Springboks reloaded

The Springbok team selected to face France at Loftus Versfeld raised more than a few eyebrows. Tank Lanning and Zelím Nel have a go at picking a better side from the same squad of players.

TankBoks: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Dillyn Leyds, 13 Jan Serfontein, 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Warren Whiteley (c), 7 Siya Kolisi, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Steven Kitshoff

Coenie Oosthuizen is not an international tighthead, Jesse Kriel is a fullback, Elton Jantjies is a proven failure at Test level, Siya Kolisi is not a an open-sider, Oupa Mohoje has been terrible for the Cheetahs this year, Frans Malherbe can’t get a regular start for the Stormers, and Raymond Rhule tops the missed tackles list in Super Rugby.

So, that’s where I started…

Given the squad that has been selected, coach Allister Coetzee’s hands were actually quite severely tied. Frans Steyn is the only alternative flyhalf, but if you play him at 10, then Kriel has to play 13.

The joke of it is that I would have all of Thomas du Toit, Wilco Louw, Chris Cloete, Lionel Cronje, Francois Venter, Harold Vorster and Ruan Combrinck in my Bok 23 this weekend, but they are fighting over beds in the SA A dormitory!

I really am not convinced about Jantjies as an international flyhalf, but perhaps he will fare better as part of the Lions 8-9-10 combination this weekend. That will require Coetzee to change his game plan, though.

Steyn at 10 with Kriel outside Serfontein at 13 to implement a proper kicking game would probably be a better option, but that side would have even worse transformation numbers than this one.

It’s a brutal balancing act.

ZelBoks: 15 Dillyn Leyds, 14 Raymond Rhule, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Frans Steyn, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 7 Franco Mostert, 6 Jean-Luc du Preez 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth (c), 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Beast Mtawarira

Picking a team from the weakeset Bok squad I’ve seen is fraught with perils – you might want to buckle up for this one!

The squad is low on experience and proven expertise in key positions. Lock isn’t on that list because SA spits out world-class locks like watermelon pips.

Yes, tactical issues come up when you play with the balance of a pack, but this Bok squad is fresh out of options. I’ve loaded the front eight with four locks.

Etzebeth, Du Toit and even De Jager have World XV capacity and I’ve deployed Du Toit with Mostert in the back row to take advantage of these riches.

Sharks thumper Du Preez packs down at openside. Clearly not a fetcher, Du Preez does have the size and temperament to repel threats at short-radius rucks where we’ll tackle-and-tank to disrupt the French.

Excluding the front row, my pack averages 2m-114kgs per player (up from 1.95m-106kgs).

That means we won’t be playing high-tempo, coast-to-coast rugby. Instead, we’ll slow the game right down and play from set-piece to set-piece, kicking the ball into the stands and contesting every feasible lineout and restart for turnovers.

At the back, Hougaard starts at No 9 where his physicality (in a tighter role on defence) helps to cover a plodding pack.

While Frans Steyn is temperamental, he’s not short on confidence, experience or tactical expertise. The Boks should have little difficulty exiting with his big boot deployed at 10.

Whenever possible, Kriel and Serfontein swap on defence to allow the latter to man the 13 channel.

Leyds is light in weight and experience, but he’s a talented footballer with serious clutch factor who sees the depth of the field – I’m trusting him to float a green back three.

- All Out Rugby Staff Writer

Let's chat

  • Hopeful

    All I can say is…either Coetzee has been told he is going nowhere win or loose or he has absolutely no control of his selections…

    I am the most patriotic person and die hard supporter (Bulls-says it all….disappointment but still true Blue) but I cannot continue to support a team of players who haven’t been chosen on merit or form that goes for white, black and mixed race players……

    I hope we get smashed!!!!!

  • Johan

    I hope you don’t get paid to write this trash…
    If you do please add me to the list of writers, I also can write a lot of trash.

    Here is my trash (with a few stats to prove it):

    Lionel is NOT better that Jantjies, my coach always said it is easier to look good in the B team than in the A team. The same is true for Lionel, he is good, but he is not the best look at your own article https://www.alloutrugby.com/pick-your-pivot/

    Jantjies improved his goal kicking from 72% last year to 84% this year, Lionel is at 74%. Then good pass 94% versus 81%, tackle completion 75% versus 72%. Also Jantjies uses chip kicks and kick passes way more than Lionel therefore the Metres-Per-Kick stat is meaningless. If you watched the game against the Bulls check the distance he got on his line kicks. Ackermann confirmed he has been working hard at it and has improved immensely.

    Now stop the Jantjies hate.

    Last year he was playing for team on the back foot, a team with no game plan and the team lost to ITALY (with LAMBIE at flyhalf for that game)! MORNE was at flyhalf for the 15 – 57 destruction in Durban by New Zealand. Are all these players now PROVEN failures?

    The team that lost to ITALY also had players: Combrinck, Venter, Habana, Lambie, Whiteley, Alberts and Pieter-Steph du Toit.

    The point I am trying to make is that the coaching has been horrible, directionless and calling a player a FAILURE is wrong.

    Choosing du Toit above Mostert also shows your lack of research for this “writing”:
    Mostert averages 5.1 meters per carry, compared to 4.7 for du Toit
    Mostert is nr 1 in lineout steals (12) compared to du Toit nr 37 with (5)
    Mostert has 19 handling errors, du Toit 32
    Mostert conceded 2 penalties, du Toit 9
    Mostert 84% tackle completion (22 dominant), du Toit 81% (24 dominant)
    Mostert conceded 8 turnovers, du Toit 11

    Du Toit only wins in turnovers won (barely):
    Du Toit 2 turn overs won and 1 tackle turnover won (3 total turnovers)
    Mostert 0 turn overs won and 2 tackle turnovers won (2 total turnovers)

    I agree Rhule’s defence isn’t good enough.

    @Zelim, wow… 4 locks, Leyds at fullback, and Frans who hasn’t played flyhalf for a while.
    “Excluding the front row, my pack averages 2m-114kgs per player (up from 1.95m-106kgs).”
    “Du Preez does have the size”
    “…slow the game right down and play from set-piece to set-piece”
    “Hougaard starts at No 9 where his physicality…”
    “Leyds is light in weight”

    You are clearly obsessed with size, or “domkrag” as it is known these days. The Bulls also believe in domkrag, look how well it is working for them. The game has moved on from domkrag.

    I also believe this is why you got rid of Warren and chose Eben as captain, a guy known for his calm demeanour, even temper and smart decision making… Oh wait…

    Lions, Kings, Sharks and Stormers are all attacking more this year, and the Boks have to move on from domkrag.

    @Hopeful, very ironic name, but anyone who says “I hope we get smashed!!!!!” is no true South African, go join the other draadsitters and support the All Blacks.

    Finally selecting my team:
    15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Dillyn Leyds, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Warren Whiteley (c), 7 Siya Kolisi, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Tendai Mtawarira

    Rhule shouldn’t be there with 63% tackle completion and nr 1 in missed tackles isn’t good enough.
    We have a lot of injuries in the centers, Am, Mapoe, Rohan, and playing the two that knows each other is a good option.
    We need a dedicated fetcher, turn over ball is deadly to attack from and Jaco Kriel is that option.

    (Hope I get paid for all this research)

    • Joe Hero

      Just admit you’re really Nick Mallett! ;)
      Agreed all round mate. Great analysis!

    • Tank Lanning Tank Lanning

      Brilliant Johan. Shot for getting involved. Love all your comments. Imagine the world agreed on everything – it would be bloody boring. PSDT has played against the Kiwis this year, and is the incumbent. Mostert has taken on the mighty Aussies. He is a bloody good player though, and has had a fantastic season. I had him on my bench. Hope Jantjies proves you right and me wrong, but I remain doubtful. Agree with Graham – start a blog!!!

      • Tank Lanning Tank Lanning

        Franco Mostert was excellent in a really good win, as was Elton Jantjies, who was given a fair amount of space in which to work by the French. Mostert deserves his place ahead of PSDT. Janties deserves more games to prove his worth. His defence worries me, and in the face of a defence like the Canes or B&I Lions, I am not sure he has the game to handle it. But let’s see. Great to have a W under the belt

    • Graham Wiggill

      Perfect. Spot on analysis. Not joking please start your own analysis website, I’ll be your first subscriber.

    • Darren

      Some pretty good points there! I agree with 90% of what you say.
      In my side though I would have Dreyer ahead of Malherbe who isn’t fit and hasn’t been in good form. And in the loosies I would start DuPreez at 7 and have either Kolisi or Kriel at 6.
      The balance in AC’s team is terrible, I hope he knows something the rest of us don’t (we are after all armchair geniuses). I cannot for the life of me see how Mohoje makes this team, he bring a line out option and nothing else….absolutley nothing else.

    • Hopeful

      Hahahaha….I agree with the majority of what’s been stated and I am no Jantjies fan but the Kid has proven to be better than the rest. Show some appreciation for his hard work and the steel he has shown to come back strong…..perhaps all the other SA players should take note.

      I do think that if teams were chosen on stats alone the NZ team would look completely different….but boy do they know how to get the best of those chosen….and as for the combinations you can’t ask for more….

      All I’m asking is for everyone to point out the elephant in the room….we don’t know what we are doing and our coaches are lacking…


    Extremely well put Mr.Johan .

  • Sharky

    And for what it’s worth, this is the team that I (Mr Nobody) would have selected:

    15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Dillyn Leyds, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Francois Hougaard, 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 Steven Kitshoff

    I love Beast but he is becoming a passenger in his old age – Etzebeth would have to step up as the most experienced forward. The forwards, though arguably a bit light weight, are packed with exciting, in-form and highly mobile players who can do the business up front while still causing havoc around the park.

    I break up the halfback combination a bit but Hougaard (along with Steyn) will provide much-needed experience in a very youthful backline. The back 3 are also exciting and (apart from Ruan Combrinck) are of form the best back 3 we have. I’d ideally have Am at 13 and in his absence Mapoe… but given the current sick list Kreil is the best we’ve got. Oh how I’d love a Janse van Rensburg – Am midfield!

    So there we go…

    • Graham Wiggill

      Like this a lot. The JVR/Am combination is the stuff of dreams. It’s also nice to see a sharks supporter who can aknowledge other teams good players and doesn’t call for Van Wyk, Nkosi and mvovo to be our back 3 and Botha our lock

      • Sharky

        Well, I did put Jean-Luc du Preez in there – he’s my Sharks quota :)

    • Darren

      Now we are talking! If quota’s weren’t an issue I would have Kitshoff instead of Beast but reality is reality so Beast would have to start.
      I also love the idea of a Rohan/AM midfield, can’t wait for them both to be fit.

      • Sharky

        Jeez, I didn’t even think about colour in that team. It does look pretty white doesn’t it? Though it would have one extra player of colour if Am wasn’t injured.

        With regard to Beast – if I remember correctly the powers that be consider him the wrong kind of black.

  • Gatvol

    I can’t believe what I am reading from both Lanning and Nel!!! Do they get paid for this rubbish?
    Nel’s selection of forwards are so slow it will take them 15 minutes just to run out of the tunnel onto the field!
    Slow the game down?!!! In this day and age?!! You have got to be kidding me!
    Lanning and Nel has clearly not finished their business at the urinal. I can’t believe that I have actually clicked on this link!

  • francois williams

    Its a kak span…oor en uit…

  • Fanie

    Reading Nels team underlines one truth there are people who should not write about rugby .Every year before test matches are played these rugby writers start their yodeling and the song contains these words.He is not big enough he is inexperienced he has no vision he is coming back from injury cant find his jumpers does not fetch the ball cant tackle cannot kick.In the light of all these comments let us examine who is in the team and on the bench. Mbonambi on the bench Malherbe how many penalties is he going to cost us.Etsebeth is he going to play ball or man or center Siya is not a fetcher is he going to disappear how long is mahoje going to tackle for and can Leyds tackle. Beast plays in spurts but for me the most disapointment of this team is AC who lies picks Allende { but not Combrinck] The Lions in Nick Mallets words bullied the Stormers yet again their log points are less than the Sharks and they lost against the Sharks.AC has delivered the quotas in the team Kwagga Smit is too small Mahoje and Kolisi is our best combo and van Graans pre planning is on song.If we lose on Saturday against the French rookies is AC going to blame the players the aerial battle or not enough time with the Boks.You be the judge.

  • Peter Evans

    Thank goodness SA still refuse to look at the modern game. More chance for England to get somewhat closer to ABs. Same old brute force and bully rugby. It won’t defeat the teams that like to play in space.

  • Adriaan

    How is Lleyds a better fullback then Coetzee???? Everyone was asking for fresh start and that is what Allister has brought to the table, but now we want all experience and players out of position.

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