The Roar
The Roar

The masked soup-bone

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Joined October 2019

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The Lions are onto a hiding to nothing this year.
Coach Johan Ackermann took John Mitchell’s journeyman cattle that he developed over two seasons after the Lions where delegated in favour of the Kings and came aching close to achieving a miracle by winning the Cup.
Warren Whiteley; Malcolm Marx and Johan Mostert where the only real world class players produced by them the last 6 years and they are sadly no longer in their camp. (I’m ducking already for all the rotten tomatoes and eggs coming my way)
Warren is an extraordinary leader and was the glue that bound the Lions together and created the 1+1=3 synergy that got them into three finals but their lack of real; game breaking X factor players made them fall short every time which proves my theory.
Andries Coetzee; Ruan Combrinck; Lionel Mapoe; Elton Jantjies; Ross Cronje all became Springboks off this collective effort but where exposed and couldn’t make the step up to become factors on the international stage.
I think they are in for a very long season and I don’t think they are even playoff material.
An interesting aside; John Mitchell has rejuvenated two local franchises from the ashes; the Lions and Bulls but as with his current boss Eddie Jones; don’t seem to have the nous to take their teams the last mile to cup glory.

My rugby highlights of 2020 so far

Ditto… 😁

2020 coaches: Who will we see the best of?

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My rugby highlights of 2020 so far

Hi Harry;
A superb essay encapsulating the spirit and soul of a nation looking for a new identity and finding their moment in the sun.
You are a true wordsmith and we salute you.
Thank you.

Winning in Tokyo: Finding the sun

The Sharks is entering a new era; rebuilding the “du Preez” paradigm that fizzled our so spectacularly last year and their performances this year is a breath of fresh air.
But it is early days and I suspect they will fall off the pace once teams learn to limit their space
out wide by closing down their relatively light; inexperienced forward pack. If a few of their more experienced forwards become injured once the grind of an intense program sets in; they’ll be in a real jam and their potent backline is starved of possession and become forced to play on the back foot.
They are very probable playoff material though and then all bets will be off.
I look at Dobbo’s appointment as a “cometh the moment…cometh the man” situation; he’s exactly the type of character to establish consistency and give direction to the Stormers after the “headless chicken” syndrome that prevailed under Fleckie; nice guy as he is.
The recruitment of the experienced B&I Lion centre; jamie Roberts was a stroke of genius; his committed play so far speaks volumes. I think his influence will be of tremendous benefit to Damien Willemse and Hershel Jantjies while his presence has already shown why Rassie rated Ruhan Nel a keeper at outside centre; Amm has become a world class outside back but by season end I expect Nel to breathe down his back.
He is one of the few “cerebral” outside centres coming through in SA rugby.

My rugby highlights of 2020 so far

A final is historically always a close affair and edition ’19 is 90% sure to follow suit with the team that wins the gainline taking home the silverware.
On paper; Eddie’s troop has got it in the bag.
Or do they..?
Rassie’s troops hasn’t had a complete performance this world cup yet; they’ve been building towards peaking for their final this weekend; Eddie’s troops had theirs last week.
I’m hanging out my colors and say the Bok’s to take it by 8+.

The Wrap: Do the World Cup semis tell the truth about the final?

Willemse nearly got caught up in an old SA rugby problem that’s destroyed countless talents over the years so in reality his injury was a blessing in disguise.
Towards the tail end of the ’18 season the poor oke was totally out of touch and falling off the rails with the combined input and expectations of Rassie’s coaching staff; retreading him as their model fullback and Robbie Fleck at home insisting his position is flyhalf.
The injury released this pressure and got him out of this spot so on return he was his smart; twinkle toed and elusive attacking force of old.
He is the type of player that you teach skills if he needs more; pick and just give an out line to and then trust to get on with it.
And he will.
Coaching overload is a problem in SA rugby; particularly with very young talent.
I dread to say this but I’m already detecting a similar paralysis creeping into young Hershel Jantjies on the field….and I really hope I’m wrong.
Jannie Barnard; Peter Kirsten and Gaffie du Toit are just a few extraordinary talents that where hamstrung by this syndrome.
Willemse is gold and this confluence of circumstance is dressing the table for his arrival on the international stage at this world cup.

The Boks' RWC selection puzzle

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The Boks' RWC selection puzzle

Hi Jonty;
Thanks for the comment; its nice to know a pro approves.!
Am is one of the early talents Rassie spotted and backed and he’s turning into a real key asset this competition; let’s hold thumbs he stays the course.
I’m now going to be guilty of quoting a cliche: “form is temporary; class is permanent”. Doc Craven use to say you pick your “ball-players” and tight head first and then just fill in the blanks.
A bit simplistic and old school but still true.
I agree Frans has lost a bit of his top-end speed with the march of time but I believe his nous as a no 12 play maker is the missing ingredient needed to spark our back line. In the close encounters close to the forwards; his defense is superb and his acceleration on attack with his substantial frame is formidable; remember he only has to create a meter of extra space and/or disrupt the defense by a second and then distribute to our speedy outside backs to pounce.
This is de Allende’s one glaring defect.
With our forwards set to dominate and so force penalties; Frans in tandem with Polly can also build score board pressure anywhere from 70 meters out which will be worth gold in the play-offs.
If we do meet the old enemy again in the final; this could also be the crucial difference between the two teams.

The Boks' RWC selection puzzle

Hi Carlin;
In boxing parlance there is a saying: “A good big one will always be better than a good small one”.
I agree Kwagga is a phenomenal athlete that punches far above his weight class but despite our formidable pack he could become a liability if one of the front-line players go down after 5 mins in a crunch game.
I suspect Kwagga; deserving as he is;only made the squad because of the injury to Marcel Coetzee.
I sure come play-off time; the Bok forwards and bench back-up with their abundance of “mongrel” is going to have any and all-comers measure; particularly in the play-offs when all will be in conservative; tight no mistake mode.
This will provide Polly with substantial possession and hopefully he strikes his end of Super rugby form technically to control the games.
This is exactly the reason why Rassie should shake up the back line with a few left field selections to bolster and improve our midfield and so spark our back three into becoming match winners.
Tries are going to like gold in the play-offs with the strong accent on defense this WC edition so the Boks need form; X-factor game breakers in the back line.
Our attack abilities needs to be upped; we are too sterile.

The Boks' RWC selection puzzle

Too true; this world cup is the AB’s to lose.
They’ve operated on a another level than any other country for high on a decade.
We shook their confidence over the 4 tests before the WC opener but Hansen did
his homework and in a 5 minute purple patch tilted the odds back their way in the opener
and got our measure.
Time to mix it up a bit with a few well considered curve balls; Chessie to sow doubt with
their attacking kicks and bolster the 10/12 axis with more nous and some X factor.
We have sociopolitical realities that will crucify Rassie if he axes Siya at this stage; lets
hope he builds a head of steam over the next few games.

The Boks' RWC selection puzzle

Hi Corne;;
I couldn’t agree with you more; the back three is thin on experience but they are all in red-hot form; like Reece and Bridge at the AB’s and they are a class apart despite their limited experience.
I say let’s go for it and own it; if it turns into a calamity bring on Willie or shuffle Frans to the back.
I do believe however the stage is set for new; fresh heroes to emerge IF they are backed and supported.
Kriel’s injury leaves a gaping experience gap but I will always only use him off the bench or as a stopgap; he lacks true vision and/or finesse; same as De Allende
Duane; PSTD and Flo are all big game players and its a fact that Siya isn’t firing at the moment. His selection is however locked-in; Rassie will be crucified at home if he drops him….one of the SA teams unfortunate realities.
Flo is a reassuring presence on the bench if he falls out the bus.
If Rassie stays involved;the heart of this team is going to be formidable in 4 years time; to hopefully go win the cup in the country that stole our staging rights!

The Boks' RWC selection puzzle