KSA Shark ©

Boks labour to dreary win

Written by Andre Bosch (KSA Shark ©)

Posted in :In the news, Springboks on 21 Jun 2008 at 20:53
Tagged with :

It was a wet day at Newlands and perhaps that was why South Africa’s 26-0 win over Italy in this one-off test match will be recalled as one of the least memorable matches to be played at this famous ground.

Gavin Rich writes on Superrugby that the Boks scored four tries to nil and were full value for their victory in that, unlike last week, they set about the task of winning this game in the time honoured way that you do test matches — by suffocating their opponent with an approach that emphasised basics and forward control. In this way, it was much more like the first test win against Wales in Bloemfontein than last week’s clash at Loftus.

However, while their driving maul, which netted two of the tries, was a big positive for them to take onto the field in the event they face New Zealand or Australia in the wet in the Tri-Nations, there was not too much else to enthuse over in a turgid game which only briefly brought out any semblance of a test match atmosphere in the 36 000-strong crowd.

Indeed, it may well have been a day where the Boks learned more about what is not good for them than what is positive. For a start, while Frans Steyn could well still be the future Bok flyhalf in that he is still only 21 years of age and has time to learn, that future is definitely not any time soon.

Steyn battled with his decision-making, and while his prodigious field-kicking boot played a part in keeping the Italians pinned in the corners, he generally just makes too many mistakes when filling this critical position to inspire any confidence. If anything, the Boks looked slicker when Peter Grant came on in the second half and Steyn moved to fullback, where he has played some of his finest rugby for his country.

It was Steyn though who produced the bit of magic that got the Boks onto the scoreboard for the first time in the sixth minute. Bryan Habana had run a ball back from deep, evading several defenders with a jinking run, before, from the recycle, Steyn punted ahead before gathering himself and going over for a try that he converted.

Then came those two driving maul tries, the first of them, in the 17th minute, the product of perfect execution as Bakkies Botha won the lineout near the Italian line, tapped it through for Juan Smith to set up at the back, and then the forwards as a unit drove hooker Bismark du Plessis over the line for the score.

It was Du Plessis again who dotted down the next drive, but had to wait until after half time before scoring it, with the Italians coming back into the game in the second part of the first half and the game generally degenerating into a comedy of errors that was not at all good to watch.

Sadly, the most remarkable moment of the first half was probably the dangerous challenge from lock Carlo Antonio de Fava that saw Bok No 8 Ryan Kankowski carried off the field on a stretcher. It did not look at all good, with Kankowski’s neck appearing to snap back with the force of the high challenge.

But although Kankowski was concussed and could well be doubtful for the first Tri-Nations test against New Zealand in Wellington in two weeks’ time, the medical staff reported back that he was able to sit up in the change-room after leaving the field and the injury was not as serious as initially feared.

The other thing the Boks would have learned from the game, other than that Steyn is not an immediate candidate to play the big test matches at flyhalf, is that Beast Mtawarira, like his Zimbabwe countryman Brian Mujati, is not yet ready for test rugby.

There was a big roar from the crowd when Mtawirara was on hand to take a pass to score a try in which Ricky Januarie and Joe van Niekerk featured strongly in the buildup, but the man known as the Beast did not touch the ball often, and what should have been of concern was his vulnerability in his primary phase.

Indeed, the scrumming was the one area where the Italians came out of the contest better than the Boks, and with the All Blacks coming into view in a few weeks, this is an area that is going to require a lot of hard work.

Schalk Burger’s appearance on the field going into the last quarter was also welcome, for it is becoming clearer with each passing week that Luke Watson is definitely not the answer as a specialist openside flanker. He does not hunt and scavenge for the ball like a No 6 should, and appears to have morphed into a linking and ball carrying loose-forward, which is perhaps understandable if you consider where he plays for the Stormers.

Scorers were:

South Africa 26: Tries by Francois Steyn (5 min), Bismarck du Plessis (16 min), Du Plessis (42 min), Mtawarira (54 min). Steyn kicked three conversions.


  • I didn’t read the match thread comments, but has anyone said

    Sharks 26 – 0 Italy

    Yet? 😉

  • Comment 1, posted at 21.06.08 20:56:47 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 1) : Rob (who else) kind of alluded to it with his ‘bonuspoint sharks’ comment. 😆

  • Comment 2, posted at 21.06.08 21:02:00 by ra-cheltjie de' be-er Reply
  • @ra-cheltjie de’ be-er (Comment 2) :


  • Comment 3, posted at 21.06.08 21:03:54 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©
  • it is becoming clearer with each passing week that Luke Watson is definitely not the answer as a specialist openside flanker. He does not hunt and scavenge for the ball like a No 6 should, and appears to have morphed into a linking and ball carrying loose-forward, which is perhaps understandable if you consider where he plays for the Stormers.

    When are they announcing the Bok squad to tour to NZ / Aus?

    When do they leave?

  • Comment 4, posted at 21.06.08 21:36:35 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 4) : I’m not impressed with Look. Makes my skin crawl. He should be a cult leader.

  • Comment 5, posted at 21.06.08 21:38:44 by ra-cheltjie de' be-er Reply
  • @ra-cheltjie de’ be-er (Comment 5) :

    Thats hit the nail so squarely and truly on the head!

    In addition, and I have been saying this for ages, he is an 8, and not an opensider.

    Frans was poor, and remains obsessed with winning every game on his own. Needs a year or 2 at flyahlf – Sharks need to do whats best for SA rugby.

    Beast was not the reason for the poor scrums Gavin – we were getting nailed on the TH side. 🙄

    Lets hope PDV is now over his WP infatuation. 😉

  • Comment 6, posted at 21.06.08 22:32:48 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • I think we’ll get odwa back

  • Comment 7, posted at 21.06.08 23:07:06 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • “He does not hunt and scavenge for the ball like a No 6 should, and appears to have morphed into a linking and ball carrying loose-forward,”

    Must have been reading SW and borrowed that from my… ‘utility link 8 not a 6’ ramblings…

    Time for Wickus in the mix behind Burger…

  • Comment 8, posted at 22.06.08 04:52:20 by bryce_in_oz Reply

  • @bryce_in_oz (Comment 8) :

    And no more Captain for Matfield… same as Muller they are different players with the added response… neither will ever be a Johnson or Eales at test levels…

  • Comment 9, posted at 22.06.08 04:53:56 by bryce_in_oz Reply

  • @bryce_in_oz (Comment 9) :

    PDV’s more expansive approach no matter what the conditions nor opposition… ironically still sees our wings getting less ball…

    If we don’t have one or two forwards in the line we have Habana searching for work on the other side of his wing… too many cooks!

  • Comment 10, posted at 22.06.08 04:56:49 by bryce_in_oz Reply

  • @bryce_in_oz (Comment 10) :

    Ruan has to start @ 9… that is until FDP is back… RJ looked lazy and is too ltd with a rubbish kicking game at this level… they should have swung the ball instead of those constant possession gifting kicks…

    As much as I don’t want to chop and change too much (and as futile the excersize lol)… after this match I’d have my opening 3N team as follows…

    Smit (c)

    Jean (vc) can switch the two if need be


  • Comment 11, posted at 22.06.08 05:06:30 by bryce_in_oz Reply

  • bryce

    I thought Ricki had a good game… the only other players who stood out were JDV, Beast, Bissie, Habana and Juan…

    The others were rather average…

  • Comment 12, posted at 23.06.08 07:18:15 by wpw Reply
  • And Francois Steyn once again had a kick charged down…

    What does Peter Grant have to do to start for the Boks?

    I’m convinced Steyn has something on Dick Muir… No way can a player perform so inconsistently and still get selected first for the Sharks and now for the Boks.

  • Comment 13, posted at 23.06.08 07:20:53 by wpw Reply
  • Die Burger

    Stephen Nell

    Cape Town – Frans Steyn admits that his first Test match at flyhalf was not a success story.

    teyn also gained much ground with his touch-finders in the wet conditions but was unable to dictate the run of play and to bring the players around him into the game. He also had two of his kicks charged down.

    His performance created doubt about his ability to be a Test flyhalf, although he probably needs more than one chance to show what he can do.

    “I struggled in the second half,” the young Springbok said after the match. “I lost concentration. I still have to work on a number of things.”

    He acknowledged that he had also failed to find touch with “one or two” penalty kicks.

    “If you want to be the best you have to do everything one hundred per cent correctly,” he said. “I’m going to be hard on myself and work harder.

    “I’m not happy with all the decisions I made but I’m only 21, so there’s a lot of time to learn.”

    The conditions did not make things any easier for Steyn and his mates, but he refused to use it as an excuse.

    “The first half was not so bad but it rained hard when we came out after half-time. But when you play for the Springboks, you must adapt to all circumstances. You can’t use the weather as an excuse.”

    teyn, who had played at fullback, centre and wing for the Springboks, was hesitant when he was questioned about his move to flyhalf. He even indicated that there had been a “misunderstanding” about him wanting to play at flyhalf only.

    “The coach and I had a chat and we decided it would be better for me in the long run to play at flyhalf. We’ll see how it goes and take it from there.”

    Peter Grant showed determination in attacking the advantage line when he took over at flyhalf during the second half and also showed more confidence in linking up with the players around him.

  • Comment 14, posted at 23.06.08 07:32:13 by wpw Reply
  • @wpw (Comment 14) : Excuses already… 🙄

  • Comment 15, posted at 23.06.08 07:36:59 by Charlie Reply

  • @wpw (Comment 12) : I didn’t see Juan Smith the whole game ❓

  • Comment 16, posted at 23.06.08 07:39:28 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • He was wearing the no 7 jersey Rob.

  • Comment 17, posted at 23.06.08 07:57:20 by wpw Reply
  • @robdylan (Comment 16) : He had to do the fetchers role as well as his laready massive workload… as a certain someone thought he had 9 or 10 or 13 on his back…

  • Comment 18, posted at 23.06.08 08:51:07 by bryce_in_oz Reply


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