The ghost of try time

Steyn for Rain, Ruan to Run!

Written by cheers had fun (The ghost of try time)

Posted in :All Blacks, Original Content, Springboks, Tri Nations, Wallabies on 3 Aug 2009 at 09:43

Ten years ago Bok supporters were celebrating that their kicker had sent their team into the 1999 Rugby World Cup semi-finals. A week later Bok supporters were in mourning as an intelligent Australian team kept Jannie’s boot out the game and took the trophy that should have been the Boks, had we played the right flyhalf for the game.

Like Morne Steyn, Jannie de Beer entered his name into the record books with his record number of drop goals against England. Mallett went into the Australian game expecting Jannie to win it again, he left the Bok’s top fly half at the time on the bench. That decision, amongst others, ended Mallett’s reign, and tarnished a great record he created as Bok coach.

A decade later Pieter de Villiers is in the same position, he is on the brink of a rare achievement and his decision this week could be the deciding factor on whether the Boks hold up their third tri-nations trophy or throw away another chance. De Villiers is in the enviable position of having two top class fly-halves to pick on Saturday. The question is does he do a Mallett or does he do a White?

Morne Steyn was excellent on Saturday and deserves all the credit and accolades he is receiving, but the Boks mustn’t let the celebrations cloud them from the facts. South Africa only took the game away from the All Blacks due to the rain. In fact South Africa were just clinging on after 30 minutes of play. As the rain started to fall the Boks were 13-9 down and it was only the All Blacks refusal to change their running game plan to a conservative one, that made it easy for the Boks to pick them off.

De Villiers doesn’t need to look too far in history to see the the dangers the Australian’s pose. The Sharks beat the Blues playing a very similar game to the Boks and a week later they lost to the bottom of the log Reds. And in last year’s tri-nations the Boks made history by beating the All-Blacks at home only to come short a week later against a “weaker” Wallaby team.

Before the Bok team is selected for Saturday, De Villiers is going to need to take some factors into account. Firstly the weather. The Wallabies love a conservative Bok team in dry conditions. Secondly fatigue, our forward pack are on their third tough game in a row against a fresh Wallaby pack. Who handles back foot ball better? Matt Giteau will unlikely make as many handling errors as Stephen Donald did and runs a lot more at the oppositions flyhalf channel, as does Stirling Mortlock. And finally the Wallaby back row won’t be as poor as the All Black loose forwards were.

Simply De Villiers has a head-ache this week, and it will probably be in his best interests to delay his squad until the last minute. The simple suggestion would be, Steyn for Rain, Ruan to Run.


  • after knocking rob’s article last week (in error), i felt it only fair to write an article as atonement.

  • Comment 1, posted at 03.08.09 09:45:37 by try time (superrugby's kryptonite is SANZAR) Reply
  • thanks! You just wrote this for me, so now I can do something else 🙂

  • Comment 2, posted at 03.08.09 09:49:15 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • Would you bet against rain at this time of year? In the Cape?

  • Comment 3, posted at 03.08.09 09:50:51 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • PdV is his own man – but I would start with Ruan on the bench in the next game and take it from there.

  • Comment 4, posted at 03.08.09 09:51:47 by blackshark Reply

    blackshark - I'm back!
  • Ruan is coming off the injury list – and Steyn just had the game of his life. He has to work his way back from the bench…rain or no rain.

  • Comment 5, posted at 03.08.09 09:54:31 by blackshark Reply

    blackshark - I'm back!
  • I think it would be foolish to drop Steyn now. He is playing well and his kicking at goal and out of hand is exceptional.
    Ruan needs to wait his turn now.

  • Comment 6, posted at 03.08.09 09:54:43 by wpw Reply
  • horses for courses vs. continuity.

    You raise a point coaches have pondered for decades.

    There is no right decision here… only a wrong decision.

    You would find it very difficult to drop any player out of the run-on 15 at the moment…

  • Comment 7, posted at 03.08.09 09:55:14 by Morné Reply
  • @Morné (Comment 7) : I can live with that. Both Ruan and Adi need to play their way back in from the bench. Bear in mind that it’s a 22-man game anyway, though… no shame in being on the Bok bench.

    Maybe now we can get rid of the Mechanic and let Ruan cover 9 and 10.

  • Comment 8, posted at 03.08.09 09:59:27 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @Morné (Comment 7) : Very difficult decision….not one I would like to make. I think the fact that Ruan’s kicking confidence is shot at the moment and Morne is on a high…I would have to go with Morne. Imagine the pressure on Ruan should he be selected and he misses a few ealy kicks.

  • Comment 9, posted at 03.08.09 10:15:33 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
  • remember frans steyn can also place kick. butch james never kicked in 2007, so just cos ruan is at ten doesnt mean he has to.

  • Comment 10, posted at 03.08.09 10:36:33 by try time (superrugby's kryptonite is SANZAR) Reply

  • @robdylan (Comment 8) : Speaking of mechanic, ESPNC had the Bok vs AB 2005 game at Newlands on yesterday, the mechanic was a freaking terror back ion the day.

  • Comment 11, posted at 03.08.09 10:40:46 by provincejoulekkading Reply
  • Very good article TT – lot more to this question then one might imagine after a 31 point haul by Morne.

    I revkon starting Ruan would put too much pressure on him – start Morne and bring Ruan on in the second half.

  • Comment 12, posted at 03.08.09 10:43:29 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • I wouldn’t change the 2 players – yet. Remember we also started with a running approach. Jaque Fourie and Habana tried some runs, but after it was clear it won’t work, they changed the approach. AB’s didn’t. We won, they didn’t.

    Besides (and this is not bragging) you don’t put 60 odd points in a final of a S14 without a good flyhalf. Morne can spark a backline – make no mistake.

  • Comment 13, posted at 03.08.09 10:45:16 by Pink Oyster Reply

    Blue Centurion
  • what amazes me though is that people are all going on about how great morne played, but no-one other than the kiwi press are talking about the true factor, the all blacks imploding. the all blacks had control of the game on saturday, but they started playing 50/50 rugby in treacherous conditions. morne was the right man for the conditions, but lets not blow too much smoke up his arse. he hasn’t been convincing behind a pack under pressure. and my gut feel is he won’t be good with palu, giteau and mortlock running at him.

  • Comment 14, posted at 03.08.09 10:50:26 by try time (superrugby's kryptonite is SANZAR) Reply

  • I have to be honest i am a fan of Ruan vs Morne, i would like to see Morne play a test where the pack isn’t quite as dominant as it was this passed Saturday.

    But that said this week, i would be starting Morne and easing Ruan backin with 20 at the end…subject to the match situation

  • Comment 15, posted at 03.08.09 10:51:51 by Worcestershire Sauce Reply
    Worcestershire Sauce
  • @Worcestershire Sauce (Comment 15) : we did. the 3rd lions test and he was below average. willem de waal would have done better.

  • Comment 16, posted at 03.08.09 10:57:25 by try time (superrugby's kryptonite is SANZAR) Reply

  • @try time (superrugby’s kryptonite is SANZAR) (Comment 16) : :eyesbleeding:

  • Comment 17, posted at 03.08.09 11:04:44 by provincejoulekkading Reply
  • @try time (superrugby’s kryptonite is SANZAR) (Comment 16) : Yea but that team for the Lions 3rd test was a wishy washy throw together…..not the team we saw Saturday.

  • Comment 18, posted at 03.08.09 11:06:39 by Worcestershire Sauce Reply
    Worcestershire Sauce
  • @Worcestershire Sauce (Comment 18) : and the all blacks team on saturday was a wishy washy team. 😆 the problem is we just don’t really know. but we do know ruan is a confidence kicker, morne is a great kicker, ruan is the better defender and stands in a better position. personally i would hate being div this week. if we lose on saturday the poor guy is going to be strung up by his b…s.

  • Comment 19, posted at 03.08.09 11:20:06 by try time (superrugby's kryptonite is SANZAR) Reply

  • Brilliant! Forward to all your BB mates! They all up on their high horses now!

  • Comment 20, posted at 03.08.09 14:12:27 by Rahul Reply

  • Same starting lineup for Saturday. Bench..Ruan in for Ricky … Kanko(or another quick loosie) in for Bekker and Guthro in for Chilliboy.

  • Comment 21, posted at 03.08.09 15:16:08 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author

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