Panorama – We have a problem!

Thursday morning, and time to take a sneak preview of Tank’s Sport24 column today:

Tank Lanning

“Does anyone give a monkey’s about the Springbok end of year tour?” was the question I posed to my Twitter followers yesterday after picking up a really flat vibe amongst friends, colleagues, Twitter and Facebook protagonists and the comments on this very website.

To his credit, one of around twenty responses came back with: “Of course … Cannot wait for the Test on Saturday!” But most were along the lines of:  

“Tired of the boring coach and Boks”

“We do care, but we’re all ruggered out… Have to regroup now for next year’s Super Rugby!”

“Who cares about the Boks, it’s time to watch the Proteas down under”

Some were coming up with conspiracy theories … “Pick Lambie when it’s cold and wet – and suits a kicking game – and put Steyn on later to prove a point that Heyneke (Meyer) was right?”

And a few were just angry beyond words: “Actually hope Boks lose, so we can get rid of Heyneke (Meyer), absolute idiot”

Panorama (or wherever the new SARU base is), I think we have a problem …

Sure, there is no Grand Slam to attempt, but never have I seen such abject lackadaisicalness, bordering on outright negativity toward the national side … This is nothing on anything seen during Peter de Villiers tenure, and that in itself borders on the incredulous!

And to be honest, I don’t blame people. From the very day this new bloated Super Rugby tournament was announced, many of us called it the “Killing of the golden goose” given the sheer volume of rugby demanded of the sport’s real assets – the players. Then they added a team to the Tri-Nations, and now Robbie Deans is calling for players to be rested during Super Rugby given his ludicrous injury list … Oi, Oi, Oi … Was it not you Aussies who got us into this mess in the first place by demanding that Super Rugby deliver you a Currie Cup that you did not have previously?

Injury lists are longer than the tape worm eating at Kate Moss, and more people attend the Pinelands knitting convention than they do Currie Cup games … In bold then – THERE IS TOO MUCH RUGBY!

I can also fully understand the frustration with the Bok gameplan. Initially there was no space in the Bok side for a fetcher as they give away too many penalties. In comes Francois Louw after a slew of injuries force Meyer’s hand, and he is a revelation. Pierre Spies and Morne Steyn are kept in the Bok side despite being woefully out of form, yet Keegan Daniel is given just one game. Pat Lambie – one of the brightest talents to grace a South African rugby field – is forced into splinter gathering on the bench while Zane Kirchner gets free reign. JJ Engelbrecht and Jacques Potgieter! Kick and chase or bash up one channel while looking to hit the man and knock him over instead of going for space and looking for the offload …

Now it’s the overseas crowd of Schalk Brits, Gurthro Steenkamp, Brian Mujati and Heinke van der Merwe who must come to the rescue while Currie Cup standouts JC Janse van Rensburg and Scarra Ntubeni are tanning a chop at home? Because they know the conditions better? Smacks a little of clutching at straws, being reactionary, and without a real plan to focus on and create a South African brand of rugby.

And as if cued in by the conductor, ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe is now suggesting that Meyer seems reluctant to select black players that deserve a place in the side. I absolutely hate the fact that colour creeps into national team selections, but I think the ANC have a point in this instance. Potgieter over Siya Kolisi, Engelbrecht over Juan de Jongh, Brits over Chiliboy Ralepelle, Francois Hougaard over Lwazi Mvovo, and the total disregard for Elton Jantjies while Steyn had a nightmare in Port Elizabeth … Long will live in my memory the image of Jantjies and De Jongh – itching to get onto the park, looking longingly up to the coach’s box – but being made to wait for absolute ages at Loftus, even though the game against Australia was long won.

Throw in the Kings debacle, and it’s no wonder there is very little interest in this end of year tour …

Panorama, I don’t think we have a problem, I know we have a problem …


  1. Well said Tank, I agree 100%. Meyer is like a buck caught in the headlights, no idea of how to move forward. Considering the amount of rugby being played now, surely it’s not rocket science to see who the in form players are and what style of rugby leads to winning games.
    People may argue that our players don’t have the skills to play expansive rugby, but that is horse #%^$! We’ve got our share of genuine ball players, but if they get the opportunity and get called up to the national squad, it appears that any individual flair is quickly stymied by the “Meyer” game plan.
    In short, our coach needs to grow some cojones and allow players to “play”.

    1. Yep, have heard that, but at least format will have to change to Heineken Cup type format in pools, so tournament might get shorter

  2. I think as a fan its not so much to do with the amount of rugby. If we were winning we would all be behind the boks. Most of us thought HM would be the answer and after the boks poor performance, the end of year tours will just be another episode of dissapointment … a little bit of hope nothing to get too excited about.

    1. Good point. For me it would be less about the winning if we were at least trying to play some rugby. The Boks are dull and predictable at the moment

  3. You hit the nail on the head Tank! Very accurate description of the pervasive, despairing national mood and the exhausted feeling of rugby fatigue. It’s here and it’s real, and I see it everywhere. There’s a total lack of braai fireside banter about the game in general and especially the Bok end of year tour. Even the office water cooler chats don’t raise the subject. So whilst the season has just been too long, I think the negativity is compounded by the incomprehensible obstinacy of the Bok coach (notice I can’t even say his name anymore). Some of us had great hopes for HM, especially after the laugh-a-minute reign of PDivvy. But at least with the latter, we were still passionate, vocal, sometimes angry, sometimes slapping our knees in mirth – now we just don’t give a damn, shut up, and turn on the cricket. Hopefully SARU does not display the same blind and deaf obstinacy and acts decisively. It’s time to restore the fans’ passion and confidence! The game belongs to us, not to the Execs in SARU.

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