A lot has been written and said in recent times about Heyneke Meyer and the Springboks’ game plan. Why it isn’t working and why they should continue with it has been debated over and over again. “Braaivleis” fires and bar stool conversations between rugby fans have been dominated by this topic. The question however that springs to my mind is: “how important is a game plan and should players stick to it or play what they see?”
Each team has a certain style of play that they have made their own over many seasons. The Bulls play 10 man rugby. They kick quite a bit and rumble up the field with their forwards. The Stormers used to have a running style of rugby, but recently have resorted to kicking a bit more. Defence is their strong point. And so the list goes on. The springboks have always enployed a forwards dominated play with quick ball to set their back line in motion.
Suddenly Heyneke Meyer comes a long and the springboks are playing 10 man rugby. Not always successfully so. To me the reason is clear: the players are to set in playing the game plan than what they see in front of them. They want to stick to what the coach has given them. Thinking back to my days of playing rugby at school we had a similar setup. You did what the coach told you or you lost your place. Then it changed.
We asked the coachto give as a basic game plan as a base and allow us to play what we see. It took a while but eventually we started seeing the results. We had a base to work with. A scrum in a certain position on the field would mean we try for a right shoulder and get the backs running. A line out in our half go to 2 and play from there. In their half go deep and get running. If the situation however didn’t allow for this we did what we dis best. We played to our strengths.
If our first choice goal kicker missed two kicks we went to the second choice. We made the decisions on the field as we had to play the game. Halftime the coach told us what he saw and thought and we tried to adapt accordingly. Still it was up to us, the players on the field, to make the on field calls.
It is time that the Springboks play the game as they see it and not the way it has been planned. I know it is not schoolboy rugby, but the same principal should apply.
Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.