Where have all the leaders gone?

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Springboks, Tri Nations on 17 Aug 2008 at 10:02
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The most disappointing thing about yesterday’s catastrophic loss to the All Blacks had nothing to do with Peter de Villiers, or any new players he had brought into the set up. It was the absolute inability of the Boks “hard core” of experienced players to put up their hands when needed that was the most worrying aspect.

It starts, of course, with Victor Matfield, who has shown, time and again, that he just plain does not have what it takes to be Bok captain. Matfield has always been one to shirk in the tight; the added burden of captaincy seems to give him licence to saunter around the park like a striding colossus, never once stooping to the level of actually participating in a maul, God forbid hitting a ruck. Usually a commanding force in the lineout, the Bearded Nowhere Man lost his own ball in that phase too and failed quite dismally in rallying his troops, much less having a meaningful dialogue with referee Matt Goddard when things started to go against us.

Matfield has grown complacent and soft languishing in the French Second Division. His own game is no longer strong enough to command a position in the Bok 22 and he has the captaincy skills of a dead newt, so why must we continue to carry him? Send him back to Loftus where maybe the blue horde will make up a new song and make him believe his own hype for just a little while longer. Andries Bekker, played out of position at 4, showed Matfield up in every possible way, not least of which his hunger!

Juan Smith is another veteran who simply disappeared. Smith was great at the World Cup last year, but has been anonymous in every test he has played this year. Surely the point of picking a 50-tester in your side is that he will bring that experience out when required, when things aren’t going your way? One got the feeling yesterday that Smith was yet another member of the “senior player core” who just simply threw in the towel after 20 minutes.

Fourie du Preez and Butch James are another worry. Neither seemed able to shake themselves out of the absolute mire into which their respective games have descended. Butch is starting to look worryingly like he’s seen the end of his own Bok road, while du Preez should be playing his way back into form in the Currie Cup. Third game back from injury, starting scrumhalf against the All Blacks? Maybe a bridge too far. We are up shit creek, though, when it comes to the halfbacks. Neither scrumhalf is playing at all well – hell, maybe Ruan may get his wish sooner than anticipated. As for flyhalf, outside of Butch, there is literally nothing to choose from, since Peter Grant is injured and Steyn simply not up to it. Don’t even get me started on the latter, please, as he is just such an utter dog’s breakfast at the moment he would struggle to make the Stellenbosch 7ths.

Percy is another oke who just simply folded when we needed him to dig deep. Great to have you on 100, Perce, but I think it’s time for you to stroll on back to your mountain and see out your days at the Western Province Retirement Home for Former Greats. Maybe you and AJ can share a room?

Hats off to the few youngsters in the Bok team who tried out there, to Beast, Bissie, Andries and JP. Bryan and Adi did some good things, while Jean only just escapes the sharp end of my tongue this week. CJ did what he needed to do in the scrums, while Schalk and Pierre were busy, yet ineffective.

I feel a purge is on the cards. Time to see if the next tier, guys who maybe don’t have quite as many caps, perhaps have a little bit more hunger?


  • My ratings.

    Beast 7
    Bis 7
    CJ 5
    Bekker 7
    Matfield 0
    Burger 4
    Smith 2
    Spies 5
    Fourie 1
    Butch 1
    Habana 5
    Jacobs 5
    de Villiers 4
    Pietersen 6
    Monty 2
    Luke 1
    Ricky 1
    Steyn 1
    Conrad 5

  • Comment 1, posted at 17.08.08 10:06:42 by robdylan Reply
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  • When you take the other Ratings (Rugby365) and compare them to these, you’d say the authors watched two different games. But these are much more realistic when combining both their play on the day, and what is generally expected of them. If a player did nothing good, nothing bad, don’t give him a 7. If he is expected to score 10 tries and he never breaks the line once, give him a 1.

    These are much more accurate.

  • Comment 2, posted at 17.08.08 10:12:04 by Baldrick Reply

  • Hi Rob!
    Your article reminds me of some of the things that were being said about certain “Senior” players, in the Proteas, about this time last year….look what getting the “boot” did to Kallis’ attitude….time to try it with some of the Boks????

  • Comment 3, posted at 17.08.08 10:47:12 by Me2 Reply

    Me2 aka Mama Shark
  • “captaincy seems to give him licence to saunter around the park like a striding colossus, never once stooping to the level of actually participating in a maul, God forbid hitting a ruck.” Just LOVE this πŸ˜€

  • Comment 4, posted at 17.08.08 10:49:01 by Me2 Reply

    Me2 aka Mama Shark
  • @robdylan (Comment 1) : Yip, we more or less agree, though you being such an emotional chappie going overboard with the 1’s and 2’s a bit. πŸ˜€ And the 0!!! 😯 Gee Rob, ole Matfield did make it to the pitch, be fair!!! πŸ˜‰

  • Comment 5, posted at 17.08.08 11:25:38 by Silver Fox Reply

    Silver Fox
  • @Silver Fox (Comment 5) : Ok. He can have 1 for singing the anthem πŸ™‚

  • Comment 6, posted at 17.08.08 12:01:18 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 6) : He sang well?? 😈 πŸ˜€

  • Comment 7, posted at 17.08.08 12:09:20 by Silver Fox Reply

    Silver Fox
  • To be serious though, we are in a bit of a clueless situation at the moment. There are things one can do, but will it be done?

  • Comment 8, posted at 17.08.08 12:12:28 by Silver Fox Reply

    Silver Fox
  • Oh, and well done with the article. 😎

  • Comment 9, posted at 17.08.08 12:18:46 by Silver Fox Reply

    Silver Fox
  • Referee Bryce Lawrence?
    I must have missed that part.

    Fourie du Preez’s game have descended into an absolute mire?

    Considering that he played in only 2 games, one good, one poor. I’d say that sentence is a bit of a hyperbole.

    Going back to CC is maybe not such a bad idea. The current bok setup is only going to ruin reputations.

  • Comment 10, posted at 17.08.08 15:33:24 by fyndraai Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • @fyndraai (Comment 10) : Good catch. Not sure how I got the ref wrong. Dude, the biggest problem yesterday was your mate Matfield thinking his reputation was going to win the game on his own. Reputations mean nothing if you play like shit

  • Comment 11, posted at 17.08.08 15:39:12 by robdylan Reply
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  • @Silver Fox (Comment 8) : Change the captain. Drop Matfield, Smith, Percy and Luke. The rest will get the message

  • Comment 12, posted at 17.08.08 15:41:07 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 11) :
    I won’t defend Matfield’s performance as captain today.
    He is just a caretaker anyway. John Smit is miles better in that department.
    If the new policy is quick throw-ins, we won’t be needing the Matfield types anymore either.

    No I think the biggest problem is your mate: “Right man, right time, right colour.” and his run-from-your-own-goal-line ideas.

  • Comment 13, posted at 17.08.08 16:22:45 by fyndraai Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • @fyndraai (Comment 13) : we don’t discuss colour here. I believe you know the address of the other blog…

  • Comment 14, posted at 17.08.08 16:53:12 by robdylan Reply
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  • Oops i forgot. It’s hear-no-evil-see-no-evil but mostly speak-no-evil from now on for me.

    I still think he is doing a poor job as coach though.

  • Comment 15, posted at 17.08.08 17:07:02 by fyndraai Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • The man that never ceases to amaze me is the bloke that displays his character by choosing a vulgar nickname and regarding it as a huge victory when he manages to slip it past people who explicitly asked them not to do so. To them I say ” Well done, little man.”

  • Comment 16, posted at 17.08.08 17:15:26 by Silver Fox Reply

    Silver Fox
  • @robdylan (Comment 14) :
    You should come back to that other site too sometimes. Lack of diverse opinion is making it a poorer place.

  • Comment 17, posted at 17.08.08 17:25:59 by fyndraai Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • @fyndraai (Comment 17) : I was banned. πŸ™‚

  • Comment 18, posted at 17.08.08 17:59:29 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 18) : You need to be that hard on yourself? 😯

  • Comment 19, posted at 17.08.08 18:16:25 by Silver Fox Reply

    Silver Fox
  • @Silver Fox (Comment 19) : Fyndraai and I are not talking about Keo at the moment πŸ™‚

  • Comment 20, posted at 17.08.08 18:19:19 by robdylan Reply
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  • howzit all
    I was dreading going to work today because of all the kiwis I work with …. amazingly they were surprised the boks lost cos in their opinion (and words) “they controlled the first half” …. their take on our “captain” – he needs to control himself when dealing with the ref, it takes different skills to be a captain, you are more than just a player on the field.

  • Comment 21, posted at 17.08.08 18:28:38 by KSA Sharkette Reply

    KSA Sharkette
  • @robdylan (Comment 20) : Seems I missed something. Just shows you. πŸ˜†

  • Comment 22, posted at 17.08.08 18:36:12 by Silver Fox Reply

    Silver Fox
  • @Silver Fox (Comment 22) : Will fill you in via email

  • Comment 23, posted at 17.08.08 18:45:56 by robdylan Reply
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  • @KSA Sharkette (Comment 21) :

    And that is from Elementary school teachers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

    But then I suppose Matfields elementary school teacher settled things with ” ‘n paar stywe klappe” πŸ™„

  • Comment 24, posted at 17.08.08 19:03:40 by KSA Shark Β© Reply

    KSA Shark Β©
  • @KSA Shark Β© (Comment 24) : hey I even had a high school teacher (american) comment along the same lines
    damn every time I turned around, someone had something to say πŸ™„ πŸ™ πŸ˜†

  • Comment 25, posted at 17.08.08 19:09:37 by KSA Sharkette Reply

    KSA Sharkette
  • @KSA Sharkette (Comment 25) :

    Tell the Americans that when they are tough enough to play Rugby without pads then they can comment from the peanut gallery :mrgreen:

  • Comment 26, posted at 17.08.08 19:13:20 by KSA Shark Β© Reply

    KSA Shark Β©
  • @Silver Fox (Comment 22) :

    it’s all those silver hair, finally catching up with you πŸ˜‰

  • Comment 27, posted at 17.08.08 19:14:19 by KSA Shark Β© Reply

    KSA Shark Β©
  • @KSA Shark Β© (Comment 26) : hehehe it was the b-i-l of the brit teacher from jubail that plays rugby with you guys – think he can get away with his comment …..this time πŸ™„ πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜†

  • Comment 28, posted at 17.08.08 19:16:36 by KSA Sharkette Reply

    KSA Sharkette
  • @KSA Shark Β© (Comment 27) : :mrgreen: It does not often happen, so do not get complacent, Desert Dweller.

    @KSA Shark Β© (Comment 26) : πŸ˜€

  • Comment 29, posted at 17.08.08 19:18:27 by Silver Fox Reply

    Silver Fox
  • @KSA Shark Β© (Comment 26) :

    They are even to scared to put the bloody rugby post in the field of play!!!!!!!!!! They have this silly little one curved pole that they mount the posts on πŸ™„

  • Comment 30, posted at 17.08.08 19:26:29 by KSA Shark Β© Reply

    KSA Shark Β©
  • @robdylan (Comment 18) :

    But back to the topic.
    One of my pet-peeves is commentators writing opinion pieces backed up by fiction.
    So I went back to check the line-outs.
    Boks had 8 throw-ins. They took two quicks. Both led to tries. Matfield lost one (the short 8:13). Bekker lost one (knock-on 53:03). So they won only 4 out of 8 (Spies, Bekker, Matfield, Smith each get 1). Very poor but not just Matfield’s fault.

    The ABs had 9 throw-ins. No quicks. Bekker stole 1 (13:00). Matfield stole 1 (35:29). One skew (62:31). So the ABs won 6 out of 9.

    Maybe in the light of the facts, will you take back some remarks you made about Matfield?

  • Comment 31, posted at 18.08.08 03:01:27 by fyndraai Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • Firstly Beast was Bloody Good.
    Secondly WTF were Matfield and Smith doing ( Nothing isn’t in their job descriptions surely)
    Thirdly surely in your 25m you have a quick throw in when no opposition is around????
    Forthly Please get rid of useless Kiwi/Ausie refs. They don’t cheat they are just PLAIN INCOMPETENT, you have to be good to regarded as cheating this regualarly and blatently without any sanction from the Powers that be. Probably OLD (White)OOPS Fart ruleing RFU.

  • Comment 32, posted at 18.08.08 03:48:50 by Dynamite Reply

  • “Dynamite” and “fyndraai” are either in different timezones, or the loss of the Boks have damaged their sleeping patterns. They should give some thought to legal action against Sarfu.

    I, “on the other hand”, are merely the early bird cathing the worms and will rather sue Naas Botha. πŸ™‚

  • Comment 33, posted at 18.08.08 06:31:59 by Silver Fox Reply

    Silver Fox
  • Quick Morning All!
    As always – my thoughts were the same as yours Rob… πŸ˜‰ :mrgreen:

    Honestly – the first thing that got me was Victors Captaincy ability or rather lack thereof…Saturday was quite an AJ-ish captaincy performance from him – I feel he does not have the respect from refs as John has…but then again – has he not learnt that you EARN respect not demand it…??? 😯 😯

    Except for a few good break (Adi and Spies’s names jumps to mind) not a hell of a performance.. πŸ˜₯ there was a lot of talk about the boks creating some nice runs etc etc… πŸ™„ …if it does not lead to points on the board…what the hell is the use??? πŸ™

    What went wrong with the kicking…not even Danny Boy could get it over!!?? πŸ˜•

  • Comment 34, posted at 18.08.08 08:04:44 by I'ce (Rebel With a Cause) Reply
    Competition Winner Ice
  • @fyndraai (Comment 31) : So the lineout king won exactly two balls. That was his sole contribution. This is a man whose value to the team is his lineout work. We are regularly told that to question Matfield’s work in the tight shows ignorance, since his stature as undisputed king of the lineout overshadows all else. I reckon it’s bollocks. He’s an overpaid, overhyped showpony and needs to be dropped HARD

  • Comment 35, posted at 18.08.08 08:06:50 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 35) :

    Love It! 😈

  • Comment 36, posted at 18.08.08 08:09:27 by I'ce (Rebel With a Cause) Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 35) : I have battled hard to restrain myself, but won out in the end. Good thing too. You have put it so much better than I could have. πŸ˜€

  • Comment 37, posted at 18.08.08 08:33:29 by Silver Fox Reply

    Silver Fox
  • Step 1, get an organiser in that backline. We get a lot of things right only to stuff it up by players having no clue where to stand and what to do or how to support a play or player.

    I already said we need a Larkham type first receiver and even more so with this type of game we want to play – a general, a playmaker.

    It is also why I said Jean should have been groomed as 10 years ago, and currently, Ruan needs to be groomed in this position with a Peter Grant perhaps.

    We are playing the wrong players for the type of game we are looking to adopt and try and execute step 7 of playing the situation when we cant even execute steps 1 and 2 effectively.

  • Comment 38, posted at 18.08.08 09:41:15 by MorneN Reply
  • HI All
    Still licking my wounds over boks performance. I’ve come up with a few areas that we need to address. I feel we play the law and not the ref. Saturday the black loosies tested goddard and got away with it he pinged us a simple change of tactic where we played the same game at the loose would have resulted in better/quicker ball for us
    Secondly I have noticed that the coaching staff are trying to get Juan to play to the ball instead of the link that he normally plays I feel it might be because they are used Spies as a battering ram to get over the gain line(no bakkies) another plan needed to get go forward ball here. following that thought we tend to play off the ball instead of to the ball and that is an issue that unless its fixed by this sat the aussies are going to kill us
    Lastly been watching butch and I think he is battling to adjust to the elv’s and when you consider its his 5th game under the new laws and how some of the players took almost the whole season to find their feet under the new laws it might just be that he needs another game or 2 to make it work
    Just thoughts glad Im not the coach

  • Comment 39, posted at 18.08.08 09:41:43 by Fattmann Reply
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  • Matfield has always been one to shirk in the tight…ain’t this the truth, from what i could see on Saturday, he fell off tackles and lay down waiting for the whistle to go and then would stand up and argue with the ref.

    He is not a good Bok captain, and Div would be doing all of us and Vic a favour by taking it away from him, hell it might even fire him up.

  • Comment 40, posted at 18.08.08 09:50:33 by Sauce Reply
    Worcestershire Sauce
  • Last thought
    Naas said something about respecting the game and i think thats what is wrong instead of building the game we play Stormers rugby from the begining and throw the ball around instead of phase play and building momentum Tries will come if we do the basiscs step by step
    Comment 17 Me too Rob me too

  • Comment 41, posted at 18.08.08 09:56:49 by Fattmann Reply
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  • @MorneN (Comment 38) : Morras, you’re saying Brad Barritt should be picked at 12, aren’t you?

  • Comment 42, posted at 18.08.08 09:57:25 by robdylan Reply
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  • @Fattmann (Comment 41) : what site are you talking about now? πŸ˜‰

  • Comment 43, posted at 18.08.08 09:58:15 by robdylan Reply
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  • the cape town one that writs a lot of K*K

  • Comment 44, posted at 18.08.08 10:01:38 by Fattmann Reply
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  • @Fattmann (Comment 44) : oh – that one. Fyndraai is talking about a different one. I have not been banned from Keo… but I struggle to behave myself there.

  • Comment 45, posted at 18.08.08 10:10:14 by robdylan Reply
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