Planet Rugby

Meyer under pressure to deliver

30th August 2012 12:13

Share:

Heyneke Meyer hands behind back

Under pressure: Heyneke Meyer

Springboks coach Heyneke Meyer is five games into his tenure and it appears he is already feeling the heat which comes with the position.

Central to that deduction is the way he is contradicting himself after last week's 16-all draw with Argentina in Mendoza.

"It is easy to throw players out and pick new ones, but that is not coaching, that is picking," Meyer told reporters when the Springboks arrived, after that result, in Johannesburg on Monday.

"I have been in this position a few times during my career as a coach and the easiest thing to do is just drop players - but that will not move the Springboks forward."

Not much has been made of those quotes but to me it sounds like a pearler from Meyer's predecessor, the inimitable Peter de Villiers, who was an expert at confusing the rugby world with what he said and did during his stint in charge of the Boks.

This time the confusion comes from Meyer's decision to call up Western Province number eight Duane Vermeulen and Free State Cheetahs fly-half Johan Goosen when he announced his 28-man squad on Wednesday.

Both are uncapped at Test level and their selections go totally against what he said on Monday.

Adding to that, Vermeulen and Goosen were on the sidelines for lengthy periods and only recently returned to action for their provinces in the Currie Cup.

Will they see action against Australia and New Zealand? Time will tell but those selections along with the decision to recall WP centre Juan de Jongh and Bath flanker Francois Louw - at the expense of Bulls utility back JJ Engelbrecht and Sharks loose forward Keegan Daniel - are an indication that Meyer is already under great pressure.

The latter players had little or no game-time in Mendoza and will now have to be satisfied with doing Currie Cup duty for at least the next few weeks while Meyer will expect the guys coming into the squad to hit the ground running if they are included in his matchday squads.

What puts even more pressure on the former Bulls coach is that former Springbok boss Jake White (who is now coaching the Brumbies) has criticised Meyer's decision to do what worked best for him during his time in charge of the Pretoria-based franchise.

White is quoted in Die Burger newspaper as saying Meyer's game plan for the Springboks is not a winning one.

"Heyneke's coaching style is not a style that will help the Boks to win," said White.

"If you can't score at least four tries against Argentina, then there is a big problem."

While White is entitled to his opinion but his views on Argentina display great disrespect to a country that has made tremendous strides as a rugby nation. Los Pumas have certainly managed to stand their ground against the heavyweights in the international arena in recent seasons.

So White's comments on Argentina are baffling to say the least, especially considering White's success with the Boks was built on similar tactics to those currently employed by Meyer.

But where I do agree with him is that Meyer's approach is outdated.

Before taking over the reins at the Boks, Meyer attained success with the Bulls and his last stint as a head coach was with Leicester Tigers in the 2008/2009 season.

That is more than three years ago and the game has moved on at a rate of knots since then.

If he wants to find out what is wrong with his team's performances he should look no further than their style of play.

The Boks' conservative approach might see off the Wallabies - who have serious problems of their own - in Perth but Meyer is in for a rude awakening if he persists with that game pan against the All Blacks in Dunedin. The inclusion of Goosen and Louw suggests there is light at the end of the tunnel. We'll find out next week.

By David Skippers

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
European Rugby Champions Cup
Friday , October 24
Munster vs SaracensMunster vs Saracens Preview
Saturday , October 25
Ulster vs ToulonUlster vs Toulon Preview
Scarlets vs LeicesterScarlets vs Leicester Preview
Bath vs ToulouseBath vs Toulouse Preview
Montpellier vs GlasgowMontpellier vs Glasgow Preview
Northampton vs OspreysNorthampton vs Ospreys Preview
Sunday , October 26
Clermont Auvergne vs Sale SharksClermont Auvergne vs Sale Sharks Preview
Castres vs LeinsterCastres vs Leinster Preview
Wasps vs HarlequinsWasps vs Harlequins Preview
Benetton Treviso vs Racing Metro 92Benetton Treviso vs Racing Metro 92 Preview
More European Rugby Champions Cup fixtures
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Friday , October 24
La Rochelle vs Bayonne18:30
Brive vs Zebre18:30
Grenoble vs London IrishGrenoble vs London Irish Preview
Newport Gwent D'gons vs Newcastle19:30
Edinburgh vs LOU Rugby19:45
Saturday , October 25
Bucuresti vs Stade Francais14:00
Rovigo vs Cardiff Blues14:00
Exeter vs ConnachtExeter vs Connacht Preview
Oyonnax vs Gloucester19:45
More European Rugby Challenge Cup fixtures
Currie Cup
Saturday , October 25
Western Province vs LionsWestern Province vs Lions Preview
More Currie Cup fixtures
ITM Cup
Saturday , October 25
Taranaki vs TasmanTaranaki vs Tasman Preview
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Thursday , October 23
London Welsh 20 - 52 Bordeaux-BeglesLondon Welsh vs Bordeaux-Begles Report
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sunday , October 19
Ospreys 42 - 7 Benetton TrevisoOspreys vs Benetton Treviso Report
Toulouse 30 - 23 MontpellierToulouse vs Montpellier Report
Toulon 28 - 18 ScarletsToulon vs Scarlets Report
Leinster 25 - 20 WaspsLeinster vs Wasps Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
London Irish 70 - 14 RovigoLondon Irish vs Rovigo Report
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
International Match
Saturday , October 18
Australia 28 - 29 New ZealandAustralia vs New Zealand Report
More International Match results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sale Sharks 26 - 27 MunsterSale Sharks vs Munster Report
Saracens 30 - 23 Clermont AuvergneSaracens vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Racing Metro 92 20 - 11 NorthamptonRacing Metro 92 vs Northampton Report
Glasgow 37 - 10 BathGlasgow vs Bath Report
Leicester 25 - 18 UlsterLeicester vs Ulster Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
LOU Rugby 28 - 18 London WelshLOU Rugby vs London Welsh Report
Zebre 24 - 33 Oyonnax
Cardiff Blues 37 - 14 Grenoble
Stade Francais 22 - 38 Newport Gwent D'gons
Bayonne 30 - 24 Exeter
Connacht 48 - 12 La Rochelle
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
Currie Cup
Lions 50 - 20 SharksLions vs Sharks Report
Western Province 31 - 23 Blue BullsWestern Province vs Blue Bulls Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Taranaki 49 - 30 AucklandTaranaki vs Auckland Report
Manawatu 23 - 18 Southland
Tasman 26 - 6 CanterburyTasman vs Canterbury Report
More ITM Cup results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Friday , October 17
Harlequins 25 - 9 CastresHarlequins vs Castres Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Bordeaux-Begles 13 - 15 EdinburghBordeaux-Begles vs Edinburgh Report
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Northampton625
2Saracens622
3Exeter620
4Bath620
5Wasps615