Staring into the Blue abyss

Written by (Megatron)

Posted in :Bulls, Original Content, Reader Submissions on 25 Jul 2012 at 08:00
Tagged with : , , , , , , , , , ,

When the story about schoolboy rugby sensation Johann Sadie’s request to be released from his R1.4m per annum Bulls contract made waves yesterday, I couldn’t but wonder, if Heyneke was still the Bulls Director of Rugby, would two of the players he personally headhunted – Daniel Adongo & Sadie – with a different style of play in mind, be on the out or on the way at the Loftus?

We all know Meyer was the brains behind the Bulls success of the recent past – 3 Super Rugby titles and numerous Currie Cups – and before his departure to take on the poisoned chalice that is the Springbok coaching role, he was on a mission to again change the course ie. playing style, structures at Loftus.

He had started his work by being hands-on with the Tuks Varsity Cup team in 2011, the team ended up clinching their first ever title in the 2012 season. He continued in his quest to re-invent the Bulls by bringing in Pine Pienaar who was backline coach at the Cheetahs and entrusted him with coaching the Currie Cup team. All that I have recounted and some that I have left out pointed to what Meyer in a Business Day interview referred to as his plan to turn the Blue Bulls back into a dominant franchise which plays “a fluid, high-intensity running game.”

Since Meyer has left Loftus 4 former Baby Boks have also left the franchise, CJ Stander, Gerrit-Jan van Velze, Daniel Adongo and now Johann Sadie. It would seem that the figureheads left at Loftus are clueless as to what Meyer meant when he said in the aforementioned BD interview:

“We are looking hard at the way we are going to play. We are busy with a lot of camps that (are set up) to have the whole union playing the same way. I brought Pine (Pienaar) in who was a backline coach because I want to improve the way we’re playing. If you look at the guys we’ve recruited, they are very exciting backs. You always have a vision of how you want to play and then get players around that. We will always have a tough forward pack but we’ve looked at how the game has evolved,” Meyer said.

“If you stay the same you’ll never get ahead.”

Meyer listed five focal points he felt would give the union the edge over its rivals: ”
1. having the best coaching staff at all age group levels,
2. recruiting the best young talent,
3. implementing a winning culture,
4. ensuring an environment where players can grow to their full potential and changing the way the Bulls played.
5. It’s not finalised yet but we are looking to get Victor Matfield in to help us with the lineouts.”

The blokes left at Loftus seem to be only applying no.2 of Meyer’s point plan! This to me is a disturbing situation when you consider that the cream of our 2012 Junior World Cup-winning Baby Boks are all at Loftus!

Can you imagine the figureheads at the Blue Bulls led by Ludeke messing about with Jan Serfontein, William Small-Smith, Shaun Ardendoff, Josh Stander etc and frustrating the living daylights out of them?

The thought is too ghastly to entertain, one can only hope sanity, in the form of a decent coaching mind, can return to Loftus before that place sucks all the creativity out of all our youngsters.


  • Well written piece Mega!

    Thoroughly enjoyed it..

    I wonder how long it will take Meyer to get his style of rugby to be played by the Boks, and if he even try to get that game plan working at international level..

  • Comment 1, posted at 25.07.12 08:23:10 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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    Richard Ferguson
  • Very well written Megatron and I couldn’t agree more….something isn’t quite right in Pretoria.

  • Comment 2, posted at 25.07.12 08:27:33 by Pokkel Reply
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  • Meyer seems to be making the right noises and hopefully we’ll get some changes come The Rugby Championship.

    I understand that he didn’t have much time to prepare for the England series but surely he must have seen that change from the old ‘skop en jaag’ tactics are seriously needed.

  • Comment 3, posted at 25.07.12 08:29:52 by Pokkel Reply
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  • Adongo was not a Baby Bok.

  • Comment 4, posted at 25.07.12 08:36:48 by hendrikp Reply

  • The Bulls now not only have a one dimensional game plan, but an underwhelming forward pack too.

    Ludeke hasn’t done anything new with the Bulls, and will probably stick with Meyer’s OLD game plan until they face possible relegation.

    Sad the number of recently recruited/bribed/bought/prostituted young players that will have all their talent coached out of them 😥

  • Comment 5, posted at 25.07.12 08:50:04 by FireTheLooser Reply

  • Wow Megatron. I have to hand it to you, a very well written article. All those talented young players who could’ve progressed so much better at some of the other unions are now gonna be stuck playing Vodacom and Varsity cup and be stuck on the pecking list behind some serious plodders in the senior squad.

  • Comment 6, posted at 25.07.12 08:53:01 by KingRiaan Reply

  • @FireTheLooser (Comment 5) : I think the Bulls don’t have a bad forward pack, just their two props who are useless and Stegmann, oy vey!

  • Comment 7, posted at 25.07.12 08:54:43 by KingRiaan Reply

  • @KingRiaan (Comment 7) :

    Two props useless yes, and then you’ve got excellent loosies packing their bags because they’re having to sit behind Jacques Potgieter 😯

    Let’s not forget Kirchner either. At the best of times he’s average.

    Springboks would be so much stronger if the Bulls didn’t have so much money to waste.

  • Comment 8, posted at 25.07.12 08:58:50 by hendrikp Reply

  • I guess we will now see how good or bad a coach Ludeke is… Nice article and thought provoking. As much as I hate the Bulls SA Rugby needs them to be a strong franchise.

  • Comment 9, posted at 25.07.12 09:00:10 by lostfish Reply
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  • @KingRiaan (Comment 7) : I think the Bulls will get scrummed back by the Force 😐

    So the Boks have Jannie, Beast and Coenie and that’s it, them Bulls boys are CC quality at best.

    Time for Meyer to seriously consider getting rid of his blue tinted shades – maybe he should give it to England cricket captain Strauss – he’ll “fix” them for him. 😆

  • Comment 10, posted at 25.07.12 09:01:09 by FireTheLooser Reply

  • @hendrikp (Comment 4) : quite right, he was a Sevens player. my bad.

  • Comment 11, posted at 25.07.12 09:15:37 by Megatron Reply

  • @FireTheLooser (Comment 10) : I think we should she a different team and a different game plan emerging slowly during the Rugby Championship(kak name for a Southern Hemisphere competition.) No use in totally disrupting everything so suddenly. I don’t think we will see Bieber Potgieter with the Boks again, and HM really can’t argue that Kirchner is better than Pieterson, Aplon or Ludick.

  • Comment 12, posted at 25.07.12 09:16:50 by KingRiaan Reply

  • Nice write up Megatron.

    Now let me go dig up all those articles/comments where all and sundry were bemoaning the Sharks set up and coaching structures and looking at the Bulls and Stormers as the shinning lights of SA rugby. 😈

  • Comment 13, posted at 25.07.12 09:16:58 by Salmonoid Reply
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    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • @Salmonoid (Comment 13) : How the mighty hath fallen 😯

  • Comment 14, posted at 25.07.12 09:20:12 by FireTheLooser Reply

  • @Salmonoid (Comment 13) :

    But the Stormers ARE the shining lights of SA rugby!! 😉

    Two time Neo series champions!!
    Two time SA Conference Champions!!

    Real trophies that mate!! 🙄 😕

  • Comment 15, posted at 25.07.12 10:09:38 by wpw Reply
  • @wpw (Comment 15) : They could be just about 165 minutes away from being REAL shinning lights, but then maybe not either, in which case we will just have to bask in the glow of African beads and the reversed side of aluminium foil.

  • Comment 16, posted at 25.07.12 10:14:46 by Salmonoid Reply
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    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • Nice article Megatron!

    Two questions:
    1. Regarding point 4, do you think Meyer is planning to change the way the Springbok plays (as their game-plan is large based on the Bulls blurpeint)?
    (My opinion is he wouldn’t make that statement if he didn’t think there were weaknesses in the Bulls’ current game-plan)
    2. How do you think the Bulls will fare in next year’s Super Rugby? Is Ludeke dynamic enough to start making changes or will they regress?

  • Comment 17, posted at 25.07.12 10:49:53 by vanmartin Reply
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  • @vanmartin (Comment 17) : there’s a difference between international rugby and inter-provincial rugby, the likes of meyer, hansen are expected to produce wins NOW, the likes of plumtree, blackadder, coetzee are allowed time to “build structures” towards success. at the bulls they gave meyer carte blanche to restructure the whole shebang in view of future success, at the Boks SARU and us the public won’t take any “i’ve got a four year plan” nonsense.

    different situations, i expect meyer to SLOWLY tweak the team/gameplan, get wins first and then fine tune how they come.

    graham henry once said something i’ve always kept in mind wrt coaches and gameplans, he said as a coach you can try to keep up with trends or be ahead of the pack, that’s all well and good but the most difficult thing to master is simplifying complex plans to the point that the players can apply them while running at full tilt. in new zealand he is lucky because MOST players have the requisite skillsets to pull off these things but in SA, as PdV found, the players struggle with just skills and because they’ve told themselves they’re big-names already don’t open themselves up to start from low base/basics which will enable them to simplify the complex…

    it’s like learning math.

    meyer changing the bok gameplan will rely on rassie as Director of whatever actually doing what he is paid to do which is synchronise our rugby from bottom to top!

  • Comment 18, posted at 25.07.12 11:12:04 by Megatron Reply

  • @Megatron (Comment 18) : Makes sense, thanks!

  • Comment 19, posted at 25.07.12 11:23:51 by vanmartin Reply
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  • @vanmartin (Comment 17) : as for the Bulls, their gameplan is rubbish but the quality of players they have will keep them afloat as it has for the Sharks since ’09 to now 6th, 9th, 6th and 6th. so despite clueless management the team might remain there or there about.

  • Comment 20, posted at 25.07.12 11:25:42 by Megatron Reply


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