The Roar
The Roar


Wallabies represent the antithesis of Springbok rugby

Heyneke Meyer was a brilliant club coach, so what went wrong at Test level? (AP Photo/Scott Heppell)
Roar Guru
19th July, 2015
3145 Reads

The common and most simplistic view of optimism versus pessimism can be seen with the beholder being either a glass-half-full or a glass-half-empty kind of person.

Then there is realism. If you ask Wikipedia or any dictionary what realism is, it will say realism is an attempt to view something as truth.

Optimism or pessimism suggests an attitude a person might have, whereas realism is born through fact rather than attitude.

I often get criticised for being a pessimist where in reality I prefer to view something based on evidence as a truth.

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>> Sheek: Moore’s Marauders: Who dares, wins

This past weekend was one of those ‘true’ moments. An Australian team thoroughly outplayed for 50 minutes and trailing by 13 points made a comeback to score 17 unanswered points in a matter of 10 minutes to beat South Africa at the death.

Although Australia should receive plaudits for the manner in which they never gave up, their captain being brave in the decisions he made, the truth in this match was the inexplicable and pathetic manner in which the age old attitude of defending a lead came from South Africa.

I often criticise the Springboks for not having the ability to adapt during a match or learn from their mistakes.

There were a few examples of this during the match.


In the final minute the Springboks decided to pick and drive, with the hammers behind having to ensure momentum and securing the ball. The danger of this move is the ‘reloading’ that should be executed by the hammers, if not, it would be interpreted as sealing of the ball and therefor a penalty to the opposition.

Against Australia this sealing of the ball has now occurred three times since 2010. In the famous win in Bloemfontein in 2010, the Springboks got penalised for sealing the ball in the final minute, similar to last year and this weekend.

In all three matches it cost the Springboks the match, and potentially the chance to win the Rugby Championship.

Now I ask in my teary blue eyes, how incredibly slow do you need to be to not have learnt it is not only the wrong play, but also the dumbest play in the book?

On the 47-minute mark, Heyneke Meyer decided to replace the entire Springbok frontrow who at the time were completely dominating the Australian pack. With the Springboks facing a scrum five metres from their goal-line, the replacements came on and immediately the pressure and momentum shifted towards Australia and they started their onslaught on the South African goal-line.

Again, how can I put this in a manner where my utter frustrating and incredible anger can show without having to cuss?

After the Jesse Kriel try in the 44th minute, the win was on the cards, all the Springboks had to do was continue their positive attitude, and maintain the momentum.

Unfortunately the Heyneke Meyer pre planned effect of substituting players at the worst possible time came into effect.


I would like to know, Heyneke, your inopportune replacements that are pre planned has cost the Springboks matches before, I can only think of thick mud when I consider the inflexibility in your replacements.

Would it not be so much wiser to wait until you are out of your red zone before replacing en masse?

I am told Heyneke Meyer has a plan, even Jean de Villiers on Boots and All advocated that Meyer has a plan and we must believe in it.

Sure there is a plan, dominate set piece, unless you don’t or stupid substitutions are made, kick out of your 22, and when you lead kick out of your 22 no matter whether it is aimless, poorly executed or playing into the hands of a desperate opposition having a full go at you.

Definitely kick the ball into the air when Israel Folau is embarrassing all and sundry and putting the Australians on the front foot 90 per cent of the time.

When your line out is not working, keep throwing to the back and hope Willie le Roux will get possession.

And above all, defend a lead, do not under any circumstances try to kill off the opponent, because that is just poor sportsmanship.

Finally, for Pete’s sake, do not adapt on the field of play, do not have awareness for what is happening around you, stick to the plan.


If anyone out there still believes you can win the world cup with this attitude, then continue living in your little bubbles of ignorant bliss. Continue to believe things have changed, that the Springboks have learnt how to adapt, be smart and that their coach has a plan.

I certainly have not seen any evidence of it, and can categorically say if South African rugby does not wake the hell up, they will lose this rugby fan forever.

I have seen too much evidence over the past three years that tells me I am a realist, and far removed from being a glass-half-full or half-empty kind of guy.

It is a shame talented guys like De Allende, Jesse Kriel, Willie le Roux and Handre Pollard have to be limited by such conservative approaches.

Lastly, congratulations to Stephen Moore and his team, you are the antithesis of Springbok rugby.