Springbok team to have a Barbarian feel
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In a period where South African rugby is supposed to move forward with a new generation of rugby player, Heyneke Meyer has decided to continue the practice Pieter de Villiers was so heavily criticised for.
Does anyone remember John Smit being held on to for the 2011 Rugby World Cup when Bismarck du Plessis was warming the bench when he was widely touted as the best hooker on the planet?
Heyneke Meyer has decided to go a step further, the old guard in not only important, but more importantly the new mantra for being a Springbok is that you must ply your trade overseas.
Slogging day in and day out in the Super Rugby Competition is seen as a negative, it seems to implicate that Meyer does not rate his home grown talent, but rather the bigger your pay check, the better chance you have of running out for the Springboks.
As most will be aware there are currently a host of players plying their trade in Europe and Japan that has been included in the current squad for the Rugby Championship.
Amongst these are Gurthro Steenkamp (Age 32, Toulouse), Juandre Kruger (Age 27, Racing Metro), Francois Louw (Age 28, Bath), Ruan Pienaar (Age 29, Ulster), Fourie du Preez (Age 31, Suntory), Morne Steyn (Age 29, Stade Francais), Bryan Habana (Age 30, Toulon) and Zane Kirchner (Age 29, Leinster).
The latest news from the republic is that SARU is now in negotiations with Kobe Steelers over the release and availability of Jaque Fourie.
“We are still negotiating (with his club for the tour of Australia and New Zealand), but things are a bit relaxed now because the guys are on tour,” a source revealed to News 24..
If JP Pietersen were available you could argue Meyer would have included him in the touring squad as well.
The question is how long before Meyer convinces Bakkies Botha to answer a recall to the Springbok team?
When Pieter de Villiers held on to his “inherited” squad from Jake White and went into the Rugby World Cup tournament in 2011, the writing was on the wall from their opening game when South Africa barely held on to beat Wales, a further indication that South Africa was on borrowed time was the uninspired performance against a charged up Samoa.
Ultimately the lack of new ideas and more skill full players able to execute attacking moves cost South Africa the Quarter final against an equally uninspiring Australia.
One would have expected Heyneke Meyer, widely touted as the incumbent Springbok coach after Jake White, would have learnt from the Pieter de Villiers era and come to the realisation that new blood and new ideas would be the most important ingredient in replacing New Zealand as the number one team in the world.
Seemingly Heyneke Meyer has other ideas.
Now I am no expert, but to me it seems foolish to try and gain an ascendancy over your biggest rivals with the same players that failed so miserably over the past number of seasons.
To add insult to injury, when you look at this core group of players, their success rate against Australia has been embarrassing to say the least.
Smarter play, running into the space, supporting the ball carrier and attacking the weak shoulder are the requirements to turn around the record against Australia, not the same old bash it up, run through a wall approach.
The only difference this time round will be that South Africa might as well allow their players to wear their club socks when they run onto the field of battle, at least this way the whole world can support their “international Barbarian team”
The Welsh and the Scots might feel a bit neglected from the North though as they would have no club representatives to cheer on.
Perhaps this is Meyer’s Master plan, make the Springboks the most loved team in world rugby, if not for falling short of being the best team in the world.