Three changes in Bok pit-stop

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Springboks, The Rugby Championship on 25 Aug 2014 at 19:23
Tagged with : , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Springboks, having just arrived back from a somewhat successful tour to Argentina, leave again on Saturday for Perth, where they will play their next Castle Rugby Championship test against Australia next weekend.

Heyneke Meyer has made three changes to his squad of 30 for that trip. Injured Stormers prop Frans Malherbe, who broke an ankle in Salta on Saturday, is replaced by Bulls bench prop Marcel van der Merwe, a clear indication of the coach’s preference for form ahead of provincial affiliation.

Victor Matfield and Willem Alberts, both of whom missed the trip to Argentina with various ailments, have both also been included, at the expense of veteran Juan Smith and uncapped Warren Whiteley. Matfield is a definite for the trip, while Alberts will undergo one more test on his hamstring on Thursday before a final call is made.

Despite being shown up badly against the 12th-ranked side in the world, it is Smith, rather than the more deserving Whiteley, who will remain with the squad should Alberts fail that fitness test.Guess you can’t buy experience at this level, particularly if the coach refuses to pick you unless you already have some.

Springbok squad:

Forwards: Willem Alberts (Juan Smith), Bakkies Botha, Schalk Brits, Marcell Coetzee, Lodewyk de Jager, Bismarck du Plessis, Jannie du Plessis, Eben Etzebeth, Francois Louw, Victor Matfield, Teboho Mohoje, Tendai Mtawarira, Trevor Nyakane, Gurthrö Steenkamp, Adriaan Strauss, Marcel van der Merwe, Duane Vermeulen.

Backs: Damian de Allende, Jean de Villiers (captain), Bryan Habana, Cornal Hendricks, Francois Hougaard, Patrick Lambie, Willie le Roux, Lwazi Mvovo, Ruan Pienaar, Handré Pollard, Cobus Reinach, Jan Serfontein, Morné Steyn.


  • I can piece together probable justifications (whether valid or not) for every selection but Guthro Steenkamp? I have no idea…

    Also, I suspect we’re asking for trouble without a specialist 13. Hope I’m wrong regarding that one.

  • Comment 1, posted at 25.08.14 19:33:33 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld vanmartin
  • @vanmartin (Comment 1) : Marcell does not make the starting team but stays in whilst Juan make the starting team and could lose out?!?!?!?! That makes no sense!!!!! This guys slections makes no sense at all. If Alberts is 50/50 why not just safe him for the home leg!!!!!

  • Comment 2, posted at 25.08.14 19:41:18 by JD Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld JD
  • Its disappointing that there is not atleast one member of the lions front row that scrummed so well in the super rugby competition-at this rate the bulls u21 props will get a Bok game before they do

  • Comment 3, posted at 25.08.14 19:41:34 by Bok-Clyde-Kiwi Reply
  • @Bok-Clyde-Kiwi (Comment 3) : ja it’s like Rob said it just shows he does not have any provincial bias!

  • Comment 4, posted at 25.08.14 19:54:50 by JD Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld JD
  • @JD (Comment 2) : I really admire Juan Smith. One of my favourite players of all time but I don’t get this selection when we do have good backup there. I know Whiteley is not a 7 but would have preferred he gets to tour and Oupa gets a bench spot.

  • Comment 5, posted at 25.08.14 19:58:09 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld vanmartin
  • @vanmartin (Comment 5) : ja I must agree with you 100% I also like Juan but just like Schalk father time has caught up with him and it’s time to make way for them younger players.

  • Comment 6, posted at 25.08.14 20:21:40 by JD Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld JD
  • Dripping with sarcasm. Had a good laugh at the vdM comment. 😆

  • Comment 7, posted at 25.08.14 21:06:15 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • If we can’t make fun of this sorry affair, there sure would be no fun left in Springbok rugby…thanks for the light side Rob. 😉

  • Comment 8, posted at 25.08.14 21:14:34 by FireTheLooser Reply
  • @vanmartin (Comment 1) : I agree G Steenkamp is way past being useful.

  • Comment 9, posted at 25.08.14 21:15:12 by [email protected] Reply
  • Personally I would have dropped the whole 1st choice front row for the Australasian tour given how the scrums went in the last 2 tests…

  • Comment 10, posted at 25.08.14 21:26:47 by Morné Reply
  • @Morné (Comment 10) : Not much of a replacement front row selected by mr. Coach, so not to sure who’d be replacing them.

    Strauss for Bismarck…Mr. X for Beast…Mr. Y for Jannie 🙄

  • Comment 11, posted at 25.08.14 21:37:23 by FireTheLooser Reply
  • H.Meyer sal altyd sy vkn blou bulletjies eerste sit en ni vr hm self dnk dus n flpn SA span en ni n flpn bloubull span ni..Maak jou oe oop H.Meyer!!!

  • Comment 12, posted at 25.08.14 21:52:09 by Harper07 Reply
  • @FireTheLooser (Comment 11) :

    Well he didn’t drop them as far as I can read, but since there are no options available as you stated above I guess that answers that question.

  • Comment 13, posted at 25.08.14 21:54:01 by Morné Reply
  • @Morné (Comment 13) : The blame should be laid at both the front row as well as our locks…4 lock should scrum blindside, not sure why Etsebeth and Lood swopped places at scrum time.

    Also, I do feel the Argentine LH prop got away with severely scrumming inward….no TH in world rugby is able to scrum against a LH scrumming illegally.

  • Comment 14, posted at 25.08.14 22:06:59 by FireTheLooser Reply
  • @FireTheLooser (Comment 11) : problem was they had to be rested in the June internationals to see if there was replacements and how good they are.

  • Comment 15, posted at 25.08.14 23:23:31 by JD Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld JD
  • 30 players
    8 sharks
    7 os players
    6 cheetahs
    5 bulls
    4 stormers

    …..clearly too many Bulls.

  • Comment 16, posted at 26.08.14 02:57:13 by fyndraai Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld fyndraai
  • @Bok-Clyde-Kiwi (Comment 3) :

    If they did so great how come you don’t refer to them by name?

    The sanzar scrum rankings are:

    1: Lions 91%
    2: Stormers 89%
    4: Bulls 88%
    9: Sharks 86%
    13: Cheetahs 84%

    yet our front row players are 3 sharks, 2 cheetahs, 2 over seas and 1 bull

    yet Rob complains about the bull :ha ha:

  • Comment 17, posted at 26.08.14 03:15:26 by fyndraai Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld fyndraai
  • yet when it comes to rugby stats, one should always look a little under the hood.

    The difference between the all Bok front row of Jannie, Bissie and Beast and the heretofore unknown players commonly referred to as “the Lions front-row”, may be 5% in the rankings, but what is it really?
    How many scrums make 5 ranking points?

    Considering that there are normally less than 10 scrums per game and thus probably less than 5 put-ins per team per game, the rankings are based on around 90 scrums or less.

    5% is 5 scrums or less.
    The Lions was more successful than the Stormers or the Bulls in 1 or 2 scrums.
    1 or 2 referee guesses.

    and based on that, they should capped them as Boks :roll eyes:

  • Comment 18, posted at 26.08.14 03:33:07 by fyndraai Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld fyndraai
  • @fyndraai (Comment 16) : Let’s rather look at the starting 23, and then decide how many players from each franchise are represented.

    And judging by the bulls this year, I’m not sure how they even have 5 players in the squad? We all know they only ever won at Loftus…these boys are clueless on what to do with that oval ball once it leaves pre-taw-re-yah. 😉

  • Comment 19, posted at 26.08.14 07:06:57 by FireTheLooser Reply
  • @fyndraai (Comment 18) : Please, you’re looking at percentages, instead of using the two round things stuck in your head, to see how well the Lions scrum.

    Tell me, on what do they base these scrum percentages? Own ball won, opposition ball won, scrum penalties given away, scrum penalties won, scrum collapses?

    Divide the scrum success rate into the above sections, and let’s see what equates to scrum success.

  • Comment 20, posted at 26.08.14 07:11:14 by FireTheLooser Reply
  • Always much criticism of the front row. I’m surprised that Brendan Venter’s comments on the Argentine scrum have not been picked up on more.
    In one scrum on Saturday, I remember Jannie going forward in the initial shove while Ayerza almost stepped outward and then in my view shoved blatantly inwards. I agree with Venter.

  • Comment 21, posted at 26.08.14 08:16:37 by MikeSebMatt Reply
  • HM hav put his faith and coaching credentials on the line with these players so he will back them to the hill and back regardless. Afetr that scrum performance Jannie,Bismarck and Gurthro should be sent back to provincial rugby. I dont care if they scrummed illegally- the ref didnt pick it up therefore he deemed it legal so why didnt we just do the same. Answer is because we were dominated. Were our poor lineouts and rucks also cos of the ref? Besides a few carries Etsebeth looked well off the pace as did Juan Smith. Lood looked like he was playing stoned. Matfield and Etsebeth will start vs OZ. I expect Vermuelen,Alberts and Louw to be loose trio. Nyakane has been the squad forever so let the guy have a chance. Id even start Hougaard but i kno HM will pick Pienaar as he isnt interested in grooming any scrumhalves as he will play Fourie DuPreez in every game he is fit to play.

  • Comment 22, posted at 26.08.14 08:45:01 by SheldonK Reply
  • Send them back to provincial rugby? What front row can we put out that would be significantly stronger? I don’t necessarily see it.

  • Comment 23, posted at 26.08.14 08:56:34 by MikeSebMatt Reply
  • @Morné (Comment 10) : And the scrum coach too.

  • Comment 24, posted at 26.08.14 08:59:17 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Salmonoid the Subtle
  • @fyndraai (Comment 16) :

    30 players
    8 sharks
    7 os players
    6 cheetahs
    5 bulls
    4 stormers

    …..clearly too many Bulls.

    Let’s dissect that a little shall we.

    Probable Starting line-up

    Willie, Hendricks, De Allende, De Villiers, Habana, M Steyn, Pienaar, Vermeulen, Alberts, Flouw, Matfield, Etzebeth, Jannie, Bissie, Beast

    4 OS Players (2 of Which HM Bulls)
    4 Sharks
    4 Stormers
    2 Cheetahs
    1 Bull

    Probable Bench

    M vd Merwe, G Steenkamp, A Strauss, Bakkies, Marcell, Hougaard, Pollard, Jan

    4 Bulls
    2 OS Player (2 of Which HM Bulls)
    1 Cheetah
    1 Shark

    Probable Tackle Bag boys

    Schalk Brits, Lodewyk de Jager, Teboho Mohoje, Trevor Nyakane, Patrick Lambie, Lwazi Mvovo, Cobus Reinach,

    3 Sharks
    3 Cheetahs
    1 OS Player

    So in the match 23 not only 5 Bulls, but another 5 OS players that played under HM at the Bulls.

    That makes the match 23

    9 Bulls (4 of which OS players)
    5 Sharks
    4 Stormers
    3 Cheetahs
    3 Other OS players
    0 Lions

    Now try to justify each of these players in the Bok team over other SA players in the same position, can you justify it based on form:

    Guthro Steenkamp
    Marcel vd Merwe
    Bakkies Botha
    Victor Matfield
    Francois Hougaard
    Handre Pollard
    Morne Steyn
    Bryan Habana
    Jan Serfontein

    It feels a lot like many of these players were selected because of their previous or current affiliation with the Bulls. I just don’t think that some of the older players would still have been selected, and some of the younger players would have been selected this soon, had they been playing for other unions.

    And I don’t think a coach that had not previously been involved with the Bulls, would have selected nearly as many of those players as HM have.

    I think Matfield, Hougaard, Steyn, Habana and Serfontein would have been the limit.

  • Comment 25, posted at 26.08.14 09:01:07 by Letgo Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Letgo
  • @MikeSebMatt (Comment 21) : Agree, seems we expect our players to be such super humans, that even blatant illegal scrumming shouldn’t have an effect on them.

    We need to learn though, that when the opposition loosehead is allowed to scrum in, then our loosehead should pick up on this and use the exact same tactic.

  • Comment 26, posted at 26.08.14 09:07:00 by FireTheLooser Reply
  • @Letgo (Comment 25) : Thank you, some much needed perspective.

  • Comment 27, posted at 26.08.14 09:11:10 by FireTheLooser Reply
  • What is true with Jannie (and Bismarck)is that they have played a hell of a lot of rugby this year and need a break. If someone told Jannie to have a holiday until about March of next year, that would in my view be good for the Sharks and the Boks. He looks out on his feet. But he has one boat load of experience that I think should not be ditched.

  • Comment 28, posted at 26.08.14 09:11:56 by MikeSebMatt Reply
  • @Letgo (Comment 25) :

    And even Matfield would probably stayed in retirement if for example, Nick Mallet, Allistair Coetzee, John Mitchell, Graham Henry… Jake White, were given the SA coaching reigns.

    If the Bulls had been playing like they were in 07/08/09, the numbers would have made sense, but they can barely buy a win in the CC and could not do much during SR and Still Heyneken is selecting players that could barely cut the mustard at the Bulls.

    Pollard and Marcel vd Merwe mostly played of the bench. Hougaard is just regaining form, Morne Steyn couldn’t play himself into the starting line-up of his French team ???

    Steenkamp and Bakkies surely aren’t the answer in their respective positions either. For that matter, pick Coenie at looshead and Paul Willemse (a young Bull).

    Not to mention the selection of Mercel vd Merwe, where a couple of thightheads in SA have been showing good form lately. As far as I know Pat Ciliers has been ahead of Malherbe at WP, Adriaanse were ahead of Mercel vd Merwe at some point and when will the Lions props be given a shot?

  • Comment 29, posted at 26.08.14 09:17:20 by Letgo Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Letgo
  • @fyndraai (Comment 18) : you are completely right. The sensible thing to do is nothing at all.

    Everything is fine with the Boks. It must be because Heyneke Meyer said so

  • Comment 30, posted at 26.08.14 09:18:47 by robdylan Reply
  • @robdylan (Comment 30) : Yet these self-same guys would have been the ones making the most noise during the PdV and JW era.

    HM loyalists, as apposed to Springbok supporters. 😡

  • Comment 31, posted at 26.08.14 09:21:23 by FireTheLooser Reply
  • @FireTheLooser (Comment 31) : Match day build ups are just not the same without Pdivvy…id love to see the Snor back!

  • Comment 32, posted at 26.08.14 09:35:58 by SheldonK Reply
  • @Letgo (Comment 25) : Thank you for, rather eloquently, saying exactly what has been on the tip of my tongue.

  • Comment 33, posted at 26.08.14 09:37:30 by Talent Reply
  • @SheldonK (Comment 32) : At least with PdV, we never knew what to expect…watching him do interviews was like unwrapping a gift. :mrgreen:

  • Comment 34, posted at 26.08.14 09:51:17 by FireTheLooser Reply
  • Guys guys relax, as our esteemed savior of Bok rugby, Mr Heyneke Meyer said, there is nothing wrong with how the team is performing, they are just building character.

  • Comment 35, posted at 26.08.14 09:52:26 by KingRiaan Reply
  • @KingRiaan (Comment 35) : That and: “wie nied toe bie fitter”

  • Comment 36, posted at 26.08.14 09:54:20 by FireTheLooser Reply
  • @FireTheLooser (Comment 34) : That man was pure genius. We ran into him at the Elangeni before the 2010 Currie Cup final…he said to us to give him a minute then got in a cab and left haha. He would confuse opposition coaches so much that they didnt know what was coming at them. For all they knew we would pick a prop at 10 and a flyhalf at 8.

  • Comment 37, posted at 26.08.14 09:58:04 by SheldonK Reply
  • @SheldonK (Comment 37) : No we’re stuck with “Contradiction” Meyer…. 😥

  • Comment 38, posted at 26.08.14 10:09:37 by FireTheLooser Reply
  • @FireTheLooser (Comment 36) : 😆

  • Comment 39, posted at 26.08.14 11:30:15 by KingRiaan Reply
  • @FireTheLooser (Comment 20) :

    I don’t place much value in those rankings, but if one do, the obvious question would be, why the Boks’ first choice front row exclusively comes from the 9th ranked team and not the 1st, 2nd or 4th ranked teams?

    The probable answer is that Meyer only selects players he has worked with already. If the Lions’ front-row (no one seems to know their names) continues to play well, they will be included in the squad sometime after attending a Bok camp.

    What you guys (and gals) see as a Bulls bias, is actually an experience bias.

    @robdylan (Comment 30) :

    I don’t think everything will ever be completely fine with the Boks, but at least the empirical data indicates that the Boks are in better shape than they’ve been since 1998.

    Do you not value empirical data?

    @Letgo (Comment 25) :

    I am at a loss, on how to respond to your analysis of HM’s motivations based on your “probable” team, but I do think that you project too much of your own onto Meyer’s.

    Your connection to a team is emotional, the players’ and the coaches’ connections are monetary. Very different behavioural drivers.

  • Comment 40, posted at 26.08.14 13:59:58 by fyndraai Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld fyndraai
  • @fyndraai (Comment 40) : I value beating the All Blacks

  • Comment 41, posted at 26.08.14 14:00:47 by robdylan Reply
  • So many contradictions on this thread…

  • Comment 42, posted at 26.08.14 15:17:05 by VinChainSaw Reply
  • @robdylan (Comment 41) :

    Jup. I believe you do.
    It’s pretty much the only stick you have left for beating up on the piñata.

  • Comment 43, posted at 26.08.14 18:46:58 by fyndraai Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld fyndraai
  • Ah…Marcel van der Merwe…another tighthead that…well…isn’t… 😆

  • Comment 44, posted at 26.08.14 22:11:06 by pastorshark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld pastorshark

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