Disappointment

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Nov 22, 2021, 19:54

Despite the body of work put together this season, despite everything I have reviewed on film, I backed the Boks to win on Saturday and I believed they would win. From the opening seconds it was bad. Lood falling over his own feet from kick-off, shortly thereafter lunging aimlessly at no one. There were lots of bad defending all around, it was the typical kind of performance we have seen this season, but with a new gimmick since the Scotland game: loading up the wide channels. Lazy coaching and inept tactics. We can't create space, so we'll just lump units out against the touchline and hope that numerically we can get someone free. Unfortunately, England didn't defend as naively as the Scots. We stifled them a little with double-teams on their first receiver, but they still manfully came at us and eventually weathered that storm. I'll give Damain credit for two things: 1.A rare offload, the kind Esterhuizen does under greater pressure and with more success regularly, and 2.The cover tackle. Aside from that there was major weakness on defence. We have been dominated on the gainline in all but one test since the Georgian game. I saw the warning signs there and it never rectified itself. We have become the weaker teams in the Premier League: Implementing a stifling limited game to stop the bigger teams from unloading a full assault. Try to keep the score down and from there, if you are still in the game in the final ten minutes, you might pinch a result. Australia and New Zealand, in all four tests, busted out defence for a combined total that is near 20 try scoring opportunities. Drops, some bad decision making really let us off the hook. Make no mistake, better Kiwi sides of the kind we are used to seeing would have put 50-60 points on us, we were that open. But why the surprise? Argentina ripped our defence wide open often. The Lions, when they actually used the ball, obliterated out pack and tore our defence apart. We are not a great defensive side anymore. We are a lineout and mauling team, who occasionally is dominant in the scrum - we were third in the RC. We are rock bottom on every attacking statistic. The team was beginning to look stale in 2019, and now we look totally off the pace. As our opponents improve under the high ball, we are finding it increasingly more difficult to apply our wonky kicking game. There never was any accuracy or intelligence to our kicking game, it was all about the jumper knocking it on, or winning a penalty as they come down and a ruck forms. This is very basic. With all the talk of Ole being sacked at United, I am hearing so many things that parallel the Boks. This coaching team just wasn't up to the task. Most fans seem to see Rassie as a nice guy, they like him. They have given him the easiest unaccountable ride of any Bok coach in all the years that I have been following the game. But in the end, the Boks mirror his other work. Nienaber doesn't appear to be the defensive guru he once was either.

So what next? A backline coach? I wish it were that simple, and this comment really highlights where the fans just don't get the game at all. Look at the structure of our forwards and backs. It all works together. Our entire blueprint is failing. But Rassie never was a coach who empowers players, he likes heavily scripted sequences to control everything that happens on the field. Rugby is too organic for something like that. Even American football can't go to such an extreme. I know that the fans want to see the positives to the season, but it doesn't have very much to be positive about. It was bad enough when we thought that Australia and New Zealand were the two best teams in the world, but now we see that they are not, that the NH have continued to break down the SANZAR trio. If you look honestly through the course of this season, you will see the Boks enjoying the greatest string of reffing performances they could possibly ask for. More often than not, they're opponents have been reffed almost out of the game, if not actually reffed out of it. For Australia, New Zealand, and England to overcome that says a lot about what they are actually capable of. Our ceiling is exceedingly low right now. We had some close losses, so we are top tier? Look at the reffing and the opportunities the opposition have missed and it is actually the other way around: we were let off the hook too often. In our solitary win against New Zealand alone, we could have conceded 5 tries inside the first half! We were broken wide open, helpless. Let off. For some that's fine, living on the cusp of a few results, hinging on some ref calls to get us over the line - I now see that the great expert Mallett agrees with World Rugby and has not defended Rassie. For years I heard that there was an expectation for more. I began calculating the irb rankings for 2021 in isolation, I can already see that we are not the number one team without the double ranking points of the world cup. It's the first time that I have ever found analyzing Bok games a burden and a chore. I have not enjoyed what I have seen. After all these games, I feel a great amount of disappointment.  

Nov 22, 2021, 21:11

Perhaps the biggest change to the negative is the defence. Yes we had lapses in the WC….against NZ and against Wales when Dud Toit failed to defend his side of the scrum…..but generally we were watertight.

The try Quirke scored off lineout ball at the halfway line was a bit of defence no top 10 team should ever produce. Let alone the team that supposedly has the best defence in rugby. Embarrassing.

Nov 22, 2021, 23:00

We also have to learn how to successfully put our forward Dominance into points. The most basic instinct/purpose in rugby. We had all the ball possession we needed, but could not turn it into points. R & N needs help in the coaching to bring new ideas, better attack structures so we can combine our good forward with precise backline play. Then maybe, Nienaber will also have more time to concentrate on defence. It’s clear to see that Boks are limited in there play, otherwise they would not be playing Stamp kar rugby with all the possession/advantage they had in Eng game. And seriously, better player depth and selection also needs attention. So what will R & N do, will they act and get the necessary help that Boks need? Or will they double down on there current tactics and play? It,s Definitely going be interesting .

Nov 24, 2021, 09:13

I really expected SA to take the win

England deserved this win, and SA only got so many points on the board due to the ill discipline of England.... we just never converted any of our opportunities and score any tries....

Yeah, Pollard missed a few, but you can't always keep relying on penalties just to win you games 

Well done England …..

The ref missed a few blatant issues towards the end of the game, which could have led to a SA win, but the better team on the day came out tops

Nov 24, 2021, 10:21

"due to the ill discipline of England.... "

It wasn't ill discipline,  it was deliberate tactics and it worked...spoilers...should have been carded sooner and more.

Nov 24, 2021, 12:54

"It wasn't ill discipline,  it was deliberate tactics and it worked"

I agree, but some of them, certainly not all of them

I have not checked, but I would doubt it

Nov 24, 2021, 13:28

Do you want me to start listing SA’s foul play that went unpunished ? Because I can. 

It was a good Test Match and we sneaked it. 

Nov 24, 2021, 14:53

Becs it was indeed a good match and I don't mean to take anything away from the English victory...they were the smarter and more tactically astute team on the day... They disrupted our scrum and they disrupted our attacks by rather giving away tactical penalties. They played the ref well...reminded me of Sir Richie, just managing to stay within the bounds of what the reff deemed acceptable. You can be proud of your lads...they ended the year well and they scored some nice tries.


DA, obviously some of the penalties were "normal infringements"....but the excessive penalty count wasn't due to ill discipline...in fact, when things got hot, the lads were extremely well disciplined...IMO...this match had the potential to boil over, but it didn't...well played England.

Nov 24, 2021, 16:04

Fair comment Db

Nov 24, 2021, 17:35

I’m with becs….if we go over the tape we’ll find plenty of cases where the ref didn’t blow the Boks…..look at these stats. Penalties last weekend:

England 18

Australia 13

Wales 9

Springboks 8

………

Previous week

Australia 18

Scotland 15

England 9

Springboks 9

…..

Previous week

Wales 15

Australia 14

Springboks 14

France 13

Argentina 13

Scotland 12

………………

One can make the argument that the Boks pressure at the scrum and ruck should result in a few more penalties….but 18 to 8? Was the Boks performance against England, which they lost and were under a lot of pressure, really likely to produce the least number of penalties over the YE tour (NZ match stats not available).

I find the renewed bleating by my fellow Bok supporters a bit embarrassing.


Nov 24, 2021, 17:50

So I would like to quote Pieter de Villiers, we beat them everywhere except the scoreboard. 

Yup. That is how some teams play, they see what they can get away with. Qwagga being held up, Itoje hands on the ball, being off side as well as a few others, but Qwagga was way to light to get over the line anyway. 

But we can't just say the ref was against us, especially if England conceded way more penalties than us. 

All 3 tries could have been defended easily, Tuilagi were numbers, 2nd was expecting a 9 to guard the goal line around the fringe and the finally one was a laps in judgement, not idea why Marx was covering the 12 channel. 

As I said before, Australia did the same thing to us. 

Agree with Saffex, when Rassie is not around we crumble, look at what happened in Aus 1/4 wins. 

Rassie gets sanctioned, we lose. England was an inexperience team, we should have put them away. 

No excuses and I don't think we are the No1 right now. 

Nov 24, 2021, 17:50

I don't think we would have won against France or Ireland either

Nov 24, 2021, 18:02

But here’s the thing….if Nienaber isn’t competent….who appointed him. Why did Erasmus hand over the reigns to Nienaber who has no head coach record..versus finding an experienced professional head coach.

Obviously because he would be more involved himself. That was the insurance policy. Then he tears that up by not going on the NZ tour and getting himself banned.

Good managers are as concerned about their successor as their own success. This whole Harrassmiss thing could be a Harvard Business School case in failed leadership.

Nov 24, 2021, 21:13

Nothing wrong with Nienaber, Bokke are just better with Rassie around too...

 
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