FeaturesInternational FootballRugbySpringboks

RWC 2015: Remembering David Lawrence day

997views

I woke up this morning with the grim realisation that there is no part of me that’s truly excited about this year’s Rugby World Cup. It might be one of my defence mechanism as the events of 9 October 2011 still haunt my dreams but it might also be deeper than that. I just believe that we have not progressed sufficiently since that day David Pocock and Bryce Lawrence became curse words around every Springbok wake, a day forever remembered as David Lawrence Day.

Our proudest moments since that day was a couple of victories against the All Blacks and even those were few and far between. For me there are too many unanswered questions and gaps that have risen, here are some.

Fullback

Willie Le Roux’s attacking prowess cannot be questioned and he’s arguably the best addition to the Springboks since David Lawrence day, yet the majority of Rugby pundits (and I agree) question his effectiveness in Northern Hemisphere conditions. Why? Well his ability under the high ball hasn’t exactly been rock solid and when it comes to his defensive prowess then, well, he’s not known for that. He scores and creates tries, but he’s also either a 10/10 or 1/10 kind of player. Now, for the World Cup, we’re calling for solidity and suddenly Zane Kirschner is back in the green and gold.  You may ask “who else” and that’s exactly my point, Heyneke had no foresight here, sure, swinging the ball and scoring tries is effective but then stick to your guns, son. Don’t change the game because suddenly you want consistency. Why hasn’t guys like Jesse Kriel had a shot at Fullback?

Professionalism

Frans Steyn was the difference in 2007. Yes, the boy superstar got big headed and played for every rugby team willing to lather him in Euros, but his boastful personality aside. Why is there contract drama with him? Don’t give me that “you should be proud to play for the Springbok” bull, it’s a job and if you agreed to be compensated in a certain way and you’re not, why play? I don’t know all facts that lead to the drama of the Frans Steyn debacle, but I know that surely this could be avoided within a frame that created less negative publicity.

Captain

I love Jean De Villiers and there’s only one player in World Rugby I respect and admire more, but after David Lawrence Day we, as a nation, proclaimed that never again should the Springbok team be lead by man pushed into his position. You selected your best XV, then your captain. I love you Jean, but you’re not the best inside centre. I won’t play you outside either and the days where you ran down the sidelines are over.

Jannie du Plessis

I have no words. How can a man with the tackling ability of a pineapple be allowed to wear the green and gold for so long? Selecting Jannie is a bigger insult than trying to sell Springbok supporter’s T-Shirts (cause they’re not jerseys by any margin) at R750 a pop. I find it staggering that in 4 years we could not identify a better tighthead than the smarter Du Plessis brother and I say identify because picking a loosehead and making him a tighthead has not and will never be the answer.

The Breakdown

David Lawrence day will be remembered for our inability to be effective at the breakdown and the Australians, whether legally or otherwise, disrupted our entire plan. The fact that this happened once again in 2015 against Australia and more concerning Argentina is probably the biggest warning light out there. How is this still happening? What is our Plan B? Is there a Plan B? There isn’t, because half of the loosies and locks are doing the Wynand Olivier in the backline while centres and wings are at the breakdown trying (and failing) to retain the ball.

My friends and family are somewhat hopeful, but I am not in the slightest. Four years ago I believed that we have more rugby talent than we could select and that we will be unstoppable come RWC 2015. We will ride to it, and through it on the emotion of David Lawrence Day. Sadly, the emotion dried up and all we have now is the “most experienced” Springbok side ever. We’ll beat Japan by 50. Samoa will be tough but we’ll put 20 past them as confidence grows amongst all fans (most probably even myself as I’ll be blinded by the pedestals on which I place our Springboks). Scotland will be a test, which we will pass and in the USA we might rest some key players… I have a feeling Australia will wait for us on 17 October 2015 – we won’t take revenge and we will once again be gutted.

————————————————————————

Written for The Pundits by @Froners

Follow us on Twitter @thePunditsSA or ‘like’ us on Facebook

Leave a Response