maybe it has something to do with there being competition for the Sharks front-row… not something he’d like.

    Top 5 penalties conceded among SA props:
    14 – Coenie Oosthuizen
    13 – Dean Greyling
    11 – Werner Kruger
    10 – WP Nel
    7 – Jannie du Plessis

    Not bad for a guy that is tied in 3rd place for clean steals, behind only Liam Gill & David Pocock (alongside Bismarck du Plessis – who’s conceded 16 penalties – and Heinrich Brussow)

  • Comment 28, posted at 17.05.12 08:55:12 by hendrikp Reply

    hendrikpCurrie Cup player
     
  • Continuing on from that, SharksWorld bloggers enjoy throwing stats around to compile Teams of the Week or prove that Marcell Coetzee should be a Bok and so forth… so here goes:

    - Coenie is the 2nd highest try-scorer behind Taumalolo.
    - No yellow or red cards this season.
    - Has the most runs with ball in hand at 97. Taumalolo in 2nd not even close with 72.
    - Coenie 2nd behind Taumalolo for tackles bust with 19. Taumalolo with 22.
    - Coenie 2nd in clean linebreaks behind only Taumalolo
    - Has made 88 tackles, which is 14 off the lead – remembering that he missed the first few games of the season.
    - 2 tigtheads won, 2 lost.

  • Comment 29, posted at 17.05.12 09:01:14 by hendrikp Reply

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  • @hendrikp (Comment 28) : my problem with Coenie is twofold…

    1) He’s a bully. I don’t like rugby players who go out and beat up people in bars. If he wasn’t a rugby player, he’d probably be in jail.
    2) He’s a kak scrummager. Props need to be able to scrum, finish and klaar. Anything else they do is a luxury. Based on that assessment, even Dale Chadwick is a better loosehead than Coenie.

  • Comment 30, posted at 17.05.12 09:02:10 by robdylan Reply
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  • @hendrikp (Comment 28) : Coenie’s penalties are usually conceded for being shit in the scrums… so why bring in his fetching ability? Take it on face value… he’s a weak scrumamger and concedes penalties as a result. Why do we want him to be a Bok again? Because he can fetch? FFS, let him compete with Brussow for the number 6 jersey then.

  • Comment 31, posted at 17.05.12 09:04:22 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 31) :

    Deserves a shot at it if you ask me. He’s had some good performances at scrum-time as well, even lending some stability off the bench to a Cheetahs front-row that was getting crushed against the Crusaders.

    I get what you’re saying, I just don’t think he should be excluded considering his strengths. He’s a heck of a lot better then some of the other names being put forward.

  • Comment 32, posted at 17.05.12 09:07:34 by hendrikp Reply

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  • hehehe hendrikp has thing for coenie, robdylan can’t stand “i will poes you dead” coenie! :lol: :razz:

  • Comment 33, posted at 17.05.12 09:11:05 by Megatron Reply

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  • @hendrikp (Comment 29) : You mean to say 2nd highest try scoring prop after Taumololo?

  • Comment 34, posted at 17.05.12 09:11:29 by Bokhoring Reply

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  • @hendrikp (Comment 32) : he’s not better than Beast, either as a prop or as a person.

  • Comment 35, posted at 17.05.12 09:15:34 by robdylan Reply
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  • @Megatron (Comment 33) : This is very entertaining.
    Maybe now Rob will understand how I feel about MB and MJ ! :mrgreen:

  • Comment 36, posted at 17.05.12 09:20:40 by Original Pierre Reply
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  • @Megatron (Comment 33) : Coenie the Crusader for morality. :mrgreen:

  • Comment 37, posted at 17.05.12 09:22:14 by Salmonoid Reply

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  • @Original Pierre (Comment 36) : @Salmonoid (Comment 37) : rob shouldn’y worry hendrikp gets over his crushes in quick time, when last did you hear him romanticise about sadie? :lol: ;-)

  • Comment 38, posted at 17.05.12 09:42:06 by Megatron Reply

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  • @Bokhoring (Comment 19) : @SheldonK (Comment 20) :

    Not that I am a huge fan of Werner Kruger but before you judge him on his ONE test match, consider the two locks who played that day.

    Flip vd Merwe and Al Hargreaves!! :shock:

  • Comment 39, posted at 17.05.12 09:42:09 by wpw Reply
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  • Guys, everyone knows that the scrums are a lottery these days, hard to blame one guy for a whole bunch of mitigating factors.

  • Comment 40, posted at 17.05.12 09:45:43 by molly Reply
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  • @wpw (Comment 39) : I was thinking more of what I have seen of the Bull’s scrum lately = e.g. him being buckled by Aussie props

  • Comment 41, posted at 17.05.12 09:47:52 by Bokhoring Reply

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  • If Kruger was such a shit prop, he probably wouldn’t have 3 Super Rugby winners’ medals…

    That’s 3 more than Coenie will ever have.

  • Comment 42, posted at 17.05.12 09:55:21 by robdylan Reply
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  • End of April some Aussie site put forward an argument of teams’ scrumming strength based on the number of penalties / free kicks they conceded:

    http://www.greenandgoldrugby.com/stats-weakest-super-scrum/

    At the time the Bulls were the worst – conceding a penalty for 17.9% of all scrums they took part in, and Stormers the best with 7.2%. The Sharks with Dale Chadwick at loosehead managed to come second best at 7.3%

    I know with scrums being such a lottery, this cannot be taken as a scientific measurement of scrum strength, but the figures do seem to confirm some trends I could see

  • Comment 43, posted at 17.05.12 09:59:36 by Bokhoring Reply

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  • @robdylan (Comment 42) : So following that logic Meisiekind is also a better center than JDV or Francois Steyn

  • Comment 44, posted at 17.05.12 10:01:33 by Bokhoring Reply

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  • @robdylan (Comment 42) :

    Two. If I remember correctly, Rayno Gerber was the Bulls first-choice tighthead back in 2007… and he was a heck of a lot better then Kruger will ever be.

  • Comment 45, posted at 17.05.12 10:07:54 by hendrikp Reply

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  • @Bokhoring (Comment 44) :

    The difference being that Meisiekind is actually a great Super Rugby player, just not a fantastic Bok..

  • Comment 46, posted at 17.05.12 10:09:32 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • @Bokhoring (Comment 44) :

    And Gary Botha is a better hooker then Bismarck and co. LOL

  • Comment 47, posted at 17.05.12 10:11:25 by hendrikp Reply

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  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 46) : He is good for the Bulls, but if you were Oom Staaldraad and had to buy a centre for the Sharks, who would you choose out of JDV, Frans or Meisiekind?

  • Comment 48, posted at 17.05.12 10:13:22 by Bokhoring Reply

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  • @Bokhoring (Comment 48) :

    Personally, if I HAD to pick from those, I’d go for JdV, but I would prefer neither of those actually..

    Again, just my opinion..

  • Comment 49, posted at 17.05.12 10:16:29 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 49) :

    My reasoning behind JdV -

    He would solve the current captaincy problem, and would fit in nicely with Whitehead outside him, and Jordaan to back the two up..

    JdV playing off Lambie’s shoulder, getting more attacking ball than he does at the Stormers, would be a big threat..

  • Comment 50, posted at 17.05.12 10:17:50 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 49) : Point being that the Bulls are a very good team with serious championship credentials, but that does not necessarily mean “Maak al die Bulle Bokke”

  • Comment 51, posted at 17.05.12 10:25:08 by Bokhoring Reply

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  • @Bokhoring (Comment 51) :

    That is not what I am saying.. Not in the least..

  • Comment 52, posted at 17.05.12 10:50:55 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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