KSA Shark ©

PdV will have to select expats

Written by Andre Bosch (KSA Shark ©)

Posted in :In the news, Springboks on 20 Apr 2008 at 07:42

There were two things that have happened over the past few days that should have eased away some of the worry frowns creasing the face of new Springbok coach, Peter de Villiers.

Gavin Rich writes for Superrugby that first it was announced that Jaques Fourie is now over his injury problems. The Springbok outside centre has not played yet this season, but looked set to make his return for the Lions in a Vodacom Cup game. There was also speculation that he could be called up by the Lions Super 14 side in Australia.

The second thing to happen, and certainly no less important, was the return to the field of Butch James. The Springbok flyhalf has been out for a couple of months after dislocating a shoulder early in the European club season, but by all accounts me made an excellent return for Bath this past weekend and has lost none of the form that made him such a hit at last year’s World Cup.

This will be great news for De Villiers in that while there is much young talent coming through on the local rugby firmament, he has pledged himself to a policy of continuity in selection. Even if he didn’t, the nature of the fixture list will probably dictate that it is a necessity to stick largely with the World Cup winning squad.

That is because, like last year, there is just one week separating the end of the Super 14 season from the beginning of the international season. The Super 14 final is scheduled for the last weekend of May, while the first test against Wales at Vodacom Park in Bloemfontein will be played on 7 June.

Whatever happens, De Villiers does not have much time to prepare his team for the Welsh tests, remembering too that he is a new coach and that the series against Wales and the one-off test against Italy will be complicated by the fact that we are returning to the old laws for these matches.

Even with the same team that finished off last year, it would be a tough task. But it is becoming increasingly apparent that De Villiers is going to struggle to retain the World Cup winning team purely on Super 14 form.

Here is why: Firstly, several of the World Cup stars, such as Fourie, have been out injured for most of the season. Among others, they include Juan Smith. Others are out of form, and you just have to look at the way the Bulls have struggled, and the number of first choice Boks on their books, to know that this should be considered.

Even down at the Sharks, where the franchise have yet to be beaten in the Super 14 this season, (Ed: He obviously wrote this BEFORE the weekend 😉 ) success is owed more to players who were not at the World Cup last year, such as Ryan Kankowski, than to the World Cup stars. Coach Dick Muir appeared to make this admission quite publicly when he dropped last year’s top try-scorer in the competition and World Cup winner, JP Pietersen. Ruan Pienaar is not the certainty he was a year ago.

Frans Steyn, so good at inside centre in the World Cup, has spent the season at fullback, flyhalf and outside centre, he has yet to wear the No12.

As the Superwrap Springbok barometers have consistently shown this season, there have not been that many established Boks making statements, the exceptions being the freakish Schalk Burger and the equally freakish, in his own way, Bryan Habana.

So the return to the playing field of Fourie and Smith, plus Pierre Spies, who was of course selected for the World Cup but never went, will be welcomed by De Villiers. At least these players were part of the Jake White mix for most of the past few years, and they don’t need to be reminded what international rugby is about.

If he wants to start the season though with a team that is stable, settled and experienced, which he should want in his first match in charge, then De Villiers cannot stop with just the reappointed skipper John Smit when it comes to expatriates playing overseas.

Well though Peter Grant has played for the Stormers, he will need James to be present if he is to make an easy transition into the national squad and complete a successful step-up to international level. And Bakkies Botha this season has given me the impression he is a bit like Jennifer Aniston without Brad Pitt when Victor Matfield is not around. In other words he is a bit lost, so that is a no-brainer too – the Toulon lock just has to play.

That would make three expats in a team of 15, with Percy Montgomery’s claims also worthy of consideration at fullback, where Conrad Jantjes is the best Super 14 player and Steyn the best bet among those with Bok experience.

That last option is not a bad one considering the excellent form of Jean de Villiers, who was not listed among my World Cup Springboks because he was injured in the first game, but who appears to be relishing the extra responsibility of being Stormers captain. De Villiers and Fourie being reunited in the midfield would mean Steyn having to play elsewhere, and fullback would be the best bet.

With seven weeks to go to the first test of 2008, my Bok team would look like this: Frans Steyn, Tonderai Chavhanga, Jaques Fourie, Jean de Villiers, Bryan Habana, Butch James, Fourie du Preez, Ryan Kankowski, Juan Smith, Schalk Burger, Victor Matfield, Bakkies Botha, CJ van der Linde, John Smit, Gurthro Steenkamp.

Sharksworld Note: This article was originally published on 16 April.


  • What a good read spoilt by wanting to play Steyn at 15. 😉

    Seriously though, I would Bench Steyn and play either Jantjes or Terblanch at 15 if Percy is not available.

    JdV has been awesome for the Stormers.

  • Comment 1, posted at 20.04.08 07:45:27 by KSA Shark © (FJ!ELN!) Reply
    KSA Shark ©
  • Good Morning. Great squad…
    I think Steyn had a fantastic game yesterday. he really gave it his all.. pitty bout the yellow card

  • Comment 2, posted at 20.04.08 08:21:01 by Alpha Male Reply
    Alpha Male
  • morning lads, well, the sharks were bound to lose sooner or later, maybe a bit of a wake up call. now the tour from hell really starts, we will see where the sharks are at in the next two games.

    what really dissapointed yesterday was how we got turned over so much. i reckon we miss ackerman and AJ should be starting at lock. we need his muscle to free up our loosies.

    what can u do against a team that goes through 9239759 phases and doesn’t concede posession? we never got a look in in the second half.

    thought the frans yellow was a bit rough, i mean what was he supposed to do to get outa there, u cant support your own weight when u got a guy hlding your bloody leg in the air.

  • Comment 3, posted at 20.04.08 08:57:18 by knersboy Reply
  • Kners.

    I have commented on the Sharks thread in response to your comment above.

  • Comment 4, posted at 20.04.08 09:28:59 by KSA Shark © (FJ!ELN!) Reply
    KSA Shark ©
  • Morning everyone…

    Im really disappointed in the Sharks 2nd half at Canberra yesterday 😥
    But as everyone has being saying perhaps this is the wake up call we’ve been needing.

    That said – I did’nt agree with the Ref’s interpretation of Steyn’s alleged infringement nor for Kankowski’s either… The yellow was too harsh – a short arm for both of them would have sufficed. Supporting your own body weight can only be done if you are being sucked into a mall which was obvious when Steyn emerged he was on his BACK with to Brumbies holding his legs in the AIR!?!? EISH!!

    These new EVL’s are terrible. How come it was an Australian who came up with these laws and these new laws simply negate traditional rugby?? Is it perhaps that the Aussie’s have seen that they would not be able to compete if they did’nt change the rules?!?!? Funny it came after a very monotone WC final between SA and England?!?!?

    Its takes me back to my days at Uni. and the above sounds suspiciously like what happened back then… My mates & I entered a touch rugby tournement at Uni. (Rhodes). We moped up the opposition easily and found ourselves in the final against the Rhodes Rugby 1st, coached by a Kiwi (Lupi). The format of the tournement was 1 touch, 7 aside, 10 minutes a half. As I said before we breezed through that – we get to the finals and now all of a sudden it was 6 touch, 8 aside and 20 minutes a half, just to accomodate the 1st team as part of their training!?!?!

    But you know what – we beat them anyways!!! And the look on their faces is something I will never ever forget as they could’nt even look me in the eyes when I went up to collect our prize!!!

    Steyn worries me. He is such a talent but he has no guidence. No experienced campaigners in the backline to keep him in place and mature him… Except Stephan, but he is Mr. Nice if you get what I mean.

    Terblanche as sublime as he is playing at the moment, just does’nt have international pedigree… he is good but I still think he lacks that electricity and penetrative ability. When Percy hit the line it seemed more fluid and with alot more acceleration – Terblanche does’nt do that for me… But that said he is our most consistent backline player and does bring an ethos of composure – but he is a wet weather fullback… bold statment I know but there it is…

    Muller – lacks authority by the looks of things. On Saturday he did’nt pull his lads together and give them a rollicking under the posts, he had his head down and kept confering with his team mates. Leadership is what we needed to calm the lads down and cosolidate.

    It was difficult to play 16 men, as someone said we definately got under the Ref’s skin… but I do believe that with Smit at the helm we would have seen off that relentless attack. But credit where credit is due – the Brumbies were flawless in that 200 phase possession…

    As for the Boks – well PdV has got a wealth to choose from – except for flyhalf – but the rest should be fine. I agree though, Steyn should be benched for a little while, let him get his focus back for Boks and Sharks. With Jean doing an outstanding job a 12 for the Stormers, perhaps a 12 Jean and 13 Murry might not be a bad duo for the Boks with Styen coming on as super sub???

    Bakkies is DEF. missing Victor LOL like a couple that’s been split – hardly a force on his own… The frech club should have bought them both – anyone know how Victor is doing on his own???

    At least JP had a slightly better game. I think he is still struggling to adapt to the new laws. The first real break he had – he tackeled the guy and turned him and rucked the ball back – would have been okay by old rules…

    I believe the Northen Hemisphere is strongly against the EVL’s? And the chances of them accepting them after what I feel has been a failure as an expose` – I doubt they will want to use them.

    Perhaps its time for SA Rugby to look at the reality of the situation, we know for a fact that Aussi and Kiwi refs are biased towards us and have us pegged for grunting brutes with no brains and abrassive, hot headed decision makers… Everything we do is “malicious” and frought with “cynisim” because thats how “all South Africans” are…

    Why don’t we let Argentina take our place in the Super 14 and we play in Heinkein Cup? Less travel, more opportunity for our players to earn a good living, gain some valuable experience for other players – and still be eligible for Boks?!? Do you think it will soften us up? I don’t think so – I think it give our players an outlet and allow for more young talent to come through the ranks…

    Okay enough blathering!! 😳

    Go SHARKS – lets restore the faith and take those ‘Tahs’ to the cleaners!!

    And as much as I hate saying this – COME ON STORMERS – make it to the finals and let us beat you there!! 😆

  • Comment 5, posted at 20.04.08 09:51:01 by The_Deleted Reply
  • OOOPS 😳 2nd paragrahp typo – should read “Supporting your own body weight CAN’T be done when being sucked into a maul….”


  • Comment 6, posted at 20.04.08 09:53:16 by The_Deleted Reply
  • Jinne The_deleted…
    You re-writing Lord of the rings?

  • Comment 7, posted at 20.04.08 21:51:20 by Hmmm Reply
  • Sharks have not been looking good n attack at all…

    Barring Kanko, Freddie, Terblanch…no one else looks like ever getting over the advantage line…

  • Comment 8, posted at 20.04.08 21:53:25 by Hmmm Reply
  • They have 2 of the worst pair of wings in the comp….

    With the fast clean ball the backline has been getting….you’d think that they can make something of it?!?!?!?

  • Comment 9, posted at 20.04.08 21:54:46 by Hmmm Reply
  • I would start with BJ ahead of CJ. Prefer CJ as an impact player. He still gives away too many penalties for my liking.

  • Comment 10, posted at 20.04.08 22:38:43 by Villie Reply
    Competition Winner
  • We could have an awesome bench too!

  • Comment 11, posted at 20.04.08 22:39:34 by Villie Reply
    Competition Winner

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