The Quirk

The Springbok “Game plan”

Written by Ryan Quirk (The Quirk)

Posted in :Original Content, Springboks on 4 Aug 2011 at 11:30
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A lot has been said about the Springbok game plan.  Some have said they don’t have one, others have said it’s obsolete and belongs in a museum with some of the senior players and an old Model-T ford.

I like to call the current game plan, “The kick the ball away or turn it over to the opposition and then tackle them all day technique.”, whereby the flyhalf, Morne’ Steyn, hoists the ball high into the sky and the wings, the talented and extremely skilful Bryan Habana and JP Pieterson run after it and try force the opposition backs into making a mistake or giving away a penalty…

Usually however, especially against teams like New Zealand and Australia, the opposition has exceptionally skilful quick backs, which catch the ball and then run past said Bok wings because there is no defensive support for them, and hence too much space for the runner.

The other aspect to the  kick the ball away or turn it over to the opposition and then tackle them all day technique is to recycle the ball really slowly and then pass it to a big lumbering forward, or to Wynand Olivier, so that he can then run over the entire opposition team.  If he fails and is tackled, the player then gives the ball to Richie McCaw or David Pockock and says, “Here mate, we like tackling you so much, we thought we’d give you the ball and do it some more.”

Basically it’s like telling a boxer to go out and stop the other guy’s punches with his face and still expect him to win the fight.

South Africa have players with all the necessary skill, power and speed to rip any team in world rugby to pieces, if they’d only catch a wake up and use them properly.  JP showed how good he can be in space in the Super 15, and he is just one example.

Unfortunately Springbok management look as though they’re going to keep blocking punches with the teams’ collective face, and that fills me with dread.  The only shining light could perhaps be Rassie Erasmus’s involvement.  He is a great tactician and has no doubt analysed the living hell out of the All Blacks and Wallabies.

I hope we see some dominance from the Boks in the home leg of the Tri-nations.   If we don’t it will be really embarrassing and the “B” Team pawns from the away leg will have been sacrificed for nothing.


  • Great article Quirk! 😆

  • Comment 1, posted at 04.08.11 11:37:46 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
  • Game plan is getting on my goddamn nervers

  • Comment 2, posted at 04.08.11 11:47:34 by Clayton(PJLD) Reply
  • 🙄

  • Comment 3, posted at 04.08.11 11:49:07 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • Wynand Olivier is useless as is morne steyn

  • Comment 4, posted at 04.08.11 11:55:05 by Talent Reply
  • Unfortunately the Bok inside centres Wynand Olivier, Juan Du Jongh, Jean De Viliers to a certain extend, seems to bash up most of the times with the ball and starving the outside backs… 🙁

  • Comment 5, posted at 04.08.11 12:17:29 by Charlie Reply

  • Rassie?

    You noticed what the Stormers game plan is built on?

  • Comment 6, posted at 04.08.11 13:09:39 by Morné Reply
  • @Charlie (Comment 5) :

    Agreed, oh for the days of a Hennie Le Roux, or a player of his ilk.

  • Comment 7, posted at 04.08.11 13:11:13 by Bump Reply

  • @Morné (Comment 6) : You’ve been scarce! How are you doing?

  • Comment 8, posted at 04.08.11 13:16:45 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @Morné (Comment 6) : 😈

  • Comment 9, posted at 04.08.11 13:27:01 by Clayton(PJLD) Reply
  • @Morné (Comment 6) : Don’t be surprised to see Morne Steyn drop oout of the Bok 22 in favour of Willem de Waal

  • Comment 10, posted at 04.08.11 13:27:56 by Clayton(PJLD) Reply
  • @Pokkel (Comment 8) :

    Hey dude, busy with a lot of shit over this side, do pop in and read some stuff daily though, but hectic schedule here.

    @Clayton(PJLD) (Comment 10) :

    Earl Rose… 😈

  • Comment 11, posted at 04.08.11 13:35:21 by Morné Reply
  • What the 2 TriNations games have shown is that the only chance for the Boks to win the World Cup is if they “have a go” at the opposition. Our defense is not up to scratch to employ the kick and chase and defend tactic that won the last world cup. If we do employ that tactic then im worried about us getting through the group stages nevermind winning it!

  • Comment 12, posted at 04.08.11 14:53:36 by SheldonK Reply

  • we can’t change tactics at the eleventh hour, pdv buckled under pressure in 2008 and NEVER instilled anything new, in fact he fell back on what the players told him they know. i don’t see the same 2007 ou toppies embracing ANYTHING new a month and a bit to go before RWC, no way! 👿

    rassie will do his analysis again as he did for jake, make recommendations on how to best/FULLY utilise the limited personel we have and how negate our more adventurous opponents. otherwise nothing new in terms of gameplans or style of play will switch.

  • Comment 13, posted at 04.08.11 15:34:37 by Megatron Reply

  • I’m pretty sure it’s too late to moan about the game plan the Bokke employs. It is not going to change, it’s to late to make major changes.

    That said, Go Bokke! I do not care how they win, as long as they do.

  • Comment 14, posted at 04.08.11 15:40:52 by PTAShark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @Megatron (Comment 13) : I don’t see it panning out any other way than described by Mega.

    We may ‘loosen’ up to close out a game that’s already in the bag or against minnow countries but I don’t expect much deviation outside of that. If Fourie du Preez is on song our ‘outdated’ game plan may even pay dividends at a knock-out tournament like the World Cup. I’m not betting against it just yet.

  • Comment 15, posted at 04.08.11 15:45:47 by vanmartin Reply
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  • @Megatron (Comment 13) : and they will rely extra heavily on Rassies defence guru to avoid our tryline being breached while at the same time hoping that the attackers turn over the ball or infringe and give us the ball which we will kick to relieve pressure/score points. Yep the more things change the more they stay the same.

  • Comment 16, posted at 04.08.11 15:48:39 by Salmonoid Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • I’ll reserve judgement until the two home games of the TriNations.

    Those first two away games tell me absolutely nothing, neither about the team nor about the game plan.

    I like kick and chase as little as the next guy but to play any other sort of game plan you need to be winning front foot ball.
    Bring in some of the regulars into the pack and it’ll be a completely different game.

    Just wait until the regulars are back and then we can do some proper analysis.
    Having Schalk crashing the ball back and making covering tackles is a completely different game to having Stegman doing it.
    Having Matfield in the line-out is completely different from having Mostert.
    Now bring in guys like Beast, Bismarck etc doing work in the tight-loose and taking the crash balls and winning an extra metre or two and it plays differently.

    Then bring in what is essentially the Stormers mid-field defensive line and the try count against you drops by half, especially when you play the Aussies.

    Then you’re competing and you’re in the game and can look to vary your game plan as you’ll have more ball, and better quality ball, with which to try things.

    One last thing; what do you think the kiwis and aussie technical advisers took out of the first two games? They took about as much technically out of that game as confidence was in the average South African fan. Absolutely nothing.
    What do you think Rassie took out of those games…?

    Time to get down to the bookies me thinks. With this amount of doom and gloom the odds on SA winning the WC must be enormous.

    Funnily enough, I vividly remember the lead-up to both our world cup victories.
    Forgotten 1995? The Aussies put a cricket score on us in the months leading up to the tournament. Go watch Invictus again.
    Remember the lead-up to 2007? Jake flying back from the UK to explain the Boks’ poor performances? Continual rumours of his axing?

    With the Aussies and kiwis bashing their brains out this month our guys are sitting in Rustenberg working on technical issues getting themselves prepped and primed for next month and, most importantly, not getting injured and giving their bodies a break.

    Cheer up folks. Two home games to come with some of the seniors returning to iron out a few kinks before the big one next month.

    We’ll be fine.

  • Comment 17, posted at 04.08.11 16:53:29 by VinChainSaw Reply
  • @VinChainSaw (Comment 17) :
    Aaah Vinnie – you are returning at the right time! I’m enjoying your comments – wise words in dark times.

  • Comment 18, posted at 04.08.11 17:08:10 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • @VinChainSaw (Comment 17) : Vinnie, I really admire both your capacity for optimism, and ability to present a well-structured argument to justify the optimism. The world needs more folk of your ilk.

  • Comment 19, posted at 04.08.11 17:11:56 by Culling Song Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
    Culling Song
  • @Big Fish (Comment 18) : Damn you for getting that post in before me; now I’m going to look like a Big Fish bootlicker all over again :mrgreen:

  • Comment 20, posted at 04.08.11 17:14:00 by Culling Song Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
    Culling Song
  • @VinChainSaw (Comment 17) : good post, glad to see someone else that’s not criticizing, but still believing…

  • Comment 21, posted at 04.08.11 17:34:49 by Franshark Reply
  • @Culling Song (Comment 20) :
    Nobody who listens to noise music can be called a boot licker. Certainly not to their face anyway. 😆

  • Comment 22, posted at 04.08.11 17:58:13 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • @Franshark (Comment 21) : hehe – I wish I do too but I have a dark mind 😆

  • Comment 23, posted at 04.08.11 18:10:03 by rekinek Reply
    Competition WinnerCompetition Winner Author
  • @VinChainSaw (Comment 17) : yeah and imagine if Smit and Divvy were actually given the opportunity to do their jobs and not have to deal with all the off-field BS that they have to.

    Rassie the Messiah of the masses – how full is that trophy cabinet at the Stormers? Oh yes it has the new Super 15 lucky packet cup … and yes there is still no tight 5 in Cape Town after how many years under his mastery?

  • Comment 24, posted at 04.08.11 20:15:58 by thatmanvan Reply

  • Good article the Quirk. I enjoyed reading it. Very humourous.

    I must say the RWC is a different ballgame altogether. Those same aimless up-and-unders of MS might just become the greatest weapon we have when the skilful quick backs of the ABs start to second guess their own abilities under the pressure of a knockout style winner takes it all compo.

    Out great 2007 gameplan included NZ, Aus and France being knocked out before we could meet them, so reusing this strategy would guarantee us success in 2011. :mrgreen:

  • Comment 25, posted at 04.08.11 21:25:35 by beet Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • I still think we are better with ball in hand, in actual fact when the Boks took the ball up they did make yardage. However we either then lost the ball in contact or were turned over by the lack of support. When Chilli made his break and was brought down near the AB’s try line even Justin Marshall said McCaw should have been penalised as he had held Chilli long after the tackle. So we could have scored a try if ref had been on the ball.I am not saying we would have won the game, but with better ball retention and hard defence we would not have lost by as much. Way back in my day at St Charles we were told a story that the College coach Skonk used to target a player who hadn’t held onto a ball tightly enough, he would ask the fellow what his girlfriend, sister etc name was. He would then write that name on the ball and tell the chap he had better defend the poor girls honour by holding onto the ball and not giving it up easily. Now whether this was an old wives tale or not I don’t know, but maybe it something Saffa players need to look at as I saw the ball being spilled on numerous occasions in the tackle. Also feel our guys need to spend more time with the scrum machine as all the Saffa Super 15 sides were poor come scrum time.

  • Comment 26, posted at 04.08.11 22:35:38 by Dynamite Reply

  • @VinChainSaw (Comment 17) : More articles please Vinnie! Love your work!

  • Comment 27, posted at 04.08.11 23:09:32 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @Dynamite: you a pmb sw memeber?

  • Comment 28, posted at 04.08.11 23:19:15 by bergshark Reply

  • In ’07 we had a flyiiiing and confident habana..this wc?

  • Comment 29, posted at 04.08.11 23:20:45 by bergshark Reply

  • @robdylan: guess you can’t help me out,then..:-(

  • Comment 30, posted at 04.08.11 23:21:32 by bergshark Reply

  • My comment in re: this article can be found at”plumtree is doing the right thing”comment 26(mr:green)

  • Comment 31, posted at 04.08.11 23:29:17 by bergshark Reply

  • @bergshark (Comment 28) : Went to school in PMB, but I live in Christchurch now. Grew up in Dannhauser.

  • Comment 32, posted at 05.08.11 04:01:31 by Dynamite Reply

  • @VinChainSaw (Comment 17) : hehe no lucky packet world cup draw this year where you don’t get to play the aussies & all blacks 😉

  • Comment 33, posted at 05.08.11 07:27:40 by Megatron Reply

  • @Megatron (Comment 33) : If we can’t beat the Aussies and All Blacks we don’t deserve to be Champs. So bring them on!

  • Comment 34, posted at 05.08.11 08:03:49 by Ben Reply
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