The myth about youth blown up again

Forum » Rugby » The myth about youth blown up again

Mar 19, 2020, 23:58

Russia the oldest RWC 2019 squad with no players from past 5 years of U20 rugby

In their RWC debut in 2011 Russia were in the younger half of squads at the tournament. Since then though the average age of the Bears squads has gradually crept upwards owing to a lack of new talent emerging and now in 2019 they are the oldest squad at the RWC with an average age of 29 years and 10 months. They push down Tonga and Samoa, who usually top this category, to second and third oldest.

Nearly half (15 out of 31) the squad are aged over 31, which is 6 more than any other squad. There are still four players from the 2004 U21 squad (the most capped single age grade side of all time), but not a single player from any of their past 5 years of U20 squads. There are 131 players at this RWC (21% of the tournament) who are younger than youngest member of the Russian squad.

There has been a feeling for a while this Russian side has slowly moved past its prime. Even if a couple of young post-RWC 2011 players like Valery Morozov and Tagir Gadzhiev have come through, not many have. Hopefully for them some of their veterans can make the most of what is an unexpected and likely final RWC opportunity of their careers and produce some credible performances.

Average date of birth for each RWC squad. Russia are the oldest squad, owing to relative lack of new young talent having broken through. Uruguay, shorn of the experience of veterans Capó Ortega and Sagario, are the youngest. France are the youngest squad of the main quarter final candidates. Overall tournament average date of birth is 24/09/91 which is roughly around about where most teams fall.

Mar 20, 2020, 00:00

So the oldest Top 8 squad, the Springboks, took the WC.

Mar 20, 2020, 01:32

Take away Schalk Brits we become the youngest team, I bet.

There's also like 7 months difference between SA and the 7 following younger teams... 

Mar 20, 2020, 02:10

Age is one thing, experience is another. By the 2015 knockout against New Zealand, Eben was a 42 cap veteran at 23. Astonishing. 

The 2019 WC team in the final had a starting lock partnership with 148 caps. All of their props were around 40 caps or more. Hookers with over 30 caps. A midfield with over a hundred caps (Am lowering the total, but then, he wasn't the plastic's pick). Wing was the least experienced part of the side, and they were largely bit-part pieces to the gameplan anyway. Willie had over 60 caps. The entire back row had over 50 caps or more. Plenty of experience in that side. 

Some people tell me that a handful of caps is nothing, yet fail to see that a handful of caps is enough to span an entire Rugby Championship campaign, or tour up north. That's significant time with the squad and tremendous exposure. The World Cup campaign was worth 7 caps, is it a trivial experience? 

Rassie inherited a very experienced group of players. The average age of the team was 28.One year over prime. The average age of the starting XV was 28.13. Minus Beast it's 27.7. Replace Beast with Kits and it's 27.67. 

This is rather interesting, as the 2015 Bok team against Japan had an average age of 28.3. It was said to be old and useless. The average age of the starting XV was 29.3. Not far removed. Substitute Victor (at 38 years of age) for Steph (he was heavily backed to be our premier lock at 23), and the average age becomes 27.65. Slightly younger than the starting XV of the 2019 WC. 

It's funny how perceptions differ so greatly from the reality. In 2019 team had a very level distribution of caps. Only Herschel had less than double digits and only 3 players less than 20. The 2015 Boks of that Japan test had 7 less than 20 and 2 less than 5 caps in key positions (Steph at 7, was Meyer ahead of the curve or still stupid?). Caps (experience) was not very even in that team and three players alone accounted for 340 caps; almost 40% of the total team caps. 


Mar 20, 2020, 02:58

Our squad was young but for Willie, Frans, Beast, Brits, Louw and Vermeulen

Of those only 3 were worthy but replaceable

Mar 20, 2020, 06:44

And of course Vermeulen was Man of the WC final....although Beast won it by destroying Old King Cole and  Louw saved the Welsh match.

Mar 20, 2020, 08:39

This is again the type of BS that raised its head in the past,   Age has nothing to do with ultimate success in any series - players must be judged on performance not age.   

Much is being made of the 2015 WC and the 2019 one.  so lets look at the issue of performance insofar as the two squads were concerned,   In the 2015 squad the fact was that the squad ended up with 8 unplayable players who played in total less than 100 minutes of actual rugby in the series of 6 matches played - I leave out the bronze play-off which really had no relevance at all, 

So what happened as a result?   Especially after the disaster of the 2015 Rugby Championship series - in which the Springboks lost all matches played there were serious reservations about team selection for the WC,   The fact is that Meyer said at the time that he knew what the selected players were capable of - but he failed to say when they were capable of what he credited them with,   Some of the players selected played virtually no rugby in the preceding 18 months and some came off serious injuries that kept them out of the game,  

After the Japan disaster in the first game of the 2015 WC Meyer panicked with the result that he started to pick the same players in all the remaining games,  By the time the team played in the semi the players had zero rest games at all after the Japan game,  The players were dead on their feet in that game and the end result was that the team malfunctioned in the crucial semi against the All Blacks.

On the other hand the 2015 team ended up with some real problems,   In the series take the center combination as an example,  The two players that played in all games after the Japan idiocy had three tests together as a partnership prior to the WC series,   Other players had no played for the Springboks at all prior to the WC,   

So from a performance perspective the team selection for 2015 was a disaster,   Much was said about the age of players at the time they played in the WC and very little was said about the fact that the players were selected on the basis of reputation - rather than  on the basis of performance.  It inevitable let to a disastrous series to be expected,   From an age perspective 13 of the players were over the age of 13 and of those 13 six players were in the unplayable category,   

Om the other hand the situation was that in 2019 the section was based entirely on performance, with the possible exception of one player - Brits whom Erasmus used for inspirational purposes in the squad as a whole.  There was also a realization that the team would have the real dirt trackers who would start in games against the minor games against the the pool games of whom some would not even in the teams in the play-offs,   In the tests in the RC tests the Springboks developed the famous "bomb squad"  - the key group of replacement players that would come of the bench in games.   Basically the team remained the same in key games,  There was only one significant change of the basic set-up - an that was that Mostert was moved from starting after the AB game to the "bomb squad".

Mozart has made a lot about two players in what he wrote above and those were Louw and Vermeulen.   Louw was never the starting player in the WC series - he was always in the "bomb squad" in important games,   As such Louw was important in the squad - but not comparable to to the real frontline players who were the key to the success of the WC as a whole.          

Most players other than Am had only two games in the pool games and two rest games.   By the time the play-offs took place he key team selection was in place and consistently used.   Erasmus also developed a newish concept of using 6 forwards and 2 backline players on the bench - which allowed for the key players to be replaced relatively early.  In the final two of the key players ere injured rather early and that let to Marx and Mostert coming on rather early in the game.   The two props - highly successful in the first half - were also replaced rather early in the second half.

On the whole the situation was that the 2015 squad selection was more based on reputation rather than on performance, while the 2019 squad was based on performance rather than anything else.   That basically resulted in the 2015 series being regarded as extremely problematic - while the 2019 squad produced the best performance of any SA team in the WC finals compared to the 1995 and 2007 finals.    In the 1995 game the Springboks won by 3 points and in 2007 by 9 points - in neither of the two finals there were any tries scored by either of the teams involved.  The 2019 Springboks won by 20 points and scored 2 tries - while not allowing the opposition to score any.





Mar 20, 2020, 09:09

Vermeulen and Beast were good but could easily have been replaced by Kitshoff, Dan du Preez or Marcel Coetzee

I have never rated Louw so I won’t even go there

Great turnover by him, but we see turnovers all day long, one great one does not define you

Our squad was mostly youthful with the odd old fart thrown in for good measure - of the old farts some were worthy others not - in particular old slow and predictable Frans Steyn

Mar 20, 2020, 09:24

Dave, most people know that in any given season there will be promising youngsters deserving of a shot as well as proven stalwarts with great experience . . . but you're dealing here with two doddering old septuagenarians who many years ago once disagreed on the desired age of rugby players and since then have made it their life's mission to prove something as stupid and as short-sighted as all players in a team should be young or all players in a team should be old.

Just have a laugh . . . and hope that you don't become quite as stupid, petty and childish as these two old relics when you hit 70.

Mar 20, 2020, 09:52

Hey Piss Mint

If you really must insist on calling people names, how about getting the name correct to start with?


Also, at the same time, how about brushing up on your spelling skills, since you continually berate other posters for their own spelling mistakes on here


Two mistakes in one tiny little post...… all starts at home junkie..... you fucking moron :D


Mar 20, 2020, 11:10

Thanks DumbAss for being my secretary . . . but please note, this doesn't mean I've changed my mind regarding your request on this thread.

Mar 20, 2020, 11:28

The spell check friend crashes just as I  warned would happen. Actually this has happened a number of tImes but ou Redrooi never learns. :D

Mar 20, 2020, 12:02


For tier 2 and 3 nations, I have a feeling that experience would trump youth. That is, if one considers a data point not present here.

I'm willing to bet(blindly) that Russia's international squad has very few players that played rugby in high school. Of those, my guess would be that the ones with the most school or university rugby experience were likely schooled or from abroad. And where they do have experience, it's likely of poor quality with low levels of competition.

As a result, they'd naturally progress more steeply on the graph as compared to the progression plot of tier 1 nations where competition is more tight and childhood rugby experience is virtually a given.

Mar 20, 2020, 12:07


Your support of Dan Du Preez commendable.

I, like you, continue to rate him and hope he gets another shot ASAP. 

Complaining that we don't have 8's able to succeed in both hemispheres, when we have a guy like DDP, is just weird.

He's entering his prime now, usa Bok, SA and Euro experience. 

Is there a better pick(Duane aside)? I can't think of one.

Mar 20, 2020, 12:15

"this doesn't mean I've changed my mind regarding your request on this thread"

Don't flatter yourself Piss Mint..... most people on this forum honestly cannot even fathom how you got anything right with a woman..... never mind a man.

With all your fucked up lies and constant blatant dishonesty, along with your bright shining personality, and your ability to creep into people's hearts, lol...... I am indeed quite surprised that anything at all, that breathes the same air we do...…. actually found you remotely approachable or likeable  

The most disliked and hated poster ever..... and that takes some doing, but hey, at least you are consistent dude


Mar 20, 2020, 16:19

’septuagenrarians’.....chaps in their 70s who are ‘raring’ to go? Hahaha!

Mar 20, 2020, 16:56

Rooi, a quinquagenarian going on sexagenarian...I don't know what's more frightening, the fact that there are words for these age groups, or the fact that Rooi actually uses some of these words...more regularly than anyone what end?

Mar 20, 2020, 19:15

The old coot  still thinks he is an enfant terrible......but mostly he’s just terrible.

Mar 20, 2020, 21:14

Plum, Dan du Preez has the best stats for any forward up here, the guy is on fire, has always been, just like his twin

These two are physical freaks who always get the better of defenders.

It’s an asset very few players have and the more players you have in your side with this ability the stronger your side will be.

Marx has it, Bismark had it, the du Preez have it

Rassie needs to wake up to this fact

Mar 20, 2020, 22:43


Erasnus had Jones appointed  as Assistant with his office in Dublin with the specific assignment to monitor and liaise with the SA players playing  club rugby in the UK, Ireland and France    He would have all the match reports and full scale stats on SA players of interest,   

Jones are in some respects a lot like Erasmus - a real student of the game.  I am sure he has a lost of about 20 players - Erasmus mentioned that number - who has never been or have had very few  test games to thejr credit o that list,

So in essence Erasmus will know as much about players than any objective assessor will need insofar as potential player selections are concerned.  

Mar 20, 2020, 22:51

Jones is no doubt there to actually speak to the players. There is no doubt Rassie and Nienaber watch every NH game televised in order to keep an eye on the form of the many SA players based up here.

It’s a most obvious thing to do as a coach

Mar 21, 2020, 01:47

The coach is Nienaber.

Mar 21, 2020, 03:05

The puppet is Nienaber, Rassie will be pulling the strings

It’s the only reason the little known Nienaber got the gig

Mar 21, 2020, 09:27


Its still seems that you do not understand that the situation has changed substantially in coaching of rugby world wide and the issue is that usage of  the Director of Rugby and the coaching staff has been realigned to allow for -

*    the Director of Rugby being in charge overall of the coaching structure and working as a team in coaching operations; amd

*    the SARU Director of rugby being in chare directly of the Directors of Rugby of the provincial franchises to ensure that the norms laid down are generally applied on all levels of the game.

The days of the autocratic Head Coach have ended - basically because of gross incompetence of those - examples De Villiers, Meyer and Coetzee,   So live with it.         

Mar 21, 2020, 20:24

There is one guy in charge.....Jones is in charge in England......Erasmus was in charge at the RWC.....who is  in charge now?

Dave says it’s still Erasmus, you say it’s a committee. My guess is it’s Nienaber, at least until he screws up.

We’ll see when the first real Test match is played....the guy who is calling the shots will be issuing instructions from the coach’s box.

Mar 21, 2020, 21:03

Rassie remains in charge and has said he will be in the coaches box and still making the selections

Mar 21, 2020, 22:15

Then he’s the coach and the rest is all a fiction around titles.

Mar 21, 2020, 22:44


You still don't understand what Erasmus has to deal with as DOR,   He has in fact a massive task dealing with not only the Springboks, but in the main the development of rugby as a sport in SA.   As such he has to deal with -

*    Rugby Acdemies;

*     Provincial rugby development co=ordination for both males ad females

*     Under 20 rugby - both on national and provincial level

*     Rugby Sevens for males and females

*      The Varsity Cup Comptition

All provincial DOR's fall under him and he has to ensure that uniform game plans are developed and implemented. es[ecoa;;y since indepemdetly provinces go idividual ways and th end result makes it very difficult to get the teams in zinc.    

The situation is that he will remain involved in game planning, squad and team selection, but as to the coaching itself on a daily basis will be the responsibility of the Head Coach and his specialized assistants,    . 

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