Wednesday, December 07, 2005
PissAnt On OORB- Take 1/2005
After being nagged to death-;-) by Oranje Orakel- PA finaly had given in and is willing to post a bi- monthly article on Rugby Union analysis on OORB. This series will be started in 2006 by analysing the Vodacom Cheetahs successful 2005 Currie Cup campaign.
As an appetiser- OORB are publishing the following post that PA had posted a while ago on Keo.co.za- focusing on the 2005 Sprinbok year.
yes i am bored and since there is no one to talk to i have talked to myself and it is expressed in a 2 part post to follow.
Since we are winding down for the year, and so many will go on holiday, and…………well we wont see any articles of note on Keo, I thought I would post my plan for Jake White for 2006 and 2007 in view of preparing adequately for World Cup France 2007.
Plus it might be some nice reading material for you lot while you sit on white sandy beaches sipping on your cocktails while myself and some other muppits slave our asses off during December.
Since the French test, there were many discussions regarding the team, the selections, where we believe we fell short, and many views on the best way in our own opinions to move forward. Having read most of it, I tried to include most of those views below and off course spin my own opinion into it too.
The feeling from most of us after 2005 is that yes, it was a good season, but it could have been better. We still have not managed impress at the EOYT and we basically sported the same results as last year. Now although I agree with some of you, that it might not have been good enough, we must not loose perspective on the huge strides made by Jake and the team post 2003. But I do agree, we have not improved much from last year to this year, and that my friends is what playing or coaching rugby is all about, consistently improving year after year.
So why have we not really improved? Player selections? Coaching methods? Coaches themselves? The players themselves? Or administration?
I believe all of these things had some form of impact into the results of 2005.
Let’s look at player selections first.
Post 2004, we saw some players fade away, some guys putting up their hands and some stars born whom Jake could no longer leave out.
I suppose the most obvious player to fade away, or who has had a serious dip in form was Marius Joubert. He was a star in 2004 breaking records all over the show and even reminded some of us of the great Danie Gerber. His form in 2004 was no surprise really. Marius has impressed since he partnered Wayne Julies at Boland. In 2004 the Stormers had a successful campaign in which he was part of. Also, Jake made it easier for him by partnering him in the midfield with his provincial partner DeWet and, add the fact of an extended run for the Bokke, Marius was in a very comfortable situation with everything going for him. So much so, that he played the most games of any other SA player, which might have been part of the reason of his downfall.
I hate it when players/coaches/administrators use the “overplayed” excuse. Yes there are arguments for this, and Tim Noakes has proved as much to me. So I am not saying it is not a valid excuse, but I am saying that if it is such a big deal why did we allow, or expect, Marius to play all those games? Jake has hammered on player management for quite a while now, and to Jake’s defense, he has not had much help from SARU or the provincial coaches. It seems some people still need to realize that country, always, and I mean always, comes before unions or provinces. There should be no arguing that, full stop. Let’s hope Jake has the support in 2006.
With the demise of Marius, DeWet was an obvious casualty. Marius understood his game and running lines and as a unit they defended extremely well. Maybe now some people will understand the importance of combinations and why Jake hammers so much on playing certain guys together even though one individual might not be the best in his position according to some. Fact is, as a unit these guys are lethal, the trick is finding the right combinations though. Marius and DeWet were lethal, but through the loss of Marius, DeWet was a lone man.
Another reason I think we saw our most capped center pairing fail, was the piss poor Super 12 campaign they experienced with the Stormers. For me, form is directly related to confidence. A great example off course is Andre Pretorius, but more on him later. In my view, every single player involved with the Stormers Super 12 campaign was extremely low on confidence, especially after the hammering dished out at Loftus.
Needless to say, guys like Marius, DeWet, Joe, Breyten & Schalk came into Jake’s group shattered and beaten players. Jake performed miracles with Big Joe, but in fairness, Big Joe only hit top form again in the Ellispark test, a couple of weeks into the international season, an opportunity not afforded to Marius and DeWet. And as luck would have it, Jean de Villiers and Jacques Fourie had absolute blinders. Along with some other stars like Ricky January.
To be honest, all the players included in Jake’s team that were part of the Stormers setup, was questioned by the media and public. To an extent, Breyten, Joe and Schalk silenced those critics and proved yet again, that Jake seems to get that little bit extra out of his players, or, Jake is a genius selecting the right combinations.
Another player who disappointed was Jaco van der Westhuizen. In my opinion he gave a new meaning to lateral running, which was very surprising if you take into account the explosive year he had in 2004. Maybe it was the Japanese influence, but one thing is for certain, he did not help DeWet and Marius’ cause to play themselves into form at all, because he was constantly shutting down their space.
Another player that was low on confidence and probably suffered from a poor campaign in the Super 12, was Schalk Burger. Being on such a high in 2004, he also stood a good chance to suffer from 2nd year blues. Jake stepped in, and like with Joe, managed him perfectly. The fact that Schalk was dropped to the bench a couple of games, plus the fact that there was a media gag placed on him, took a lot of pressure and the spotlight off the youngster. Suddenly he realized that, you know what, 2004 was 2004, to be the best you have to consistently perform and be the professional you are supposed to be in this game of rugby. Too many times we throw our young stars to the wolves, and they are torn apart by these animals, yes Keo you and your gang! I need to mention but one name, Derrick Hougaard.
It’s also interesting that NZ, protected Dan Carter much like Jake protected Schalk. We called it a media gag on Schalk, NZ just basically made sure Dan, apart from appearing on billboards in underwear, was never put into a situation were the media could lay into him.
I faintly remember an article or comment about Dan being a bad public speaker or a shy guy, hence the reason we don’t hear much from him in interviews. A clever angle but a media gag none the less.
A few stars were born in 2005 too. Brian Habana, Ricky January and to some extent Lawrence Sephaka silenced a lot of critics this year through their performances. Yes these boys are far from the finished article, but they sure as hell made a huge difference to the team this year.
One worrying factor we all share is the war horses in our team who are nearing the end of their careers. Monty, Os and Breyten still has a huge role to play in the Bok setup, but Jake must develop suitable replacements for the come World Cup 2007, because although he and a lot of us hope they will make it until then, the reality is they might not.
Out of all these Os is probably not that much of a problem, we have great guys that could fill his place, but in Monty and Breyten we are loosing a lot of experience, cool heads, defensive organizers and our first choice kicker. A big void to fill.
Yet again, I would like to point out to the muppits who believe there are more than capable guys to step up and fill these boots, remember, it is not only individual brilliance and skill that will make you great in a team like the boks, but also, the combinations they will form part of. Monty and Breyten played together for years, even before the boks. Thus, knowing each other well and complimenting each others game helped a hell of a lot in pressure situations. Also, it made life much easier for a youngster like Habana to fit in, who btw got shown up a couple of times this year being out of position, slow work rate etc.
We tend to look too much at individual brilliance as supporters and forget how much effective combinations plays a part in a winning team. Hell, just look at the Freestate Cheetahs! No real stars but deadly combinations that gelled helluva well in 2005.
But all said and done, Jake must get guys into the setup very early next year to blood some new guys who will be able to step up to the plate if the situation calls for it if these 2 get crocked.
Candidates he must consider in my opinion are:
Ruan Pienaar (I think he might make a great fullback)
Jantjes (He is not a wing!)
These guys are all great as individual players, but the sooner he decides on one or two and get them involved with the boks next year the better.
Andre Pretorius made one hell of a comeback this year, and no one is more pleased about it than me. I have always rated him and it was great to see him finally delivering on some of the promise he had shown all through his career. And thank god he did, cause Jaco went through a bit of a dip.
It showed us that we are vulnerable at flyhalf, and Jake had to look at a back up in this department. In true Jake White style, he picked a no-one named Bosman. Look I think I have said enough about this guy and his selection over the last couple of weeks, but in my opinion this guy is as good as anyone else we have in SA at the moment. What Jake must do now, is stick with him come hell or high water, if Jake discards this youngster, I will be extremely disappointed in him.
Also, don’t forget, there is another candidate lurking in the background. And yes, laugh all you want but watch this space, Butch James might make a hell of a lot of people eat their words come 2006. Like is said, watch this space.
Jean de Villiers was probably one of the disappointments for the year for me. I really rate this guy and always have. But he just did not come to the party quite yet this year. Also, we have discussed the possible reasons for this to death. Let’s just hope he makes us eat our words come 2006, both for the Stormers and the Boks.
With Jean not quite cutting it, Jacques Fourie was also made to look like and ordinary center. But one look at Prozone will tell you, this guy does a moer of a lot of work on the park. His competitiveness at ruck situation is matched by only one guy in the Bok backline, DeWet Barry.
I think we are in a pretty good situation regarding our midfield. We got five guys who can step up on any day and give a million dollar performance. All Jake has to do now, is find the right combination. I have to mention Wayne Julies as well. I was never a fan but the limited game time he got this year for the boks and his union, he has really impressed me. I probably rate him as the best distributor out of the lot. I just wish I could get rid of my fear on his defense though.
The coaches. Well I think we covered them quite a bit in the last couple of days. And I agree, Gert and Coetzee did nothing to impress me or show me we are ready for 2007, and no, I am not looking to far ahead in this regard, our forwards and backs, were disappointing at times throughout the year. Most notably, the tight loose. Will we see a change in this department? Never.
The one good thing about loosing the World Cup bid is that hopefully a lot of influential people will realize that the administration in SARU is up to shit. One thing I believe we will see is Brian van Rooyen get kicked out of SARU and hopefully we will never see him again. Let us hope this investigation is done properly and the bastard and his accomplices will be named and shamed.
They have not given Jake an ounce of support throughout his reign as coach so far. Hell we can be lucky we still have him as a coach after the PE fiasco! I also hope that Jake gets given more power to manage his players. It will be the only way he will be able to take a fresh squad to France, and there will be no excuses.
Posted by: PissAnt at December 3, 2005 11:04 AM
My advice to Jake.
Jake old buddy old pal, nothing would please me more come 2007 to tell Tackler: “4 more years”, so please Jake, listen to what I am telling you.
What you have done with our team in the last 2 years were amazing, truly it was. And I think every single bok supporter would like to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for bringing pride back into bok rugby and making us a respected rugby team again.
However, what you have created so far, won’t win us the World Cup unfortunately, and that is what all this is all about isn’t it?
I know you are under pressure from various groups and individuals, and you cannot always exercise your ideals the way you want to, because of the country we live in and the unique circumstances we find ourselves in as South Africans. So keeping that in mind I think you need to look at the following.
We need a squad capable of beating the best away from home. It is tough, but not impossible. Our defense is still the best in the world, but I think you must teach the guys to adapt the structures a bit in the next year and a half. Maybe combine rush and drift a bit, we got enough time for that so I am sure you will be able to do it.
Although our forwards never really let us down this year, they also have not played to their full potential. I think you have the right guys in there at the moment, but please have a look at Wikus as well. This guy performs year in and year out and never lets his side down, he is a great backup for Juan and Joe/Pedrie. He also brings a new dimension to the line out and is a brilliant runner with ball in hand. So unless Jacques has a stormer next year and Wikus fades, please include him in your squad!
Pakslae Coetsee is a lock, and is a great cover for Bakkies or Vic. Solly must get more game time, rest Schalla, we know what we have in him and we know he will never disappoint the team when he is called upon. But Solly T is low on confidence. Trust him Jake, give him some more game time.
I would have loved to argue a case for Ryno too, but I guess you can only take so many guys in hey. Anycase, if we have a spade of injuries don’t forget Ryno please.
John Smit must rest. Decide on who our number 2 hooker is and give the guy more game time. The captaincy must also be shared amongst the team. What happens if a freak accident suddenly rules out John for the World cup? Are we without a capable leader then? Find a vice captain in the forwards and one in the backs too, and have them gain experience at test level of the pressures of captaincy. This is non negotiable Jake!
Although Danie and Albert give us cover for Vic and Bakkies, we must find 2 more locks. Cause Vic and Bakkies needs time off. And no, I don’t mean relegated to the bench, relegated to the stands watching the game with a cold Castle for a change! Have a look at Van Schouwenberg and Bekker, these youngster have a year and a half to bulk up a bit and gain valuable experience.
In Ricky, Fourie, Bolla, Claasens & De Kock we are pretty much covered in the scrummy department, but re-consider your stance on Davidson please. Yes the git shoots his mouth off at times but what can you expect from a Natalian? He is good, of that there is no doubt, so I suggest a cup of coffee and lay your differences on the table like grown ups. After Ricky and Fourie he is the next best guy. I know you know this so don’t let personal agendas come in the way.
In Pretoors and Jaco we might be okay in the flyhalf department. But like the EOYT showed, tragedy can strike at any time. I believe we have a gem in Bosman, so please stick with him. But I also believe from an experience point of view Jaco should be first choice back up for Percy, hey the dude can kick too. So we need to identify another potential back up for Pretoors. You have mentioned that the other candidates have done nothing to impress you, and I agree, they did not impress me either, but I think you need to sit down with Steyn, Hougaard, DeWaal and Grant and discuss the areas you believe they need to work on. They too, have a year and a half to sort this out. Inviting them to bok training camps wont hurt either
We have 5 gems in our center department. But I believe a couple of them needs a kick up the arse. Give Julies more game time, play a bit with the combinations so come World Cup 2007 any of these 5 guys can slot into any of the two positions with ease.
We need Nokwe and Ndungane and Chavanga to get more game time too. Paulse is also moving on in the years department and these other guys need to build up confidence so come WC 2007, they can be called upon without having to worry about experience.
Jantjes and Jaco should provide sufficient back up for Percy. Like Os and Smit, Percy needs a bit of a breather in 2006. Have faith in these guys and give them a game or 2. Also do not forget about Roets, but lets see if he performs again in the S14 next year.
In CJ, Sephaka, Steenkamp and Andrews we have sufficient cover in the props department. But also have a look at this Botha guy, he seems the real deal and we are not the most blessed in this department as you know. Also don’t forget about a certain Bands okay!
If I may be so bold to suggest a group of players you need to get together from next year onwards, if only for training camps and working with some of these guys in a bok setup please consider the following:
CJ, Os, Guthro, Botha, Sephaka, Andrews, Pat Barnard, Bands
Smit, Botha, Shimmy, Brits
Vic, Bakkies, Pakslae, Albert, Van Schouwenberg, Bekker
Schalla, Joe, Juan, Pedrie, SollyT, Wikus, Jacques, Ryno
Ricky, FDP, Davidson, Bolla, Claasens, De Kock
Pretoors, Jaco, Bosman, Steyn, Grant, Hougaard, Butch
JDV, Fourie, De Wet, Marius, Julies, JP Nel
Breytie, Habana, Nokwe, Ndungane, Chavanga, Willemse
Monty, Jaco, Jantjes, Roets, Pienaar
It is only a group of 50 players which can be cut down to 35 in 2007 and 26 come world cup.
I think these guys will take us forward.
Good luck and thank you for making us proud supporters again!
If you want to contact me for further insight just post your e-mail address, I will be more than happy to help!
Posted by: PissAnt at December 3, 2005 11:13 AM
This will be good reading for the Bull-slayer folks ;-)
Yip- maybe you are over qualified for the job of "Insight- Engineer" at SARU.
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