Billy Beaumont’s take on the Bok WC final

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Jan 24, 2021, 23:54

Bill Beaumont’s view and analysis of the game is the most intelligent I have read. Bit long but take the time to read it! 2019 Rugby World Cup Final Review

By OldBill 4th Nov 2019 2019 Rugby World Cup Final

Saturday 2nd November 2019

South Africa vs England

Venue: International Stadium, Yokohama Referee: Jérôme Garcès (France) Assistant referees: Romain Poite (France),, Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand) TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)

In my preview to this game I suggested a dogfight, with a six point spread in favour of South Africa at the end. When all is said and done, the only bit I got right was that South Africa would win the game. My points spread was way out, 32 – 12 is a 20 point margin and suggests that this was not a dogfight, rather it was something akin to a hiding- especially when we consider that this was a World Cup Final.

With the emotion of the day and the winning of the trophy now safely in the past, we can take a better look at the game and consider what happened.

How did South Africa achieve what so many suggested was improbable if not impossible?

Let’s begin with an overall summary of the game:

This was a clinical, efficient, focussed, and often brutal display of power rugby that subscribed to the age old teaching of Subdue & Penetrate.

England came to this game wanting, almost expecting, to physically impose themselves on the South Africans. They had achieved this goal in their semifinal against the New Zealanders a week earlier, and they were rightfully confident that they had found their stride and form at just the right stage of the Rugby World Cup tournament. They had everything going in their favour and they knew it!

They had also looked at the South African game plan against Wales the previous week, and against Japan a week earlier, and had concluded that the South Africans were a one-dimensional team only capable of playing to one game plan.

They thought that they had the key that would unlock the Springboks.

They were wrong. Very wrong.

If they had taken the time to look beyond the Springboks two Rugby World Cup knockout round games, the two against Japan and then Wales, and also then looked beyond their first Pool B game against the All Blacks, they would have gotten something of hint that the Springboks are not just a kick & chase outfit.

A look at some World Cup pool stats would have told them that the Springboks were the top try-scoring outfit at the 2019 Rugby World Cup!

Better even than the All Blacks!

They would also have seen that South Africa, even when they were throwing the ball around rather than kicking it skywards, were the best defensive side in the entire competition. They conceded just 4 tries in the entire Rugby World Cup.

If the England analysists had then gone a little further back in time and taken a look at some of the Rugby Championships games played earlier in the year, they would have received even more very clear messages about the South African game plan and style.

They would have seen that South Africa scored 11 tries in their three Rugby Championships games, more than any of Australia, Argentina, or New Zealand.

They might have noticed that the Springboks were the only one of the four countries to have banked try-scoring bonus points – 2 of them, one each against Australia and Argentina.

If they had kept digging, they would have seen that South Africa conceded just 46 points in the three games, with 20 points coming from the four tries they allowed through.

In the 2019 Rugby Championships Australia conceded 10 tries, New Zealand and Argentina conceded 8 tries apiece. South Africa’s four was an indication of a rock solid defensive system.

The analysts would also have noticed that South Africa conceded very few penalties, less than any of their three southern hemisphere opponents. They would have concluded that South Africa are a very disciplined side.

Take the messages sent during the Rugby Championships, and then the further messages delivered in Japan during the Pool stages and the information, the battle intelligence was there – the 2019 Springboks are much more than just a kick-chasing team of juggernaut forwards and crash-tackling backs.

They would have noticed, surely, that South Africa are a team that plays to a relatively simple overall strategic plan and style, but were able to vary their game plan according to circumstances on the day.

In other words this was a team that had learned to play what was in front of them. They had learned to play to their strengths and control those aspects of the game that were within their sphere of influence.

Sometimes they played a hugely conservative kick & chase pressure game.

They did this with a grinding Subdue & Penetrate plan against a feisty Japan. They did it again with controlled execution against Wales.

But this was only a variation of the overall strategic plan and style of playing. When they needed to, or wanted to, the Springboks could ease back on the kicking game and move the ball around, usually taking it directly up the middle before attacking into the wider channels. That is why Makazole Mapimpi scored 6 tries in this Rugby World Cup. That is why Cheslin Kolbe scored 3, and Cobus Reinach scored 3, while Damian de Allende scored 2. Bongi Mbonambi also scored three, but his were off the back of a driving maul. Of South Africa’s five leading try scorers, four are backline players.

There is more than a hint about how South Africa played rugby to be found in those numbers.

Each game the Springboks played throughout 2019, however, is highlighted by one common factor. The clinical focus on achieving physical, and thus also mental dominance in every game was an integral part of the Springbok game plan.

And it remains the hallmark of the South African efforts at Rugby World Cup 2019.

If England had done their homework, they would have known that the South Africa they would face in the final would be a wholly different proposition to the one that played in the quarter and semifinals.

They must have known what to expect from the Springboks, and what the men in green and gold’s strategic plan would be.

Subdue & Penetrate.

A week back England had adopted precisely that strategy against the All Blacks. They had stopped the All Blacks from playing rugby the way the New Zealanders like to play rugby. They unleashed a power game that focussed on closing down the spaces the All Blacks love to play in. They threw a thoroughly committed pack of forwards at the All Blacks and denied them the physical and mental dominance that is so much of the All Blacks aura.

Deprived of space and field position the All Blacks somehow imploded and started playing silly rugby. England’s confidence soared and that was the end of the All Black challenge for the 2019 trophy.

19 – 7 perhaps even flattered the All Blacks, so complete was the England domination on the day.

So complete was the job done on the All Blacks that England, not just the team but the country as a whole, began to believe.

Unfortunately for England, they then ran into the Springboks.

This is a battle-hardened Springbok outfit that have been playing the same kind of rugby England used against the All Blacks – only they have been doing it for a bit longer. And better.

The Springboks did to England what England had done to the All Blacks.

The Springboks stopped England from playing rugby the way they wanted to play rugby.

The Springboks stopped England’s power pack in their tracks. And then they shunted them back, time and again.

The Springboks stopped England’s huge and powerful primary ball carriers in their tracks, and they did it all afternoon. The Vunipola brothers did not get the go-forward they usually provide close in and Manu Tuilagi was stopped… well…. in his tracks.

The Springboks stopped England’s Plan B – the ball out the back from Ford to Farrell to send it out wide to the rapid running Jonny May and the stepping Anthony Watson. South Africa cut off the passes, forced the long passes, and shepherded England’s runners into contact.

And then the Springboks stopped England’s Plan C too. With George Ford hooked off the field and Owen Farrell back in the flyhalf slot they started to launch high kicks in a desperate attempt to put pressure on the Springboks in the deep. They desperately tried to do a “South Africa” on the South Africans and kick, chase, make the tackle and force the penalty. Once again the Springboks were equal to the task, taking high ball after high ball, and then returning them with interest.

England, deprived of the kind of start that they got against the All Blacks, found themselves in the grip of a South African vice, a grip that slowly, surely, tightened and squeezed the life out of the men in white.

In an epic and attritional contest, South Africa’s power game proved too much for England.

There was a stretch of just short of five minutes that was probably the crux of this game – and the straw that broke the English camel’s back.

It went like this:

In the 29th minute the English forwards drive the ball into the Springbok 22m area, going to ground just on the chalk line that marks the edge of that so-called red zone. Billy Vunipola was the man to take it to ground, helped by his brother Mako. The ball was recycled, found its way to Tom Curry who carried it 10m into the Springbok 22 before being dragged to ground.

The clock said 29 min 40 seconds.

For the next three and a half minutes England set up camp on the Springbok goal line, and then they threw everything they had in their tank at the Springboks.

They launched attack after attack after attack, through 23 phases of play, both pick-and-go and even some wide balls, as Billy and Mako Vunipola, Courtney Lawes, Sam Underhill, Maro Itoje and the rest of them threw themselves against the South Africa defence. Somebody crept offside and referee Garces signalled the advantage, which galvanized England’s efforts as they battered at the impenetrable barrier of Springboks, but it was not enough.

That green wall held.

Not only did it hold inches from the line, but it forced the England attackers back, meter by meter, until they were forced to go wide, trying for the run on the outside, only to have Anthony Watson dragged down by Willie le Roux just inside the 22m area. Having made the crucial tackle, Le Roux was up in a flash and onto Owen Farrell, dragging him down as he tried to recycle the ball again. Faf de Klerk arrived and England’s chance was snuffed out, the referee blew the whistle to award the penalty for offside, and Owen Farrell looked at his forwards. Should they go for the lineout and try again? Did they have anything left in the tank? Was the belief there?

He could see they were done. He opted for the 3-point penalty kick.

And right there – in the 33rd minute of the game, South Africa won the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

They had taken the very best England could throw at them, and repelled it. England’s chance to get back into the game was gone, and their collective confidence had taken a massive blow in the gut, while the Springbok resolve and self-belief simply grew with each subsequent moment of the game.

We could go on and analyse every move and every moment of this game, but those crucial four minutes provide the microcosm of this Rugby World Cup Final.

South African resolve and commitment had overcome the most severe test that England could offer

There were many sub-plots to the whole story of the Rugby World Cup Final, but none quite as revealing as that 4 minute period.

Throughout the 2019 Rugby World Cup there has been much talk about the “massive” South African pack of forwards and their unstoppable physicality and power that simply smashed lesser opponents.

This talk of “big buggers” if I may quote a certain Charles Windsor, is something of a myth.

The Springboks did not have the biggest pack at the Rugby World Cup. In fact England outweighed them 920kg to 900kg at the kick off. (A week earlier Wales had been, collectively, 60kg heavier than the Springboks!)

But what the Springboks did have was a pack of enormously strong men. Powerful, muscular, supremely fit, confident, and well drilled men.

A squad of forwards that had refined their dark arts to the finest edge possible in the world of Test rugby. That is how they forced 6 scrum penalties out of the heavier and much fancied England pack in the first 40 minutes of this Test.

And when the starting tight five were done, there were five more powerful, muscular, supremely fit, confident and well drilled men waiting to come off the bench!

Such was the depth of the Springbok forwards that even the loss of Bongi Mbonambi and Lood de Jager in the 22nd minute of this game did nothing to lessen the focussed power brought to bear on the England pack.

This was a set-piece master-class by a wholly focussed pack of South African forwards. The only blip on their chart was a single penalty conceded to England in the second half, when the South Africans misread the English intent in a scrum, expecting a quick put-in, a hook to channel one, and the ball out before the Springboks could put the pressure on. The Springboks were starting to break for the chase when England put on a second shove and earned a clever penalty. Score one for England. They did not get much more than that.

There was yet another sub-plot that I picked up in this game.

Last week England were happy to take the physicality to the All Blacks, yet this week they seemed just a tiny little but wary of taking the hit.

They seemed to be waiting for the big Springbok defenders to clatter into them, and this forced them to second-guess themselves. Momentary hesitation by the likes of Youngs, Ford, and Farrell seemed to have become a communicable disease, and it triggered some silly moments.

Trying to run yourself out of trouble from behind your goal line was a very Australian thing to do. It did not work for the Wallabies, and it did not work for England.

At times it seemed as if England were perhaps just a little scared of taking the tackle? Maybe my perception was flawed, but I did get the impression that the power of the Springbok defence had rattled the English players?

Yet another sub-plot can be found in the way the Springboks shut down the three big men that are England’s primary ball carriers.

Billy and Mako Vunipola and Manu Tuilagi are the proverbial centre-pivot of the England ball carrying plan. They are usually backed by Kyle Sinckler running support lines, but he had taken himself out of the game right at the start. The three England behemoths did their best to crack the green wall, but it was not quite enough. Sometimes they needed more than one tackler to bring them down, but they were stopped, time and again, depriving England of the opportunity to recycle quick front-foot ball and take the game at a bunch of retreating defenders.

Damian de Allende, Faf de Klerk, Duane Vermeulen, Pieter-Steph du Toit, and Lukhanyo Am did not back off one inch as they took on the best that England could throw at them. It was brutal, and very effective.

Anther sub-plot?

If we move on to take a look at that other set-piece, the lineout, yet again the South African lineout was wholly focussed on putting pressure on hooker Jamie George and his jumpers, starting early on as Eben Etzebeth made his presence felt and disrupted a throw.

The South African lineout functioned well, usually with Eben Etzebeth being the primary “banker ball” jumper, and setting frequent mauls, although England found a way to disrupt the maul on a number of occasions, binding and then walking around the maul to pull or splinter it apart. Effective, clever too, but without causing any serious disruption to possession once the maul had broken down.

The next sub-plot to this drama was Rassie Erasmus’ clever use of his “Bomb Squad” – the bench, sometimes called the “finishers” by some of the world’s coaches.

Erasmus’ persistence with a 6-2 forward/back split on the bench was doubted by some pundits, but it was a well thought out strategy and it paid dividends in two ways.

First and foremost was the quality of the players coming off the bench. Consider those forwards – Kitshoff, Marx, Koch, Mostert, Snyman, and Louw. Six forwards that could start a Test for any team in the world, including the Springboks. These are no second-stringers, these are fully fledged starting players, each capable of playing the full 80 minutes of a Test match.

With that bench, the Springboks have the benefit of rotating six of their eight starting forwards as the game progresses, with only the huge engine of Pieter-Steph du Toit and the indefatigable Duane Vermeulen playing the full 80 minutes of a Test.

The strategy means that the Springboks had 12 of their forwards who were all relatively fresh on the day of the final – none had been overplayed through the pool stages, and none had been overplayed in the playoffs.

And it showed on the field of play. When the front rowers Mtawarira and Malherbe had chewed, trampled, bounced and manhandled the England front row into something resembling jelly for around 40 minutes, on came Kitshoff and Koch to continue the pain. The loss of De Jager and Mbonambi fairly early in the piece did not have a serious impact on the team, as the reserves, Mostert and Marx, were fresh enough to tackle a full game if that was required of them.

The Bomb Squad worked.

The next vignette to be considered was the contest for the ball in the rucks and at the breakdown. Much was expected of the combination of Curry and Underhill, two fine chasers and fetchers of the rugby ball. The nay-sayers had said that the Springbok loose trio were too big, too slow, and too clumsy to counter the English harriers. Whoever it was that said that Siya Kolisi is too slow and that Pieter-Steph du Toit was a re-treaded lock forward forgot to tell them that they were supposed to play second fiddle to the Englishmen.

The two South Africans, ably assisted by their midfielders, especially De Allende, and backed by Marx and Vermeulen, applied some truly serious pressure at the breakdowns and over the ruck ball.

And they did it legally!

The strength of the Springboks over the ball in ruck gave the referee no reason to blow his whistle, and England were forced to play off the backfoot with slow ball. It did not suit them that their scrumhalf Youngs was having an off day too.

In the final analysis, this Springbok pack’s performance was probably one of the most abrasive, efficient, and accurate of all time.

They were supported by a back-division that were equally committed, equally focussed, equally physical, equally abrasive, and equally accurate as they snuffed the English candle.

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the Springbok back play was their composure throughout the game, with the communication and rapidity of the resetting of the defensive lines worthy of special comment.

Damian de Allende and Lukhanyo Am have gelled into one of the most defensively solid midfield units in the world, and their communication has developed with each game they play as partners.

Willie le Roux, much maligned by various social media commentators and the subject of all manner of jokes, memes, and often positively insulting remarks during the week since the Wales game, had a superb outing at fullback. He was safe under the high ball, brave too, while his left-footed tactical kicking was pinpoint, and his early injection into the line served notice that he was on his game again. However his real value, so often underestimated by the keyboard warriors calling for his head, is his influence and direction on defence. His management of the back three’s defensive pendulum was again spot on, while his own tackling was out of the top drawer. None quite as important as the tackle he made on Anthony Watson in the 33rd minute. If he had missed Watson, England were sure to score. Le Roux did not miss. It was a game defining tackle.

The old saying of form being temporary and class permanent is illustrated by Willie le Roux.

Le Roux was integral to the organisation of the backline’s contribution to the all-out defensive effort when England laid siege to the Springbok line in the 29th to 33rd minute.

Faf de Klerk and Handré Pollard, the Springbok half-back pairing controlled this game with some really serious accuracy. De Klerk varied the pace of the game superbly, speeding it up and slowing it down at will. Sometimes it seemed that he was taking a breather and allowing all his support players time to do up their laces and reset their mouthguards before he passed the ball, at others he was on it in an instant and the ball was gone before the English forwards could set their defences. As a game-within-a-game he was toying with England as he kept them guessing, unsure about his next move. It was very clever scrumhalf play.

Handré Pollard must surely be as close to the best flyhalf in the world as it could get. His pinpoint aerial game caused England problem after problem, especially as he introduced uncertainty in their minds, was he going to run, pass or kick? The height he put on his kicks, both out-of-hand and at the restarts were key in allowing South African chasers the time to get to the kick-receiver and prevent a workable exit strategy. He is no Beauden Barrett with the ball in hand, but he does have the pace and the size to create real problems when he runs with the ball, and this forced England’s defenders to stay close and focus on hunting him down.

Equally important is his own tackling. In the modern game flyhalves often leave the defensive work to others, preferring to drop back into the last line of defence, but not Pollard. He mans up and makes the hits!

The bonus, of course, is that his goal-kicking was also rock solid.

In this game, he was the calm general who marshalled his defensive forces, used his artillery to good effect, and unleashed the cavalry when the time was right.

The longer the game wore on, the more it became evident that England were being shut out by a superlative and clinical Springbok performance. England were forced to play catch-up rugby all afternoon. Even when they came within touching distance, almost immediately they would be back in trouble, conceding a penalty, and Pollard’s trusty boot was putting distance between the two sides on the scoreboard.

The same scoreboard pressure that England had brought to bear on the All Blacks, was now starting to drag at their own psyche.

It was classic Subdue & Penetrate rugby, grinding the opposition down, step by step, until the cracks started to show, and then striking.

A couple of early opportunities presented themselves, but the Springboks were not yet in full attack mode and those promising moments were lost, perhaps through silly errors, yet those moments paid off as they heaped pressure on England’s defences, forcing England into two minds – should they to hang back and wait for the expected box-kick or up-and-under, or should they rush to close down the spaces?

When the defence is in two minds, the opportunities will start to show themselves, especially later in a game when the lungs are sucking a bit and the instincts have slowed a tad.

And so it was.

In the 67th minute England’s wide defence on the right was left slightly ajar. Two hulking forwards were defending the wing channel. Lukhanyo Am started it. Made a meter or two, drawing a forward onto him, then passed the ball to Malcolm Marx, who then made the initial breach as England ran out of defenders, he gave a flat pass on to a steaming Mapimpi. Mapimpi made some meters and then chipped ahead into open space. It was a beautiful chip kick. The race was on. The bounce favoured a hard chasing Lukhanyo Am, who took the ball and flipped it straight out to the flying winger. There was no one home for England and Mapimpi dotted down as South Africans in the stands and across the globe erupted.

English heads were down, shoulders slumped as they trudged back to wait for the conversion kick. This was the moment when they knew, deep inside, that their dream was over.

England did not simply roll over and submit, but their fire was gone now and six minutes later Cheslin Kolbe ran through a weak tackle attempt by Owen Farrell to hammer the final nail into the England coffin.

Back in 2015, when Eddie Jones coached Japan to their remarkable victory over South Africa, I headlined my review of that game “Outthought, outcoached, outplayed and outsmarted.” Eddie Jones did all of those things to Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.

Last weekend I repeated that line, when I suggested that the self-same Eddie Jones had once again “Outthought, outcoached, outplayed and outsmarted” a rival coach. This time it was Steve Hansen who was on the receiving end of Eddie’s machinations.

This week it Eddie Jones’ turn to feel what it is like to be “Outthought, outcoached, outplayed and outsmarted.”

Rassie Erasmus is a canny coach with a remarkable understanding of players and the game of rugby. This Rugby World Cup stands as evidence of his ability to Outthink, Outcoach, Outplay, and Outsmart any coach in the world. This was an intellectual and tactical masterclass by the coach.

Well done Rassie Erasmus and your team of coaches.

But, no matter how good the coach and how inspirational his words and leadership, when the boots take to the grass and the brains and brawn of the combatants are tested, that is when the real men stand up.

Take a bow Siya Kolisi and your Rainbow Warriors – You are REAL men.

Individual Player Assessments

15 Willie le Roux 7/10

Proof that class is permanent and form temporary. Had a great game under the high ball, with some very brave takes. Was quickly into the game with an early break that said that his confidence was coming back. Looked to create space with ball in hand. Marshalled the last line of defence superbly. Made some really important tackles too.

14 Cheslin Kolbe 7/10

If bravery had a name it would be Cheslin. When the diminutive winger climbed aboard the massive Billy Vunipola it was simply evidence that he does not shirk at anything. And then he stopped Manu Tuilagi too. A quiet first half as the game flowed away from him, though he was constantly popping up at the right time and in the right place as part of the back-three defensive unit. A superbly taken try when given the ball by PS du Toit and just enough room to get those feet moving.

13 Lukhanyo Am 7/10

His best game in a Bok jersey. He manned up and stopped Manu Tuilagi time and again, a job many lesser men have failed to do. His work at marshalling the defensive lines during moments of stress was exemplary. Took his eyes off the ball a moment too soon in a short-side attack that might have had some legs, but then made a great break from deep. His chase, collect and pass for Mapimpi’s try was out of the top drawer. Has learned the art of staying in the tackle from De Allende and forced England to counter ruck on a couple of occasions.

12 Damian de Allende 8/10

A commanding presence in the midfield, he is the kingpin of the rush defence, and, boy, does he clatter into his opponents! His physicality and presence in the midfield kept opponents honest. Made 60 meters with 12 hard carries, and his presence over the ball in the tackle suggests that he could find a second career as a flanker! A couple of sublime passes and offloads too.

11 Makazole Mapimpi 7/10

One of his best games, especially chasing and competing for kicks. 48 meters with the ball in hand, and made the yards, chipped ahead and then followed to score a superbly taken try. Gave Anthony Watson much to think about, until the England wing started to get frustrated and try some dirty tricks.

10 Handré Pollard 8/10

A masterclass in how to control a game from the 10 slot. Cool, calm, focussed, despite a couple of early moments, including a slip when he had time with the ball. Made some testing runs with the ball in hand, chased his own and other kicks well, and kicked out of hand with assurance and accuracy. One clever cross-kick might have given an opportunity on another day. An early miss, and then the goal-kicking was back on target too. Rock solid defence.

9 Francois de Klerk 8/10

Boy is he a nuisance or what? His defensive efforts are legendary as he clatters into the biggest men and clings on until they fall. His service was crisp and accurate, while his box-kicking was pinpoint and troublesome for the English. I enjoyed his variation of the pace of the game as a mini-masterclass of a scrumhalf controlling the game. He is the heartbeat of this team!

8 Duane Vermeulen 10/10

I do not give anyone a 10/10 in my player reviews. Ever.

Except for today, for Duane Vermeulen.

Wow, what a powerful display of sheer physicality, massive hits, massive carries, massive cleanouts, superb takes of the kicked ball, and a serious menace over the ball at breakdowns. His focus and intent were positively scary. Won a penalty turnover early in the piece. Ball control at the back of the scrum was exemplary, and that quiet, unblinking focus and leadership was a huge contributor to the team’s own calm focus. A powerful man playing power rugby.

7 Pieter-Steph du Toit 9/10

I do not have words to describe the man I believe to be the best forward in world rugby. His hits were crunching, his carries powerful, and his presence in the lineouts caused England to abandon their own back-of-lineout tactics. It is not just his tackles that make him special, but his tackle assists are the stuff of coaching manuals. His work in the mauls, both on attack and on defence cannot be underestimated. When they say this man has a huge engine, they are actually underestimating how big that engine really is. A magnificent game.

6 Siya Kolisi 8/10

The captain has grown in stature in this World Cup, and this game was his best yet. Quiet, calm, controlled, exuding authority. He is not confrontational with the referees (take note Michael Hooper) and knows how to get them on his side. A solid performance in general play, quicker to the ball than many expected. 12 tackles, of which some were dominant and knocked the England players back. Very good counter rucking. Instrumental in neutralising England’s much vaunted back row as he cleaned out the rucks with aggression and serious accuracy.

5 Lodewyk de Jager 7/10

Sadly left the field after 20 odd minutes. Had shown that he was up for a big one with some serious carrying and massive tackles.

4 Eben Etzebeth 8/10

His presence in the lineouts is almost surreal. He worries opponents simply by being there! And then he contests the lineouts and they know why they are worried by him! Some powerful carries and 13 solid tackles. Neutralised, if not totally shut out Courtney Lawes, as he took a lineout steal from the England man. Put pressure on Maro Itoje too. Some powerful counter-rucking. One subtle little offload to Damian de Allende just to show that he can play with the ball too.

3 Frans Malherbe 8/10

South Africa’s secret weapon in the scrums. He is so unassuming that many do not notice him, on the field or off the field. Yet those that have to scrum down against him will tell you he is one of the strongest men in the rugby world. Mako Vunipola was called the “best loosehead in the world” a week ago, after his game against the All Blacks. Nobody told Frans Malherbe, and he probably would not have taken any notice anyway. He simply crumpled the England man in scrum after scrum. For the purist of scrummaging technique, it was a thing of beauty. His work rate elsewhere on the field is also vastly underestimated. He made 10 tackles in 40 minutes on the field, two of them of the “smashing” variety. His defence close in during England’s three minute siege in the first half was superb. His cleanouts at the ruck were fierce.

2 Mbongeni Mbonambi 6/10

Was just getting into his stride when he had to leave the field, protesting that there was nothing wrong with his head. One good carry and three good tackles, and pinpoint lineouts again. But that was the end of his contribution.

1 Tendai Mtawarira 8/10

A couple of years ago I suggested that the Beast had reached retirement age and that it was time to go. Somewhere he has found the Elixir of Youth and is back at his very very best. Really powerful scrumming, winning crucial penalties. A couple of carries, eight tackles. One of his better days in the front office.


16 Malcolm Marx 8/10 (on for Mbonambi, 22nd minute):

His physical presence was enormous as he got stuck right in with some strong carries, and 10 big tackles. A nuisance at the breakdown he was instrumental in shutting out Curry and Underhill.

17 Steven Kitshoff 8/10 (on for Mtawarira, 45th minute):

It can be no fun at all to see off the Beast, only to see the Big Ginger coming at you. A huge impact from the first scrum after he came on. Some big tackles and big cleanouts too. A couple of carries.

18 Vincent Koch 8/10 (on for Malherbe, 45th minute):

His best outing in green and gold. He arrived to carry on where Frans Malherbe had left off, and simply carried on the demolition job on Mako Vunipola in the scrums. Gave Joe Marker the same medicine, although he was distracted in one scrum, thinking that the ball was out. 8 big tackles.

19 Rudolph Snyman 7/10 (on for Etzebeth, 60th minute):

Not quite as influential as the man he replaced, but kept the pressure on England throughout. Some strong carries, and a couple of good tackles.

20 Franco Mostert 8/10 (on for De Jager, 22nd minute):

Okay, so he could have started too. Massive work rate, especially in the hard stuff where angels fear to go. A couple of carries and 17 tackles, the most of all the players from either team.

21 Francois Louw 7/10 (on for Kolisi, 64th minute):

Perhaps not quite as influential as the man he replaced, but did nothing wrong. By the time he arrived the Springboks already had their hands on the trophy.

22 Herschel Jantjies (on for De Klerk, 77th minute):

A three-minute vignette. Not enough time to be rated.

23 Frans Steyn (on for Le Roux, 69th minute):

One huge kick, and then a cruise as England’s game was blown and he was not asked to do any serious defending or anything else in his 11 minutes. Did nothing wrong, which is important.


15. Elliot Daly 4/10

Was caught out by some clever kicks by Pollard and De Klerk, but he defended well enough. Did not look comfortable at fullback. Beaten in the air by Mapimpi and then fumbled a bouncing ball.

14. Anthony Watson 5/10

Was shut down and frustrated by the Springbok defence, although he showed willingness to chase at every chance. Was the best of England’s backs at handling the high balls that the Springboks sent at them. A silly change of running line and obstructive nudge on Mapimpi cost England 3 points.

13.Manu Tuilagi 5/10

Was expected to be the kingpin of England’s backline attack, but was shut down by the Springboks and not given the chance to build momentum. A couple of very good tackles, but otherwise, just a little anonymous.

12.Owen Farrell 5/10

Did not get the kind of good ball he likes to play with, and was shut down time and again. Made some good decisions, although that pass inside the England in-goal might have been a little worrisome. Made four of his five kicks and never stopped trying.

11. Jonny May 5/10

Tried hard, but was denied the space that allows him to get his feet going. Made some good carries, and chased hard. A great jump to stop a penalty going into touch, although replays showed that he had a foot on the line when he leapt up, but missed by a certain M. Poite.

10. George Ford 3/10

Had no influence on the game, missed a high ball, kicked out on the full. His handling was poor and he seemed rattled. Methinks the pressure from the Springbok harriers got to him.

9. Ben Youngs 3/10

A poor game, with England’s two-scrumhalf squad pick backfiring with Willie Heinz’s injury as his backup Spencer had only joined the team in the days before the final. Passing and decision-making was below par. And his box-kicking was too deep time and again. Rattled by the pressure?

8. Billy Vunipola 5/10

Exposed as something of a one trick pony. As a ball carrier close in and in the midfield he is as good as any, and even bent the Springbok line, but without breaking it. But he does very little else in terms of attacking play. Too slow, ponderous even, to run supporting lines in the wider channels, he simply stays back to set up another forward pod attack if the ball comes his way. This tactic works well, mostly, but was anulled by the ferocity of the Springbok defence. Wholly outplayed by Duane Vermeulen.

7. Sam Underhill 7/10

One of the better English forwards, I was surprised that he was pulled off so early in the game. Made some massive tackles, and was quick and physical across the field. His work over the ball was neutralised by a determined Springbok effort, but he can look back and say that he had a good day at the office.

6. Tom Curry 6/10

Made some very good tackles and carried well, although he seemed to wilt a little under the physical challenge of the Springbok forwards. Lost a ball in the backfield once and was physically held up in the carry by Pieter-Steph du Toit.

Became a bit anonymous in the last quarter.

5. Courtney Lawes 5/10

Probably England’s best ball carrier in the first half, but seemed a little rattled by the attentions of Etzebeth in the lineouts, although he did take the ball cleanly four times. His lack of power as a scrummager saw him hauled off at half-time.

4. Maro Itoje 7/10

Some suggest that this was a quiet game by Itoje’s own standards. I would say that he was simply forced to play tighter than usual in an attempt to stem the flow of the Springbok forwards. He was a nuisance around the fringes and especially in breaking apart the Springbok maul. Tackled like a man possessed. One of the few England forwards who seemed to retain his focus and intensity right to the end.

3. Kyle Sinckler No Rating

Unfortunately, he had to leave the pitch after just two minutes as he was knocked out when he ran into Itoje’s elbow.

2. Jamie George 4/10

Just seemed to be overwhelmed by the Springbok onslaught. His lineouts were good, although one was stolen. Poor in the scrum. One poor offload to Anthony Watson.

1. Mako Vunipola 4/10

His scrummaging was found wanting and he earns a 1/10 for the set-piece work. However, he worked hard in the loose, and tackled well, which helps him earn the 4/10 rating.


16. Luke Cowan-Dickie 5/10

Introduced too late to make a difference, he was slightly better than the man he replaced in making two good lineout throws and one powerful carry.

17. Joe Marler 5/10

Managed to get one over Vincent Koch when the Springbok scrum was not focussed on staying in the contest, made some tackles, but was anonymous for the rest of his time on the field. Struggled when the Springbok scrum was focussed.

18. Dan Cole 3/10

He will not want us to talk about his game. It was a tough day at the office as he was Beasted and then Gingered.

19. George Kruis 5/10

Solidified the scrummaging a little, and became England’s lineout option after he came onto the field. But did not do much else.

20. Mark Wilson 5/10

I suppose the word “energetic” is about the best thing we can say. He chased all over the field, and tackled well. Nothing else.

21. Ben Spencer

My notes do not tell me when he came on and I did not notice him on the field. I will be kind and thus say: Not enough time to be rated.

22. Henry Slade 3/10

Turned over the ball in the tackle, allowing Pieter-Steph du Toit to pick it up and release Kolbe for his try. That is all we can say about Henry Slade.

23. Jonathan Joseph 3/10

Arrived late in the piece, and only made some tackles. Nothing else.

Organic Designs ©? Bill's Rugby Blog by Ai

Jan 25, 2021, 00:44

Well done by there anything more embarrassing than calling the only man Beaumont gave a 10 ‘past it’. Likes Mostert as well....and clearly ‘got’ the value of Faf and Pollard.

Jan 25, 2021, 00:57

He says very little about Mostert other than most tackles

He is spot on re Beast and Vermeulen as he is PSDT who he says is the best forward in the game, he is spot on re de Allende as well and Kitshoff

Jan 25, 2021, 01:59

Have to disagree in some regards. I think he was spot on when he said the goal line stand won the game. 

Spot on  about Willie, spot on about Willie’s break.....but failed to point out Dud Allende should have supported his break.

Spot on about the wings and half backs. Right about Am.....but showed a forward’s grasp of back play when he talked about Dud’s tackling. Dud is a clinging tackler, not a big fact he almost never puts his shoulder into the tackle.

Right about the packs physicality. Right about the dominance of Etzebeth....and massively right  about Vermeulen ( thanks heavens no Deysel twin was picked). But naively he bought the SA press big engine fable about Dud Toit.

Right that the team was well coached for this game, woefully naive about the Welsh debacle, where we could easily have lost. And right about defence and physicality being the keys to the Boks win.

And while his ratings are decent the players who were crucial....without whom we wouldn’t have won.....were Willie, Kolbe, Pollard, Faf, Beast, Malherbe,  Etzebeth and Vermeulen. Not that the others played badly, they were  replaceable.

Jan 25, 2021, 02:58

So he was spot on about the players you rate and wrong about the ones you don’t

Shock shock Moz

The only thing he got wrong was the size of the Bok pack which actually weighed around the 960kg mark

But one can hardly blame him for those figures given how inaccurate the player profile stats are out there

He also highlighted how inaccurate you anti Rassie chaps are - more tries by the Boks than any other side in the WC and the same in the RC dispelling the utter rubbish directed our way that our Boks under Rassie fall short in attack

Add those impressive attacking stats to our defensive stats and we have the reason we are number 1 and WC and RC champs

Hail Rassie

Moving forward things will only get better

Beast was great but Kitshoff is even better

Vermeulen was great but we have more than able replacements in the du Preez twins and Marcel Coetzee

Jan 25, 2021, 09:18


He is always on about a non-existent break by Le Roux who unsuccessfully tried to outrun Ford and that it represented a try-scoring opportunity.  It was no and whaty he wrorte was a dreamed up lie.  

As to the players overall rating he gave on the day Vermeulen 10 out of ten and then Du Toit 9/10 - one 100% earned.   He rated De Allende, Pollard and De Klerk as the best three backline players in the game.    Also correct although for different reasons.   

I think Beaumont knows more about real rugby than the coach and certain player hatred displayed by especially two members of this  site and show that the assessments they made of players are influenced by their prejudice, and consequential inability to properly asses performances.

His assessment of  Erasmus is very clear.   Jones outwitted Meyer in the Japan debacle in 2015 and Hansen in the WC semi - but he went on to describe Erasmus accurately and precisely as a coach and his coaching team. .    So what else is new?     He was negatie abouit Meyer as a coach - yet he describe Erasmus as follows:-

"Rassie Erasmus is a canny coach with a remarkable understanding of players and the game of rugby. This Rugby World Cup stands as evidence of his ability to Outthink, Outcoach, Outplay, and Outsmart any coach in the world. This was an intellectual and tactical masterclass by the coach. "

Yet Mozart and AO does not rate Erasmus  but lauds the deficient Meyer - so who are the greatest fools on site?  


Jan 25, 2021, 12:46

Willie was brilliant in the final

Jan 25, 2021, 12:57

He was - but his passing game was not really good enough.    

Jan 25, 2021, 13:10

Nonsense nothing wrong with his passing game - one or two poor passes does not define his passing

Willie is invaluable to the Boks - has by far the best creative brain in our back line. He sees things before others do, his ability to sum up an opportunity and execute is second to none. It’s something you can’t teach a player, it’s an instinct

He will be sorely missed when he retires

Jan 25, 2021, 13:21

The Boks played the same kind of game the English used against the All Blacks, but longer and better? No, that's not true. Variance to gameplay was the throw from the pod runner and a little more ball to Willie in the middle unit. That was it. This was the Bok's best matchup of the NH sides, as I predicted. England have not possessed a power pack since the shift during the Johnson era. It was obvious that they would not hold that advantage against the Boks. The start, first twenty minutes, was always going to be critical, and that's where the Boks began to take England out of the game. Big games by some of the most criticized players made the Boks champions. 

Jan 25, 2021, 13:36

Kindergarten Imbecile

What game are you writing about?   There were five  cases in the whole game where balls were passed Willie - he handled the ball 8 times in total and three came from kicks at him.   Of the other four times he spilled the ball once with an overlap outside of him and made two substandard passes to Kolbe.   The fourth ball he made a kick to the English 25.   He gained a total of 8 meters in ball carries,    

His roll in the backline attacks were minimal.    Sure the criticism by idiots of Du Toit and De Allende was by you and that childish Mozart.   Who else criticized any players in the team?


Jan 25, 2021, 14:14

Omelette anything coming from you is not worth the read past the second sentence which is exactly where I abandoned ship

You are clueless

Jan 25, 2021, 17:32

Well Beaumont saw the Willie break you denied, time and again Mike. Case closed.....but as a forward he never realized that a good centre should have backed up the break, instead of trotting feebly behind.

Jan 25, 2021, 18:53

Ah that Moz take on de Allende and Willie which you got so wrong and which good old Billy would have seen like the rest of us.

Billy and Will Greenwood are spot on re de Allende, the best and most influential 12 in the game right now

Jan 25, 2021, 19:45

If that was what you regard as a line break - so be it,  Hoevwer he carried the ball about six meters and got tackled by Ford,  In the end he made a shit poor pass to Kolbe - which the latter managed to hang onto and when tackled De Allende was there to protect the ball  and prevent a turnover.  

Those meters Willie carried the ball Ford was to his left about two meters away and Farrell on his right about the same  distance away - they were running in a line - Willie was not ahead of them - so where must De Allende run for Willie to pass to him? 

I wonder whether you ever think before you write BS on site?    Anyway for being good under the highball and his tackle on Watson Willie deserve the 7/10 rating.   He made too many other mistakes to justify a higher rating.



Jan 25, 2021, 20:41

He had to wait to offload.....because the centre who was supposed to accelerate around  his marker to be in  position to take the ball.......was caught dozing ......and trotted behind him. Thus when he was ready to offload....there was nobody there.....and he had to wait for Kolbe to get in place. That allowed Ford who was beaten, to get back and interfere with the pass.

If you want to see how this should be done look at Goodhue in the test against the ABs in RSA in 2018.....he accelerated to take the pass. Dud  Allende trotted behind there as well as a defender. The All Blacks scored.

That’s how it should be done by a proper centre.

Jan 25, 2021, 20:54

Dave these northern rugby types might like converted loose forwards as inside centres....the SH game is for centres who can beat tackles with pace or a step, and offload.

Dud Allende was the least penetrative centre in the final.

Dud .....beat 1 tackle in 12 runs

Am ....beat 3 tackles in 5 runs

Farrell beat 1 tackle in 7 runs

Tuilagi  beat 1 tackle in 8 runs.

And that’s consistent with his history......this is not a man who makes breaks.....he takes contact and he is strong on his feet, so if the tackle isn’t low he tractors on. That might be okay if he had a frigging offload....but he doesn’t.

With all this forward dominance a good 12 should be rampant nor recumbent.

Jan 25, 2021, 21:30

de Allende was by far the best centre in the final - his role was to carry in traffic which oh boy he did - he was so effective that it forced England to sub Ford.

12 runs and 60m in traffic is pretty damn impressive

He is the best inside centre in the game right now

Jan 25, 2021, 21:53

Disagree....he is not an inside centre. And I ask you with tears in my eyes, how do you run 60 metres in traffic and beat 1 tackle. If you can explain that to me I’d say you really are a rugby genius Dave. 

Jan 25, 2021, 22:18

"Disagree" based on what - delusional prejudice is the only explanation

By the way did more  - he protected the ball at breakdowns  and set up the  foundation for continued attacks by other players to take attacks further,   Pollard  said De Allende is a brilliant rugby player, other experts throughout the world   agrees  with him and logical thinkers agree with them.  So who must we believe you or the experts and players themselves?    

Jan 25, 2021, 22:21

Who should you believe? Stick with moz....then you won’t say a player like Vermeulen is finished 4 years before he is the WC Final MOM.

Jan 25, 2021, 23:46

Easy it’s a 5m gain per run in traffic meaning he receives the ball before contact gains a few metres, takes contact and then carries the defender a few metres before setting up the next phase. It’s trademark de Allende. No defenders beaten unless he happens to run over someone which seldom happens in rugby

Of course he is a bloody inside centre it’s where he has played 90% of his rugby and now operates as the best 12 in the game

He is quite capable of stepping past defenders or effecting an offload but the game plan around him does not call for that.

It’s what Frans Steyn did all season for the Cheetahs just not nearly as effectively as de Allende as de Allende is freakishly powerful and difficult to stop in his tracks

You just don’t get the obvious impact de Allende brings to the game which says a lot for your understanding of the game

You still see inside centres with dancing feet

Jan 25, 2021, 23:50

Schalk Brits said de Allende was one of the most talented rugby players he had ever played with - that was in an interview on telly - he said what you see of him is scripted

Jan 25, 2021, 23:50

By the way dimness in how many converted penalties did De Allende played a key in leading up to the openly and resultant points,

Also  the pace-deficient Willie tried to outrun Ford and with Ford on the inside and Farrell on his immediate outside,  there were no spacwe for De Allende whyile that iwas in progress and any theoretical BS is disprove.   

I will stick with you as long as you raise logical and provable issues  - not delusional BS,   

Jan 26, 2021, 00:22

Right Dave, I see SH rugby which you can watch in every Super Rugby match. Situations where centres still take gaps and run with the ball. Here are the NZ centres’ stats against England. Goodhue beats 3 defenders in 8 runs. ALB beats 6 defenders in 16 runs. These are still centres, not loose forwards.

J GoodhueC048623310
A Lienert-BrownC0516670620

Jan 26, 2021, 00:25

Willie took the gap on the outside, the mark of a pacy player. He then had to slow down because Dud was trotting 10 metres behind him...then Ford caught up. Catch a wake up Box man.

Jan 26, 2021, 01:51

If NZ were employing the Bok game plan they would not be selecting Goodhue or LB at 12

The AB’s play a more expansive game well they try to anyway.

Those stats are not the norm, centres these days find themselves running into brick walls most the time

We could easily find a test were DA beat as many defenders but that is the exception not the rule

Same applies to the Kiwi pair. The art of centre play in modern test rugby has become hard to make a lasting impression and accounts for the fact that NZ like all countries never seem to settle on a centre combo for any length of time. Centre selections keep changing as coaches keep seeking a Danie Gerber when not even a Danie would make the impression he did in modern test rugby

It’s again where we see the astuteness of Rassie - he realises that centre play is no longer about dancing feet but the ability to operate effectively in traffic

Therein lies the benefit of DA, he is the one centre that is able to open up slight cracks in those walls through sheer power. It’s why Rassie has kept selecting DA as our 12. He breaks the mould and keeps getting selected unlike the majority of test centres out there.

The Bok plan like all modern teams is to set up phase play either with a narrow pod of forwards or slightly wider to DA

You just don’t see this Moz - Rassie does not want DA to dance past a defender and run away from his support if he is wanting to set up a phase. Nor would he want him taking contact and offloading if he is setting up phase play

This is all part of structured play which represents the majority of the game - the subdue according to Billy

In broken play then yes you will see DA step or offload to carry the attack as part of the penetrate according to Billy

All you see is DA tractoring as you call it. You don’t see the effect of what he is doing

You still judge centres according to Danie - it’s simply not reality

Jan 26, 2021, 04:00

Delande may have the strongest leg strength in world rugby, or at the very least for a backline player.
Pulling him down is difficult, even if two players are tackling him.
He punches holes in the backline, creating an opportunity for the next phase. He has pace and strength so he gains allot of metres quickly in traffic.
His offload game could be used more though, which he can do. 

Jan 26, 2021, 06:50


Your usage of stats available is a total mess as we have only rudimentary stats which are factually misleading,    Why did you not read what Seb posted on real and comprehensive stats and match analysis available to experts and used by good coaches and experts to assess player performances in games.

It is not wise to base arguments and compare players on anything based on basic info that never reflect anything of real value in games.   That is why the brilliant Erasmus was great in performance assessments of players and Meyer and Coetzee flopped so badly as coaches especially with regard to player selection.   

I have always maintained that stats we have available are only to be used to determine trends  in games and not stupidly by noobs like you to prove something which factually is totally deficient and stupid,            

Jan 26, 2021, 12:43

Best report I've ever read by Billy Beaumont who's insight is accurate and complete to a "T"

He analysed .each players contribution positively and how it gelled together as an outstanding TEAM effort.

It's just so ridiculous that AO and Moz's  remarks contradict this outstanding assessment.

Beaumont not only high-lighted  this incredible endeavour showing how well the team knitted together but emphasised the brilliance of Erasmus's coaching.

That's what you call a proper analysis by some one who really knows the game.

The adage that don't try to fix it when it's working applies was not only working but it was outstanding .... you cannot go any higher than this...the best match I've ever seen in a World Cup by a country mile. Each player was a contributor to this amazing unexpected result...if SA can build on this the future augurs well...unfortunately Covid has set the clock back and then we have the politicians and the poor state of governance to contend with as well.

Jan 26, 2021, 16:17


He would have had  the full data of the game available before making the assessment .

When dealing with the coaches he said that Eddie Jones  outwitted Meyer in 2015 and in the 2019 semi he outwitted Hansen,   However, he came up against the brrilliamnt Erasmus and the latter outwitted Jones.   

I wrote earlier that Malherbe displayed great defense in that famous attacks on the Springboks try-line in the three minutes the England attacked,   Beaumont  confirmed clearly what I wrote,

Yes  - it is a pity that Mozart and AO has shown some desperate  fighting against realty,  I know that they started attacks on some players when they became a thread to their favorites.  They defended Meyer as coach all-out when he was criticized for being defective iro selections  and the absence of a coherent game plan  - exactly te same things that cost him his job at Stade Francais - and instead of defending defective performance by players that for instance should not have been in the 2015 WC squad - they attack players who  die to Meyer had virtually extremely little test experience before the start of the WC.    .  

Mozart and AO had been wrong for years about Meyer and their attacks on certain players started years ago.    There is never any reality on what they wrote on site,     Because Erasmus is showing up his two predecessors as defective   they cannot afford to let go of their campaign against Erasmus,  Everything the to came up was proven to be based on misrepresentationms and even false,   

I think they must not carry on  with a campaign that only discredit themselves and  show immaturity and defective rugby knowledge.   

Jan 26, 2021, 18:45

Well Meyer ran a much better ABs team much closer at the WC than Erasmus....and we all know that’s the test. And Dave I don’t have to go back to Danie, JdV was twice the centre Dud is...he had long distance strike capability. 

JdV ....27 tries in 109 tests

Dud Allende ....6 tries in 47 tests.

At that rate if Dud plays 109 tests he will have scored 14 tries, roughly half the number JdV did. If one bothered to do the research  the same would be true of defenders beaten, clean breaks and metres gained.

Dud Allende a poor man’s Bastareaud.

Jan 26, 2021, 19:56

Jean would have made zero impact in today’s game. The game has moved on that much since Jean played.

Find a current 12 that has a great test scoring record - you won’t

Jean was good but could never play the game de Allende is right now.

Jean was not a player that ripped through defences with skill, he had a good rugby brain, was invariably in the right place at the right time and was a master of the intercept

De Allende is just as skilled as Jean but far more powerful. Jean had the better rugby brain.

I’m not sure who I prefer of the two but it’s a bloody close call

Jan 26, 2021, 21:03

Jean vs Australia in the 2011WC, 6.5 metres a carry,  3 defenders beaten and 2 offloads. Now that’s creation vs process. We are looking for different things you want secure phase play and slow grinding attack. I believe centres can still crack the line. If Mortlock or Danie were playing today they’d still find the gaps.

J FourieC03880220
J VilliersC0412771320


Jan 26, 2021, 21:24

Geez Moz it’s not the same game

There was nothing creative about Jean or Fourie for that matter

Disagree Mortlock and Danie would not find the gaps they used for they just don’t exist in the modern game

Sure they are found on occasion but it’s a seldom seen sight and it’s the very reason every country never settles on test match centres apart from maybe de Allende for the Boks

Think about it - when last did you see a settled AB, Oz, English, Irish, French, Scottish or Welsh centre pair. Not in the past 3 seasons anyway

The game has moved on that much and it’s this very fact that makes de Allende stand tall these days as he is able to create forward momentum through sheer strength.

The fact that you do not see his value tells me you are caught up in a time warp. You judge modern centres by Danie’s standards where space was aplenty and centres shone through creativity

These days the game demands attrition and the reliance on that creativity in those scarce moments

Jan 27, 2021, 05:54


How many tries did De Villiers scored when he played at center and how may during the disastrous  Meyer era - when backline try scoring became a rarity?   And  how  nay in the even worse Coetzee two years when  the outcomes was even worse.   De Villiers had one distinction that spoiled his reputation and that was the 2015 Japan disaster,

De Villiers never really played in  any world cup other than the 2011 one,   In  2003 he was injured and ruled  out of the series before it started - in 2007 he was injured in his first game - in 2011 he played in 6 games -  in 2015 where he should not have been in the squad at all ,  he was injured  the first test in the series.   So when we discuss performances in WC games De Villiers should not be mentioned at all.

Since when is backline try scoring of any importance anyway?    You never considered try-scoring as important - why now you use that as an issue of importance?


Jan 27, 2021, 18:25

Mike let me help.....JdV never scored in the Coetzee era, because he never played in the Coetzee area. Make sense?

On the other hand he played in 37 tests under HM, all at centre and he scored 8 tries. That’s 10 less tests than Dud in his whole career and 2 more tries...for a much higher strike rate, even under HM who you claim never coached for tries.

Here’s a piece of friendly advice, in a debate never ask a question if you don’t know the answer.

Jan 27, 2021, 19:05

I referred to him in the Meyer era - that was the question asked,    My memory must be faulty,   I watched d all the Tri-Nations games and also the June and EOYT games and cannot remember  whether he scored any tries in the tests - bar in the three tests against the minnows they played in the June 2013 series,    Thy played Italy, Scotland and Samoa in June 2013 and plenty of tries were scored/    

Fact is as to coaching I was referring to the scoring of tries by backline players in particular,   Meyer's game plan was total BS and so was Coetzee's.    When one compare the tries scored in the Meyer years - essentially  by backline players one find the name of Habana amongst those  try-scorers - but that was individual efforts outside if the scope of the so-called game plan of Meyer,    

If you want to compare  the try scoring - there are only two similar years that can be used for  comparison purposes.   In those two years the  backline players score more tries in 2018 and 2019 than the whole team scored in 2012 and 2015.

Can you please provide the games in which De Villiers scored the 8 tries.     

The issue is clear as Beaumont wrote - Jones outwitted Meyer in 2015 - while Erasmus outwitted Jones in 2019.


Jan 27, 2021, 19:23

England 2012

Italy 2013

Argentina 2013

Australia 2013

New Zealand 2013

Wales 2013

Australia 2014 ....2 tries.

Jan 27, 2021, 19:29

As opposed to Dud:

USA 2015

Ireland 2016

Italy 2016

New Zealand 2018

Canada 2019

Wales 2019

....3 of Dud’s pitiful 6 tries in 47 tests  came against minnows. In all that time he has scored 3 tries against test level opponents. That has to be the lowest strike rate ever for a long serving Bok centre.

Jan 27, 2021, 19:30

I repeat a debate don’t ask a question if you don’t know the answer.

Jan 27, 2021, 19:38


Sorry I do remember the De Al;ende tries - I wanted a list of when De Villiers scored tries on the period 2012 to 2015 - where you mentioned that he scored 8 tries in the 37 matches he played in.   Can you please help out on that one?   .    

Jan 27, 2021, 19:38


Sorry I do remember the De Al;ende tries - I wanted a list of when De Villiers scored tries on the period 2012 to 2015 - where you mentioned that he scored 8 tries in the 37 matches he played in.   Can you please help out on that one?   .    

Jan 27, 2021, 19:38


Sorry I do remember the De Al;ende tries - I wanted a list of when De Villiers scored tries on the period 2012 to 2015 - where you mentioned that he scored 8 tries in the 37 matches he played in.   Can you please help out on that one?   .    

Jan 28, 2021, 00:06

Those are the de Villiers tries above, the list starting with England 2012.

Jan 28, 2021, 03:51

I was never the biggest Jean fan, but to talk him down like this is simply ignorant. He was an elite talent. I highlight the word talent. He was talented as a junior, and carried that into senior level, at all levels of the game. There's simply no comparison, Jean was more physical, tougher, braver, more competitive, more technically gifted, had better awareness and tactical understanding than Damian. There's literally nothing Damian does better, a total flake in contact and passive. Jean was one of the most tactically aware Boks of all time, and a key contributor of the game planning team. Good leader. Damian is a poor man's Olivier. Ende. 

Jan 28, 2021, 07:57

Stupid Kindergarten Imbecile

I did not take De Villiers down at all - I justa sk Mozart questions about tries scored,  Your ignorance and attacks on De Allende is as stupid as only you can be,.  Jean had a career-ending injury in 2014 and was then nursed back to play in the WC of 2015.   He played one game in the Tri-Nations  against Argentina in Durban and contributed nothing  in that game - which SA lost badly and then was picked for the Japan Disaster - which really ended his career,  That is why I said that he was not really supposed to be selected in the 2015 RWC - it was looking for a disaster - which his selection turned out to be.

I always was a De Villiers admirer and still is - but I am a realist and knows enough about rugby to see what went wrong under the clueless Meyer .  But what else could one expect from the worthless coach we had  in Meyer?      


Jan 28, 2021, 13:45

Jean more powerful than DA


That in a nutshell sums you up omelette

Case forever closed

Jan 28, 2021, 16:07


Willie tried to make a break between Ford and Farrell - but could not outrun either of the two,  There was as a result of the real situation no space for De Allende to run into to be beside Willie to receive the ball.   Your theory is piss-poor BS story as always expected from you.    The half-break  - and that it came down to was doomed from the start and  all De Allende could do.

Your pretext that it was a try-scoring opportunity was totally ridiculous.   There neve was a chance that the ball handling in that case would  lead to anything,   There were only two potential try-scoring attacks in the first half of the WC final - one was destriyed by Willie 0- the opther by Mostert,   Why not write a saga by those two?     

Jan 28, 2021, 16:27

All Dud had to do was run round the open side of Farrell as he was turning. The reason there was no space was he was trotting right behind him.

Allende is a very dumb man. Back in 2015 approx when SBW was the standard for inside centres Dud actually offloaded quite well copying SBW. Then he went through a fetching phase. Then in 2019 he had a kicking phase. 

All programmed, never as a reaction to the opportunity....never featured at the same time. If you had the kicking Allende, the fetching Allende disappeared.

That’s why he scores so few tries. He isn’t goal oriented, he is captured by process. This guy could tractor and reset with an open goal line a metre in front of him.

With a brain he could have been a competitive inside centre....sadly that’s a genetic bridge too far.

Jan 28, 2021, 19:25

Utter bullshit Moz we have been over this to death and a number of us have proved your theory as prejudicial crap

de Allende had two options - take the inside line or outside one. He chose the inside line which was the correct one as the defenders were naturally covering across and wide

Willie did not pick up that de Allende had chosen the inside line which happens sometimes

Jan 28, 2021, 20:09

Pollard said De Allende has a brilliant rugby brrain - you said he is dumb.   The fact is you are prejudiced and therefore inventing things that never happened.    You actually lied about the incident by claiming it as a try-scoring opportunity and that it happened in the English  22 - which was blatantly false,

There was a real try-scoring opportunity earlier in the first half,   De Allende drew in the defenders and the ball went out to Willie - with four Springboks  outside  of him and only two defenders ibn front of him and instead of passing the ball Willie spilled it,    That was a virtually certain try-scoring opportunity destroyed by Willie.  .Why no comment on that one?

Then also why no comment on Mostert spilling the ball in another very dangerous and  real try-scoring opportunity in the 41st minute of the  first half,   Why no comment on that one?   IK - I forget - according to you the replacement ensured  the  Springboks win since Mostert was a key to the Springbok defense in he four minutes the English launched atatck after attack and ould not get through,   In that period you referred to - however, the key defender was Malherbe who ensured that the Vunipola' could not make any progress in that period,    Beaumont saw ot too and gave Malherbe credit for the effort but you spoke kak as per normal,   , Mostert rol in the final was minimal -  fact.     Why no clarification after you spread BS on site?                  


Jan 28, 2021, 21:32

Allende did nothing except trot behind the move....he was confused. A smart alert centre would have sprinted round Farrell who was turning and been there to receive the offload.

This is not an unusual thing to’s the normal thing to do. When your inside partner goes through the inside don’t try to run through the same frigging gap. You take the outside gap as well....taking advantage of your marker having to turn.

High School I’m wrong....we would have got this right in Under 12 rugby.

As for Mostert spilling the ball why did I not report on it.....because it never happened. Here are the ESPN stats. Mostert made 15 tackles, no tackles missed and he spilled no

The level of dishonesty on this string is hilarious.

F MostertR01500

Jan 28, 2021, 21:37

I have had the privilege of attending the 07 and the 19 finals. The last time I felt as relaxed at a live game 10 min in was the 42-0 pom game in 07 pools. For me to a man the Boks were outstanding. It is truly childish to sit back and criticise players for not playing a perfect game in a dynamic situation that only one of them had experienced before. Lood is my least favourite Bok I am sorry his final was cut short. In the end it is a game where all the moving parts have to work in unison. You can argue till you are blue in the face but each including those off the field played their parts as directed by Rassie perfectly. Congrats to the English supporters for being so humble in defeat. 

Jan 28, 2021, 21:47

In the 2007 Eng vs Boks pool match, the score was 0-36...:D

Jan 28, 2021, 21:51

Bullshit de Allende chose the correct line, Willie failed to see him. The inside line was the only line that had the potential to lead to something - de Allende was alert enough to work that out.

The outside line was a dead option with two English defenders covering the outside line

Your take is a load of rubbish

Mostert missed two tackles in the final while defending the line and that’s a proven fact evidenced by us at the exact time he missed the two tackles

Jan 28, 2021, 22:45

Thanks Draad, was mixing it up with the 42-6 game at Twickenham the following year which had the same points difference.  ??

Jan 29, 2021, 00:21

He couldn’t see him, because he doesn’t have eyes in the back of his head. He ran exactly where no ball carrier could see him and from his body language was not interested in the next pass. The space was in the outside it almost always is.

The dead obvious fact is he should have accelerated when he saw Willie  breaking and rounded Farrell into buckets of space....instead he meandered inside at half pace into the traffic.

As for Mostert’s tackling stats, I saw no missed tackles nor did the ESPN stats team.....I’ll stick with that.

Jan 29, 2021, 01:35

Nope peripheral vision has you being aware of the man behind you - players spends hours focusing on such drills. Specialists are brought in to hone these skills

de Allende made the correct call and Willie missed it - it happens

Mostert definitely missed two tackles confirming just how inaccurate ESPN is and not for the first time

Jan 29, 2021, 04:10

As per normal I asked some real questions about the poor play of Willie and Mostert during real try-scoring opportunities and not an imagined one - but no answer as expected,

Instead Mostert acid clearly miss one tackle and let go of the legs of another one ileaving completion of the tackle to other players,,    It shows some inaccuracy odd the ESPN stats.   Luckily evaluation of performances is done based on comprehensive match reports and not on the sketchy ESPN stats - which Mozart chose to use selectively,    

I said that ESPN stats can at best indicate tendencies in platers if taken over a series and that let to Mostert being dropped from the starting line-up due to his inability to make open-field  tackles and the poor quality of tackles he made. in the series,    Full match reports will inevitably deal with that aspect,

By the way - what is the meaning of "process tackles" and why do the weak  inadequate tackles made by Mostert not be regarded as process tackles, while the tackles made by Mozart's pet  hate players are :process tackles,      That shows that  Mozart's  player evaluations are totally worthless.     


Jan 29, 2021, 17:09

Let me help.....I call them process tackles when the defender anchors at first or second spot in the defensive line and stops the runner who is simply trying to move the ball a metre or so and reset. Those tackles can be made by any forward who is assigned to do that by the team.

Mostert, Dud, Lomp all male lots of process tackles. The difference Mostert brings can be seen in the goal line stand....he is tackling on both sides of the ruck, reading the attack and using that skill to be in the right place at the right time.  

Jan 29, 2021, 17:18

Yeah the same Mostert who missed two tackles in the goal line defence

Mostert lacks physicality which in itself is a liability considering he is meant to be a test lock

So he is able to effect nice low technically sound tackles but ask him to make a physically imposing tackle like a real lock and you get zero. Ask him to envelope a player and drive him back or stop him in his tracks and you get zero

It’s why he missed those two tackles, he is all energy and heart no brains. Shoots out the line gets his angle wrong and the attacker gets past him. It happened twice and that’s a fact - we have evidence of the exact minutes he missed two tackles. I’m quite happy to point them out again if you wish

Jan 29, 2021, 17:22

Tell you what your time stamp and I will  look at it again.

Jan 29, 2021, 17:40

We’ve done that Moz and you told us they were not misses apparently which was a bloody joke but no problem it’s easy enough to provide the times

Jan 29, 2021, 18:14

Minute 29.22 B Vunipola bursts out of Dud Toit’s grasp to offload. 

Minute20.22 Mostert brings Tuilagi to ground with a difficult tackle from behind battered by 2 other Bok tacklers ....not a missed tackle his motion takes him forward and before he can get up he is pushed back down.

Minute 30.04 Vunipola stands in the Dud tackle

Minute 30.14 Curry is smashed down by Mostert

Minute 30.35 Mostert goes low and Malherbe high to stop Vunipola dead 3 metres out...the Mostert low tackle was crucial to stop him powering over.

Minute 30.55 Dud makes his first conclusive tackle of the sequence

Minute 30.56 Ford is marked by Pollard...throws a dummy and steps inside him and Mostert who brings him down,  as he is falling Ford passes.

Minute 30.15 ...Billy V again....’he is sent back’ by Mostert who is the high man this time. No offload in that tackle!.

Minute 32 brilliant out wide tackles by Willie and Etzebeth on Tuilagi. Also by Am on Daly.


So what do we conclude. Mostert with 5 critical tackles during the stand was our most involved defender. Dud made one good tackle but allowed 2 offloads in weak over the top tackles.

The biggest tackles close to the line were by Mostert/Malherbe and Vermeulen who literally lifted BV off the deck in one charge, how strong is that man!

I think every Bok made a tackle in the sequence except Dud Allende.

Jan 29, 2021, 19:49

Moz as per usual you are speaking shit

de Allende smashes Lawes at 32.30

About as accurate as your Mostert not missing a tackle

Clearly your definition of a tackle is different to reality

Last I checked, if a player goes down and gets up again to continue moving forward that does not constitute a tackle unless of course it’s Mostert bwhaaahaaa

Let me guess had that been de Allende or PSDT missing Tuilagi then it would definitely have been a miss

Much like Ford leaving Mostert all sprawled and clutching at straws or should I say a leg

Two obvious clear misses without a shadow of a doubt

Jan 29, 2021, 20:01

Dimness at it again'- his rugby knowledge is really non\existent.

Minute 20.22 -  Tuilagi never handled the ball in that minute neither did Mostert tackle anyone,   How did you manage yo find that non\existent tackle?

Minute 29.22 -   Did it really happened like Mozart   describes ir? - No  it did not.- Vunuipola did n0ot burst out of any Du Toit tackle,     

Minute 30.04  -  Du Toit  stopped Vunipola before him reaching the gain line and he did not bust the tackle.  Vunipola managed to off-load the ball to his brother who also got stopped before reaching the gain line.

Minute 30.14  - the tackle was made by Kolisi.

Minute 30.35  -  Mostert tried to grab Vunipola and he went forward in the process with Mostert loosing hold on Vunipola's legs - that represents a missed tackle.   The effective tackle was made by Malherbe  

Minute 30.56  - Mostert did not bring anybody down and totally missed the tackle.   There is no way that Mostert was not run through a feeble tackle attempt on Ford.

The other incident involving both Mostert and Marx on Billy Vunipola the fact is that case iss that Marx  is physically very strong and a hard tackler.   The strength in that case came from Marx - not Mostert.    

Mostert makes tackles in which player go forward - he cannot stop a player from doing that,  Mostert effectively missed two of the five tackles Mozart credits him with and the only player mentioned in that episode was Malherbe who made more and very effective tackles pushiong the players back too.   

And the idiot did not see there \were attacks by backline players - of the 25 two involve backline players and there were one very effective tackle made by De Allemnde on Lawes that Mozart obviously missed totally,   I agree with Dave - Mozart idea about tackles are far removed from reality,      

Now tell me why did Willie and Mostert buggered up two very real try-scoring opportunities in the first half and what is your imagined excuses in those two cases?  Dies Willie not have a pace problem coupled to poor passing and ball skills, eg

*    the knock-on with am open tryline in front of him in the semi-final

*     one forward and two very poor passes - both to Kobe in the final.     




Jan 29, 2021, 22:26

In both cases the player hit the deck and never took one step forward...tackle made. Confirmed by ESPN which undoubtedly made a decision on on these tackles. And they were open field tackles on I recall no other forward stopped a back.....because Mostert ranged widely taking down the threat as it developed.

Jan 29, 2021, 22:34

Actually my mistake Etzebeth took down Tuilagi on the left wing. And Dud Allende did actually manage a tackle on Lawes. Of course he missed two of his other 8 tackle attempts, a number only exceeded by Faf.

Jan 29, 2021, 23:03

Moz stop speaking utter fucking shit - this is childish - just because it’s useless Mostert and you think he is great does not excuse the fact he missed those tackles

It does NOT count as a tackle if you bring someone down and they get up and proceed forward which is exactly what Tuilagi did. You are lying if you are saying Tuilagi does not move forward after the feeble Mostert attempt

As for Ford, he runs a good few metres after Mostert gets his hands on him

Two tackles missed and if you can’t concede that you are a fucking idiot

I’m done with this shit it’s soooo fucking boring debating the merits of a missed tackle

It’s bloody insulting man - we all played this game, we know what a tackle is and what is not

Imagine claiming a tackle after taking a guy down and he gets up and carries on only to get tacked by the next guy who has every right to claim that tackle

But as for claiming a tackle when a guy steps you and you managed to get hands on him but unfortunately he slips out of your grasp and carries on his run. How the FUCK can you claim you tackled him. FFS get real

Fuck this shit it’s boring

Jan 29, 2021, 23:22

Lots of insults....I’ll ignore them given the source. Tuilagi was brought to the deck, he had to release the ball. Should have been penalized.

Ford was going down after contact with Mostert and passed the ball before he hit the deck 

Those were tough tackles close to the line. If Mostert missed either of them it was a likely try. You should be thanking him, not trying to vilify him. 

Jan 29, 2021, 23:34

Bullshit they were fucking missed tackles - we can thank the next defenders for saving the tries not Mostert who missed both because Tuilagi got up after his attempt and Ford continued a good few metres after Mostert’s miss

Anyone who has played and knows the game is not stupid enough to have claimed those tackles

Yes I throwing the niceties out the window as this is bullshit man. Fuck sake we know that if PSDT had missed those tackles you would be banging on about them as misses

It’s childish predictable bullshit man

This site is dying as no rugby is discussed anymore. Fuck we have a Currie Cup final on tomorrow and nothing is mentioned

Instead we are banging on about average Mostert missing tackles which you claim he made but had it been DA then you would be claiming them as misses

COME ON smell the roses Moz

But hey ho you stick to yours guns on those wonderful tackles by Mostert

I don’t give a shit anymore

I’m done - this seriously bores me to death

I’m going to enjoy the present and watch the CC final tomorrow

I leave you believing Mostert made those tackles when you know full well he did not

Jan 30, 2021, 00:09

Moz apologies I retract my insults

I’m just done with the head against the wall shit

Jan 30, 2021, 02:30

No worries is pretty bleak at the moment. By the way, Mostert wouldn’t be my starting lock....Etzebeth and Snyman would be my choices.

Nonetheless I think he was a key defender in the final and those were two key moments. Pulling down Tuilagi from behind is no mean feat. And the tackle on Ford was akin to an ankle tap as Ford wrong footed our defence....we don’t say a player missed an ankle tap when the player is brought to ground.

In any case we won’t agree on this one.

Jan 30, 2021, 02:41

Yep move on we definitely don’t agree on what constitutes a missed tackle but so be it

I’m looking forward to the CC final tomorrow

I prefer the Sharks side on paper but Jake is the better coach and it’s in the Bull ring and heavy under foot thanks to much needed rain

Jan 30, 2021, 03:59


The thing is that if  what happened in the case of the two "tackles"  in reality  missed by Mostert  was done the same way by Du Toit you would have written books on site about how poor a tackler the latter is,.

There is one thing I have learned throughout the years about your match description - it is to accept that it is so far removed from what actually happen in the games that it is better to check and recheck what you wrote, because in the main your takes are infkuenced by your pet hate of some players             

Jan 30, 2021, 12:49

Think about it if other players ended up having to stop the players Mostert was meant to have tackled then clearly Mostert has not stopped them

I’ll say no more on the subject

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