Springboks vs Wallabies 24 July 2010 – Review

The Springboks were outplayed by the Wallabies. There I said it (shudder).

The days of the Bokke showing up and out-muscling teams are over and worryingly the Bokke don’t seem to have much else to offer.

Guys like Rocky (Adriaaan) Elsom and David (Ex-Zimbo) Pocock had the measure of most of the Bok forwards and made yards with every run. Unfortunately for the Bokke, they took notice of the first two games played and followed the All Black blue print perfectly, making victory look pretty simple. Let’s hope none of the other big rugby nations were watching…

The experiment of playing Kankowski with Spies and Burger failed miserably as the Bokke were completely outplayed on the ground. Referee George Clancy was very harsh on the Bokke and the Aussies seemed to get away with more, especially Pocock but as with the two previous matches, the referee is not the reason the Springboks lost.

The reason for the loss, alas lies with shocking defence and poor kicking (once again). Ruan Pienaar although supplying quicker service kicked terribly out of hand (possibly worse than Januarie) and managed to miss two conversions, which would have put the Bokke within 7 points with 10 minutes left. Kirchener is becoming very predictable with his up-and-unders and unfortunately gives possession away more often than not. Last year the kick chase was spot on and the defence moved up in one solid unbreakable line, this year there are gaps aplenty and quick stepping wings and full backs are taking advantage.

Defence used to be one of the Springbok strengths but something is amiss. These guys know how to tackle and the techniques have not changed since last year but mentally the attitudes are not right. Perhaps this is fatigue or more worryingly this may point to a divided squad. The first time tackles missed allowed the Wallabies to get momentum which they used well and through building phases and keeping possession applied the pressure which led to penalties and two tries.

The Bok lineouts were again poor and one throw in particular, which no-one seemed to know much about, was caught by the Wallabies and led to a Drew Mitchell try.

The replacements made a bit of an impact but by then it was too late. Dewald Potgieter played very well in his limited time and Francois Hougaard looked sharp. Butch James tried to get stuck in to the rucks but really should have been in the flyhalf channel to control the backline. His form since the 2007 World Cup has been average at best and there must surely be better flyhalf cover in the world, somewhere.

The senior players in the team are really struggling with form and Smit in particular has had three very average performances. Victor Matfield looks way off the pace and Pierre Spies has not made the impact expected. Bryan Habana looks frustrated and slow and Schalk Burger is running around like a headless chicken, going off his feet and coming into rucks from the side.

Springbok Player Ratings:

Backs – 4/10

I have decided to group the ratings as these guys collectively were all pretty bad. Fourie played well when he came back on the field but his tip tackle was stupid and yellow card deserved. Ruan needs to learn how to kick and Wynand is just not good enough at this level. Aplon had very limited ball and Habana gave away a dubious penalty. Kirchener is solid but we need more from him.

Forwards – 3/10

So very poor. Smit, Matfield, Burger and Spies all look off the pace. Kankowski made some good runs and was actually not bad on attack but gave away a kickable penalty and objections aside if the ref tells you 5 times to “let go of the ball”… let go of the ball. Gurthro was again the shining light in this mess but everything the Bokke do at the moment is sloppy and predictable.

Ref – 1/10

Wow, whoever came up with the idea of Irish refs for these games should be shot in the street. George Clancy allowed the Wallabies especially Pocock to get away with whatever they wanted. Refused to call off-sides, especially at the mauls and was way out of his league throughout the game. Harshly sin-binned BJ Botha and all in all had a shocking game. The Aussies rated his performance 10/10.

The Springboks now have 3 weeks rest. Some have been released for Currie Cup duty but the core of the team will have plenty of time for some reflection and planning. All is not lost but a good showing back home will be essential in terms of getting some momentum heading in to next year’s World Cup.

Your thoughts?

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~ by bowlphilosophy on July 26, 2010.

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