Allan backs Smittie and Pienaar

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :In the news, Springboks on 4 Nov 2008 at 13:20
Tagged with : , ,

In the build-up to Saturday’s Test against the Welsh in Cardiff, much has been made of the Springboks’ decision to accommodate captain John Smit at tighthead prop and the switch of Ruan Pienaar to flyhalf.

On the face of it, they look like risky decisions – especially against the current Six Nations champions – and will be the target of much of the Welsh Dragons’ fire on Saturday, but I think these two players have such fantastic rugby pedigree that they will come through with flying colours.

It’s well documented that Smit spent his entire, and extremely illustriously school and junior rugby career at tighthead, captaining the South African under 21 rugby team to victory in the 1999 World Cup, yet less than a year later he was making his Springbok debut against Canada at hooker.

There was no brouhaha about his lack of experience in the No 2 position then but it turned out to be an inspired move that would pay big dividends for Springbok rugby.

Smit is probably the most highly-regarded leader in world rugby with 78 Tests at the coal face of international rugby, more than proving he’s extremely well-versed in the nuances of frontrow play.

These sentiments were echoed by former Sharks, Scotland and Springbok hooker John Allan who said: “Initially I thought it would be a gamble because the tighthead is the anchor and a very critical position, but John made his Sharks debut at No 3 alongside me, and if I remember correctly in the first few games he came up against Gary Pagel and Justin Leonard, two of the best looseheads in the world at the time.

“John understands the tighthead role, has played in the front row all his life, and most importantly he has the correct mindset,” said Allan. “He has very strong legs but now needs to work on his upper body strength. I just hope they have the confidence to let Bismarck (du Plessis) take the throw-ins and let John concentrate on his prop duties.”

A player Smit can take inspiration from is in fact Tendai “Beast” Mtawarira who arrived at the Sharks academy as a No 8 and was promptly converted to prop. Over the past two seasons the Beast has come on such leaps and bounds that he’s made the Sharks No 1 jersey his own and ended this year’s Tri-Nations as the Boks’ first-choice loosehead.

Eddie Jones, who joined the Springbok coaching set-up just before last year’s World Cup, swears blind that Pienaar is the closest thing he’s seen to a Stephen Larkham.

Considering Larkham was Australia’s first-choice flyhalf from 1997 to 2007 on his way to 102 Wallaby Test caps, won a World Cup (1999), played in another final (2003) and picked up two Tri-Nations titles, this is high praise indeed. Another similarity is that Larkham began his career for the ACT Brumbies as an ungainly fullback who didn’t have the most convincing kicking game.

Wallaby coach at the time, Rod McQueen, was struggling to fill the void left by Michael Lynagh and to everyone’s surprise he opted for Larkham and it proved to be a masterstroke.

I believe Pienaar is a complete footballer, elusive with the ball in hand, strong in the tackle and whose accurate tactical kicking will be crucial in the heavy underfoot UK conditions.

Allan can’t speak highly enough of Pienaar.

“Firstly, he has the genes, his dad Gysie was a Bok fullback who played many games at flyhalf for the Free State,” said Allan. “Ruan’s such a talented player with an outstanding temperament, he’ll make the ideal flyhalf and we desperately need flyhalves.”


  • blah blah blah

    Remind me again who Allan played for???

    These former players are so predictable…

  • Comment 1, posted at 04.11.08 13:45:53 by wpw Reply
  • @wpw (Comment 1) : Allan is a better prop than Eddie Andrews, even now 🙂

  • Comment 2, posted at 04.11.08 13:50:33 by robdylan (CC Champ '08) Reply
  • @robdylan (CC Champ ‘08) (Comment 2) :

    I thought he was a hooker…

    Shows just how much you know your rugby… :mrgreen:

  • Comment 3, posted at 04.11.08 13:54:23 by wpw Reply
  • @wpw (Comment 1) :

    :mrgreen: Sharks, Scotland and Springboks

    …and somehow Jones’ name found it’s way to the article. 🙂

  • Comment 4, posted at 04.11.08 13:54:36 by chernaya akula - BS Reply
    blackshark - I'm back!
  • Who’s Justin Leonard?

  • Comment 5, posted at 04.11.08 13:55:11 by McLovin Reply
  • I also back them both. 😎

  • Comment 6, posted at 04.11.08 13:56:10 by McLovin Reply
  • @wpw (Comment 3) : he has never played prop a day in his life. You starting to get my point? :mrgreen:

  • Comment 7, posted at 04.11.08 14:05:41 by robdylan (CC Champ '08) Reply
  • @McLovin (Comment 5) : wasn’t his name Jason Leonard?

  • Comment 8, posted at 04.11.08 14:06:12 by robdylan (CC Champ '08) Reply
  • @robdylan (CC Champ ‘08) (Comment 8) : That’s the only Leonard prop I know of. Maybe John Allan knows him as Justin. 😉

  • Comment 9, posted at 04.11.08 14:08:17 by McLovin Reply
  • The problem for most is NOT the Smit experiment… it’s the ‘back-up’ on the bench for if the [email protected] hit’s the fan…

  • Comment 10, posted at 04.11.08 14:11:26 by bryce_in_oz Reply
  • @bryce_in_oz (Comment 10) : Mujati has always been the back-up on the bench…by “always” I mean in the PdV era…

  • Comment 11, posted at 04.11.08 14:16:32 by chernaya akula - BS Reply
    blackshark - I'm back!
  • @wpw (Comment 1) :

    So by that logic hye will be backing Scotland as well then………… 😛

    former Sharks, Scotland and Springbok hooker John Allan

  • Comment 12, posted at 04.11.08 14:47:20 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©
  • @McLovin (Comment 9) : JA has taken a lot of punches to the head in his time 🙂

  • Comment 13, posted at 04.11.08 14:56:51 by robdylan (CC Champ '08) Reply
  • Speaking of John Allan, check out these 2 mugs that have obviously hijacked the Currie Cup.

  • Comment 14, posted at 04.11.08 15:10:28 by Salmonoid Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Salmonoid the Subtle
  • @robdylan (CC Champ ‘08) (Comment 7) : Eddie Andrews wasn’t a prop… he was THE PROP!!! capish??? 👿 👿

  • Comment 15, posted at 04.11.08 15:21:02 by wpw Reply
  • @wpw (Comment 15) : eish… I geddit, I geddit 🙂

  • Comment 16, posted at 04.11.08 15:47:34 by robdylan (CC Champ '08) Reply
  • @wpw (Comment 15) :

    He’s hardly back and then he wants to shout the odds.. 🙄 😉

  • Comment 17, posted at 04.11.08 15:52:57 by Ice Sharkadelic Babe Reply
  • @Ice Sharkadelic Babe (Comment 17) : throwing his weight around 🙂

  • Comment 18, posted at 04.11.08 15:57:22 by robdylan (CC Champ '08) Reply
  • Hi All,

    i know its “a bit” off the topic, but can anyone tell me what happened to Carl Bezuidenhout? He actually played a few games/game for the sharks in last years currie cup. He actually looked a bit like Francois Steyn. i see he played Vodacom for us this year, but cant seem to find any other news on him.

  • Comment 19, posted at 04.11.08 15:58:10 by VanWilder Reply
  • I surely hope that PdV dont see this, but this was a U/21 line up in 2006 against the leopards… Have a look at nr 4… no jokes…

    15. Scott Spedding
    14. Cedric Mkhize
    13. Craig Burden
    12. Riaan Swanepoel
    11. Howard Noble
    10. Carl Bezuidenhout
    9. Morne van den Berg
    8. Reg Muller
    7. Conrad Stoltz
    6. Kosie Haarhoff
    5. Nikolai Blignaut
    4. Tendai Mtawarira
    3. JC Strauss
    2. Heinrich Du Plessis
    1. Nardus Wessels (Captain)

    16. Scott Brown
    17. Gert Greyling
    18. Thabo Mamojele
    19. Dale Farnham
    20. Riaan Nigrini
    21. Zimele Khoza
    22. Roelof Steyn

  • Comment 20, posted at 04.11.08 16:01:34 by VanWilder Reply
  • @robdylan (CC Champ ‘08) (Comment 18) :
    Its called Mom and baby are boss syndrome.. 😈

  • Comment 21, posted at 04.11.08 16:01:46 by Ice Sharkadelic Babe Reply
  • @VanWilder (Comment 20) : You, feel for the prop that had to lift the bugger

  • Comment 22, posted at 04.11.08 16:03:44 by PJLD Reply
  • @robdylan (CC Champ ‘08) (Comment 18) : all 120kgs dude!!!

    Watch out!!!

  • Comment 23, posted at 04.11.08 16:05:41 by wpw Reply
  • So is someone gonna post the team??? It’s been announced already!!! 😯 😯

  • Comment 24, posted at 04.11.08 16:07:57 by wpw Reply
  • @wpw (Comment 24) :

    Whats wrong with you? 😈

  • Comment 25, posted at 04.11.08 16:13:37 by Ice Sharkadelic Babe Reply
  • @Ice Sharkadelic Babe (Comment 25) : :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

  • Comment 26, posted at 04.11.08 16:29:07 by wpw Reply
  • @VanWilder (Comment 20) : wow. Pompies Wessels. Rest in peace.

    Guys – I’m still trying to find JC Strauss and Conrad Stoltz. Anyone know where they are?

  • Comment 27, posted at 04.11.08 17:35:48 by robdylan (CC Champ '08) Reply

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