Looking for some documents on my computer I came across the following copmments on Meyer's 2015 WC squad:-
This squad has an element about so-called experience that is awry - experience is fine, but then experience must be seen to be associated with performance as well. I am afraid that that too many of the experienced players are habitual under-performers/match-losers. Lets look at the squad and see why I state that:-
Forwards: Willem Alberts, Schalk Brits, Schalk Burger, Lood de Jager, Bismarck du Plessis, Jannie du Plessis, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Eben Etzebeth, Siya Kolisi, Francois Louw, Frans Malherbe,Victor Matfield (vice-captain), Tendai Mtawarira, Trevor Nyakane, Coenie Oosthuizen, Adriaan Strauss, Duane Vermeulen
Backs: Jean de Villiers (captain), Damian de Allende, Fourie du Preez, Bryan Habana, Zane Kirchner, Jesse Kriel, Pat Lambie,Willie le Roux, Lwazi Mvovo, Rudy Paige, Ruan Pienaar, JP Pietersen, Handre Pollard, Morne Steyn
The highlighted players were involved in the 2011 WC campaign disaster. Counting those 15 of the 31 players were in the 2011 WC squad and we all know that the Springboks went out of that WC in the quarterfinal after near disastrous performances in the round robin stage (beating Wales by 1 point and Samoa by 6 points).
There are way too many passengers in the team and in that case we have to look at three categories of players:-
The habitual under-performers
Willem Alberts, Jannie du Plessis, Victor Matfield, Zane Kirchner, Ruan Pienaar, JP Pietersen, Morne Steyn
Please note that all of the above has been in the 2011 WC squad and some have been showing zilch for years - while others have been deteriorating in performances at an alarming rate over the past two years.
Willem Alberts - Did not have a decent performance record for three years on any level. A low-activity player bringing zilch to the game. He played in yhree Super Rugby matches since June 2014 and his performance in all three of those were poor. In the one test against the Argentina “B” has average was far below par.
Jannie du Plessis - His scrumming was poor over the last two years and barely average in the tests this year - brings nothing to the game outside of scrumming. Cannot tackle to save his life. Getting penalized far too often.
Victor Matfield - Since his return to Springbok rugby the Springboks performance record has deteriorated massively - the reason being is malfunctioning of their Tight 5. Matfield brings zero to Tight 5 play and is in fact a major contributor to the obvious Tight 5 deterioration.
Zane Kirchner - Was always a sub-par player with a serious deficiency in reading of the game. He never is in the position where he should be in defensive play and he is consequently a defensive disaster - while bringing near to zero to attacking play.
Ruan Pienaar - Slow and predictable - a real handicap in the tests this year. Poor kicking accuracy made worse by too many aimless kicks in the tests he played in this year. Defense this year was a real disaster.
JP Pietersen - Was poor over the last two years as a result of loss of pace and a deficient work ethic - he never looks for work and is happy to stand around on the wing. His Japan Club Contract seriously damaged his performances.
Morne Steyn - The habitual bench player of Stade Francais who only makes the match day 15 when Plisson is not available. Outside of kicking at goal he is noted for poor decisionmaking and execution. He was a disaster in the 2012 tests and dropped from the team by Meyer as a result. His record last year was even worse - he was dropped from the team twice in 2014 and was primarily responsible for the Perth Test debacle in 2014 - the last test he played in. His defence is putrid with a missed tackle ratio approaching 50%.
The matchless or match - deficient players
Here we have the following:-
Willem Alberts, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Francois Louw, Coenie Oosthuizen, Duane Vermeulen, Jean de Villiers, Fourie du Preez.
Willem Alberts - played in 3 Super rugby matches since June 2014 - 2 poor performances and one barely average. He started in only on test – and was just about average to sub-standard,
Pieter-Steph Du Toit - he was very good in Super 15 in 2015 before his latest injury and since then played in a game for the Sharks where he did well and was excellent when he came on in the latest Argentina test when he replaced Alberts, who was shown up badly by Du Toit.
Francois Louw - Was injured in the AB test last year and off for the rest of the year and only started playing for his club in February 2015. Since then he was frequently out with injury and he has played in only one test in the 2015 RC when he was injured again.
Coenie Oosthuizen - Have had serious neck injury problems over the last three years and underwent a couple of operations. The latest injury was in April 2015. He was operated on and has not played a single match since then. When fit he is normally a hard worker - but is he match-fit at this stage? Highly unlikely
Duane Vermeulen - One of the best no 8's in world rugby - but has not played since he was injured 4 months ago. Can be relied on to produce the goods - so no problem expected in his case.
Jean de Villiers - After an excellent performance year in 2013 - he was very average in 2014 until his horrific injury in November last year against Wales. He played in the World team match in June and was seriously deficient in that game. He was then sent to play in a few pre-season CC games for Western Province and was barely average. Came back for the Argentina test in Durban and was a square peg in a round hole - breaking his jaw in the process and was laid off for another 4 to 6 weeks.
Fourie du Preez - After two very average performances in tests in June 2014 - he was injured in June 2014 in the test against Scotland. Other than a few club games in Japan in January and February 2015 (the last one on 25 February 2015) he has played no test rugby since June 2014. He went back to Japan for pre-season training and got injured again.
The age issue
In a TV discussion this week Hugh Bladen said that too many of the players are over the hill insofar as performance is concerned and that for that reason we are not going to be successful this year in the WC. So lets look at that issue objectively:-
Willem Alberts - 32
Schalk Brits - 33
Schalk Burger - 32
Bismarck du Plessis - 32
Jannie du Plessis - 33
Francois Louw, - 30
Victor Matfield - 38
Jean de Villiers - 34
Fourie du Preez - 33
Bryan Habana - 33
Zane Kirchner - 32
Ruan Pienaar - 32
Morne Steyn - 32
13 of the players are 30 years or older - in other words a situation recognized as a period where performances of players are deteriorating. No wonder Hugh Bladen was horrified by the situation.
The above indicates that we are in serious trouble in this case and that Meyer did not plan and built up a squad for the upcoming WC. He in 2012 penned in the names of players he was to select for the WC squad in 2015 and only brought in new players when absolutely forced to do so. The result is that the squad has too many players with very little test experience - another negative in any WC campaign.
Lucky for fans three of Meyer's 2012 determined favourites opted out of international rugby - otherwise we would have had 16 players over the age of 30 in that squad.
Bearing in mind the three factors mentioned above - I do believe the team selected by Meyer does not represent the best players in SA and that as a result the Springboks are going to come short in the upcoming tournament.
My analysis was 100% correct and proven to be such in the end. A disastrous campaign staring off with a loss against Japan that screwed up totally the rest of the WC campaign. A disastrous game plan that did not take note of any positives that could be instilled in the way over-the-hill players. They had to be used in the way that flopped totally during and after the 2014 EOYT and in the ERC season in 2015.
It again emphasized what a miracle Erasmus performed in building up a WC squad in the 18 months he coached the team leading to be the World Champions and highest rated team in a decade.