Boks guilty of “Churnalism”

Churning the ball out to the player next to you in the hope of some individual brilliance is not the Bok plan Sport24 columnist Tank Lanning is willing to lose games for.

Tank Lanning

So last week I suggested that I would be happy to take a loss or two in return for a little change between the white lines from the Boks.

Nothing to do with the political side of things, but all to do with the actual game plan employed …

A few on social media were happy to call both myself and my poor mother some very unsavoury names at the very thought, but for the majority, I got the sense that most fans are also over the box kicks, one off runners, loose forwards at flyhalf, rely on physical power game that has become the norm.

Enter stage left the chirps after the Boks went down to a 14 man Ireland at Newlands …

“Well, you asked for it” was one of the more polite ones …

No I didn’t! I have a vital proviso in place … As long as there is evidence of a plan in place to evolve the SA game.

If the Boks had been dropping passes while trying to make that third 1m pass in the tramlines, running into each other while trying to execute multiple runners off a 3rd phase breakdown, knocking on while trying to sneak an offload in the tackle, or having a dink over the rush defence bounce cruelly, then I would be happy to take a loss.

Instead they did not have the game to score against a 13 man Irish side despite being camped on their tryline for 5 minutes prior to half time.

57% territory and possession, 141 carries, 19 defenders beaten, 585 meters with ball in hand, and 87 more passes than the Irish. Yet still managed to lose the game. Against 14 men.

Thanks to our initial “Churnalism” model, then Naspers CEO Koos Bekker once famously suggested that News24 could be run by a group of youngsters operating out of a garage. This (wrongly to my mind), because nothing original came out, and it was just a case of re-writing press releases or other people’s work as per the original Huffington Post model.

Well, that’s the word that came to mind when watching the Boks on Saturday …

At times the players actually looked surprised to get the ball as it was just churned out to the next person in the line in the hope that they would provide some sort of individual brilliance … That never came!

Apart from the litany of errors made – the Boks conceded 9 turnovers, and made 22 handling errors – Allister Coetzee’s new side just lacked any sort of spark or creativity on attack.

14 kicks from hand to the 34 from the Irish just compounded the issue, and speaks to a side that was clearly missing the tactical acumen of starting flyhalf Pat Lambie.

Evidence of a plan to mitigate the loss? Clearly not.

A symptom of a team trying to implement a more ball in hand attacking game, but without the skills or nous to implement it? Or hopefully (and Coetzee deserves the benefit of the doubt right now), a new team trying to implement a new game, but needing some time to gel as a unit before getting it right?

I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, saying we ditch the power or kicking game completely. That would be bloody stupid. I am saying that it would be nice to have a Plan B, or even Plan C for when those two are not working.


  1. There is a real brain drain problem in all the levels of SA rugby. Players and coaches.

  2. The new coach is a lovely guy and pretty good at his job yadda yadda but as most rugby people know, he is a confirmed repeat-offender choker. Province/Stormers always won when it wasn’t crucial and lost when it was. And losing home games was a regular thing. Time and time again. Exciting show-ponies that fail when there is pressure. Not the sort of record that’s ideal for an international coach. He will win games and everybody will get excited but he will lose when it comes to the crunch. No trophies in the cupboard over the next four years.

Comments are closed.