What options has Rassie got?

Written by Stephen Smith (StevieS)

Posted in :RWC 2019, Springboks on 27 Nov 2018 at 07:27

What a shambles of a game against Wales. The players looked jaded, disinterested and seemed to have had one foot on the plane to Monaco for the World Rugby awards. I think I’ll just end my comments on the Wales game by saying there is a lot of work to do before next year’s World Cup and that Rassie will have to make some bold calls with regard to selection and game plan.


Now, with the RWC fast approaching, and, given the mixed performances of the team this year, there has been a lot of debate about who Rassie should have looked at from the overseas and local contenders and, as always, everyone has an opinion on who should be playing for the Boks.


I thought it would be interesting come up with an Overseas XV and an Out of Favour XV (SA based players). Take a look and then see who you would have included in the Bok Team. Note that the OOF XV includes players in the current Bok Squad who have not yet played a test for Rassie or have not played since June 2018, such as Jason Jenkins.


Overseas XV:


1.     Heinke vd Merwe

2.     Bismarck du Plessis

3.     Lourens Adriaanse

4.     Paul Willemse

5.     Franco van de Merwe

6.     Marcell Coetzee

7.     Jaco Kriel

8.     Ruan Ackermann

9.     Cobus Reinach

10.   Patrick Lambie

11.   Duhan vd Merwe

12.   Jan Serfontein

13.   Francois Venter

14.   JP Pietersen

15.   Frans Steyn


Out of Favour XV:


1.     Ox Nche

2.     Akker vd Merwe

3.     Coenie Oosthuizen

4.     Jason Jenkins

5.     Ruan Botha

6.     Marco van Staden

7.     Jean-Luc Du Preez

8.     Dan Du Preez

9.     Cameron Wright

10.   Rob Du Preez

11.   Kobus van Wyk

12.   Harold Vorster

13.   Jeremy Ward

14.   Ruan Combrinck

15.   Curwin Bosch


I am leaving out a host of names, including Johan Goosen,  Rohan Janse van Rensburg, Sergeal Petersen, Craig Burden, Marcel van de Merwe, Pat Cilliers, and the list goes on and on. Who do you think would add real value to the current Bok squad?


  • I think we have to be realistic and bear in mind Rassie’s other targets that he is requried to meet for the RWC.
    So keeing that in the back of my mind this is basically who i belive has down as his 1st choice 15:
    1. Kitshoff 2. Marx 3. Malherbe 4. Etzebeth 5. TBC 6. Kolisi 7. PSDT 8. Vermuelen 9. Faf 10. Pollard 11. Dyanti 12. TBC 13. TBC 14. TBC 15. Le Roux
    So the positions i feel he hasnt fully settled on is 5, 12, 13, 14
    5- basically between Mostert and De Jager i feel
    12/13 – i dont think Rassie is fully certain of his centres but could revert to his default of DeAllende/Kriel
    14- its between Nkosi and Kolbe at the moment but i still feel its quite open.

    Then the bench will depend who is fit etc.

  • Comment 1, posted at 27.11.18 08:23:36 by SheldonK Reply
  • @SheldonK (Comment 1) : For the 14 position I feel he’ll go with S’bu if he can stay injury free.

    I also think he’ll use Beast to start and Kitshoff as the impact player as he provides more than Beast does when coming off the bench.

    The centres are a real problem area, with De Allende and Kriel not known for their distribution skills.

  • Comment 2, posted at 27.11.18 09:11:37 by StevieS Reply
  • @StevieS (Comment 2) : Yeh with a full super rugby season and rugby championship still to go before the RWC injuries will no doubt play a part. Centres i feel are the biggest concern. I think he likes the idea of Jantjies coming on and Pollard moving to 12 later in the game. But who does he start with then etc. Think he will look at Super rugby and rugby championship for that and as i said may just revert to the default pairing

  • Comment 3, posted at 27.11.18 09:47:59 by SheldonK Reply

  • Now eliminate all the players that haven’t at some point played for province.

  • Comment 4, posted at 27.11.18 10:36:15 by Nostraseth Reply
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  • Interesting Stevie! Both very good sides I could add maybe Orie at lock, Ntsila from the kings or Mohoje/Cassiem to get the OOF side closer to Rassie’s KP,I heck I could even stick Rudy Paige in at 9 and expect them to give the boks a decent game.

  • Comment 5, posted at 27.11.18 11:23:09 by Byron Wright Reply

  • @Byron Wright (Comment 5) : There are just so many options. Scary how many guys are overseas.

    What irritates me is that guys go overseas and come back better players e.g. Percy, Stefan Terblanche etc. Why is the conditioning overseas and the skills training so much better than we see locally? Bob Dwyer was lamenting the same thing about the Aussie players in the English Premiership.

  • Comment 6, posted at 27.11.18 11:34:43 by StevieS Reply
  • Was interesting seeing stats comparing Rassie’s Bok side of this year to Coetzee’s Bok side last year. Coetzee’s side scored more tries and had a better win %.

  • Comment 7, posted at 27.11.18 12:23:03 by SheldonK Reply

  • @SheldonK (Comment 7) : But Coetzee had more than 2 year’s time to get to that point which Rassie didn’t have. So you could say that Rassie achieved what he (Coetzee) did in 40% of the time allotted to Coetzee. Did Coetzee beat Rassie by 50% ? If yes, then let’s say they break even if no let’s reevaluate using the time factor. A lot of these players playing now looked like absolute palookas toward the end of Coetzee’s tenure but started out looking a lot better, so a downward curve on individuals also had to be rectified once Rassie took over. Im not defending Rassie but let’s be fair he was given a broken machine to work with and no time on the clock not like when Jake handed divvy a working world class squad and a full term to work with them.

  • Comment 8, posted at 27.11.18 13:00:15 by coolfusion Reply

  • @coolfusion (Comment 8) : Yeh look facts in isolation without context have to been seen as just that. Now im not defending AC or blaming Rassie…but AC was fired and Rassie was brought in to make things better. And well year on year based purely on results he hasnt. Now yes we can consider time…but in time AC went from 35% win rate to about 60%, so with more time would he too have improved. So yes i would expect Rassie’s numbers to go up, but thats only if he learns from his mistakes and takes it forward next year. If he continues on the same path his numbers will be worse than AC…

  • Comment 9, posted at 27.11.18 13:07:20 by SheldonK Reply

  • @SheldonK (Comment 9) : Just another factor to throw in is that Rassie experimented with a lot of new players and combinations and one could even argue that he sacrificed games to expose new players to test rugby e.g. 3rd England game.

    I think the best way to compare is take AC’s 1st year vs Rassie’s 1st year.

  • Comment 10, posted at 27.11.18 13:49:30 by StevieS Reply
  • @SheldonK (Comment 9) : He could have used these barbarians games to actually get more data in fact I suggest he had 3 or 4 barbarians test lined up using a different coach and bring in all the fringe and overlookedand out of favour. Players. He could have done it objectively and had an outside perspective. He chose to play exactly the same guys in boks setup under his style of coaching. That to me is a point it two against him. This barbarians tour has no value except overworking tired players.

  • Comment 11, posted at 27.11.18 13:50:16 by coolfusion Reply

  • @StevieS (Comment 6) : I think its the combo that makes them better players. Being exposed to different methods and skills in the north and south. Would be ideal if we could have a coaching team covering both. We did briefly with Easter here.

    We also seem to have a very amateur approach to coaching recruitment where ex players are given years to learn on the job often at the expense of the senior side.

  • Comment 12, posted at 27.11.18 13:53:19 by Byron Wright Reply

  • @coolfusion (Comment 11) : I know a lot of us see the Barbarians game as a lost opportunity for a Bok trial but i think for the players its more than that. Its about being part of a unique bunch that have played for the Barbarians and a lot of it is about what happens off the field in the week leading up to the game. I know a lot of us have a very pessimistic view of it but i think the players enjoy that environment and its nice to blow off some steam after a stressful year

  • Comment 13, posted at 27.11.18 14:08:43 by SheldonK Reply

  • @coolfusion (Comment 8) : @SheldonK (Comment 9) : @StevieS (Comment 10) : but then AC could only use overseas based player with more than 30 Bok caps and Rassie can even select uncapped players!? Not really comparing apples with apples!?!?!?

  • Comment 14, posted at 27.11.18 14:33:21 by JD Reply
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  • @JD (Comment 14) : That rule was lifted wasn’t it?

  • Comment 15, posted at 27.11.18 14:47:41 by coolfusion Reply

  • @coolfusion (Comment 15) : That’s how he got Koch

  • Comment 16, posted at 27.11.18 14:48:27 by coolfusion Reply

  • @JD (Comment 14) : Fair point. Very hard to compare the results With all of these variables.

  • Comment 17, posted at 27.11.18 16:48:59 by StevieS Reply
  • @coolfusion (Comment 15) : yes that is correct it was lifted right after Rassie started coaching the Bokke!

  • Comment 18, posted at 27.11.18 17:34:56 by JD Reply
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  • @StevieS (Comment 17) : for sure.

  • Comment 19, posted at 27.11.18 17:35:46 by JD Reply
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  • @JD (Comment 18) : So you are correct different measuring sticks here.

  • Comment 20, posted at 27.11.18 17:42:20 by coolfusion Reply

  • @coolfusion (Comment 20) : just saying it’s not always cut and dry as to who is better. A lot depend on what you are “allowed” to do, what legacy was left by your predecessor, etc. Like in any sport it is hard to judge who was better when comparing players/coaches of different times.

  • Comment 21, posted at 27.11.18 17:59:21 by JD Reply
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  • @JD (Comment 21) : 100% very difficult to do a straight comparison as opposition etc also changes. I just have this feeling that the Boks will be come more conservative with even more box kicks and try defend next year as opposed to going out to attack opposition. Really hope im wrong

  • Comment 22, posted at 28.11.18 08:05:01 by SheldonK Reply

  • @StevieS (Comment 10) : There was a good article on news twenty.
    First year Rassie won 7/14 vs AC’s 4/12
    Tries scores in first year 37 (average2.64) vs AC 20 (1.6)
    Points conceded Rassie 330 (23.57 per match) vs AC 329 (27.54)
    Win % for Rassie home 66.6% Away 37.5% vs AC 66.6% home and 0 away for AC

    Rassie certainly started from a ill timed test vs Wales, and we didn’t experience the horrendous results like 57-10 etc. I think in general, there is more to be positive about, and there seems to be a clearer plan in terms of game plan, even though execution has been problematic.

  • Comment 23, posted at 28.11.18 08:51:59 by KingCheetah Reply

  • @SheldonK (Comment 1) : I pretty much agree mostly. Do think de Jager will be restored to 5, once on form, and he will also be Eben’s backup. I hope either of Cyle Brink, or JL du Preez crack a nod, which will give du Toit also the option of playing 5. Think Thomas, despite his apparent TH transition, will be better used at LH.
    jan Serfontein should be looked at 12, and Goosen if fit at 13, though that won’t happen (Goosen)

  • Comment 24, posted at 28.11.18 08:57:46 by KingCheetah Reply

  • @KingCheetah (Comment 23) : I agree, there is more to be positive about. I was never an AC fan but I find it a totally moot point to compare the two coaches purely because AC had one hand tied behind his back as far as team selection goes while Rassie came into the job mostly on his own terms.

  • Comment 25, posted at 28.11.18 09:54:36 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
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  • @KingCheetah (Comment 23) : Thanks for the stats. I just hope Rassie pushes on and evolves this team even more next year.

  • Comment 26, posted at 28.11.18 10:18:49 by StevieS Reply
  • @Salmonoid the Subtle (Comment 25) : Yeah man, it is difficult to compare. Somehow I doubt AC would have fared better wven if he wasn’t shackled. He just didn’t inspire confidence. Rassie could negotiate terms ftom a position of power so to speak.

  • Comment 27, posted at 28.11.18 17:43:30 by KingCheetah Reply

  • I remember many years ago Andre Joubert spent two seasons warming his arse on the bench at the Sharks while Hugh Reecec Edwards saw his time out as the Sharks and Boks 15.
    It was only when he was picked as an uncapped player in the Nov Barbarians team that he was given a chance to shine and he took it with both hands, man of the match and that game hastened Hughie’s retirement, and the start of a the career of the Boks best ever 15
    My point is Erasmus was in the perfect position to give the hugely talented Fassi or Ward a chance to shine, in his Barbarians team but with predictable obstinate tunnel vision he goes foe the serial underachiever dumb fucken deAllende,tand the hugely over rated Dyantyi
    Two players who have been given ample opportunity to shine and on this current tour have got progressively worse every game.

  • Comment 28, posted at 29.11.18 11:01:47 by The hound Reply
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  • @The hound (Comment 28) : for sure 100% with you. He had the perfect chance to see what fringe players (especially based in SA so no problems with clubs having to release them) could do. Thinking especially of players that was on tour like Schreuder, Schickerling, Willemse and Nel that did not get a chance to show what they can do.

  • Comment 29, posted at 29.11.18 11:21:33 by JD Reply
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  • @The hound (Comment 28) : Yes and he could have got Akker and Rob du Preez to play as well but he is probably afraid that they may show up his boeties on the world stage – Akker will show Brits up and will run Marx very close and Rob Dup has already had a MOM performance for the Baa Baa’s so he too could push Pollard very closely up North. Pollard, I must admit is finally starting to look comfortable and is hitting his straps.

  • Comment 30, posted at 29.11.18 12:44:58 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
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  • If Rassie really wanted to use this s a Bok trial in the Barbarians style he should have picked this kind of side:

    1. DuToit 2. Akker 3. Coenie 4. Schickerling 5. De Jager 6. Van Staden 7.Notshe 8. D DuPreez 9. Schreuder 10. Willemse 11. Peterson 12. R DuPreex 13. Esterhuizen 14. Nel 15. Aplon
    Bench: Ox, Chilliboy, Nyakane, Moerat, Augustus, Papier, Jantjies, Mapoe

    That basically uses all the extended squad members that are on tour plus a couple fill ins

  • Comment 31, posted at 29.11.18 14:14:32 by SheldonK Reply

  • @SheldonK (Comment 31) : Now that’s an exciting looking team.

  • Comment 32, posted at 29.11.18 15:20:58 by StevieS Reply
  • @StevieS (Comment 32) : Not neccessarily the best players in each position but its a combo that i reckon would throw the ball around a bit while still offering a bit of grunt

  • Comment 33, posted at 29.11.18 15:24:12 by SheldonK Reply

  • Last years Man of the match in the Barbarians loss to the All Blacks was Kwagga Smith a guy who epitomises the Barbarians style of rugby.Most coaches who get to choose and coach a Barbarians team choose the type of players who play Barbarian running rugby.Where is Kwagga Smith has he also been ignored like Jean Luc because he might embarrass the incumbent W,P loose forwards.

  • Comment 34, posted at 29.11.18 17:20:07 by The hound Reply
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  • Dick Muir gone and a new attacking coach in. I am a bit of a Muir fan so not all that pleased with this as I think Muir was someone who wouldn’t have been afraid to differ with RDP.

    Williams coming in seems to have a decent C.V though so lets see how it goes.

  • Comment 35, posted at 30.11.18 11:42:19 by Byron Wright Reply

  • @Byron Wright (Comment 35) : David Williams – hope its not the comedian and author of children’s books :mrgreen:

  • Comment 36, posted at 30.11.18 13:43:58 by Bokhoring Reply
  • @Bokhoring (Comment 36) : I had visions of Chester. Ok so where is this articlle?

  • Comment 37, posted at 30.11.18 14:34:13 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
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  • @Salmonoid the Subtle (Comment 37) : There you go

  • Comment 38, posted at 30.11.18 15:11:49 by Bokhoring Reply
  • So some (o)’s think its wise to attack Os du Randt and Naka Drotsky, glad to hear that Naka is now stable.

  • Comment 39, posted at 30.11.18 16:15:30 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
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  • @Salmonoid the Subtle (Comment 39) : ??

  • Comment 40, posted at 30.11.18 17:35:56 by coolfusion Reply

  • @coolfusion (Comment 40) : Naka and Os visiting a family member’s farm and allegedly some guys broke in and Naka was shot. Apparently condition is critical

  • Comment 41, posted at 30.11.18 18:20:40 by Julesgr8ter Reply
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  • @Salmonoid the Subtle (Comment 39) : @Julesgr8ter (Comment 41) : yes apparently Naka was shot 3 time and last time I checked the net it was reported that he was in a critical but stable condition. Apparentlyhe also lost a lot of blood.

  • Comment 42, posted at 30.11.18 19:28:15 by JD Reply
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  • @JD (Comment 42) : Wow not good. My prayers are with him.

  • Comment 43, posted at 30.11.18 20:12:38 by coolfusion Reply


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