TEN: Simple rules to live by in the South African rugby landscape

Written by Chris Smith (ChrisS)

Posted in :Original Content, Springboks, The Rugby Championship on 15 Aug 2013 at 10:56
Tagged with : , , , , , ,

Last year we had an abundance of creative flyhalves looking to unseat Morne Steyn from his position in the Bok team and they actually did for a brief (delightful) period of time. Fast forward 12 months and the cupboard is bare!!

A brief glimpse at the fate of the 3 pretenders to the throne reveals a lot:

Elton Jantjies has lost form after his move to the Cape where he played with a lot less flair than we’ve grown accustomed to. This has been laid at the door of the Stormers coaches because of their defence-orientated approach to the game and for their supposed unwillingness to let Elton run free and play to his instincts.

Johan Goosen started off the season quietly but never had a chance to show what he can do before he got injured again.

Pat Lambie has been struggling for form behind a Sharks pack that lacked dominance. This was ascribed to the heavy injury toll suffered by the Sharks throughout the season as well as Plumtree’s limited gameplan which involved the Sharks using their backline to make up the numbers while Willem Alberts and Marcell Coetzee cameoed at first receiver in a merry-go-round of bash it up rugby.

The reasons listed above may have a bit to do with the lack of form shown by Lambie and Jantjies but I think that all roads do, in fact, lead to Rome…or should that be Pretoria?!

Since entering the Bok camp and taking part in the EOYT last year, both of these players have been altering their style of play to emulate Morne Steyn’s. This can only be due to Heyneke Meyer’s influence and it has resulted in both of them kicking the ball more this year than in their previous 2 year’s combined. Gone is their instinct to keep the ball in hand and have a crack at the opposition’s line. Their first instinct now is to kick the ball as high and as far as possible! As a result, both of their teams were dismal in Super Rugby this year and failed to make the play-offs despite being heralded at the beginning of the year as South Africa’s leading lights. If I closed my mind to the player’s features and just watched the style of play I’d have sworn that I was watching a Bulls game!

Unfortunately it seems that the opportunity to develop a complete style of rugby involving effective running backs and a tactical kicking game (not a completely kick-orientated game) is being squandered and we may have to wait until the end of the Heyneke Meyer era to see it ushered in. Hopefully Elton and Pat can resist the lure of the darkside until that time and usher in a new, golden era of Bok rugby!


  • I’ve never been more willing to do something else on a Saturday than watch the Boks than under Heyneke.

    It’s been extremely frustrating watching Morne Lambie play for the Sharks this year.

    Can’t wait for a change of Bok coaches or strategies.

  • Comment 1, posted at 15.08.13 11:17:15 by Butchie34 Reply
  • Whole heartedly agree-looking at the current backline-we could play a balanced game but ai heyneke will never allow it-ps ricardo loubsher must have the best job in the world all he tells the backs is run straight and kick and chase

  • Comment 2, posted at 15.08.13 11:18:11 by Bok-Clyde-Kiwi Reply

  • @Butchie34 (Comment 1) : can’t wait for nick mallet to be coach-finally a south African coach who agrees with the fans that our rugby is boring and dull

  • Comment 3, posted at 15.08.13 11:19:48 by Bok-Clyde-Kiwi Reply

  • @Bok-Clyde-Kiwi (Comment 3) : Nick won’t be appointed. I don’t know if he’s interested in the position and SARU would always be concerned he would comment on ticket prices again.

  • Comment 4, posted at 15.08.13 11:21:33 by Butchie34 Reply
  • Of course it must be HM’s fault. 🙄 So is global warming, the credit crunch, the dinosaurs going extinct… 😈

  • Comment 5, posted at 15.08.13 11:22:44 by McLovin Reply

  • @McLovin (Comment 5) : He’s not THAT bad. He’s actually bringing the dinosaurs back or at least their rugby.

  • Comment 6, posted at 15.08.13 11:24:10 by Butchie34 Reply
  • @Butchie34 (Comment 4) : Hahaha and he never even made the comment, someone asked him if he thoughtful prices were high, he said “January i suppose ” You’re fired”

  • Comment 7, posted at 15.08.13 11:25:15 by Clayton(PJLD) Reply
  • @Butchie34 (Comment 6) : :mrgreen:

  • Comment 8, posted at 15.08.13 11:25:27 by R Hayward Reply

  • How many times do they actually put boot to ball during a match?

    Has it really changed since HM became coach?

    How many times does Dan Carter kick per match?

  • Comment 9, posted at 15.08.13 11:25:35 by McLovin Reply

  • @McLovin (Comment 9) : Take a look at lambie’s play this year and on the EOYT. He’s become more kick-minded and far less of an attacking threat to the opposition.

    His Super Rugby performance wasn’t about winning the tournament: it was an audition for the Bok squad to show that he can play to the gameplan!

  • Comment 10, posted at 15.08.13 11:35:45 by ChrisS Reply
  • @Butchie34 (Comment 1) : I also lack interst in Bok rugby due to the gameplan and the personnel selected (not all but most).

  • Comment 11, posted at 15.08.13 11:36:55 by ChrisS Reply
  • @ChrisS (Comment 11) : I’m not too concerned with the personnel. They don’t select themselves. It’s the execution of the rugby which gets to me.

  • Comment 12, posted at 15.08.13 11:40:59 by Butchie34 Reply
  • @ChrisS (Comment 10) : Where are the stats to back up your claim that he kicks more?

  • Comment 13, posted at 15.08.13 11:42:20 by McLovin Reply

  • @McLovin (Comment 13) : You defend a former Bulls coach a lot for a guy who has a WP mascot :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

    Thought you would hate those guys!! :mrgreen: 😉

  • Comment 14, posted at 15.08.13 11:43:47 by Butchie34 Reply
  • @Butchie34 (Comment 14) : Not defending anyone, simply trying to establish facts. Of which there appears to be precious few, if any at all forthcoming when folks go Bok coach bashing. 🙂

  • Comment 15, posted at 15.08.13 11:56:20 by McLovin Reply

  • @McLovin (Comment 15) : I was just pulling your leg that’s the reason for all the :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

    I can’t really comment on stats and figures that’s why I haven’t ever categorically stated that they’re kicking more this year than last or anything like that.

    As a whole, rugby is general for me has taken a huge downturn and I’m not watching as much of it as I always used to do. It might have more to do with rugby fatigue than anything else.

    As for Elton, I’m not sure the move down to the Stormers was the best thing for his confidence. You guys are incredibly defence orientated in your gameplan. Elton can defend well but he needed a more attack orientated gameplan. Best team for him would have probably been the Cheetahs

  • Comment 16, posted at 15.08.13 12:05:08 by Butchie34 Reply
  • Well said Chris!

  • Comment 17, posted at 15.08.13 12:12:14 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
  • On the subject of stats, anyone know where one can find a good, detailed site for rugby stats.

    I can find stats for how many times a player kicked in super rugby but not how many matches said player played in 2013 for instance.

  • Comment 18, posted at 15.08.13 12:19:52 by McLovin Reply

  • @McLovin (Comment 15) : I wouldn’t say he’s bashing the Bok coach.

    I think it’s fairly clear to anybody who’s watched Lambie in recent years that he’s changed the style of his play a lot.

  • Comment 19, posted at 15.08.13 12:21:26 by StevieS Reply
  • @StevieS (Comment 19) : Has he really? Where are the facts/stats/numbers to back that up?

    How does Lambie’s kick/pass/run ratio per match compare over the last 3 or 4 seasons for instance?

  • Comment 20, posted at 15.08.13 12:26:04 by McLovin Reply

  • Well, Lambie was the 4th highest kicker with 128 kicks and the 7th highest with kicking metres gained at 4315.

    There are your stats 😀

  • Comment 21, posted at 15.08.13 12:34:48 by StevieS Reply
  • I think there’s a far easier way to see the impact that Meyer has has on Lambie’s game.

    look at how much deeper he takes the ball now.

  • Comment 22, posted at 15.08.13 12:38:25 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @StevieS (Comment 21) : Means nothing in isolation.

  • Comment 23, posted at 15.08.13 12:39:27 by McLovin Reply

  • @robdylan (Comment 22) : How much? 10cm? 1m? 😈

  • Comment 24, posted at 15.08.13 12:41:39 by McLovin Reply

  • @McLovin (Comment 23) :

    You had a fling with Heyneke? 😳

  • Comment 25, posted at 15.08.13 12:44:04 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
  • @McLovin (Comment 24) :

    Fans don’t work on stats, we work on emotion and what we experience!

  • Comment 26, posted at 15.08.13 12:44:55 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
  • It works like this:

    In the CC final in 2010, Lambie ran, hand-off a guy and scored a try.

    He hasn’t done the same since.
    He changed his game under the influence of Heineke Meyer.

  • Comment 27, posted at 15.08.13 12:48:07 by fyndraai Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • @Pokkel (Comment 26) : Exactly. Unfortunately that not a very good way of establishing fact. :mrgreen:

  • Comment 28, posted at 15.08.13 12:50:29 by McLovin Reply

  • @fyndraai (Comment 27) : Presies. People notice the exception and expect it to always happen, when the facts quite clearly paint a different picture.

  • Comment 29, posted at 15.08.13 12:52:15 by McLovin Reply

  • Jantjes’ reputation as a match winner is also resting almost entirely on a single CC final performance, against the champions of choking. In SR he has never made an impact. WP’s back-line attack is a hell of a lot more potent with Gary van Aswegen playing.

  • Comment 30, posted at 15.08.13 12:56:01 by fyndraai Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • @Pokkel (Comment 25) : 😆

  • Comment 31, posted at 15.08.13 12:56:14 by ChrisS Reply
  • @McLovin (Comment 23) : Hahaha you make me laugh 😆

  • Comment 32, posted at 15.08.13 12:59:33 by StevieS Reply
  • @robdylan (Comment 22) : @McLovin (Comment 24) : Detailed analysis of video footage and use of the latest technology reveals that Lambie is standing exactly 3.75666 metres deeper now than before Heyneke Meyer became Bok coach 😉

  • Comment 33, posted at 15.08.13 13:02:14 by StevieS Reply
  • @StevieS (Comment 33) : That’s a lie!! It’s 3.74666 metres deeper! get your facts straight!!! 😯

  • Comment 34, posted at 15.08.13 13:04:26 by ChrisS Reply
  • @StevieS (Comment 32) : I’m serious. 🙂 We need to compare those stats with different players/seasons. Also need to take into account matches played or better yet, minutes played.

    Unfortunately it seems such detailed stats are simply not available.

  • Comment 35, posted at 15.08.13 13:05:58 by McLovin Reply

  • @McLovin (Comment 35) : I had a hard enough time finding the kicking stats 😐

    I agree, don’t think the stats you’re wanting are available. All jokes aside, Lambie just seems a different player. More conservative and less inclined to run the ball.

  • Comment 36, posted at 15.08.13 13:08:59 by StevieS Reply
  • Comparing Carter’s kicking stats to that of Steyn and Lambie is like comparing km’s driven by two different cars. Merely comparing the km’s driven can’t tell you whether it was dirt road or on the autobahn.

    Well same with kicking, how far was the kick, was it kicked into space or straight down the player’s throat. Did the kick setup a try or kill an attacking move….on and on the list goes, stats merely serve to give a very linear picture of what actually happened.

  • Comment 37, posted at 15.08.13 13:20:09 by FireTheLooser Reply

  • @McLovin (Comment 35) : My article is based on what I’ve seen and not on stats. Stats can be distorted eg. Player X made 167 running metres in a game but when you consider that he touched the ball 100 times then his meterage isn’t impressive at all.

    I’d rather a player touches the ball ten times in a game and averages ten metres per run while setting up 5 tries!

  • Comment 38, posted at 15.08.13 13:22:13 by ChrisS Reply
  • @ChrisS (Comment 38) : And what you see cannot be distorted? 😆

  • Comment 39, posted at 15.08.13 13:29:58 by McLovin Reply

  • @ChrisS (Comment 38) : Depends which position the player plays.

    Hypothetically Craig Burden scores two tries in a game, but gives away five scrums due to throw-in that’s not straight, he also neglects to hit the rucks and forces one of our loosies to now do his job at the breakdown.

    In this case, he still fails in my book because he’s not effective in doing his primary function.

  • Comment 40, posted at 15.08.13 13:30:56 by FireTheLooser Reply

  • The article states that Lambie is kicking more since HM took over. That is very easily measured. He either is or he isn’t in terms of the number of out of hand kicks. Very simple.

    The quality of said kicks is an entirely different matter of course.

  • Comment 41, posted at 15.08.13 13:35:13 by McLovin Reply

  • @McLovin (Comment 41) : And that is the problem, Lambie should have been encouraged to become the best at playing his own style.

    Sadly “somebody” 🙄 convinced him that he needs to try and become better than Steyn at playing Steyn’s style – it has failed.

  • Comment 42, posted at 15.08.13 13:40:18 by FireTheLooser Reply

  • @FireTheLooser (Comment 42) : Any proof of that ‘someone’ saying to Lambie what you and many others are claiming he said? 😈

  • Comment 43, posted at 15.08.13 13:48:20 by McLovin Reply

  • @McLovin (Comment 43) : It is rather coincidental that Lambie’s change in style coincided with the first international games under the esteemed new coach Her Majesty the king of bull. 😉

    But I’m sure Lambie decided to shy away from that which made him the most promising prospect of 2010/11 in his bid to become the greatest pretender in 2012/13. 😐

  • Comment 44, posted at 15.08.13 13:55:49 by FireTheLooser Reply

  • @FireTheLooser (Comment 44) : You sure it wasn’t at the same time as when Jupiter aligned with Mars thus upsetting Lambie’s mojo? 😉 :mrgreen:

    I find the above just as believable as this whole Meyer ruined Lambie conspiracy. 😛

  • Comment 45, posted at 15.08.13 14:43:27 by McLovin Reply

  • @McLovin (Comment 45) : No conspiracy! Lol! Just the opinion of someone who finds the dip in form a bit too coincidental.

    What do you attribute it to or have you not noticed that there’s been more kicking?

  • Comment 46, posted at 15.08.13 14:59:04 by ChrisS Reply
  • @ChrisS (Comment 46) : No idea what caused the perceived dip in form, and until I see numbers I cannot possibly say whether there has been more kicking. 🙂

  • Comment 47, posted at 15.08.13 15:07:31 by McLovin Reply

  • @McLovin (Comment 45) : Well I understand that as a streamers supporter, Springbok rugby is still an upgrade and offer a far greater deal of excitement than watching your team defending for 80mins. week in and week out. 😈

    But for those supporters outside of the Western Cape and Pretoria, we kind of expect international rugby to offer more than our provincial sides and we expect our players to be improved while on international duty.

  • Comment 48, posted at 15.08.13 15:10:17 by FireTheLooser Reply

  • @McLovin (Comment 47) : Watch some of the matches from this year.

  • Comment 49, posted at 15.08.13 15:36:36 by ChrisS Reply
  • @FireTheLooser (Comment 48) : As the Afr saying goes: Julle skop teen die prikkels. :mrgreen:

  • Comment 50, posted at 15.08.13 15:37:10 by McLovin Reply

  • @McLovin (Comment 50) : decided to do a bit of trolling today? 😀

  • Comment 51, posted at 15.08.13 15:44:45 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
  • @Pokkel (Comment 51) : That’s the thing about perception & ‘feelings’, no-one is necessarily right nor wrong but no-one can prove it. :mrgreen: This thread can keep going till doomsday and we will be no closer to any form of agreement. Made the day go by quicker though. 🙂

  • Comment 52, posted at 15.08.13 16:15:03 by McLovin Reply

  • I recently asked a sport scientist, whether the tackler or the tackled player is more at risk of injury and the answer was that it’s around 50/50.

    It’s pretty easy to deduce from there, that a fly-half who likes to run is twice as likely to be injured as a non-running fly-half. Given that both attend to their tackle duties properly.

    Perhaps you are correct then. The “Bulls” coaches are responsible for Lambie being a more clever player now. Hopefully Goosen will wizen up soon.

  • Comment 53, posted at 15.08.13 22:45:00 by fyndraai Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • U just have to go back to 2010 when Lambie was introduced to 10 in the CC. He was exciting, took the ball direct, deep and executed an array of flyhalf kicking skills. Now all he practices is his kicking out of hand because if he is to become no1 he has to be a better kicker that Morne. He’s tried to take Morne on at this and failed terribly twice already this year – so practice at his kicking even more is what he is doing.

    Right now he is probably back to being a better 15 than a 10. But we all know he doesn’t have the speed for a 15

  • Comment 54, posted at 16.08.13 08:39:16 by BBB Reply

  • But Lambie is no 10 either,last descent game at 10 was CC final 2010. He lacks rugby kop like Michalak,Carter,Cooper to be a true good 10

  • Comment 55, posted at 16.08.13 09:10:27 by benji Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • Ill use the example of the bulls game where we were behind in the last minute and lambie chose to kick the ball upfield instead of running-the old lambie wouldve attempted to run

  • Comment 56, posted at 16.08.13 09:13:52 by Bok-Clyde-Kiwi Reply

  • I like what the nz commentators say-sa sides measure their performances on how few mistakes they make whilst nz and to a lesser extent aus sides are measured on how many breaks they make

  • Comment 57, posted at 16.08.13 09:16:33 by Bok-Clyde-Kiwi Reply

  • @fyndraai (Comment 53) : We should tell Carter about this revelation, seems he needs to wisen up and stop risking injury. I’m sure HM will gladly ruing his career for him. 😈

  • Comment 58, posted at 16.08.13 09:18:52 by FireTheLooser Reply

  • @FireTheLooser (Comment 58) :

    Carter has spent a fair bit of the last few seasons injured also.

    I know it’s counter intuitive. Men, especially young ones, are made to take tremendous risks for brief moments of glory. New Zealand coaches don’t have to worry about their first five’s health too much. They can stay champions with a 3rd or 4th choice player. SA coaches do not enjoy such luxuries.

  • Comment 59, posted at 16.08.13 13:49:25 by fyndraai Reply
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