Duel of the fetchers!

Lions breakaway Jaco Kriel is being touted as South Africa’s best openside flanker, but how does he stack up against Kings specialist fetcher Chris Cloete?

- All Out Rugby Staff Writer

Let's chat

  • Albert Bouwer

    One needs to keep context in mind when comparing Cloete to Kriel. The Kings are on defence more often than the Lions, thus Cloete makes more tackles and turnovers.

    • Nenad Tomic

      Absolutely! Kriel is excellent with less opportunities, as well as having more experience at high level rugby. Kriel no 1

  • Mike

    Kriel is a ball carrier, and a very good one. He mostly roams wide and often finds himself out on the wing. I don’t think that he would call himself a fetcher. He does not compete in the same space on the field as Cloete, who plays towards the ball, mostly close to rucks, mauls and set pieces. Cloete is the only specialist fetcher currently playing for a SA franchise. Nick de Jager of the bulls and Paul Schoeman seems to occupy the same space at times, but are not in the same class as pure fetchers. The next best fetcher is probably Trevor Nyakane. Bit slow, but very effective when he gets there.

    Please compare apples with apples. Kriel, Kolisi, Notshe, Carr and Janes Kirsten compete in the same space. Schoeman also tends to find himself there more often than not. The sharks used to have Keegan Daniel who fulfilled the same role. None of their current loose forwards play the same kind of game. Kriel is the best in this particular role. Pity he is not just a little bigger.

  • Steve

    Couldn’t agree more, Mike. Cloete is the only specialist fetcher in all 6 of SA’s franchises. And like Heinrich Brussouw after 2010, he seems destined to be ignored by Bok coaches and selectors, also for being too small, AND because he’s not playing for a ‘big’ union. If that’s the case, when will they learn????? It was almost literally painful to endure Brussouw being ignored Test after Test when you KNEW he would have made a MASSIVELY positive difference to the Bok cause and results that declined almost immediately after he was left out, and haven’t stopped declining ever since. Yet now it looks like the Boks are about to make exactly the same mistake again, and likely won’t even pick Cloete on the bench. For the last 2 years he has, regularly, almost single-handedly kept his side at least fairly competitive. Last year he was often the only Kings player to SERIOUSLY trouble the NZ sides consistently. I’m not saying he could be the saviour of Bok rugby, but he is a truly exceptional specialist fetcher (how he utterly overshadowed Hooper today vs the Waratah’s and gave the Kings momentum so many times is yet another case in point). But the Bok coaches and management STILL don’t seem to see the value of a brilliant fetcher who also has a very good all round game. I know I’m no expert like international coaches are, but for the life of me I can’t see how the difference Cloete makes week after week after week can possibly be ignored by the Boks. Especially as genuinely good fetchers NEVER destroy the balance of any loose trio – they increase its strength.

  • Steve

    Btw, obviously Kriel should also be with the Boks!

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