From Sharks bench to Bok 13?

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :In the news, Springboks on 2 Jun 2008 at 05:00

Adrian Jacobs looks set to be the rabbit that new Springbok coach Peter de Villiers pulls out of the hat when he names his starting team for next Saturday’s opening Test against Wales in Bloemfontein.

It is understood that the Sharks centre is poised to make his return to Test rugby after an absence of several years as part of De Villiers’ starting team, according to Gavin Rich writing for the Sunday Argus.

The side is to be announced at a press conference in Bloemfontein on Wednesday.

The Sharks centre did not take up position in the shadow team that ran a structure session in Stellenbosch last Thursday, but he was on the sidelines nursing a minor injury. De Villiers has told reporters that he is not yet sure whether he considers Frans Steyn an inside centre or an outside centre, and a Jacobs selection might explain this apparent lack of urgency.

When Waylon Murray was omitted from the squad, the group building up to the new season in Somerset West/Stellenbosch was left with just one specialist outside centre in Jacobs, who last played for the Boks during the Harry Viljoen era.

The whispers from within the Bok squad are that De Villiers, who has never made a secret of his admiration for Jacobs’ ability, is going to give Jacobs the No13 jersey, where he will play outside Stormers captain and regular Bok inside centre, Jean de Villiers.

If this happens, the prodigiously talented Steyn, who may occasionally make mistakes but is a proven match winner and a player with the indefinable X- factor that separates great players from the ordinary, could find himself outside of the match 22 altogether.

And Steyn won’t be the only World Cup winner on the sidelines if De Villiers sticks to his plan (he has been known to change his plans quite quickly during the training camp in Stellenbosch), for it now seems almost certain that fullback Percy Montgomery and lock Victor Matfield will not be part of the starting team in Bloemfontein.

Conrad Jantjes and Andries Bekker were both form players in the Super 14, and Montgomery and Matfield have been away from South Africa for several months, so this selection should not raise as many eyebrows as that of Jacobs, who was one of the Sharks players sorely exposed by the Waratahs in Sydney last weekend.

Jacobs brings nice touches on attack, but he is known to be weak on defence, which is one of the reasons why for so long he was used only as an impact player by the Sharks until this season he forced his way into the starting line-up. When the Waratahs played on him last week, however, he crumbled under the pressure, with all the old question marks resurfacing.

The problem for the Boks is that a player like Jacobs might be able to perform against the weakened Welsh, which could leave the new coach going into the much tougher Tri-Nations fixtures with a false impression of what the player can do.

It is interesting to note that all four sessions prior to the team announcement in Bloemfontein will be closed to the media. This may or may not be because De Villiers is still deliberating over his combinations.

De Villiers did say at the outset that he would like all sessions, where possible, to be open to both media and public, so this does seem quite a quick departure from what was intended. But it was also obvious from Thursday’s session that the Boks under De Villiers will be employing a much more structured approach than initially anticipated.

This being so, it would not make rugby sense for De Villiers to permit a large crowd to attend the crucial sessions in the build-up week as it would be easy then for the Welsh to get observers in to note the Bok moves. If this happened, it could provide the opposition with a massive leg-up in Bloemfontein.

If De Villiers sticks to his plan to play Jacobs and he omits Montgomery and Matfield they would be massive calls, but they should not be regarded as a gamble against the Welsh.

While next week will give us a preview of what we can expect under De Villiers, the real moment of truth will come a month later, when the Tri-Nations season starts.

At this early stage of the season it is reasonable to assume that the players are having a marked influence on the planning and structure, and De Villiers, without quite mentioning the words, has spoken a lot about player empowerment.

This should be enough to carry the Boks through against Wales but, from the experience of studying previous Bok coaching regimes, the real litmus test will arrive once the pressure is on and the All Blacks and Australia come into view.

If Montgomery does not start in Bloemfontein, Butch James will assume the place-kicking responsibilities.


  • Personally Im very excited at seeing what the new combinations can achieve under PDV , I’d much rather see Adi there than Bobo.Q? is will he and Jean have enough time to gel..I think so…hope so.
    Either way I just cannot see us losing to Wales atall , the newbies are gona have a point to prove and from what I have heard PDV can get the best out of his players.

    I cannot wait anymore for the international season to begin atleast I can support a winning team again.

    Roll on Sat!

  • Comment 1, posted at 02.06.08 06:15:24 by CoffeeShopBok;-) Reply
  • Mmmm… I did mentioned about a Adi & Jean centre pair a few weeks ago… :mrgreen:

  • Comment 2, posted at 02.06.08 07:32:46 by Charlie Reply
  • Good morrow charles

  • Comment 3, posted at 02.06.08 07:40:56 by PJLD Reply
  • @Charlie (Comment 2) : You saucy fellow!

  • Comment 4, posted at 02.06.08 07:44:13 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • the prodigiously talented Steyn, who may occasionally make mistakes but is a proven match winner and a player with the indefinable X- factor that separates great players from the ordinary

    Damn…I thought I rated Steyn highly…but this 😯

  • Comment 5, posted at 02.06.08 08:04:59 by blackshark Reply

    blackshark - I'm back!
  • @blackshark (Comment 5) : Amazing how he didn’t win us the Super 14 all on his own two years running

  • Comment 6, posted at 02.06.08 08:12:23 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • I spoke to Adi when Sharks played Falcons last year & he said he was enjoying his rugby and would play wherever he was put because he is not getting any younger. I have always rated him,but he never gets enough game time.He rated Waylon a good bet for the future,but strangely said nothing about Brad.Go Figure!I asked what he thought about Charl McLeod (played in that game for Falcons)and he said one of the bigger unions would grab him.Look what happened.

  • Comment 7, posted at 02.06.08 08:29:32 by markm Reply

  • Morning gents.

    Well deserved by Adi – he has quietly gone about his business without the fanfare of some of the younger, less dependable players.

    I’m sure he will have a good game – much rather he were at 12 though.

  • Comment 8, posted at 02.06.08 08:43:17 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • @markm (Comment 7) : Mmmm… Adi a talent spotter… 😈

  • Comment 9, posted at 02.06.08 09:00:25 by Charlie Reply

  • Good morning everybody… :mrgreen:

  • Comment 10, posted at 02.06.08 09:00:47 by Charlie Reply

  • @Big Fish (Comment 8) : Surely being faithful to SA rugby and without complains and demands, not like a few other senior players did… 😉

  • Comment 11, posted at 02.06.08 09:03:55 by Charlie Reply

  • @Charlie (Comment 11) : surely 😉

  • Comment 12, posted at 02.06.08 09:06:39 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @Big Fish (Comment 8) : Jacobs runs himself into different postions in a match and he will jump up @ 12…just like a jack in a box… 😈

  • Comment 13, posted at 02.06.08 09:51:52 by Charlie Reply

  • Got to feel for Murray…

  • Comment 14, posted at 02.06.08 10:07:46 by bryce_in_oz Reply

  • @bryce_in_oz (Comment 14) : Kind of. He was kak, though

  • Comment 15, posted at 02.06.08 10:12:28 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • Wasn’t that much worse than Adi really… particularly as he was hardly getting the ball in the games he started @13 (Adi looked better when they finally swung the ball a bit)… and he was part of the squad last year… to not even make the ‘100’ man squad as 13/wing… Steyn, Bobo, JDV, Adi… all 12’s… but I’m happy for Adi too… can’t think of anyone else to have on the bench particularly as Mossie is injured… he pips Bobo in my books..

  • Comment 16, posted at 02.06.08 10:19:39 by bryce_in_oz Reply

  • Good morning all.

    Very chuffed for Adi! Just hope his injury clears up.

  • Comment 17, posted at 02.06.08 10:26:13 by Nessa Reply

  • In Mr de Villiers we trust. 😀

  • Comment 18, posted at 02.06.08 10:32:46 by ra-cheltjie de' be-er Reply

  • I’m starting to get used to rachels avatar…should I be worried? 😆

  • Comment 19, posted at 02.06.08 11:43:43 by blackshark Reply

    blackshark - I'm back!
  • Think you have to look back in the history to find why AD? He & Jean was partnerts for WP U19 and also SA U19 in 1999. Looking through that team sheet you’ll find Jantjes also included. So yes Jean & AD comes a long way. I obvious dont know AD that well but whoever PdV picks I will back. Think he also discover the AD & Ettienne Botha exciting combo at the Valke many moons ago.

    Regarding Steyn , I think with wingers like Habana & Chavanga you need to give the ball air. Will be sad if you dont use that two.

    Defensively I had my probs with Jean over the years but with Butch or Grant I think there wont be any problems.

  • Comment 20, posted at 02.06.08 12:16:00 by PaarlBok Reply

  • @blackshark (Comment 19) : Yes

  • Comment 21, posted at 02.06.08 12:21:47 by PJLD Reply
  • @blackshark (Comment 19) : Very. 😈

  • Comment 22, posted at 02.06.08 12:22:09 by ra-cheltjie de' be-er Reply

  • @PaarlBok (Comment 20) : They also partner eachother as centres in a Test against France when Adi played 12 & Jean 13, but De Villiers got injured during the match… 🙁

  • Comment 23, posted at 02.06.08 12:26:23 by Charlie Reply

  • Ja they know each other well and maybe a master stroke by the coach. We need someone to put those two speedsters in space and maybe he’ll be the man. Cant wait for saturday.

  • Comment 24, posted at 02.06.08 12:29:56 by PaarlBok Reply

  • Well as long as it is not Bobo…

  • Comment 25, posted at 02.06.08 12:30:07 by Hmmm Reply

  • Will admit Adi was exposed…but I doubt he will be that exposed in a Bok backline…

    He is good and at least deserves to get the chance of proving or disproving himself…
    Maybe green and gold brings a defensive moster out in him…

  • Comment 26, posted at 02.06.08 12:32:22 by Hmmm Reply

  • Well Bobo was great this year with Jean. Never was a BoBo fan before but you cant fight with the odds. If its Bobo at least these two (J & B) is use to each other. Think we must put our trust in Dick & PdV, they will do what is best.

  • Comment 27, posted at 02.06.08 12:33:47 by PaarlBok Reply

  • And he is not useless on defence…so he could be coached to be better…

    Good on you Adi….go for it…

  • Comment 28, posted at 02.06.08 12:34:02 by Hmmm Reply

  • @Charlie (Comment 23) :
    Jean and Adi were midfield partners at U/19 level, coached by PdV.
    That team also included Jantjes and Joe.

  • Comment 29, posted at 02.06.08 12:35:19 by Cru-El Reply

  • @Hmmm (Comment 26) : Myself think Butch & Jean will be the secret of the new Bok backline. Hope these two dont get injured and hope the backline play with a bang. I want to see tries only Habana & Chavanga are capable to score.

  • Comment 30, posted at 02.06.08 12:36:02 by PaarlBok Reply

  • @PaarlBok (Comment 27) :

    He was not great…ordinary at best…
    He buchered a good few tries for the Stormers…hardly beat the defence…steady in defence…but was stepped and all a few times and bumped off (but at least he stps the player when that happens)…but the Stormers had awesome cover defence this year especially when Schalk was playing so he was bailed out by cross defence tackling as he falls backwards….
    Less than ordinary decision making…

    All this was evident as the Stormers backline came to light when Brown/Grant/JdV played alongside each other…even in the LIONS game…

  • Comment 31, posted at 02.06.08 12:39:29 by Hmmm Reply

  • @Cru-El (Comment 29) : I know, Bobo was also part of that U/19 squad… 🙂

  • Comment 32, posted at 02.06.08 12:39:50 by Charlie Reply

  • @Charlie (Comment 32) :
    Bobo was in 1998 and Jean 1999. Think BoBo, Big Joe & AD & Jacons was part of that 70 odd zip pakslae as U21s. But lets rather not talk about that one. To old to let my memory got hold about that slagting. 😳

  • Comment 33, posted at 02.06.08 12:45:49 by PaarlBok Reply

  • @PaarlBok (Comment 30) :

    And Chevange has had an awesome season…Habana’s was off and on but we all know what he can do…but Chevange…I think he is going to steal the lime light this year…

  • Comment 34, posted at 02.06.08 12:49:07 by Hmmm Reply

  • @Hmmm (Comment 34) :
    That’s if Chavhanga is not hamstrung 😆

  • Comment 35, posted at 02.06.08 12:51:20 by Bok-El Reply

  • @Cru-El (Comment 29) :

    Have you been over-feeding Danny again?

  • Comment 36, posted at 02.06.08 12:53:30 by blackshark Reply

    blackshark - I'm back!
  • @blackshark (Comment 36) :
    Whussup Marcus?
    S14 over, so I’m trading DC. New pic should be up shortly. Also name change…

  • Comment 37, posted at 02.06.08 12:55:51 by Bok-El Reply

  • @Hmmm (Comment 34) : The only time habana was off was when he was off the field. Otherwise he’s been the light at the end of the tunnel even during Die Bulle’s darkest days. Terrific in defence , attack and overall positioning…with pace as an unfair advantage…his name would be one of the first 3 on paper if I was coach.

    Tonderai…played very well before his injury…looking forward to seeing him run the other wing.

  • Comment 38, posted at 02.06.08 12:56:47 by blackshark Reply

    blackshark - I'm back!
  • @Bok-El (Comment 35) : LoL true…
    But the medical staff will just have to manage him well…

  • Comment 39, posted at 02.06.08 12:57:31 by Hmmm Reply

  • @Bok-El (Comment 37) :

    mmhh…I see… So Danny is a fading memory…

  • Comment 40, posted at 02.06.08 13:02:31 by blackshark Reply

    blackshark - I'm back!
  • @blackshark (Comment 38) :

    Nope…habana was good first game or so and then faded…he was stepped on teh outside in 3 games in a row…that does not even happen to wings with less pace…
    And one of those who stepped him being Dusty Noble of all people…
    He botched a try here and there and just was not his penetrating self…

    He did pick up well to the end…but was most def on and off this season…
    And if you care to read this comment to the end (as it did not seem like you cared to the other one…so donno if that is a thing you like doing), i will repeat myself “…but we all know what he can do”

    And Chevange was not good….he was THE stand out South African wing…

  • Comment 41, posted at 02.06.08 13:02:40 by Hmmm Reply

  • @Hmmm (Comment 41) : and what gave you the impression that I didn’t read your comment to the end? 😕

    Well…you just have to compare the guys who lined up with Chavanga to those who lined up with Bryan…and you’ve got half the reason why he did better this season.

    Like I said…I’m not taking anything away from Chavs because he does possess the qualities that I just associated with Habs but I think it’ll take a while before Gillette offers him an endorsement deal next to Tiger, Federer etc.

  • Comment 42, posted at 02.06.08 13:17:49 by blackshark Reply

    blackshark - I'm back!
  • Let’s agree to call the Zim born winger Tonderai as I’ve already seen too many variations on his surname 😆

  • Comment 43, posted at 02.06.08 13:25:55 by Bok-El Reply

  • Unless his firstname brings up a whole lot of other possible variations which I will not elaborate on 😉

  • Comment 44, posted at 02.06.08 13:27:29 by Bok-El Reply

  • @Bok-El (Comment 44) : you are insane…

  • Comment 45, posted at 02.06.08 13:34:39 by blackshark Reply

    blackshark - I'm back!
  • @blackshark (Comment 42) :

    That was based on best players in different sports…

    Golf/Tennis/Rugby/Soccer…so as soon as Chevange gets that title…then I am sure he has done enough…

    BUt lets be serious…doubt Gillette will repeat their advertisement idea and merely change the faces…so unless they bring forward something similar I’d say not long….give him a few tests or a WC…

  • Comment 46, posted at 03.06.08 17:06:00 by Hmmm Reply


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