Meyer and the blue-tinted ‘Bulls’ sunglasses
After the announcement of the Springbok squad for the Rugby Championship on Saturday, it is clear that Heyneke Meyer has not yet removed his blue-tinted glasses.
The Springbok squad is:
Props: Pat Cilliers, Tendai Mtawarira, Jannie du Plessis, Dean Greyling
Hookers: Adriaan Strauss, Bismarck du Plessis, Chiliboy Ralapelle
Locks: Flip van der Merwe, Andries Bekker, Eben Etzebeth, Juandre Kruger
Backrow: Willem Alberts, Marcell Coetzee, Keegan Daniel, Jacques Potgieter, Pierre Spies, Siya Kolisi
Halfbacks: Ruan Pienaar, Francois Hougaard, Jano Vermaak
Fly halves: Elton Jantjies, Morne Steyn
Midfield: Jean de Villiers, Francois Steyn, JJ Engelbrecht
Back three: Bryan Habana, Zane Kirchner, Patrick Lambie, Lwazi Mvovo, JP Pietersen.
It seems the only thing Meyer has learnt from the English Test series is that Werner Kruger is not of international standard.
There seems to be an obsession with Meyer to go for the Bulls player when indecisive about the best player in a position.
When you consider players like Steven Kitshoff, Tiaan Strauss, Anton Bresler, Ryan Kankowski, Piet van Zyl, Louis Ludick or Willie le Roux compared to Dean Greyling, Chiliboy Ralapelle, Flip v d Merwe, Pierre Spies, Jano Vermaak or Zane Kirchner, then it is clear his vision is marred by the fading blue colour of a clouding sky.
Consider how poorly the Bulls scrum have performed at times during the Super rugby campaign. Why would you still consider Dean Greyling and Chiliboy Ralapelle?
Flip v d Merwe is solid, but compared to the work rate of Bresler during the season there shouldn’t be any doubt as to who would give you more in defence, scrum or lineout.
Pierre Spies would most likely himself admit that he hasn’t been in top form for some time, sure Kankowski has signed to play in Japan, but so did Fourie du Preez, whom Meyer himself wooed over a candlelit dinner, offering him the captaincy to ensure his return for the English series.
Jano Vermaak has played very little rugby during the Super Rugyb and although an experienced half back is not the future of Springbok rugby, where are the young guns that will lead the Springboks into the future?
Zane Kirchner has shown again this season that as a front foot player he can be effective, but that is where it ends, his gameplay is one dimensional and predictable.
The selections of Heyneke Meyer proves that there is no forward thinking about evolving the Springbok game plan, conservatism will once again trump variety in attack and allowing players to use their natural instincts to break down defenses, it will be structured, methodical and predictable.
The only way Springbok rugby will move forward is by introducing younger players outside of the conservative format the Bulls and Stormers have played during the season. But then when Jean de Villiers, one of the remaining “old guard” was appointed captain, the writing was already on the wall.
Surely an astute rugby man such as Heyneke Meyer must recognise the balanced and effective way the Sharks and Cheetahs have played during the year.
I may be jumping the gun here, but it seems he hasn’t.
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