His experienced “golden generation” players failed to live up to standard in the last-gasp Nelspruit victory.
The jury is still out on whether the likes of Bakkies Botha, Victor Matfield and Schalk Burger still have the juice in the tank to bring the Webb Ellis Cup home next year.
There is no doubting that they each add value to the team in one way or another, but they no longer offer the complete package they did a few seasons ago.
It’s a tough ask, banking on these old warhorses, as they may have lost a yard or two in pace and may be more injury-prone than they were in their youth.
A prime example is Matfield. He may still be the world’s best lineout forward and a stirring leader, but his contributions outside of these spheres appear to be wholly anonymous.
His work-rate on defence and at ruck time is perhaps a tad lower than expected.
His comeback from retirement and ultimate Bok selection is undoubtedly a reaction to the South African lineout not functioning optimally last season, as well as a number of injuries to our foremost lock forwards – Eben Etzebeth, Pieter-Steph du Toit and Franco van der Merwe.
It is, however, worth remembering that we have some of the most exciting young second-rowers in the world who would thrive in the Green and Gold given the chance.
It’s not always advisable to keep punting youth above experience, but the reality is we have young guns like Etzebeth, Du Toit, Lood de Jager and Stephan Lewies champing at the bit.
For every one of Heyneke’s bankers, there is a youngster of supreme quality. For every Victor, there’s a Lood, for every Bakkies an Eben, and for every Schalk a Marcell Coetzee.
Time will tell if it’s experience or youthful exuberance that will win or lose the World Cup for the Springboks.
Comment Cancel reply
Article source: http://citizen.co.za/202276/same-old-story-for-springboks/