Yesterday we attended a good friend’s 60th Birthday bash but of course, the Boyz (and a few ladies I might add) found a TV just in time for the Springbok clash with the Kiwi’s!
Over the last few weeks there have been many opinions and perspectives shared about who should be chosen, what style of rugby should be played and what exactly Heyneke Meyer is up to as coach.
Firstly, as an extremely passionate Bok supporter, I have really had to practice my own restraint and Life coaching skills while watching our team lose games we all expect and “demand” them to win week in and week out!
So how far off “clicking” are our Bokke do you think?
I personally think that they are a LOT closer to becoming one of the best teams we have ever produced. A few tweaks here and there and I believe we will begin to see a new brand of rugby that every supporter in South Africa desires to see and players enjoy playing!
Here are some of the changes I believe would be necessary:
1. Change the captain … Jean is a fantastic player but his current play has deteriorated under the pressure of donning the captain’s cap and in any case, the running “back and forth” to the forwards is totally impractical. The captain should be in or close to the engine room where most decisions are originated.
• My suggestion is that Adriann Strauss be given the duties and my reasoning behind this is that he not only has had this responsibility in his provincial team, but watch closely who the player is who “leads” on the field and is forever encouraging his fellow players behind the scenes.
2. Pick the 2 Jean’s at center – Jean DJ can tackle, side step and straighten the line and if you looking for combinations then these two will be a better combination.
3. Ruan should be given strict instructions to clear the ball from the ruck immediately and not play “director of the traffic” by kicking the ball back into the ruck and allowing the opposition to form their defense line.
4. Reduce up and unders and only allow them when there is no supporting defense.
5. Teach Zane Kirchner how to pass the ball but even more importantly, WHY to pass the ball. Zane either: a) kicks the ball or b) isolates himself, goes to ground and gives away a penalty. He could become a Sonny Bill- type player if he would only look for a gap near his support and then offload before dying with it. If he refuses = replace him with Lambie!
6. Let Ruan become the kicker and let Goosen be the backup kicker. In this way, Johan can focus on running the ball. He still looks tentative and yet we all know how he can break the line if given that freedom to do it. Then let Jean run the supporting line.
7. As good as Hougaadt is, he is not a starting wing and should be an impact player. Start with a recognized wing (when JP is up and running this would be the obvious player but until then, Mvovo?)
Most importantly, I believe that the mental aspect of our players needs to be addressed. I am sure the team has a great sports psychologist but are they being “coached” or instructed? Big difference!
In summary, I believe that Heyneke can take this team and with a few small tweaks as suggested, transform the style of play and the results on the scoreboard.
What is lacking is one secret ingredient…. What do you think it is?
I’ll share some thoughts on this in another blog post….
Certified John Maxwell Speaker, Coach & Trainer