Looking back at my original post, it’s sad to see the vast majority underperforming so far this year. Besides from the obvious thing of I hate being wrong, it’s sad to see these talented players not hitting their straps for various reasons. It warrants a quick report-back.
Coenie Oosthuizen – I don’t know what the hell to think of this, but he has literally DOUBLE the amount of penalties awarded against him than any other player in the S15. Not all of these are scrum penalties though, but enough are. Coenie is by far the strongest young scrummager I have seen in a while and is being coached by Os du Randt. He could even be stronger than Heinke vd Merwe in the scrum. I know that the scrums are a crapshoot, with the vast majority of refs not knowing how a hooker’s head pops out, looking for a loosehead and hooker scrumming at an angle and allowing tightheads to roll their shoulders and then penalising the opposing loosehead, but come on FFS! The poor kid just looks confused on the field.
Meyer Bosman – the Slaptjips Rossouw of the midfield, playing outside of an unsure flyhalf has made him look bad, but even with Lambie playing he has looked mediocre at best.
Lwazi Mvovo – seems to have faded in prominence this season as the Sharks try dominate through forward play as the backline misfires in the midfield.
Gerhard vd Heever – has proved to have the WORST defence I have ever seen. Pawing at players, going high, not committing. His previously sour expression has worsened since he has been dropped to the bench.
So let’s have a look at the real performing players so far:
Willem Alberts – tops in tackles, metres gained and any other key stat you care to think of. Has come so far that all and sundry were surprised to see him not offered a Bok contract along with stalwarts like Burger, Smith and Matfield.
Bismark du Plessis – The monster of the scrum, the leviathan of the ruck, the… you get the point. His only dodgy facet of play is not finding his jumpers sometimes, but with his ability to draw defenders – imagine a play where phase one was Burger, then phase 2 was Bismark, you’ve draw 4-5 defenders right there – even my gran could sidestep and find space around that.
Peter Grant – without him the Stormers would not be conference leaders. Let’s see what happens later today with PdV’s larger squad announcement (this just in: he made it!). Could be on the inside track to start the tri-nations?
Joshua Strauss – The latest in a long line of uncompromising loose-forwards that South Africa rolls off it’s production line – Andre Venter, Ruben Kruger, Juan Smith and now Josh Strauss. The Lions have really missed his steel since he got concussed.
Sarel Pretorius – despite his missed tackle stats (really high) and THAT pass that he threw at the death against the Hurricanes, he deserves to be here as the most incisive and unpredictable of all the scrummies in South Africa at the moment. He reminds me of Joost in his prime.
Bjorn Basson – Top try scorer of the South African wings, he has looked the part this year in a woeful Bull back-line. If we play the hanging kick strategy he has got to start, being an unbelievable recoverer of kick-chase ball.
Andries Bekker – the form lock of the competition. Is he a 4? is he a 5? Who cares! Just make sure he is on the field.
Dean Fourie – aside from the yellow for the trip he has been in unbelievable form. Didn’t make the Bok squad, but will give Tiaan Liebenberg a run for his money to regain the starting hooker jersey for Stormers.
With this in mind let’s formulate the Bok 15 based on Super 15 form for week 9:
3) Dr Doop
4) Elstadt (injured, but coming back this week)
12) Jean de Villiers (injured for this round)
13) Jacques Fourie
Jantjes at 15? Yeah that’s Conrad not the Pipsqueak? I was impressed by what Jantjes did on Saturday. He’s only really coming back to top-flight competition now. If it was a choice between Sideshow Bob and Jantjies to go to the RWC I’d take Jantjies. Sure he’s lost a yard or 2, but he still has that long accurate left foot and makes good decisions early.