Meyer at breaking point

2012-06-30 20:06

The fact that South Africa’s most capped flyhalves Butch James and Morné Steyn, have only played 37 Tests in the position speaks volumes, especially about past and current coaches’ indecision around this crucial position.

It is natural for coaches to back flyhalves because they are the chief decision makers and they are the ones who dictate the tempo and flow of the game.

If there is no confidence vested in them, the team will cease to function.

South Africa’s physicality based gainline domination battle has served them well in the past and plays to the strength of the incumbent Steyn, who executes the kick-and-chase game meticulously.

What the second half of the second Test and ultimately the entire third Test against England exposed was the lack of a plan B when their plan A gainline battle was countered.

When Steyn’s nominally accurate radar deserts him, it becomes difficult for him to justify his position.

The 12 out of 23 kicks he scored in the series is a poor return by Steyn’s standards.

And unless he is able to rekindle the running game which made him a refreshing substitute at the Bulls when Derick Hougaard owned the number-10 jersey there, he gives the team no value.

While Australia and New Zealand have running flyhalves in abundance, it is also worth noting that the Australasian sides emphasise keeping the ball in hand and, even more importantly, targeting the breakdown battle by employing specialist fetchers to sniff out the ball on the ground.

Besides the Cheetahs and Lions, who have Heinrich Brussouw and Derick Minnie as their respective pilferers, South Africa’s Super Rugby sides prefer to swarm the breakdown and use muscle to retain the ball.

This tactic has worked well for the Stormers and to an extent the Sharks, but not for the Bulls, whose tactical blueprint is used by Heyneke Meyer.

This affects the type of ball the scrumhalf gets.

If the breakdown battle is won and the gainline is dominated, there will be quicker balls for the halfbacks and more space for the outside backs to work with.

The inverse is applied when the collisions are lost and that affects the quality of the ball the halfbacks get.

The former applied in the first Test and most of the second, while the latter was prevalent throughout the third Test.

With the Rugby Championships lying in wait after the Super Rugby competition, Meyer walks into the crucible with two variables – whether to take his tried-and-tested gameplan and die by it or be willing to adapt and take some hits along the way.

The All Blacks have shown that running rugby can be winning rugby if implemented correctly and South African rugby does have the players and resources to match them.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.