The Quirk

Springboks – Post RWC 2011

Written by Ryan Quirk (The Quirk)

Posted in :Original Content, RWC 2011, Springboks, Super Rugby on 14 Jun 2011 at 11:02

With the world cup staring us dead in the eye it’s easy forget that after the big tournament, win or lose, many Springbok stalwarts are expected to gracefully bow out of international rugby and then head off to seek the almost obligatory final pre-retirement pay-cheque in the northern hemisphere.

The players in question are captain John Smit, Victor Matfield, Bakkies Botha, Fourie du Preez, Jean de Villiers and perhaps Jaque Fourie.

Whilst South Africa has ample talent in the playing department, the departure of these fine players opens up a huge chasm when it comes to leadership in the national team. Who then, are the right men to fill it? This is the first in a series of articles I’ve decided to write examining the future of the Boks post RWC 2011.

Captain – Incumbent John Smit

Potential successor 1 – Schalk Burger (The Indestructible Warrior)

Schalk has captained the Stormers and Western Province for the last two years and has to be the favourite to take over from John Smit. If anyone deserves the moniker of Captain Courageous it is Schalk Burger. He leads from the front and is never far from the action. Nobody in world rugby can claim to play harder or with more sheer industry than Schalk.

But how good is he tactically? Well that remains to be seen. The men from the Cape have lost two finals in his time in charge, and during this SuperRugby competition they’ve lost their three biggest games, against the Crusaders, Reds and Bulls, but then others might argue, at least they got to two finals…

Potential successor 2 – Juan Smith (The Rock)


Juan has been captain of the Cheetahs for many years now and has been their talisman, inspiring them to victory when often the only outcome seemed like certain defeat. He is the kind of man that makes the players around him better than they are, simplybeing there and by playing the way he can.

He is considered the best blindside flank in the world by experts all over the world too, and his name is generally always the first you’d put down when selecting a team, something the Bok management team has battled with of late when it comes to their captain. He is slightly prone to injury though, and as such would need a strong vice captain to take the reigns during his injury layoffs, and that could count against him in the long run.

Potential successor 3 – Chiliboy Ralapelle (The Chosen One)

Chiliboy has been in the Bok setup for a while now and is considered by some to be the one being groomed to takeover.

He rotates with Gary Botha at the Bulls and the two form an effective hooking team in all different circumstances. Ralapelle doesn’t captain his provincial and SupeRugby side though, so his leadership mettle, as it were, hasn’t been tested at the highest level. Another issue that keeps propping up is that Bismarck du Plessis is, without doubt, the best hooker in South Africa, so anyone hoping to captain the team from number 2 has to be good enough to keep the mighty Bismarck on the bench.

It is a pity that Du Plessis himself hasn’t really displayed anything that might put him in the frame as a captain and leader of men because that would make the arduous task of finding a successor to Smit a lot easier.

Potential successor 4 – Adriaan Strauss (The Unlucky One)

The Cheetahs captain has the same issues as Chiliboy, that Bismarck is a better player than him, although some might debate that. Strauss is a more typical hooker in the Smit mould, only a bit more mobile.

He recently led the Cheetahs team to their best run in SupeRugby ever. He is a great option in my opinion, but selecting him as captain means that Bismarck will have to spend more time warming the Bok bench, which just can’t happen.

Potential successor 5 – Luke Watson (The (very) Dark Horse)

Some might scoff, but Luke has proven leadership skills, there is no questioning that, and he is a good rugby player to boot. His issue is with his history and personality however.

From, possibly misquoted or quoted out of context, comments about wanting to vomit on the Springbok jersey to being crow-barred into the squad by politicians, Watson has always had the odds stacked against him, mostly by his own doing it must be said.

He could be good leader for a new generation of Springboks though, as long as he keeps politics out of it, concentrates on rugby and is selected on merit, but with the plethora of loose forwards prevalent in SA rugby today, that is a really long shot.


  • Cue KSA…

  • Comment 1, posted at 14.06.11 11:07:54 by Clayton(PJLD) Reply
  • So long as the coach is also replaced.

  • Comment 2, posted at 14.06.11 11:26:51 by Stu Reply

  • Interesting, but all the candidates, bar Adriaan Strauss, are on the older side as well…

  • Comment 3, posted at 14.06.11 11:27:24 by Crock Reply

  • I think an article on coach replacement would be more interesting!!! 😀 😀 😀

  • Comment 4, posted at 14.06.11 11:31:06 by Caratacus Reply

  • @Caratacus – That’s next…

  • Comment 5, posted at 14.06.11 11:31:55 by The Quirk Reply
    The Quirk
  • @Clayton(PJLD) (Comment 1) : I’m on it. 🙂

    LUKE WATSON!?!?!?!?

    I was loving the article until I got to that piece.

    Watson has an even bigger problem than Chillyboy or Strauss. He wouldn’t even make a 2nd squad of 22 if one had to be selected.

    nowhere NEAR good enough to play let alone Captain.

  • Comment 6, posted at 14.06.11 11:33:42 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • Sies man!!!! How dare you mention Luke’s name in this article 👿

  • Comment 7, posted at 14.06.11 11:34:52 by Viking Reply
  • No mention of Andries Bekker? Do you not see him as a potential captain or even vice-captain of the bokke in the future?

  • Comment 8, posted at 14.06.11 11:36:11 by Viking Reply
  • @KSA Shark and Viking You’ll notice i qualified Luke’s inclusion… And as for Andries Bekker, he could be a future bok captain, but i have Schalk ahead of him in that particular queue, besides if i put down every guy i thought had a shot the post would be eighteen pages long…

  • Comment 9, posted at 14.06.11 11:59:41 by The Quirk Reply
    The Quirk
  • @The Quirk (Comment 9) : Great article. Thanks Quirk

  • Comment 10, posted at 14.06.11 12:08:33 by Ben Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • Schalk like Matfield have a bad way of dealing with referees if things are tight and don’t go their way. Saturday was a good example of this. Schalk wouldn’t be a good appointment as Captain.

  • Comment 11, posted at 14.06.11 12:12:28 by waje Reply

  • @The Quirk (Comment 9) : Just pulling your chain 😉 But surely this list is not a list of the top 5 candidates?

  • Comment 12, posted at 14.06.11 12:15:23 by Viking Reply
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 6) :

    Much like our current Bok captain…..would he even make the 2nd squad of 22 on playing ability alone? 🙄

  • Comment 13, posted at 14.06.11 12:24:35 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
  • @Pokkel (Comment 13) : A simple little saying is ver apt here IMO. “Possesion is nine tenths of the law.”

    Smit is in possesion of the Captain’s armband, if he were not currently the best in his position it would not be toooo easy to drop him because he has displayed vital leadership qualities. If however you wanted to bring in a guy who is not nearly the best in his position and give him the armband because HE has good leadership qualities THAT would be a lot more difficult.

  • Comment 14, posted at 14.06.11 12:35:44 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 14) :

    Fair enough but how much weight should the possession of the armband hold in such a case.

    I know I’m being cynical but if my captain, who is a great leader, doesn’t bring his part in the team and continues to miss tackles for example would that not taint the respect the other players have for that captain which in turn will also negatively effect how effective his captaincy is.

  • Comment 15, posted at 14.06.11 12:41:44 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
  • @Pokkel (Comment 15) :

    Ok maybe I should simplify that statement.

    Would players playing under a great captain not lose respect if their captain ‘talks the talk but cannot walk the walk’

  • Comment 16, posted at 14.06.11 12:50:20 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
  • @Pokkel (Comment 15) : I’m sure it will but we’re now getting into a discussion that I am not keen on having, that being whether or not Smit is as poor as the “attacks on him” make him out to be.

  • Comment 17, posted at 14.06.11 12:51:23 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 17) :

    Agreed and it’s too late to change anything Pre RWC anyhow.

    I’m just a bit frustrated at the moment with some of the Sharks senior players and their performances.

  • Comment 18, posted at 14.06.11 12:54:48 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
  • @waje (Comment 11) : That is also another reason I would not pick Watson as a Captain.

    Matfield, Smith, Burger & Watson all have that scowl with which they glare at the referees and are prone to acting like petulant children when things don’t go their way. As an example look at Burger’s dismissive arm wave at Kaplan after the call went against him on Saturday.

    We need a people person / gentleman who is cool under pressure even when things don’t go their way. Pienaar, Teichmann & Smit are prime examples of these.

    find me one of those please.

  • Comment 19, posted at 14.06.11 12:56:44 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @Pokkel (Comment 18) : I feel your pain. Why do you think I’ve been so grumpy of late. 🙂

  • Comment 20, posted at 14.06.11 12:59:11 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 20) :

    Well just look at my avatar….that is the way the Sharks make me feel now. I couldn’t even produce a motivational comment on Ice’s thread yesterday. 😕

  • Comment 21, posted at 14.06.11 13:03:11 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
  • @Pokkel (Comment 21) : I haven’t seen any avatars for a while. I’ve been on my phone mostly.

    Will make a point of getting on the PC this evening.

  • Comment 22, posted at 14.06.11 13:09:25 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 14) :

    You remind me of a blogger that often beats the same drum whenever a certain Bok captain is selected at prop.

    Dude, EVERYONE knows you despise like Luke Watson or Victor Matfield!! 😈

    It’s like JJ Harmse commenting on the Bulls, you’re never gonna get an objective opinion!! 😉

  • Comment 23, posted at 14.06.11 13:11:28 by wpw Reply
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 20) :

    Salusa 45 side effects?? I dunno?? :mrgreen: 🙄

  • Comment 24, posted at 14.06.11 13:13:29 by wpw Reply
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 19) : You are so right and please let me know when you find one of those. It seems like most captains want to go and bliksem the ref harder than a spectator wants to when a call goes against them but very rarely do you see a true gentlemen that know how to treat the ref as an equal on the field and off of it.

  • Comment 25, posted at 14.06.11 13:25:21 by Viking Reply
  • @wpw (Comment 23) :


    You are Sooooooo wrong!!!!!

    Luke Watson OR Victor Matfield??!!??!!??


  • Comment 26, posted at 14.06.11 13:29:50 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • I reckon we need a clean sweep after this World Cup… with a new captain to lead a new breed of players. you’ve got to start by looking at who’s a certainty in the team – hopefully for the next 4 years – and bring him in as captain. No sense picking a captain now who isn’t going to be at the next World Cup. That, to my mind, rules out everyone other than Chilliboy and Strauss, with the obvious problem that neither of them is assured a spot in the side.

    Got to look elsewhere for a Bok captain, I fear.

  • Comment 27, posted at 14.06.11 13:31:04 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 19) : And the referees don’t need to find excuses not to like the Boks. Add to that the Boks will never get the best referees in the World blowing games, as the best refs are South African. So the Boks need a captain that can manage a referee. So I agree with you, which player could provide the Boks with the temperament that would keep the referee neutral.

  • Comment 28, posted at 14.06.11 13:58:27 by waje Reply

  • @Pokkel (Comment 15) : Ah the stats show all the Sharks frontrow players have missed their fair share of tackles, lets not single John out.

  • Comment 29, posted at 14.06.11 14:00:29 by waje Reply

  • Richie McCaw is another player that is starting to get a bit irate with referees. All the kiwis feel he is a certainty in the All Black team, but watching the few games he has played this year the referees are more aware of his cheating and this has made him question their decisions more. He may actually be a thorn in the All Blacks side come RWC.

  • Comment 30, posted at 14.06.11 14:11:20 by waje Reply

  • all i ask is that the next captain be in the team on merit.

  • Comment 31, posted at 14.06.11 14:15:02 by grant10 Reply

  • @grant10 (Comment 31) : bang that drum, buddy… I’m sure if you hit it loud enough, John Smit will eventually notice you… 🙂

  • Comment 32, posted at 14.06.11 14:25:40 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 32) : just want the best 15…..or 22…at all times.

    do you reckon Smit will start Sat?

  • Comment 33, posted at 14.06.11 14:34:20 by grant10 Reply

  • Lambie for king, president and captain 😉 :mrgreen: I seriously cant think of someone right now 😕

  • Comment 34, posted at 14.06.11 14:35:15 by Jarson (AddicteD) Reply
    Competition WinnerCompetition WinnerCompetition Winner
  • By the way, Jean de Villiers is not leaving WP after the RWC.

    He plans to stay!! 😉 😎

  • Comment 35, posted at 14.06.11 14:51:49 by wpw Reply
  • @wpw (Comment 35) : he might do as a caretaker captain for a season at most… but we need to find the next guy ASAP.

    @grant10 (Comment 33) : no, I don’t.

  • Comment 36, posted at 14.06.11 14:54:51 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 32) : 😈 :mrgreen:

  • Comment 37, posted at 14.06.11 14:55:52 by wpw Reply
  • @robdylan (Comment 36) : thanks…sharks to win it by 2 or 3….you read it here 1 st

  • Comment 38, posted at 14.06.11 15:00:25 by grant10 Reply

  • Lambie was Head Prefect at Michael House. He is perfect for Bok Captain. Cool head, speaks well, bmt and will be selected as our Bok fh after 2011. I think refs will respect this youngster huge. Just can’t think of any other. Also he is young. Plenty of coaches would like that. A young new player that they could mould into their captain. There will also be a whole lot of youngsters to come in after this world cup. So he being young won’t matter.

    Watching Lambie speak after he won mom on Saturday. It was like listening to a old very wise head, sitting on a very young one..hehe. Really think he would be a superb captain.

  • Comment 39, posted at 14.06.11 15:07:00 by Puma Reply

  • Saying the above, I do think that Chili has been groomed to be Bok Captain. Not sure how that will go with Bissie again, if another plays ahead of him at hooker. If that does happen we might lose Bissie to NH rugby I feel.

  • Comment 40, posted at 14.06.11 15:09:45 by Puma Reply

  • Hey what about Stef?

  • Comment 41, posted at 14.06.11 19:21:54 by franshark Reply
  • @franshark (Comment 41) :
    That cant go through as a spanner in the works…… 😆

  • Comment 42, posted at 14.06.11 19:50:41 by JustPlainSHARK Reply

  • @Jarson (AddicteD) (Comment 34) : @Puma (Comment 40) : I like that. :Lets make Lambie the captain. VIVA LAMBIE!!!! Jou superhero!!! :mrgreen:

  • Comment 43, posted at 15.06.11 08:02:04 by Viking Reply
  • Alistair Hargreaves? Young. Proven leader (U20’s).

  • Comment 44, posted at 15.06.11 09:37:57 by King Shark - Kanko at 12! Reply
    King Shark
  • @King Shark – Kanko at 12! (Comment 44) : you gonna pick him ahead of Andries Bekker?

  • Comment 45, posted at 15.06.11 10:08:09 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • Bearing in mind that while the Boks are playing tri-nations and world cup, there is a currie cup on the go. Also, before the next tri-nations, there is a full season of super rugby.
    Hopefully during those two competitions, someone will step up to the plate.

  • Comment 46, posted at 15.06.11 10:13:39 by Greg Reply

  • @Greg (Comment 46) :


    The captain should obviously have experience of having played a number of test matches and have the respect of his team mates.

    Only a few regular Boks stand out.

    Schalk Burger and Juan Smith.

    The rest are not cetainties in the test team!! 🙄

  • Comment 47, posted at 15.06.11 10:38:06 by wpw Reply
  • Juan Smith would certainly be my man for the job.

  • Comment 48, posted at 15.06.11 10:49:44 by Ben Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @Ben (Comment 48) : wouldn’t you want a captain who can stay fit more more than 5 minutes at a time? 🙂

  • Comment 49, posted at 15.06.11 11:05:36 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator

Add Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.