Combrinck at 15 to wrong-foot France

Oom Rugby

Hi guys. The French Tests is just around the corner, but let us face it our rugby is not in a good state. Most of our franchises is not top quality, many of our players doesn’t have confidence, some genuine Test warriors is overseas, Bok coaching staff is bouncing between game plans, and worse of all even if we want to go back to our traditional strength of just “physicality” – that road is finished. All nations is physical and conditioned now.

For all this reasons, and to prevent disaster against France, I feel that Allister must choose a Springbok team that is majority Lions players. And he must then let those players play the Lions way.

Desperate times calls for desperate measures! So let us talk today about why I say that, and also look at some data that will help make a case why Lions rugby can be the future path for South African rugby. Then I will end off with who is my ideal Bok team for France…

So as I say, my feeling this year is that we do not have the luxury of choosing Boks from all the provinces in the traditional way. I rather want to run onto the field in the first test of 2017 with guys who has certainty, belief and authority. With a core of Lions players in the Springboks we will get that. And I also want guys on the field who already has cohesion. We do not want a repeat of last year where we see a sirkus unfold.

Here is a example. Different franchises obviously has different defence philosophies, but the problem in a test match is that when guys panic they will sometimes go back to their franchise style. So we get chaos. It take time to “gel” and to understand a new system and to trust each other in it. And guys it is also difficult to be aggressive on defence if you don’t know the players around you. Unfamiliar players will rather sacrifice line speed in order to stay “connected” to each other. The Lions has conceded the third lowest number of tries in Super Rugby this year so I am happy they doing something right.

And of course on attack we will be bringing in one of the most effective attacking machines in Super Rugby. Last year when the Lions played against all the New Zealand teams they ended the season with most number of tries scored, most defenders beaten, most meters run and they were number 3 in clean breaks. That is not something to sneeze at! The Lions attack is a beautifully-oiled gun that we can pick up and start to use immediately if we want it.

But it is not just about the short-term, it is also about the long-term. Because I think the Lions style of play can be something that the Boks can build on for the future. Do you remember the second Test against the Irish last year?

At half time one commentator say it was one of the worst Bok performances he have ever seen. The crowd boo the Springboks into the tunnel. But then later the Boks scored three tries in 17 minutes to win the game.

What happened? It was not altitude, because both teams came from Cape Town the previous week after Ireland win with 14 (and later 13) men. No, the change happen after the Lions players went onto the field, and there is some interesting data to support this.

There is a stat in rugby where guys look at how ball carriers goes into a tackle. They measure if a player goes in very straight and direct (what they call a “T-bone” carry), or if the player use footwork before contact to attack the weak side of the tackler. South African players is traditionally very direct. It is the old South African psychology where we want to try to force physical dominance on someone. But the problem is that conditioning and tackle techniques is so excellent today that the direct game have become very limited.

So now in rugby it has become about the “game within the game” at the contact point. The carrier must use footwork to attack space or the weaker shoulder of the tackler as contact happen. If he do it right then he will get across the gain line and set up quick ball. And if the next carrier also do it then it become a snowball effek with a scrambling defence. That is one of the secrets of the Lions tempo game, and it is what happened at Ellis Park with the Springboks.

In the first half the Boks was very direct – only 6% of their carries was at weak shoulders or into space. But in the second half, after guys like Whiteley, Mostert, Redelinghuys and Combrinck come on, that number shoot up to 24% and we saw with our own eyes how the tempo of the game lifted and the Boks scored three tries to win. They generate quicker ball.

Last year the Sharks had the 2nd best defence in Super Rugby but the Lions scored five tries and beat them 37-10 no problem. 47% of the Lions carries in that game was at the weak shoulder or into space.

So we saw what a difference the Lions approach brought to the Boks last year against Ireland. And even though Allister did not stick with it, I think it is time for us to look closely at how the Lions is doing things and to use it as our new textbook going forward. It is quite remarkable how their attitude to contact, their attack patterns, support, alignment and tempo is able to break down modern smothering rugby defences. If you look at the numbers, one of the statistical best attacking teams in world rugby is from South Africa. That is amazing!

Anyway, we can talk all day about the Lions. But as great as they are there is other players who has the attributes and abilities to be able to play in that way, and in some cases they will maybe strengthen the team. So if you had to ask me what is my ideal test side to play against France, this will be it:

OomBoks: 15 Ruan Combrinck, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Warren Whiteley (c), 7 Franco Mostert, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Bismarck Du Plessis, 1 Beast Mtawarira
Bench: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Thomas du Toit, 18 Frans Malherbe, 19 Duane Vermeulen, 20 Siya Kolisi, 21 Jano Vermaak, 22 Willie Le Roux, 23 Dillyn Leyds

So there it is guys. It is a team of mostly Lions with some other players added to fill weakness or to cover multiple base. It is a team of speed, skill, muscle and brains. What do you think? Do you agree that by keeping the Lions together as Springboks we can start the year on a front foot? And do you agree that the Lions blueprint can be a way forward for a modern South African style? Please let me know by leaving a comment. And also post your Bok team and why you feel it is better!

- Oom Rugby

Let's chat

  • Adriaan

    Im not convinced that the 2 locks from province is the best in SA at the moment.

    And I would like to see Andries Coetzee feature in the team. His is one of the unsung heros at the lions. I know they will say cant have a left foot fly and full back.

    • Oom

      ja Andries coming on at leaps and bounds. but I feel if he is fit, Ruan give a kicking option but also clever counter option like Ben smith type

  • Anton

    Why Siya Kolisi? On both previous occasions when he was picked in the Springbok Squad he didn’t perform. Surely we have better loose forwards than that. The same goes for Elton Jantjies. Good provincial player but cant make the step up to Bok rugby. They tried it, it failed. Also, if the team should be mostly Lions, should we not start with a Lions front row?

    • Braders

      A good chance Kolisi will be capt! 😩

    • Oom

      I’m looking for mobility and flexibility on the bench because all 3 my locks is on the field! athletic flank like Marcela can also be a option

    • leeupoot

      Comment will be more accurate if 5th sentence read: Good player but cant make the step up to Allister Coetzee.

  • Demè Lucas

    Love the team but 9 Hougie Ross on bench Steyn on 12 bench 22 no please

    • Oom

      if we want the Lions attack, we must use all the moving parts. relationship, timing & understanding of EJ & Ross is crucial. don’t have time for a 9 & 10 to first try and get comfortable over a few games…

    • gerhard van tonder gerhard van tonder

      They don’t like Willie in Langebaan :-)


  • katman

    Interesting team. I really like the idea of Mostert at 7. To me he is the perfect hybrid between an athletic lock and a hard-running blindside. I’m a little concerned about scrummie. I think Cronje is having a good season, but no one has really stepped up to fill Fourie’s shoes. Do you think JP is still playing at this level? And do you think Vorster is ready yet? I rate him very highly and I think he has stepped up big time to fill Rohan’s shoes (I was telling all my friends last year that he would be a Bok centre soon), but it would be a big call to select him ahead of all the other “favourites” at 12, even if we want to keep Lions combinations intact. Ek luister op die radio.

    • Shark_Fin

      “Just because you play in a good club side, and play well, that doesn’t make you a good Test player,” said Jones. “That is a judgment I make. Sarries are an unbelievably good side. Sometimes you can be a great player in a great side but not necessarily a great Test player.” Eddie Jones

    • Oom

      yes Franco is a perfect Test blindside… fast, strong, skillful, and genuine lineup option. And hell he works hard.
      We do not have many Test 7’s in SA…
      I hear JP is playing well overseas, but Allister will have to first look closely at him

  • Raymond

    I believe we need overseas Test level players with younger, quicker local guys off the bench.

    My XV

    15. J. Kriel 14. R. Combrinck 13. F. Venter 12. F. Steyn 11. B. Habana 10. E. Jantjies 9. F. Hougaard 8. D. Vermeulen 7. S. Kolisi 6.J. Kriel 5. PS. duToit 4. E. Etzebeth 3. R. Dreyer 2. B. du Plessis 1. S Kitshoff

    16. M. Marx 17.O. Nche 18. C. Oosthuizen 19. F. Mostert 20. W. Whitely 21. C. Reinach 22. C. Bosch 23. C. Skosan

    Ideally I would have Pollard at 10 but he is not available.. Skosan very close to taking Habana’s place, and Ross Cronje close to team as well.

    • Jerome McBride

      Brian Habana is past his sell by date . There are younger faster and more hungrier wings in SA .
      Kolisi has had a mediocre Super Rugby season I would rather go with Kwagga then pick him .

    • Oom

      nice team but going to take a while for them to “gel”! Especially your 10 & 9. Is Cronje so bad at 9? I feel we must judge a scrummie according to his core role, not if he have x-factor. So much ball go through the 9 – it is more important for the whole team that he is reliable, have good service, take good options

    • leeupoot

      Pollard plays too deep, slow and is predictable. Doesn’t fit in Lions style of rugby

      • Oom

        yes I agree. I don’t think it is a type of game he can play

  • Desmond

    Baie goeie span sal dalk Franco op 5 kies, en Jean Luke of Chris Cloete op flank. Op 14 dalk Mampimpi of Rhule. Combrink op heelagter kan mooi werk.

    15. Combrink
    14. Rhule
    12. Vorster
    10. Jantjies
    9. Cronje
    8.Warren (c)
    7. Kriel
    6. Cloete
    5. Mostert
    4. Eben
    1.Du Toit

    16. Bongi
    17. Ox
    18. Malherbe
    19. Du Toit
    20. J.L Du Preez
    21. Venter
    22. Bosch
    23. E.W Viljoen

    24. Herbst
    25. Kolisi
    26. Ntsila
    27. F. Venter
    28. Mampimpi
    29. Leyds
    30. Coetzee

    This is the squad I will work with for the 2019 world cup. Still have D.Smith; R Janse van Rensburg; Lambie; Pollard; Senatla. Don’t moan abouy experience create it.

    • HD Couch Critic

      Ek is mal oor hierdie vastevyf!

    • Oom

      bietjie bekommerd oor Rhule se verdediging en besluitneming.. in ‘n toets gaan hulle daar ou TARGET.
      en ek voel jou twee flinke is dank altwee te klein – hulle gaan gebully word! Jy kort bijtje muscle in jou lostrio..

    • leeupoot

      I agree with comment regarding experience. Experience in the wrong style is a curse not an asset.

  • Louis

    15. J kriel 14. R Rhule 13. L Mapoe 12. F Steyn 11. J Ulengo 10. E Jantjies 9. R Cronje 8. D Vermeulen 7. O Mahoje 6. C Cloete 5 PS Du toit 4. E Estebeth 3. F Malherbe 2. B Du plessis 1. B Mtewarira subs: 16. M Marx 17. Ox nche 18. R Dreyer 19. F Mostert 19. J kriel 20. T Meyer 21. D Leyds 22. J Serfontein

    • Oom

      sjoe Tian Meyer! is jy ‘n vrystater? ; )

  • gerhard van tonder gerhard van tonder

    Enjoy your article OomRugby as always.
    Agree on the gameplan. However can Allister play like the Lions, can he coach it? With Brendan maybe they can?
    Ruan Combrinck will maybe have to start in 1st test with a 20-30 minutes. Worry about his match fitness.
    I will like Frans Steyn at 12. He will be able to play with ‘speed’ ‘directness’ & into ‘space’ as will be required and I like his defensive capabilities and he is an ‘old’ head next to our other pivot Elton plus then we have a left and right boot next to each other.
    My 9 to start will be Hougaard. I like his presence and his ability to keep loosies occupied to take pressure of Elton. On defense he is like an extra looseforward as well.
    I can understand why OomRugby went for Franco. I want him on the pitch, I am a massive fan. That man Franco has a massive enjin.

    • Oom

      it’s interesting Gerhard, sometimes I wonder about the guys playing in France how fit they are. I have no idea how Frans is playing or what he bring to the party these days, so it is hard to know if can still play in a high tempo test. Maybe the younger Frans!
      I enjoy a guy like Hougie, but SO much ball go through the 9 that I will always rather go for a guy with a excellent pass, a great kick, good service, dependable, good option, calmness for his flyhallf. Rather that than a 9 who is maybe bit more unpredictable and cause trouble for his team, but who do 1 or 2 sexy things in a match… especially a test where margins is so small.
      FRANCO – that guy just do not stop running!

  • Wessel Oosthuizen

    15. Frans Steyn (long kick) 14. Dillyn Leyds 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9. Francois Hougaard 8. Duane Vermeulen 7. W. Whitely 6. Jaco Kriel. 5. PS. duToit 4. E. Etzebeth R. Dreyer 2. B. du Plessis 1. S Kitshoff 16. M. Marx 17.O. Nche 18. C. Oosthuizen 19. F. Mostert 20. S. Kolisi 21. Ross Cronje 22. Lionel Cronje 23. R. Combrinck

    Frans Steyn cover centre if one get injuried. Did not consider Bosch because he is with baby boks

    • Oom

      Hi Wes, lot of guys going for Frans and Hougie. wonder if they have the fitness for Test match tempo? but also, I myself prefer a dependable 9 (see some of my comments above to other people). margins in a Test is so small that a “exciting” 9 sometimes end up causing much more problems than he is worth.
      Interesting Warren at 7.. I feel he will get bounce around in contact like a beach ball. At least at 8 he can roam, and link, and cover. Warren is at his best when he have a grafting 7 taking care of business for him

      • gerhard van tonder gerhard van tonder

        Oom Rugby Great summary of Warren’s abilities.

  • JJ Maritz

    No love for the marauding Lions front row of Dreyer and van Rooyen??

    • HD Couch Critic

      Dreyer is without doubt the form tighthead in the country and Beast well past his best

    • Oom

      I must be honest here and say that I do not know enough about scrumming to actually have a opinion! but I remember how the Sharks scrum gave the Lions hell earlier this year…

    • katman

      Van Rooyen will surely be in the mix.

  • Derik

    Love your articles Oom Rugby – I do have to ask though, is the English spelling and grammar done badly on purpose? No jokes, if you’d like I can proof read the articles for you.

    Playing Franco on 7 will probably back fire just as PSDT back fired there. I also think Combrinck must first show his form in SR before selecting him, but assuming he does play well for the Lions before the France tests, this is my team:

    15. Andries Coetzee – most underrated player in SA, very dependable.
    14. Ruhan Combrinck – assuming he is back to form for the Lions before the June break. Last year he was immense.
    13. Lionel Mapoe – with the correct game plan, and Vorster’s lines he is a game changer
    12. Harold Vorster – he was in top form beginning of last season before getting injured. Roan janse van Rensburg would’ve been first pick, but Vorster brings a lot to the table.
    11. Courtnall Skosan – has been knocking on the door for too long.
    10. Elton Jantjies – best on form, and a lack of other options due to injuries.
    9. Ross Cronje – Same as Jantjies.
    8. Warren Whiteley (Captain) – athletic, good interplay and an awesome captain.
    7. Duane Vermeulen – Duane will bring physicality that is needed from a 7, and a lot of experience, especially with the French.
    6. Jaco Kriel – best openside for the past three seasons.
    5. Franco Mostert – his athletisism fits in perfectly with the Lions’ high speed game plan.
    4. Eben Etsebeth – he has been well below his best this year, but again he brings physicality and can be the best.
    3. Ruan Dreyer – Someone still needs to prove to me there is a tighthead on better form in SA at the moment.
    2. Malcolm Marx – In the mould of Bismarck, just younger and faster. Lineout throws have improved this year.
    1. Jacquest van Rooyen – Also underrated.

    For the bench I have gone with some experienced campaigners, who can add value in the team setup because of their experience and bring calm if sent on in the final quarter / half of a game. Also opted for some form players.

    16. Bismarck du Plessis 17. Vincent Koch 18. Steven Kitshoff 19. Pieter-Steph du Toit (cover 5 and 7) 20. Chris Cloete 21. Francois Hougaard 22. Handre Pollard / Pat Lambie 23. Frans Steyn (covers flyhalf, centre, wing and fullback).

    • Wessel Oosthuizen

      Derik not bad our teams almost agree and our thinking the same, great team

    • HD Couch Critic

      Awesome side! Very close to the one I would pick

    • Oom

      solid team! I think Franco have a bit more speed than PSDT so he fill that “Kaino” role at 7. Hell, I think Franco is something special hey

      • Derik

        Agreed Oom, Franco might prove a better bet at 7 than PSDT. Although the whole point of your article is to play high speed game like the Lions, I do think you need some balance up front. So that’s why I’d go for Duane on 7 and Etsebeth at 4, to play the enforcer roles and help with the gain line battle.

        When picking these fantasy teams it’s hard to believe Springbok rugby is struggling – so much talent! Perhaps we should rather start picking fantasy coaches haha.

  • Raymond

    Raymond Rhule is good on attack but nowhere near good enough on defence at Super Rugby level, nevermind Test match rugby

    • leeupoot

      I agree. Half of the Cheetahs soft moments come from the likes of Rhule and Blommetjies when the heat is on



    • Oom

      ha ha ha! yes that is maybe true…

    • gerhard van tonder gerhard van tonder

      Great chirp!! Brendan Venter inclusion in that management team will make a difference, if not then we have trouble, again!

  • Cory Rahman

    First thing, Play specialists IN THEIR POSITION
    5.Peter Steph DT
    12.JJanse vRensberg
    Marx. DuToit. Dreyer . Mostert. Kriel. Reinach
    Serfontein /Frans Steyn …. Solid Physical 15 and then Lions unleashed off bench in last 25 …

    • Oom

      Kolisi & whitely maybe bit light in the pants together in a Test match?

    • Derik

      Just some (valid in my opinion) crit on your team selection:

      1. Kolisi is crap
      2. Your 7 must be abrasive and take you over the advantage line. Whiteley is more of an athlete that interconnects play. I’ll play him on 8 and put Duane on 7.
      3. Pollard has only played a handful of of games over the past two seasons, picking up three long to medium term injuries. He is not ready. Roan jv Rensburg will not be ready for the France tests.

      The rest of your team can work, but I’ll play Marx and bench Bismarck. But either way, Bismarck should be mentoring Marx. I think Marx’s youth will fuel Bismarck, and likewise Marx can learn a lot from Bismarck’s experience. I have no idea how Hougaard is playing, but Ross Cronje is my selection because he can play the Lions’ attacking style, and make the game slower if he wanted to. Hougi has been proven wanting in that position before. Koch is ok, but the Lions front rankers should be taken into serious contention. Beast is too old. Again I’ll just have him in the team setup to mentor the youngsters. I’ll also give Steven Kitshoff a run. And Andries Coetzee for Willie.

      • Wessel Oosthuizen

        Hougaard is in the form of his live one of the best player in England at the moment

      • Fouche

        Kolisi had good super rugby so far…

  • Mike

    Interesting choices from everyone….but I’m not sure why you are all still holding onto Mapoe at outside centre… he has really done nothing to justify his selection to the Boks, If we are looking to exploit space, Mapoe is not your man…he lacks vision, flare, speed and any “step” to speak of…we should be looking more towards a centre in the mould of Lukonyo Amm I think. He’s not as experienced…but he’s quick, he can step, he is strong in defence and he creates uncertainty in the opposition defence. Janse van Rensburg at inside centre is a no brainer, but if he’s still injured….Frans Steyn for his experience and the structure he will bring to the back line on defence. Jesse Kriel at 15, Would love to see Senatla at 14 and Skosan at 11. Francois Hougaard at scrum half (love to see Roscoe Spekman try out at No 9 :-) …..Lambie first choice at fly half….then based on current form… I’d give Lionel Cronje a look in…Jantjies has done nothing now…or in previous tests…remember….we lost a lot of tests with him controlling the game…how many times did he kick the ball away to the best attacking back three in the world! I wouldn’t mess with the forwards in terms of position….Dreyer, Marx and Beast (Bismark if he’s available) Etsebeth and Steph Du Toit and then J.L Du Preez, Whitely and Kriel. I would NOT recall Vermuelen or Louw! Rather look to Kolisi, Carr, and a host of others who are right here. (Lets not forget that Kings fetcher….!).

    • Markus

      Now here is someone that knows his rugby, totally agree about Mapoe at 13, will rather have young Serfontein combined with either Rohan if not injured or Frans Steyn at 12. Good choice of wings as well. Forwards spot on.

    • Oom

      good point about Mapoe… I put him in because of my theory of playing all the Lions, and also because we do not have many specialist 13’s in SA. I like the look of Am, as well as EW. Serfontein also a good 13 in mould of Conrad Smith

      • Kropotkin

        Intersting that we started the article with stats, but now we’re making comments about players vision and defense without a single reference. Its concerning, and I think its RSA rugby’s biggest weakness that we don’t rely on stats. For example, in the Lions gameplan, which stats should we look for to determine performance of a no.13? Ditto for flyhalf and scrummie…. Ek luister op die radio

  • Wayne

    15. SP Marais 14. Combrink 13. Mapoe 12. F Steyn 11. Skosan 10. E Jantjies 9. Hougaard 8. Vermeulen 7. Jaco Kriel 6. Cris Cloete 5. Du toit 4. Mostert 3. Dreyer 2. Bongi 1. Kitshoff 16. Ox Nce 17. Marx 18. Lizo G 19. Etzebeth 20. Notshe 21. Cronje 22. Leyds

    This team just look Strong!!!! i am sure you would like to see guys like Bismark, Whitely, Janse van R, Kolisi and many more there and I do too… still believe there is place for them with injuries very common in this great sport. This team is just wonderfully mixed with youth, race and alot of hunger for rugby and certainly can beat the All blacks team given enough time to gel. Just look at that flanks in Cloete and Kriel(both strong ball carriers and can disrupt and fetch just as well)

    • Mike

      Lizo is a loosehead. Why pick him as a tight head? The only place where we can match up at international level is in the set pieces. Why would you weaken your scrum? Our loose forwards are not up to scratch, so we can’t bank on keeping the ball for long periods, or turn it over on a regular basis. We have to dominate the set pieces. As the loose forwards can’t get to the rucks or tackles quickly enough (remember, everybody loves the roaming ball carriers for flank and eighth man), you may as well pick a tall flank so you can at least compete in the lineouts.

  • Oom

    you playing two tiny fetchers? need some muscle in your trio.. and you will suffer in lineouts.
    Look at the size of international loose forwards and you will realize it is a blood sport in Test rugby!

    • Mike

      Remember Twickenham where our muscular flanker made Ben Youngs look like the best scrumhalf in the world.

  • aldo

    You lost me after playing a player out of position and Beast.

  • Werner

    15. Coetzee
    14. Combine
    13. Venter
    12. R Jansen van Rensburg
    11. Skosan
    10. Jantjes
    9. Rein achieve
    8. Whiteley (c)
    7. Vermeulen
    6. Kriel
    5. Ferreira
    4. Etsebeth
    3. Koch
    2. Marx
    1. Van Rooyen

    Bench: Dreyer, Cronje, T du Toit, PS du Toit, Kwagga Smith, Le Roux, Ralapelle, Mostert

    • Derik

      Roan jv Rensburg is injured and won’t be back for June tests. I assume Cobus Reinach got auto-corrected, haha, but not a bad choice. He won’t get selected though due to SARU’s new law that only overseas players with more than 30 tests may be selected.

      Your forwards aren’t bad, but Ferreira is a number 4 lock. You can put Mostert on 5. Ralapele is also not the 2nd best hooker in SA. I’d put in Bismarck, or Akker vd Merwe from the Lions.

  • Pottie

    Not a bad team and understandable logic behind it but I feel playing a team just to win a series is counter productive. Shouldn’t we be building a team that will eventually play in the world cup. Getting some consistency in selection? We’ve got some great players from all the franchises and could (injuries aside) have a mammoth team if we start getting them to gel now.

    • Oom

      maybe better logic is to let AC lose the series and THEN start to build with a new coach ;)

  • jeandre

    Hi guys i just want to when you pick a springbok side combinations is very import for get about the lions you cant comper them agains the teams they play in the super Rugby this year take the brumbies game they were very lucky to win 13-6 if they played all blacks sided this year they would have lost 50% of those games to come back to the springbok side Elton jantjies is k.a.k he is nog a running flyhalf look at the super Rugby stats Lionel Cronje is the best flyhalf in south africa at the moment deserves a change that guy has over 480 running meters for a flyhalf thats what south african rugby needs a flyhslf that can take the ball on the front foot and create space for your in side center to set up the over lap here is my springbok team anf i am a IRB level 1 rugby coach 15 SP maruis 14 cheslin kolbe 13juan de jongh 12 damian de allender 11 sebelo senatlab 10 Lionel Cronje 9 hougard 8 Dwyne vermeulen 7 Siya kolisi 6 jaco Kriel 5 eben 4 pieter stef 3 vincent Koch 2 bismarck 1 stefen kitsoff 16Bongi mbonabi 17 ox Nce 18 coenie oosthuizen 19 franco mostert 20 chris cloete 21 cobus 22 Curwin bosch 23 jessie kriel

    • leeupoot

      How is the weather in the Cape?

      • Sharon

        Ha ha – table mountain view
        Well spotted

    • Derik

      Does the IRB level 1 coaching tests include a spelling / grammar / typing test?

      Just joking, but your team – especially the backline – has no merit. SP Marais is ok. You are a Stormers fan by the look of it.

  • Blake

    15 Dillyn Leyds, 14 Makazole Mapimpi, 13 Francois Venter, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Lionel Cronje, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Warren Whiteley (c), 7 Jean-Luc Du Preez, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Jacques Van Rooyen
    Bench: 16 Bismarck Du Plessis/Torsten Van Jaarsveld , 17 Thomas du Toit, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 20 Duane Vermeulen/Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21 Cobus Reinach, 22 Elton Jantjies, 23 Ruan Combrinck/Frans Steyn

    Loaded the forwards with Lions to get dominance up front to give in-form backs front foot ball and space to be creative. Also included SA options if overseas based players are not picked/available.

    • Oom

      not a bad team! but I have become allergies to “skittish” 9’s like Reinach and Fat… so much ball go through the scrum hard – it is like a spark plug in a high performance engine! rather have someone with good service, good boot, dependable, calm, take pressure off 10

    • Wessel Oosthuizen

      Torsten can’t play for SA his a Nambia International, back line to inexperience for tests

  • Mike

    Jeandre its obvious that you’re hanging your hat on Stormers players with absolutely nothing to base it on…the entire back line is Stormers players and they have taken a 50 point hiding from virtually every New Zealand team…and the Lions….are you serious??? Then…on a more general note…has everyone forgotten how “off the pace and ineffectual” Duane Vermuelen was last year..Jean Luc Du Preez is abetter bet on any given day…together with Whitely and Kriel you have a world class lose trio I think? If we’re talking back line…DONT look to the Stormers (other than Senatla if her were available).. I still back Hougaard 9 , Lambie/Lionel Cronje 10, Janse Van Rensburg/Steyn 12, Amm/Venter 13, Skosan 11, Senatla/Combrink 14 and J Kriel 15. (Hugely underated in my opinion and lets not forget that he made his name at 15….then true to form, we stuffed that up putting him at centre and wing.

  • Ron H

    1. Kitshoff
    2. Marx
    3. Ruan Dreyer
    4. P.S. Du Toit
    5. Mostert
    6. Jaco Kriel
    7. Jean-Luc Du Preez
    8. Whiteley
    9. Ross Cronje
    10. Lionel Cronje
    11. Skosan
    12. H. Vorster/ D. de Allende (Janse Van Rensburg when fit!)
    13. L. Am
    14. Mapimpi
    15. R. Combrinck

    Obviously AC will be concerned about saving his hide, but this series should be used to build for the next RWC as so many above has said. As such, there is no question youngsters who look set to be stars (Marx, J.L. Du Preez) should be sat for those nearing 30 and playing abroad (Bismarck Du Plessis, Duane Vermeuelen). Dreyer is the form tight-head at the moment, while Kitshoff was the best loose-head in South Africa a year or so back, so the talent is clearly there while he should be rewarded for returning. A second-row of Mostert & PSdT combine grit and industry in a very important way; let us also not forget how dominant Franco has been running the Lions line-out this year. Dropping Eben seems like blasphemy but on both form & youth, this is an easy pick for me.Whiteley is an immense leader and the heft and athleticism of Marx, the second row, & Jean-Luc will allow the Boks to get away with an 8 (and 6) who are athletic if not man mountains. Ross Cronje is not a wowee kind of pick, but on form it has to be him – his consistency should provide a good platform for Lionel Cronje, the kind of 10 who looks set to provide the flair the Boks have been lacking for too long at 10; it is a risky pick but these series should be where risks are taken with a view towards Tri Naitons and the RWC. Both these 12s have promise and should be blooded, but I think everyone will say they are merely saving Rohan’s place – in my estimation the most exciting young player in South African rugby. While slotting in Mapoe is tempting re desire to keep a Lions core, Am is without a doubt the form 13, and I think he is only improving. Skosan and Combrinck (assuming he is fit) are no brainers for me – they are part of that winning Lions mentality, have plenty of gas, and a record in Super Rugby that requires they be chosen. Plus RC has got that boot! Mapimpi’s form also requires selection.

  • Mike

    Nice Ron! Looks like we are getting to a team that would pose a real threat on attack without sacrificing on physicality or defence. I’d include Etsebeth without a doubt, as well as Senatla and a fit again Janse van Rensburg (I don’t share your sentiment with De Allende – sorry man!) this side will be a bit short on experience I think….but I agree 100% that we should be looking to build towards the tri-nations and the world cup. My issue though is that once we put this team in place, subject to availability/injury…we should stand by them and build them going into the world cup…there is enough talent here to build on and AC (If he’s still coach – G-D FORBID!) shouldn’t be dropping anyone unless he is clearly not up to it…which I doubt given the talent here. Interesting thought ….what does everyone think of a Werner Kok at outside Centre?? His defence is outstanding, his attack is without equal, he has pace, vision and flare and he knows how to put a wing into space….just a thought.

    • Ron H

      I might have the 2015 Province DdA tightly fixed in my brain, hence my admiration, but he is still young and he might be able to get back there from the predictable crash machine he has become. Werner Kok is obviously intriguing but this still might be too much of an experiment for me; I wish he’d cut his teeth on the Super Rugby pitch first, and at this point in time Am offers enough promise for me to prefer him – speaking of experiments what about Kwagga as a 13/14 – that try against the Brumbies show he certainly has the pace, and he’s got some mongrel to him as well! While this is purely academic, I often think what would happen if Spies had been a winger; in man instances I don’t think he had the graft and niggle to be a complete back-rower, but having a physical specimen at him on the wing would be Savea-esque – and it is interesting that lately the Boks suffers against other nations for being a bit small at 11,14,15 compared to say New Zealand. Too late now though…

  • Mike

    Look, just about every single team above sports the same deficiencies:

    1. Players picked out of position. A lock is not a flank. You do not experiment with a lock at flank in a test. The fact that a player has played in a position before, does not mean he is any good at it. If he was that good, why is he not first choice in his province. Look what happened to Du Toit at Twickenham last year. Why do people want Leyds at fullback. If he was that good, would he not have been picked as such for the Stormers.
    2. No fetcher. Almost everyone agrees that the two factors responsible for the Kings’ relative improvement in 2017, is Lionel Cronje at flyhalf and Chris Cloete, a real fetcher, at flank (He owned Hooper, a highly rated fetcher). And please, not even Jaco Kriel thinks of Jaco Kriel as a fetcher.
    3. Flank-props. Yes, I know they never were flankers,but they always wanted to be flankers. They were just too fat and too slow to be picked there. Tight head props have to want to scrum. In fact their whole being has to revolve around scrummaging. Coenie does not even like it. Hond pushed him around like a loose head who packed on the tight head for the first time. Yes, against an opponent who does not care about scrummaging (Australians) he may hold his own, but against a Frenchman? Why do some people still after 5 years of trying, still think he can learn how to do it.

    • Ron H

      I mean with Jaco, Marx, & Am you would have 3 of Super Rugby’s top 15 in terms of turnovers won (, and I think aside from fetching, Jaco is far more valuable than Cloete. Look, as dominant as Pocock was at the last RWC, the All Blacks still owned the final. I do agree re: Leyds and putting athletic locks at blindside where their relative athleticism is no longer above average.

      • Mike

        Ron, I recognise the Kriel’s value. Personally, I want him in my team and on the field for 90 minutes. However, you can’t have a roaming Kriel and a roaming Whiteley in the same side. I want a fetcher. Yes, Pocock did not manage to stop the All Blacks, but who expected him to? I believe that Kriel and Whiteley’s success for the Lions last year was to a large extent made possible by Tecklenburg’s work in the rucks and mauls. The slightly more stuttering form of the Lions and both those players this season is probably testament to Tecklenburg’s role. I would pick, Kriel and Cloete with Duane Vermeulen (if he is fit enough). Kriel can then be free to play the Kieran Reid role of hanging in the wide channels as often as possible and do what he does best: carry the ball. In the meantime, Cloete and Vermeulen play towards the ball. In the end Kriel will play like an eighth man and Vermeulen like a tight, physical flanker. (A typical South African No. 7).

        It was really frustrating to see Kriel come on in the last 10 minutes for the Boks, when the games had been lost already. He ended up chasing wingers on cover defense.

      • Ron H

        …also do you reckon Lood is finished as Springbok?

        • Mike

          We have good depth at lock. I like all three Bulls locks, Jenkins, Lood and Snyman. I also like Ruan Botha and Oosthuizen at the Sharks. Du Toit and Etsebeth, Mosterd and Ferreira. Any one of these, playing at their full potential, would be good enough. I think we can also pick a couple of competent front rows and we have more young props coming through. Our problem is at loose forward, scrumhalf, flyhalf, centre, wing and fullback. I simply do not see anything remotely world class in any of those positions. For any one we would consider good, New Zeeland has four better players. Maybe I should not compare with the best, but to which standard do you then measure?

          With all respect to the players I will mention in the rest of this post, it is not personal and merely my opinion. If you are willing or forced to settle for Ross Cronje and Elton Jantjies as your halfbacks, you are in serious trouble. The are very competent provincial players, but I do not think they can make the step up to international level. I consider Whiteley to be in the same league. Ruan JvR can eventually become very good, D’Allende may be good, if he can recapture the form of two seasons ago. I always liked Francois Venter, but I have some doubt. Look, these guys have to replace Jean de Villiers and Jacque Fourie, and especially Fourie was the best in the world between 2007 and 2011. In Habana and Petersen, we had world class wingers. Our fullbacks, since the days of Joubert and the first version of Montgomery (late ’90s) have been steady and unspectacular, but our game plan then did not require innovation. We have some exiting fullbacks starting to show now. If Willie was nurtured (if a true maverick could be nurtured), he could have become very good, but he first showed in the Meyer era and Meyer required him to be a competent fullback, no more, no less. Now we are looking to settle for competent (Coetzee) in stead of innovative and attacking (Gelant/Marais). Our wingers are no more than average, so much so, that some of us will pick a sevens specialist for his speed (Senatla) in spite of the fact that he weighs 75kg. He will not make it.

          Personally, I see very few positives in the short term. To top it all, we have a coach who does not take any responsibility for his team’s performance. Judging by the people he invited to his training camps, he is calling all pockets. He will do what it takes to survive. He will not take risks with risky, exiting players, because then he may be blamed. He will pick the tried and trusted, who are supposed to perform, because they did for other coaches in the past. This condemns us until 2019, when he will hopefully be fired, because he will have failed.

          The best that can happen now, is that the bright prospects, at ages 22 to 26, get overseas contracts and return in 2020, more skilled and experienced. Under a proper coach who loves rugby for its own sake and for the joy it can bring, the Boks can then flourish again.

  • Kaide

    This is brilliant!
    One of my favorite things about rugby is how every person or coach you speak to has their own preferred team and those teams hardly ever match up.
    I personally am not a huge fan of RJVR in the first 7 matches he only made 17 tackles according to SS.
    I prefer Foster at 12 he has a much higher tackle completion rate.
    At 13 for me Am is just brilliant and has every quality I look for in a 13
    Also I really like Gallant at fullback at fullback, in my humble opinion he can do everything well.
    I also believe that the Sharks before Saturday had a 97% success rate in the scrums?the highest in the competition?
    if this Stat is true then its hard to say Coenie and Beast are not doing their jobs.
    I would also love to see Ox off the bench, he is so explosive could really be a great impact player.

    In every position a good argument could be made for most of the players everyone has selected,, each coach has their own preference.
    Ita always nice to see how passionate all the supporters are!

    • Mike

      Did you actually see those scrums on Saturday. A number of them ended in penalties for the Kings, because Coenie popped like a pimple. If that is counted as a successful scrum on this website, they are wrong, and should fire their scrum expert. The Kings dominated, until the Sharks front row was replaced, within the first 10 minutes of the second half. The Sharks only started dominating once the Kings brought Dayan van der Westhuyzen on at tight head (another flank-prop) in the last 10 minutes. By then both Coenie and Beast were long off the field.

      • kaide nel

        As I said, if you read?before Saturday?
        You Cant use one game as basis for a whole season.

        • Mike

          Stats never tell the whole story.

  • Nsika

    After a tough year last year, I really think we need a somewhat strong experience base that will see our younger players through. This would be the team I choose

    1) Kitschoff
    2) Marx
    3) Nyakane
    4) Eben
    5) PSdT
    6) Kriel
    7) Mohoje
    8) Vermulen
    9) Hougaard
    10) Elton
    11) Kriel
    12) F Steyn
    13) Serfontein
    14) Mapoe
    15) le Roux

    I’ve gone with Kitshoff for his overall workrate. Playing him is almost having an extra loose forward.
    Marx is the best 2 we have in the country. His line out throwing has been good and he is a younger version of Bismarc
    Nyakane’s scrumming abilities @ 3 has improved as he has gotten through the season. He is also strong at the breakdown
    Eben and PSdT – Not going to say too much here
    Kriel – I hope he gets some serious game time before the internationals start. He deserves a shot at this starting role
    Mohoje – He doesn’t get credit for the work he does. His basic lineout work is good. His stealing stats in Super Rugby has been good as well. He tackles well.
    Vermulen – My choice for him is really dependent on him being in condition
    Hougaard – He has always been the business.
    Elton – “1st” full shot in international season didnt go according to plan, but this guy is the business.
    Kriel – A bit unconventional to have him on the wing, but rugby has transformed to the point where you need strong line runners taking the 13 channel with pace and or agility. Kriel has both
    F Steyn – Physicality and experience sees him in this position
    Serfontein – This guy will win us a world cup.
    Mapoe – Same reasons as Kriel
    le Roux – if he gets it right, there is nobody better than le Roux

  • Mike

    Nyakane? You have to be joking.

    You obviously missed the Bulls v Crusaders. In Tank’s words: “Well it all started up front, where Bok tighthead experiment, Trevor Nyakane was “Torn a new one” by Crusaders and All Black looshead prop Wyatt Crockett. The Bulls lost 4 scrums and were penalised in another 4 as their scrum was used as a plough on the Loftus turf. Demolished! And this had the home side not only on the back foot off this key first phase, but mentally rattled”.You really want him at tighthead because you don’t have a fetcher at flank, don’t you?

    Marx IS the best No 2 we have and he is much faster than Bismark, but his lineout throwing is crap. Pick him, but don’t embellish the truth.

    What makes Mapoe or Kriel better wings than, say, Raymond Rule/ Travis Ismaiel/ Courtnall Skosan/ Ulengo/ Mvovo/ Leyds/ Sergeal Petersen/ Mapimpi and ten others that play in the minor leagues or overseas? I love Kriel as an athlete, but he does not really fit anywhere as a rugby player. He simply hasn’t decided what he is. He should leave the Bulls, go overseas and become a fullback OR wing OR centre. He could be a great anything. Nobody can be a great everything. The same with Francois Steyn. Great rugby player, but not great in any position. Make him flyhalf, he imagines he is Naas and tries to win all by himself. Make him fullback and he thinks he has to lead every attack. Make him centre and he never passes the ball. He should be good at a game like tennis.

  • Craig

    Just a question, the majority of the lions where picked last year, we don’t need a reminder of how last year went, so how is putting most of them in the team again this year gonna be any different?.

  • Mike

    No way Duane plays off the bench. The dude is in top playing form and in test match shape. He is a leader on the field, physical, and must at 8.

  • Sakkie

    Not a bad team except for JP, Franco and Bismarck. Jantjies is dicey. Will play Dillyn in JP out, Franco out Chris Cloete in, Jantjies out Lionel Cronje in, Willie out SP Marias in, Bismarck out Malcolm in and find a place for JP Janse-van Rensburg. ( I am a Sharks fan just in case I accused of being biased towards the Stormers.)

  • Eddie Smook

    I share your view on having the majority of Lions players in the bok side and having them play Lions rugby. But alas I cant see Allister doing that, in fact I dont think his game plan will differ much from last year. Its interesting to read all the different opinions on what the bok side should look like. Its also my piont of view that no overseas based player should be chosen. Eben is a very strong and good lock but something should be done done about his temper he is losing it to much and could cost the boks dearly. But lets hope Allister gets it right and gets our rugby out of the dolldrums

  • Loki

    1. du Toit
    2. Bismarck
    3. Adriaanse
    4. Etzebeth
    5. Mostert
    6. Cloete
    7. Casiem
    8. Whitley
    9. Hougard
    10. Lambie ( indien fiks)\ M Steyn
    11. Skosan
    12. Voster
    13. Mapoe
    14. Combrinck
    15. Coetzee
    16. Nche
    17. Marx
    18. Dreyer
    19. Kriel
    20. Ps du Toit
    21. Vermeulen
    22. Jantjies

    24.F Venter
    25. Am
    26. Mahuza
    27. Jp Petersen
    28. Kwagga Smith
    29. Jl du Preez
    30. RG Snyman
    31. Malherbe

    • Mike

      1. Kitshoff; 3. Wilco Louw /Dreyer; 5. Du Toit; 7. Good Choice on last years form; 8. Vermeulen; 15. Willie;
      18. Louw/Dreyer; 20. Mostert: 21. Jano Vermaak; 22. Lionel Cronje; 23. Venter; 24. Mapoe: 26. Leyds; 28. Whiteley 30. Lood; 31. Thomas du Toit

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