The Quirk

Springboks – Post RWC 2011 – Scrumhalf

Written by Ryan Quirk (The Quirk)

Posted in :In the news, Original Content, Springboks on 20 Jun 2011 at 11:44
Tagged with : , , , , ,

The expected exodus of players after RWC and the prospect of a new captain and coach bring with it more questions, of playing style and playing personnel in key positions.

One of the more contentious of those in my opinion, with the departure of the general Fourie du Preez to the green fields of Japan, is that of scrumhalf.  Now you may think, “wait a minute, we have plenty of numbers 9s!”, and you’d be right, but which one is best?

Firstly let’s look at what makes Fourie du Preez so good.  He has a great boot, which takes pressure off whoever is playing flyhalf.  His accuracy of kicking from hand is without peer, at least amongst other number 9s.

He reads the game like an English professor would a book for a nine year old, in a world of 9 year olds.  He is that far ahead of the game with his tactical play.  He’s also quick, has an eye for a gap, and hasn’t resorted to hair plugs like a certain other sportsman.

So Fourie du Preez is the Bugatti Veyron of scrumhalves.  Who then, has the necessary skills to make his departure less of a concern, to ease the minds of the spoiled public who’ve long lived safe in the knowledge that du Preez will save the day?  Well let’s see shall we.

Successor 1 – Ruan Pienaar

If FDP is the Veyron of scrumhalves then Pienaar is the Porsche 911 turbo. The only thing that has held the former Sharks man back to this point is the fact that he’s too versatile, or at least all his coaches seem to think so.  He can play anywhere in the backline but has stated on more than one occasion that, while he is happy to help out wherever needed, 9 is his favoured position.

He’s outplayed Fourie more than once and should be the first choice 9 until someone better comes along, although that isn’t very likely.

Successor 2 – Francois Hougaard

Hougaard is more like an American muscle car than a finely tuned German or Italian sports-car.  He’s all about speed, power and aggression, which is great, most of the time.  He’s proven himself at the highest level and is the ideal back-up scrumhalf to Ruan Pienaar.  He is also a great bench man because he can play wing as well as anyone, and has a knack for scoring important tries when they’re most needed.

Successor 3 – Dewaldt Duvenhage

He has kept Ricky Vetkoek on the bench at WP / Stormers for most of the last two years and has proven time and again that he has all the skills to play at test level.

Recently he even ran on at flyhalf as a result of some sort of flyhalf-breakdown-alitus outbreak that went around the Stormers dressing room, laying low all four of their number 10s’.  He has a cool head and all the skills to be a great Bok number 9 if given the opportunity.

Successor 4 – Super Sarel Pretorius

Someone on twitter recently described Sarel thusly, “his defence is abysmal and his boot is smaller than the one in the Kia Picanto I just rented.”  That may be true, but he’s also the top try scorer in SupeRugby, for the Cheetahs no less.  You can teach someone to kick and tackle, but you can’t teach attacking instinct and sheer balls.

Clearly I favour Pienaar for the number 9 jersey post world cup with either Duvenhage or Hougaard as back up.  Super Sarel has a way to go, but could be a real bolter if the number 9 ranks are beset by injuries…

The Ricky Vetkoek ship has thankfully sailed and we will henceforth be spared having to watch him cart his extra fifteen kilograms around the field in slow motion…


  • Dewaldt Duvenhage -couldnt be further from the bok jersey .
    Enjoyable read v funny 😀 Can only be tiger. Imagine 2012
    9.Pienaar 10.Lambie
    12.Steyn/JDJ 13.JDJ/JF??
    11.jpp 15.JacoT 14.Aplon/Mvovo?- nice backline

  • Comment 1, posted at 20.06.11 11:53:32 by Talent Reply
  • Jaco Taute is not a full back i watched the under 20 world cup at 15 he missed a crucial tackle… he is too slow and he always runs into players he is an outisde centre in my honest opnion.

  • Comment 2, posted at 20.06.11 12:00:07 by Muzi Reply

  • fourie du preez said he might reconsider retirement with the Boks if Heyneke Meyer is appointed Bok coach. 😕

  • Comment 3, posted at 20.06.11 12:01:29 by Megatron Reply

  • Have to agree. Pienaar 1st choice and Hougaard as backup.

  • Comment 4, posted at 20.06.11 12:02:21 by Ben Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • In my humble opinion Ruan Pienaar is the best scrumhalf in South Africa..fourie du preez is rated by many as the worlds best BUT pienaar can mix it both ways running rugby..and tactical kicking rugby…

  • Comment 5, posted at 20.06.11 12:10:28 by Muzi Reply

  • @Megatron (Comment 3) : It would be a shame to see him wane over the next couple of seasons. Retire at a high and you will be a legend forever.

  • Comment 6, posted at 20.06.11 12:19:56 by King Shark - Kanko at 12! Reply
    King Shark
  • @Muzi (Comment 2) : Actually he is a fullback ,it is debatable whether it is his best position.To be fair he is still young ,may even be younger than lambie ,not entirely sure. Given time he may be a great springbok fullback.Lets not forget that lambie had problems in some of his general play and how quickly they became strong points.

  • Comment 7, posted at 20.06.11 12:38:56 by Talent Reply
  • @King Shark – Kanko at 12! (Comment 6) : Too late…

  • Comment 8, posted at 20.06.11 12:59:38 by Viking Reply
  • Pienaar is the real deal… hope he comes back to ZA and makes it his own

  • Comment 9, posted at 20.06.11 17:39:10 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 9) : his contract expires next year so just in time for the beginning of international season in 2012 and to snatch him for CC 2012 😎

  • Comment 10, posted at 20.06.11 17:48:29 by rekinek Reply
    Competition WinnerCompetition Winner Author
  • @robdylan: thanks rob !

  • Comment 11, posted at 20.06.11 17:56:23 by bergshark Reply

  • @bergshark (Comment 11) : pleasure mate

  • Comment 12, posted at 20.06.11 18:06:17 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • Bit surprised at fourie saying he might reconsider a return to test rugby if heyneke is appointes bok coach..really said that, @Megatron?

  • Comment 13, posted at 20.06.11 20:21:18 by bergshark Reply

  • Bit surprised at fourie saying he might reconsider a return to test rugby if heyneke is appointed bok coach..really said that, @Megatron?

  • Comment 14, posted at 20.06.11 20:22:22 by bergshark Reply


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