BOK BACK 3 NEEDS A SHAKEUP
Cheslin Kolbe was a major standout in an otherwise sub-par performance from the Boks. The biggest holes in the Bok team were Willie Le Roux, Makazole Mapimpi and Faf de Klerk. Le Roux was suspect under the high ball, poor with his kicking out of hand and his decision making and execution also let him down.
This is not a once-off for Le Roux either as he has been delivering erratic performances for some time now. His defence is not a strong point either so the question needs to be asked – what does he bring to the team right now? If that answer is purely “experience” – an answer that I hear often as means to “justify” a selection – then we are on a hiding to nothing.
The All Blacks dropped their most experienced prop, Owen Franks, from their entire RWC squad … because he wasn’t performing. Inexperienced George Bridge was preferred over experienced Riko Ioane … based on form not experience. South Africa needs to learn to make these kinds of calls. Willie can no longer rely on experience if he is not delivering!
Mapimpi is another who is a major worry. Yes, he is a great finisher, especially against the weaker teams, but he does not have the pedigree to handle the big teams. His positional play and defence are a big problem and smart teams like the All Blacks have figured that out. The game changing first try came about from Mapimpi being outmanoeuvred on the wing by Sevu Reece. Mapimpi is naive on the wing and will continue to get exposed if changes aren’t made.
Shift Kolbe to fullback – he is proven to be excellent under the high ball. Bring in S’bu Nkosi on the right wing – he is on form at the moment. Warrick Gelant comes in on the left wing and he can interchange between fullback and wing with Kolbe.
JANTJIES IN FOR DE KLERK
Herschel Jantjies has been beating the proverbial door down since being brought into the Springbok fold. Faf de Klerk had yet another below-average game against the All Blacks – his box kicking was poor and he made a crucial mistake that led to an All Black try. In a game of very fine margins, we can’t afford these types of major errors. It’s time to give Jantjies an extended run and the starting no. 9 berth in the big games. His kicking game is good, defence solid, has a fantastic pass and he brings that X-factor.
WHAT WILL WORLD RUGBY DO ABOUT THE STANDARD OF REFEREEING?
Mr Bean lookalike, Jerome Garces, delivered a Mr Bean like performance on Saturday! It was Bryce Lawrence-esque in the sheer volume of errors that he made. He completely misunderstood the scrums, he got at least 7-8 knock-ons/forward pass calls wrong, he missed several off-sides, got the breakdowns wrong and failed to give Mapimpi a yellow card when it was as clear as the lack of daylight in the tackler’s release that it should have been a yellow card.
What did he get right? NOT MUCH!
This kind of abject refereeing display has no place in an event as massive as a RWC. Years of preparation, training and planning by teams go into this and the very least that teams and fans alike should expect and ask for is some level of competence from a referee.
This is not sour grapes … New Zealand absolutely deserved to win and were the better team on the day for sure. The point is if players are dropped when they are poor, why should referees not suffer the same consequence?
Let’s see if the organisers have the guts to make an example and set the bar for a basic minimum standard that will be acceptable from a referee at a Rugby World Cup.
I wouldn’t hold your breath on that one!