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The trials and tribulations of PDV

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Post by Biltong Mon Jul 18, 2011 8:09 am

John Smit has renounced the fact that SA has sent a “b” team to Australasia. Due to that I will merely just call them the away squad.

Well, the away squad of the Springboks will face an intriguing test this Saturday when they face a Wallaby squad that must be hurting because of their loss against a highly motivated Samoan team.

Deans will no doubt after resting some of his first choice players be selecting his best first XV for the Tri nations match.

Just as Australia has been found out regarding the quality of their depth, the Springboks will face a similar test. During 2007 Jake White sent a second string team to Australasia with encouraging results against Australia, a decent performance against New Zealand until two tries in the last 15 minutes took the game completely away from SA.

This time round, Peter de Villiers has decided that based on the principals employed by Jake White it made sense.

Well, how much sense does it really make when considering that SA could as early as the Quarter finals meet Australia and the New Zealanders in the semi?

Does he believe that the two home matches will be enough for his first choice to gain enough of a psychological advantage over what he surely must see as his two biggest threats in the RWC?


In 1995 World Cup the Springboks dealt with Australia in a competent manner, and then thanks to determined and focused defence were able to beat the All Blacks and negate the power of Jonah Lomu. Then we had Kitch Christie as coach, a man who took his Transvaal team to every trophy available at that stage. Subsequently the core of the 1995 World Cup team consisted of the then Transvaal.

What must not be forgotten is that Kitch Christie was the only SA coach that retired with a 100% win record. So momentum to him was key.

Peter de Villiers doesn’t have that luxury, hopefully he has the single mindedness, focus and ability to communicate and motivate his team through what I expect will be a preparation with a mixed bag of results.

There are only a few likely scenario’s that can come out of these pre-world cup Tri Nations.

We lose both test matches away from home, with a second string squad who will be totally demoralised and have very little belief in themselves after the fact.
This can only put more pressure on the “injured” first choice, as they will know there are no back ups.

Or

They come out of the away tour with some result and some respect. But then the first choice squad will effectively have two tests to prepare, and if they lose either one of those, the whole squad will be losing belief in themselves.

I personally think what he is doing is wrong, I understand players need rest, or recover from “injuries”, it is however a very dangerous game he is playing, first up he will meet a highly motivated Australian team who will have their own demons to overcome after last weekend, a match the Australians will surely target as a must win, and most likely their easiest game of the Tri Nations.

They will then meet a highly skilled, always motivated and very astutely coached All Black team. Not a good omen.

PDV is gambling, and gambling has been successful for a very small minority of people in this world.
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Post by Peter Seabiscuit Wheeler Mon Jul 18, 2011 8:31 am

These extra fixtures seem a bit ridiculous. Just exactly how many games do Australia need to have? I guess they never expected one of their franchises to make the S15 final,
Im sure Deans is only too well aware currently of what can happen when you field a weakened under motivated side for a meaningless game against hungry opposition. Indeed being England could send P Divy a hefty dossier on what happens when you send the only guys willing to go there tou tour Australia. Still the 76-0 pasting was where they gave Wilkinson his first start so it is theoreticaly possible that you can unearth stars in tehse games.
But really in this case it just seems that PDV doenst really want this game for his senior players who have more than enough rugby already. If its OK for Henry to whinge about his poor dears getting burnt out then its OK for PDV to give Smit a week off. The amount of flying and time zone hopping these guys do is ridiculous as it is.

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Post by TheGreyGhost Mon Jul 18, 2011 8:49 am

"Henry whinge about his poor dears getting burnt out".

Erm. It's called making the final after playing your entire season away from home, travelling to South Africa for two knock out games, followed by travelling to Brisbane for a final. I think it's fairly legitimate to suggest some of the Crusaders would be overdone if they then played SA & Aus home and away and two weeks later hit the world cup, no?

I expect that Henry will play fringe players in his "away" team too, or use the games to give game time to some of those who have been lacking through not making the finals.

Ultimately, my feeling is that the coaches feel the pressure and feel like they have to make decisions they wouldn't normally make - but as I've said before the nature of the RWC I think is not something you can plan for in a rational way - give guys game time and risk injuries, don't play them and risk them losing match fitness and form. Unless you win the competition, people will look back at the choices you made and criticise them. If you win, it will all look like genius. But there is really a large slice of luck required to get it right.

The other issue with playing a rotated squad, as Henry found out last time is: what do you do if a reserve player has an absolute blinder and appears to outshine the incumbent? do you elevate them to the starting team or accept that the context of the performance was skewed?

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Post by aucklandlaurie Mon Jul 18, 2011 9:24 am

Biltong
I'd have thought that P.Divvy is in a better situation than either henry or Deans.
He only had one team with S.15 finals committments and that was a home game 3 weeks ago. on that basis alone why cant he take his main 22? he also has to get more of those playing with each other , as one would expect the final 30 will have players from across the 5 S.15 franchises?

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Post by Biltong Mon Jul 18, 2011 9:36 am

As I say, Aucklandlaurie, he is gambling.
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Post by aucklandlaurie Mon Jul 18, 2011 9:39 am

Gambling?-its just plain dumb.........

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Post by Biltong Mon Jul 18, 2011 9:40 am

Yep, me and a million others agree with you.
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