Mindless mindsets

Written by Morné Nortier (Morné)

Posted in :Original Content, Springboks on 2 Dec 2010 at 10:43
Tagged with : , ,

I hope this is a joke. No seriously, I hope that Peter de Villiers was sarcastic in his interview in the build up to the Baa-baa’s test.

Don’t know what I am referring to?

Let me help.

Peter de Villiers at the announcement of his team to face the Barbarians at Twickenham told reporters that the Springbok way of playing rugby (he has learned) is to run through players, not around them…

He did make reference later in the interview of playing a more direct game which is what suits the Springboks, and what I agree with, the old ‘earn your right to play wide’ mindset, but to say South Africans and the Springboks should rather run through players than around players goes against the very thing he preached in 2008 about taking this team to another level – the ‘head’s up rugby approach’.

It simply re-affirms our country’s limited approach to the game of union where we are just too happy to create little robots and not thinkers.

It is this type of mindset that does not allow for experts like Sherylle Calder, Tim Noakes, Tim Goodenough or Ross Tucker to provide valuable input and insight into a very complex dynamic which mentally, is as taxing as the physical demands of the game and is the 2% people refer to in the difference between a good team, and a great team at test level (or any level really).

It is the type of mindset that has turned some of the most exciting and talented young rugby stars South Africa has produced, into mindless androids.

I said it a million times, brains will always beat brawn, and expecting to run through players in the professional game at the highest level and believing you will get away with it, is definitely not using your brain.


  • So short? 😯 😉

    I wont pass judgement on PdV’s brain or the lack of one. I’d rather say that I agree with your statements and I dearly hope that sense will be bestowed upon the powers that be.

  • Comment 1, posted at 02.12.10 11:00:18 by Jarson (AddicteD) Reply
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  • Sigh…

  • Comment 2, posted at 02.12.10 11:03:11 by robdylan Reply
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  • Told you yesterday Morne, lots of SA coaches before including Harry “don’t kick it” Viljoen have capitulated to the over conservative approach. In some cases like Mallet in the 1999 RWC, the players revolted because they wanted a more conservative approach.

    I know you pointed out yesterday and above that there are degrees of conservativeness but it seems we are going to the extreme again.

  • Comment 3, posted at 02.12.10 11:15:38 by Dive Pass Reply

    Dive Pass
  • don’t think piet helium know what he wants. just a shake of the head is all i can say. just when you thought he can’t say anything worse……

  • Comment 4, posted at 02.12.10 11:32:42 by butchboy Reply

  • 😯 🙄 😳 not that surprised though

  • Comment 5, posted at 02.12.10 11:36:19 by SharksRTB Reply

  • Don’t worry the Boks will screw Pat Lambie up so badly that he’ll leave at a younger age than F Steyn and the Sharks will be blamed for destroying him like Steyn, Pienaar and Russell.

  • Comment 6, posted at 02.12.10 11:40:56 by Butchie34 Reply
  • how about we get a translator for Peter? We let PDiv speak afrikaans and go on about the SH&T he ussually do, and let the translator say what he needs to say… this way, PDiv can go on mumbling while the translator decides what the press should know 😎

  • Comment 7, posted at 02.12.10 12:03:14 by VanWilder Reply

  • @VanWilder (Comment 7) : oh, and the translator should not be Chester Williams… 😉

  • Comment 8, posted at 02.12.10 12:04:04 by VanWilder Reply

  • @VanWilder (Comment 8) : 😆

  • Comment 9, posted at 02.12.10 12:24:45 by Clayton(PJLD) Reply
  • @VanWilder (Comment 7) :

    I have always wondered if he makes such gaffes and says such nonsense in press conference what is he telling the players in practice and do they make senses of it or do they just nod their heads and then follow “the mystery coach”?

  • Comment 10, posted at 02.12.10 12:34:14 by Dive Pass Reply

    Dive Pass
  • On the other hand if he was so bad in practices, surely there would be someone in the wonderful world of SA rugby with enough of an axe to grind to run to the press with stories?

  • Comment 11, posted at 02.12.10 12:41:45 by Dive Pass Reply

    Dive Pass
  • Question is how do we change this? The mindset change probably needs to start at school coaching level which means we need a well-run and forward-thinking SARU.

  • Comment 12, posted at 02.12.10 12:42:37 by vanmartin Reply
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  • @Dive Pass (Comment 10) : i honestly do think that he struggles to describe what he wants to say in words, and doing it in English makes it even harder… but i would love to be a fly on the wall (or on the grass) in a training session.

  • Comment 13, posted at 02.12.10 12:44:14 by VanWilder Reply

  • @Dive Pass (Comment 10) : He usually klaps afrikaans in the camp , doesnt sound nearly as silly as he does speaking english.

    I think the players genuinely play for him.

  • Comment 14, posted at 02.12.10 12:44:50 by Clayton(PJLD) Reply
  • @vanmartin (Comment 12) :

    I have been working on a piece for months now.

    After much deliberation and thought, I am left with little doubt that the mindset of how we play the game of rugby, is pretty much down to, and the responsibility of the very same individuals that is responsible for raising responsible citizens…

    Me and you, the parents.

    I often refer to thinkers in the game of rugby.

    Thinkers are created at home and apply that to other things, like rugby…

    But as you can imagine, this is a tough topic to put into a rugby context.

  • Comment 15, posted at 02.12.10 12:51:07 by Morné Reply
  • @Morné (Comment 15) : I’d be very interested to read that. It should stir up some very interesting debate. If you decide in the end not to publish it I’d still love a copy if you don’t mind.

  • Comment 16, posted at 02.12.10 12:54:41 by vanmartin Reply
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  • @vanmartin (Comment 16) :

    I am refining bits and pieces of it, but I am sure you will see it next week when all the rugby is done and before we all go on holiday.

  • Comment 17, posted at 02.12.10 12:57:57 by Morné Reply
  • @vanmartin (Comment 16) : Perhaps a quick elaboration. I believe (especially in urban environments) that due to the demands of modern society on parents and as a result the quality time they spend with their kids – teachers and coaches have a potentially huge role to play in the shaping of young minds. They’ll never replace the parent but they have the potential to change the course of a kid’s life.

    (This is in part based on my personal experiences and also on long discussions with my wife and sister who are both teachers. My sister also coaches)

  • Comment 18, posted at 02.12.10 12:59:17 by vanmartin Reply
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  • Cracks starting to show in your unwavering belief Morne?

    This is a fairly serious issue for me – it means there’s no thought of innovation.
    Playing this sort of game while not resting players is a recipe for disaster. No wonder half our squad is out with long-term injuries – our coach is coaching the boys to run into walls!

  • Comment 19, posted at 02.12.10 13:05:51 by VinChainSaw Reply
  • @VinChainSaw (Comment 19) :

    You got access to archives?

    I have criticised quite a number of times Vin my man! 😉

  • Comment 20, posted at 02.12.10 13:08:53 by Morné Reply
  • Anybody who has played rugby in Cape Town against some of the Cape Flats clubs knows that not ALL South Africa plays this sort of rugby.

    I just cant believe how PdV has turned 180 degrees in two seasons.
    Wasnt it him who said players need to be able to play the situation etc.

    This is all good and well but if this is the sort of rugby they want to play they need to get uber-organised. This sort of gameplan requires oodles of discipline and it also menas you need to have a plan to attack at every set piece.

    In my mind PdV and DM are at odds here – you cant have half the team playing an orgnaised game based on structure and pure physicality and the other half of the team playing structureless rugby. It’ll never work.

  • Comment 21, posted at 02.12.10 13:09:17 by VinChainSaw Reply
  • @Morné (Comment 20) :

    Lol. Mate but this is a fundamental issue, a mind-set.
    This goes to the heart of our current problems.

  • Comment 22, posted at 02.12.10 13:10:04 by VinChainSaw Reply
  • @VinChainSaw (Comment 22) :

    You would know I have always been advocate of the ‘real’ heads up rugby (not the rubbish Keo and his crew believes to be heads up rugby) so fundamentally, I have a massive issue with this statement from him.

    But as someone mentioned, it has happened to all our coaches…

    When the pressure is on, they buckle.

  • Comment 23, posted at 02.12.10 13:12:46 by Morné Reply
  • @VinChainSaw (Comment 21) :

    Dude, the senior players were not happy with the new game plan.

    Matfield, FDP, Smith, etc

    Div had to make a call and he caved in!!

    But can one blame him??

    The Boks have just won the RWC and the spine of that team included the senior players!!

  • Comment 24, posted at 02.12.10 13:37:19 by wpw Reply
  • @VinChainSaw (Comment 19) :

    “No wonder half our squad is out with long-term injuries – our coach is coaching the boys to run into walls!”
    Half of the squad is out because they ran into….THE SHARKS,…..sorry, I just had to.

  • Comment 25, posted at 02.12.10 13:50:52 by Salmonoid Reply
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  • @wpw (Comment 24) :

    Understandably Wes but then maybe he tried to go from one extreme to another? A more tempered approach to change may have worked but we’ll never know.

    Div should grow a pair or step aside. Although he now also seems to agree with the VicMat school of thought that we dont have or need brains to play rugger in SA.

    Irrespective of this, and I repeat my point above, if he caved in and decided that was the game to play then why not actually do it and get rid of Muir and simply play NFL style plays where the plays from fixed facets are pre-programmed.

    Div is stuck in the middle, not able to go with his conviction (who knows where they lie though) and unable to completely commit to a traditional SA-style of rugby.

    And in the end we sit with a bunch of forwards that can maul all day long and a bunch of backs that dont even know what direction to run.

  • Comment 26, posted at 02.12.10 13:54:56 by VinChainSaw Reply
  • @Salmonoid (Comment 25) : I’m getting a bit worried about our boys too… Jannie and Bis both picking up injuries on this tour, coupled with Stefan knocking himself on the head at gym…

  • Comment 27, posted at 02.12.10 13:59:55 by robdylan Reply
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  • You almost sound surprised Morne . . . 😉

  • Comment 28, posted at 02.12.10 14:01:30 by Original Champion Reply
    Original Pierre
  • This explains a lot. Now I know why he keeps on playing Pierre Spies, Stegman, Morne Steyn, and whoever. All they can do is to try and run through the player, but they hardly ever get it right

  • Comment 29, posted at 02.12.10 14:10:28 by Stef Reply

  • @Stef (Comment 29) :

    Alberts and Deysel aren’t any different!!

    Div wanted to ‘attack space’ and that is why he selected the likes of Adi Jacobs, Earl Rose (i know 🙄 ) and a few other attack minded players!!

    Didn’t quite work out well during the 2008 test season!!

  • Comment 30, posted at 02.12.10 14:44:35 by wpw Reply
  • @robdylan (Comment 27) : That was one helluva knock nuh

  • Comment 31, posted at 02.12.10 14:51:39 by Clayton(PJLD) Reply
  • On Saturday I was back to the days of imagining what the score line would be if we had a back-line behind those forwards that could attack properly. But then, as I said earlier in the week, I thought about the unfancied Sharks back-line in the Currie Cup and realised that the the problem was a coaching/game plan one and not a player selection problem even if:
    – we were missing game breakers in the back-line; and
    – the players had not had time to gel together

    I also have my doubts as to whether the forwards can consistently produce “smashing” displays like that as it is not emotionally and physically possible. We really only did it in 2 our of the 4 games – Ireland and England

  • Comment 32, posted at 02.12.10 15:10:57 by Dive Pass Reply

    Dive Pass
  • @Clayton(PJLD) (Comment 31) : geez dude… it looked like he’d literally knocked a hole right through his skull!

  • Comment 33, posted at 02.12.10 15:17:07 by robdylan Reply
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  • I think Div and Co are spot on for their tactics. Its been working for the Bulls. Even though they got knocked out by the Sharks in the CC, they got v v v close to winning, if it were not some bad decisions. Same with the old England. Ppl critisized them for their play. Yet they made two RWC finals. The fact of the matter is that we play finals rugby. Its not so much the change of tactics as to the slight improvements on the game plan. The Sharks, even though they used the All Black plan, our ball in hand was much more forward orientated because we had the ball carriers.

    Also we did not lose the tri-nations badly, we just need to put slight improvements

  • Comment 34, posted at 02.12.10 15:31:23 by Mocho Reply

  • @Mocho (Comment 34) : “Also we did not lose the tri-nations badly, we just need to put slight improvements ”

    What would be badly in your books then? 😯

  • Comment 35, posted at 02.12.10 15:33:30 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @Mocho (Comment 34) : you win the prize for “mindless optimist of the day” 🙂

  • Comment 36, posted at 02.12.10 15:37:33 by robdylan Reply
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  • @Pokkel (Comment 35) : 19-0 is not bad. I mean, it’s not like they even got into the 20s!

  • Comment 37, posted at 02.12.10 15:39:50 by robdylan Reply
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  • @Mocho (Comment 34) :


  • Comment 38, posted at 02.12.10 15:42:53 by VinChainSaw Reply
  • @robdylan (Comment 37) : hehehehe…1/6 for the defending Tri Nations champs is bloody terrible. Last year we won 5/6

  • Comment 39, posted at 02.12.10 15:43:45 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @Mocho (Comment 34) :

    Dude, thats exactly my problem.
    The old way, the SA way, does work when it needs to. But it relies on good conditions, it relies on an opposition that isnt able to match you, and it unfortunately takes a huge toll on the players.

    But fair enough, if thats the way they want to play then sobeit.
    But IF thats the way they want to play then they need much more structured play in the backline. They also need to scientifically monitor their players well-being and give them ample rest. They then need a maximum x number of games per year.

    Furthermore, and this si relevant for all rugby teams, there also needs to be a Plan B for when you either dont have the available players or when the gameplan doesnt work because the opposition ae themselves a bunch of brutes or because they’ve worked you out.
    I guarantee you if the ABs, for example, know thats all we have they’ll devise a plan to counter it and we’ll lose 9 out of 10 times.

    The fact that defensive rugby has won World Cups in the past is no guarantee that this will hold in the future, even more so because the rules have changed immensely and this has dramatically changed the way the game is played. There are still opportunities to play passionate rugby but these are becoming less and less.

    Lastly, this nonsense of England winning the WC with defensive play is rubbish. Oz have also won the Cup, twice, and they’ve never even come remotely close to having that style of play.

    Changing a mindset takes a long time and if we dont start it now we’ll be dinosaurs by the time the 2015 WC rolls along. Not that I place too much importance on World Cups, but c’est la vie.

    If Div wants to rely on this sort of play then he needs to admit that he’s not coaching because this direct “running through players” style of rugby is taught on the highveld sicne kids are able to run with a ball. You expect players at international level to also have a few other tricks up their sleeve.
    I will never be convinced that a game played solely on brute force will be superior to one with a thought-out strategy over the long-term.

    Like it or not, rugby is going down the NFL route whereby teams plan for specific events during a game (field position, scrum on this part of the ptich etc). If the Boks pitch up simply looking to smash opponents and dont do this level of planning and the other team has a pinpoint strategy we’ll be lagging. All but the sides that are significantly weaker than you will work you out.

    Publicly declaring that you have no strategy apart from “moer hulle” is folly to the extreme.

  • Comment 40, posted at 02.12.10 15:52:53 by VinChainSaw Reply
  • @Pokkel (Comment 35) : We never get a hiding did we? We lost a few matches due to cards. We made some elementary mistakes. If we choose to play Bulls rugby, then we should at least play it properly. What’s the boks are playing now is some thing that resembles Bulls rugby but not executed correctly.

  • Comment 41, posted at 02.12.10 16:45:07 by Mocho Reply

  • Nothing that comes out of Divvies mouth surprises me anymore.

  • Comment 42, posted at 02.12.10 16:48:53 by lostfish Reply
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  • @Mocho (Comment 41) : The point is we lost and our coach still can’t figure out why we lost.

  • Comment 43, posted at 02.12.10 16:49:36 by lostfish Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 27) :
    What happened to Stef – internet has been playing silly buggers with me all day so have just come back on.

  • Comment 44, posted at 02.12.10 17:12:20 by Salmonoid Reply
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  • @Salmonoid (Comment 44) : he clonked his head on a weight at the gym… got a nasty gash .

  • Comment 45, posted at 02.12.10 18:00:32 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 45) : Wow, that is quite a nasty one, OUCH!

  • Comment 46, posted at 02.12.10 18:39:18 by war1 Reply
  • @Dive Pass (Comment 10) :


    And extend that some more. What did he say during the interviews applying for the job? How did he manage to beat the other candidates?

  • Comment 47, posted at 02.12.10 18:45:01 by fyndraai Reply
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  • What I cant figure out is this: if we’re playing this Bulls style rugby why do we only use strike runners? Why dont we EVER use the pods that the Bully Boys have made so effective?

    There are just so many inconsistencies…

  • Comment 48, posted at 02.12.10 18:59:09 by VinChainSaw Reply
  • What will the monkeys in his brain tell him to say next?!?! 😯

  • Comment 49, posted at 02.12.10 20:48:25 by Nhumrod Reply

  • @Nhumrod (Comment 49) : Probably………………….let’s make EJ 10 for the WC.

  • Comment 50, posted at 02.12.10 21:19:02 by Honey Badger Reply

    Honey Badger
  • Gee Morne its soshort what went wrong my friend lost for words but thanks :mrgreen:

  • Comment 51, posted at 05.12.10 16:54:07 by chaz Reply

  • Hi
    Firstly EJ trots with the ball, secondly Mallet hammered Double “D” (Div & Dick) , thirdly we are clueless & fourthly I will comment after the world cup 2011.
    Ta Chop Currie

  • Comment 52, posted at 06.12.10 21:27:04 by Currie Chop Reply


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