The Quirk

Mid year tour… Springboks vs England

Written by Ryan Quirk (The Quirk)

Posted in :In the news, Springboks, The Rugby Championship on 25 Jun 2012 at 10:28

So Heyneke Meyer’s first test series as Springbok coach is done and dusted.  He will be a relieved man having toppled the English despite the lacklustre draw in Port Elizabeth over the weekend.  So what can we as the long suffering Springbok fan base take from this series?

The Boks can be unbeatable if they play to their strengths, as was evidenced by the first half of the second test match.  If they play like that for 80 minutes, every game, the only team that can challenge us will be the All Blacks, and they will have to be on top form to do that.

Morne’ Steyn has to get his kicks over.  If he doesn’t, then the whole point of the pressure / penalty game plan becomes moot. 12 out of 23 from your primary points resource just isn’t good enough when you consider the rest of his game.  He needs to sort his kicking out pronto, or can look forward to being the 2nd best flyhalf in the Currie Cup after Peter Grant with Lambie, Goosen and Jantjies better than him in ever other department.

Francois Steyn is vital to the Bok cause.  It takes three men to bring him down whenever he gets the ball and yet even though the opposition knows this, he still gets over the advantage line every time.  I would like to see him used as more than just a battering ram because he is better than that, but simply knowing he is playing sets my heart at ease.  He is bigger than Pierre Spies, has more skill than the whole of Italy and can kick a rugby ball to the moon if he fees like it.  There isn’t much to write home about in the reserves cupboard at 12 either with the Bulls persisting in playing Wynand Olivier ahead of Francois Venter who offers so much more.  I’m looking forward to seeing more of Jan Serfontein in the coming years too.

There are plenty of loose forward options in South Africa with Schalk Burger, Duane Vermuelen (News in that Burger and Vermuelen aren’t as close to returning as we’ve been told.  Schalk maybe out for the year) due back from injury and Willem Alberts and Marcell Coetzee making their marks during the England series.  Heinrich Brussouw will be back I’m sure but in the meantime we have very little to worry about in that area.

Lock is a bit more of a concern.  Juandre Kruger and Eben Etzebeth were very good against the English, but with Andries Bekker’s never ending injury concerns and Flip van der Merwe being more of a bruiser than a thinker, there is a perceived lack of depth at lock when it comes to lineout specialists, despite the Lion’s ability to randomly call up 9 locks during the SupeRugby season to date.  I would have liked to see Franco van der Merwe get a run.  I think he is underrated because he plays for the Lions and has a lot to offer if given the opportunity.

It is clear that Ruan Pienaar is the best option we have at scrumhalf.  Francois Hougaard is a great attacking force but his all round game suffers when he is put under pressure.  He can best serve the Springbok cause by coming off the bench as an impact player.  I am a firm believer that every player in the matchday 22 is of equal importance, whether they start or not, because every player can win or lose the game for the team.

Finally at fullback we saw Zane Kircher, Pat Lambie and Gio Aplon all don the 15 jersey with Lambie being miles ahead of everybody else.  If he is to play at 10, if Steyn’s kicking woes continue, then other options need to be considered.  Joe Pietersen is one and Hennie Daniller is another.  I like Daniller as an option.  He is big, strong, has a big boot and makes as many running metres as any other fullback in the competition.

I’m very excited about what is to come.  Knowing what to expect from the coach is great feeling and the fact that I know that he knows what he is doing, as is evidenced by his record, fills me with a deep sense of calm.


  • I’ll be excited about the Boks if Meyer gets over his Spies and Steyn bromance.

    Most of us (reading the comments on various blogs) thought Houghaard was the best option at 9, but he failed miserably – enter Ruan and he showed that he has matured and probably enjoys not playing under PdV anymore.

    He is a 9, not a Tiger Woods FH or FB. Now to get him out of that contract and back to the Sharks – wishful thinking. 😥

  • Comment 1, posted at 25.06.12 11:20:29 by FireTheLooser Reply
  • @FireTheLooser (Comment 1) : I wouldn’t say he failed miserably, he had a good game in the 2nd test when he was getting good front foot ball. He’s not a scrumhalf who should kick, he needs to concentrate on either running or clearing the ball quickly, whereas Ruan can do it all…

  • Comment 2, posted at 25.06.12 11:43:41 by The Quirk Reply
    The Quirk
  • Nice level-header article TQ – can’t disagree on any of your points really. I enjoy the way Aplon plays and like someone else mentioned I wish we had 22 players with his heart. Having said that, I think he should only be considered on the wing for SA or as utility/impact player coming off the bench.

    Wynand had a pretty decent game at 12 but he doesn’t offer nearly enough when compared to Frans Steyn. Our up-and-coming 12’s may need to step up pretty quickly. I think we have the same problem at 13 too with very little quality backup available.

    Don’t know what to think about Morne. He improved some other areas of his game and lost his kicking boots in the process :(.

  • Comment 3, posted at 25.06.12 11:43:49 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • I hope Taute gets a run @ 15 when he gets back from injury . He had some good form before being injured . With Lambie at 10 then


    Have Lambie @ 15 and Elton at 10 .

    pity we cant clone Lambie …

  • Comment 4, posted at 25.06.12 11:45:43 by Zibbie Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner
  • @Zibbie (Comment 4) : We can? 😉

    Also hope Taute gets a call-up at some point.

  • Comment 5, posted at 25.06.12 11:48:41 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @vanmartin (Comment 5) :

    sorry missed the T 😉 fixed .

    at this stage im so desperate i wont mind anybody replacing Morne …

  • Comment 6, posted at 25.06.12 11:52:55 by Zibbie Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner
  • @Zibbie (Comment 4) : Agree re Taute… He slipped off my radar after his injury and being played at centre…

  • Comment 7, posted at 25.06.12 12:03:13 by The Quirk Reply
    The Quirk
  • Anybody have an idea why Jantjies was’nt brought on in the last quarter to replace Steyn who had another abysmal game? I’m sure we could have won with the youngster taking drops instead of Morne – everyone gets subbed at some stage in their lives – its no insult to be taken off.

  • Comment 8, posted at 25.06.12 12:17:10 by Caratacus Reply

  • @Caratacus (Comment 8) :

    maybe HM feel Jantjies cant handle pressure as well as Steyn . Although i really hope that is not the case . why pick a guy if you dont have confidence in him ?

  • Comment 9, posted at 25.06.12 12:37:37 by Zibbie Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner
  • @Zibbie (Comment 9) : Yes that would be a bit self defeating – you only pick him to sub if your way ahead. With the series in the bag it was a golden oppurtunity to find out …

  • Comment 10, posted at 25.06.12 12:41:30 by Caratacus Reply

  • @Caratacus (Comment 8) : @Zibbie (Comment 9) :

    “I did not make that move because there was a lack of experience on the field as the match approached the closing stages,” he said of his decision to leave the young Golden Lions fly-half on the bench.


  • Comment 11, posted at 25.06.12 12:59:46 by wpw Reply
  • Thanks wpw!!

  • Comment 12, posted at 25.06.12 14:03:39 by Caratacus Reply

  • @Zibbie…you read my mind.
    The best 9/10/15 combo we have is Pienaar, Lambie, Taute.
    I believe we must manage and blood Goosen properly…then he will be great!!!

  • Comment 13, posted at 25.06.12 15:24:32 by pienaar111 Reply

  • @pienaar111 (Comment 13) :
    I’m not to sure, but think Michalak’s contract has ended?

    I think Hougie was found wanting as a starting option, but still think he should be the incumbent at 9.
    Pienaar’s confidence is much better and we still have Jano there as well.

    Morne has become complacent. He knows that HM backs him come hell or RWC. Lambie has shown he can make it at this level, but Goosen still needs to write that exam.

    Every team (bar the Cheetahs)in the country knows the problem of 13’s in this country, so much so that we’ve seen Habana, Taute, JPP and JJ Engelbrecht being played there. Maybe HM has a hand in this, realising that we don’t have problems getting wings into the Bok fray. Ebersohn and JdJ are still an option.

    Nothing to really get concerned over according to me.

  • Comment 14, posted at 25.06.12 19:32:33 by JustPlainSHARK Reply

  • @pienaar111 (Comment 13) :

    i love seeing ‘best’ and ‘Taute’ in the same sentence .

    Im really not sure about Goosen . He has now played 2 big campaigns . Both of them he got injured after a few games
    A player a can be the best there ever was and will be . if he doesnt stay injury free , it doesnt help much .

    Also in the first SR match of the season . cheetahs vs Lions . Cheetahs where in control until Goosen got YC’ed . That was it .

    You can have talent . you need to keep a cool head other wise it doesnt help either .

    And the world doesnt wait for anybody . Pollard is already lining up to be the next best thing since sliced bread since Goosen :p and next year we will have the next flavor of the week ..

  • Comment 15, posted at 25.06.12 21:12:56 by Zibbie Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner
  • @zibbie…
    I totally agree with the whole Goosen story…Immensely talented but has not proven BMT yet…Lambie was ‘born with experience’- as Smit put it. For now Lambie is the way. For me anyway

  • Comment 16, posted at 26.06.12 02:26:18 by pienaar111 Reply


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