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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!


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