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The All Blacks are the yardstick

Written by Pierre McLeod (pierre_mackie)

Posted in :Original Content, Springboks on 22 Jun 2013 at 11:24
Tagged with : , , , ,

Correct me if i’m wrong but it seems like the general trend of every Springbok coach is to win the World Cup, and not worry about what happens in between. Build a team for three years and then win the World Cup and if you fail we will just get a new guy in there. Actually Jake White proved that theory wrong, after winning the 2007 World Cup and Peter De Villiers still took over from him. De Villiers failed in the 2011 World Cup and was replaced with current Bok coach Heyneke Meyer, some might say a few years too late as Meyer did wonders with the Bulls during 2007, 2009 and 2010 to win three Super Rugby titles.

“We really want to be the best team in the world and we need to improve every single game”, said Meyer before their second test against England last year.

How do you become the best team in the world? By winning the World Cup? You are labelled as World Champions for four years but fail to beat New Zealand and Australia. Surely you need to be more consistent in our approach. Meyer did not have a bad 2012 and was pretty much consistent in his team selection, he went with what he knew and the players that would give him what he wanted.

In preparing for last years Rugby Championship we played England, we won two and drew one against England. During the Rugby Championship we beat Argentina convincingly in the opener, but failed to do the same in the return match when we drew for the first time against the Pumas. We lost both games to New Zealand, with a win and a defeat against Australia. The End Of Year tour was also not convincing even though we won all three games against England, Ireland and Scotland.

Meyer might have surprised a few with his team selection for the opening International season and he has two good wins behind him, but they were against Italy (ranked 12th) and Scotland (ranked 11th), their following game will be against Samoa (ranked 7th). When Meyer said, “we really want to be the best team in the world and we need to improve every single game”, did he mean we want to be the best team in the world come World Cup time and we need to improve in every game until then?

If you look at New Zealand (ranked 1st), they have also only won two World Cups as did the Springboks, but they have a winning culture. If they play rugby they play to win, when they run onto the field they know in what direction to play to score tries, when they kick, they know where and why they kick. If you compare that to the way the Springboks approach some of their matches, it often looks like it is a case of playing for survival, we often see aimless kicking down the field or putting up and unders into the air for two or three players to chase.

In South Africa we also have so many different styles of playing, Stormers/Western Province are focussed on a defensive style of playing, Bulls enjoy their forward play with a kicking fly half, Cheetahs and Sharks are generally teams that like to attack and trying to play exiting and attractive rugby. With so many coaches coaching so many different style how difficult most it be to focus on one style of playing when you get together to play for the Boks. Where New Zealand teams generally play the same style of attack rugby, running it at the opposition.

I’m not knocking Meyer in any way – I do think he is a good coach, i’m just asking the question, if we carry on in this way are we playing to become the best team in the world and stay there or just be the best team during a World Cup year and fall back to being no 2 and 3 until we approach another World Cup.


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