Planet Rugby

Heyneke Meyer interview: Part Two

10th October 2012 13:56

Share:

Heyneke Meyer during the Springboks interview

Heyneke Meyer: Plan 'B' is a fallacy

Planet Rugby's Ross Hastie sat down with the Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer to chat about how he has experienced his role so far.

In part one, we covered the pressures of the job, dealing with press and public perceptions.

In part two, we continue to address some misconstrued public perceptions over selections, style and the future of South African rugby.

Planet Rugby: There is a public perception that you select Bulls first and only when they fail do you pick players from elsewhere. Is there any truth in suggestions you prefer to pick players you know from your days at Loftus?

Heyneke Meyer: When I took over the team I had to pick a lot of new players to fill the gaps after so many senior players left. I picked 12 new Boks: three Bulls, three Stormers, three Lions, two Cheetahs and one Shark.

When we played the Wallabies at Loftus, I picked only three Bulls in the matchday 22 but seven Stormers... I'm the Springbok coach who has picked the least amount of Bulls out of the last four coaches!

People should also remember that there are three selectors. One is from Cape Town, one is from Durban. People see me as a Bulls man but I believe I'm neutral.

Of the current Bulls in the Springbok side, the only one I've ever coached is Morne (Steyn) and back in the day I used to get criticised for picking Derrick (Hougaard) ahead of him.

PR: You've said publicly that the Springboks rely on their forwards dominating their opposition. There's a popular catch phrase doing the rounds suggesting that when that doesn't happen, there is no 'plan B.' These days you can't expect to dominate physically every week, so does that mean your plan is outdated?

HM: The need for dominance up front is true of every side in world rugby. The All Blacks struggled in Dunedin because our forwards put them under pressure. If the Wallabies play England and get smashed in the scrums, their whole game suffers.

Even if you have a plan B, C, D and E, you're still going to struggle if your forwards don't dominate. Eight of the fifteen guys in the side are forwards so if they don't play well, you're in trouble, especially if they can't get you quick ball.

The kick-offs are the most important because if you miss it, you'll get kept in your own half until the opposition scores. So you can have a plan B, C and X if you want, but if you don't do the basics right, you're never going to win.

Plan 'B' is a fallacy. You should plan every situation on its merits.

Johan Goosen did well at Loftus because he got quality ball. There is no set game plan where players are told to go out and kick everything. You want them to read the situation.

People think there are two types of rugby - kick and run. That's not true. Everyone thinks we played fantastic attacking rugby against Australia but we made 185 tackles! That's the most we've ever made. We scored most of our tries from their mistakes, because that's where tries come from - turnovers.

Ask any guy and he'll say that because Goosen was there we played 'running rugby'. We didn't. They ran more than us. But our defence was awesome and forced them into errors to create opportunities.

People say we should just keep the ball all the time, but you can't. If the opposition sends in one tackler and we need three cleaners in a ruck, then after a few phases there is a mismatch of numbers and you have to kick.

PR: The criticism from the game in Argentina was exactly that lack of variety - it seemed like you kept on doing the same thing over and over, and guys weren't thinking on their feet to come up with other options.

HM: You can't have variety if you're always getting slow ball. Argentina's whole game is about slowing your ball down. If they are allowed to flood the breakdown like some European teams, then you'll always struggle, just like the All Blacks and Wallabies did in their first game against the Pumas.

PR: And when the All Blacks had a southern hemisphere referee when they went to Argentina, they finally got quick ball...

HM: There are a lot of things to take into consideration. You talk about misconceptions, one former coach said if you can't score four tries against Argentina, you're useless. But no one scored four tries against them, even at home, until the last round.

PR: We recently spoke to a very high level former international coach who had the impression that South African teams at school, domestic and Super Rugby levels are focusing too much on structure and physicality to the detriment of coaching 'skills'. It's hard to imagine SA producing a guy like Sonny Bill Williams. Is that an accurate assessment?

HM: It's not about structure, nothing to do with that, but I agree that in South Africa we don't do enough skills training, at all levels. The problem starts at school, where big kids play at 10 or 8 and can just run through everyone. In Australia and New Zealand they play a lot of 10-a-side where they focus on skills.

We need to get more qualified back-line coaches across the country. Most of your skills get imprinted at a young age. We've got a lot a great rugby schools, we just don't have enough coaches in South Africa.

Where did Sonny Bill learn his skills? Rugby League, where you get five chances to attack. People say I'm conservative but I started bringing in League coaches to help the Bulls back in 2000 when I saw their running lines. In Australia and New Zealand guys get exposed to other codes, which helps, but most importantly they have a very good coaching education system.

I agree we need to up-skill our players at all levels.

PR: Thanks, Heyneke.

HM: It's a pleasure. Cheers.

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 19
Gloucester vs Exeter19:45
Saturday , September 20
Sale vs London Welsh14:00
London Irish vs Saracens15:00
Harlequins vs Wasps15:00
Bath vs Leicester15:15
Sunday , September 21
Newcastle vs Northampton14:00
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , September 19
Munster vs Zebre19:30
Cardiff Blues vs Ulster19:35
Connacht vs Leinster19:35
Saturday , September 20
Newport Gwent D'gons vs Glasgow14:40
Scarlets vs Benetton Treviso18:00
Sunday , September 21
Ospreys vs Edinburgh16:00
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Friday , September 19
Brive vs Toulon18:00
Saturday , September 20
Racing Metro Paris vs Toulouse18:00
La Rochelle vs Bordeaux-Begles18:00
Clermont Auvergne vs Lyon18:00
Castres vs Oyonnax18:00
Grenoble vs Bayonne18:00
Montpellier vs Stade Francais18:00
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , September 19
Lions vs Pumas19:10
Saturday , September 20
Western Province vs Griquas15:00
Blue Bulls vs Sharks17:05
Eastern Province Kings vs Cheetahs19:10
More Currie Cup fixtures
ITM Cup
Wednesday, September 17
Southland vs TasmanSouthland vs Tasman Preview
Thursday , September 18
Northland vs Taranaki19:35
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , September 14
Wasps 20 - 16 NorthamptonWasps vs Northampton Report
Newcastle 18 - 20 London IrishNewcastle vs London Irish Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Cardiff Blues 12 - 33 GlasgowCardiff Blues vs Glasgow Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Bordeaux-Begles 27 - 21 MontpellierBordeaux-Begles vs Montpellier Report
More Top 14 results
ITM Cup
Waikato 26 - 21 Counties ManukauWaikato vs Counties Manukau Report
Hawkes Bay 41 - 0 Otago
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , September 13
Gloucester 34 - 27 Sale SharksGloucester vs Sale Sharks Report
Bath 53 - 26 London WelshBath vs London Welsh Report
Exeter 20 - 24 LeicesterExeter vs Leicester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Rugby Championship
New Zealand 14 - 10 South AfricaNew Zealand vs South Africa Report
Australia 32 - 25 ArgentinaAustralia vs Argentina Report
More Rugby Championship results
Guinness PRO12
Leinster 42 - 12 ScarletsLeinster vs Scarlets Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Toulouse 9 - 13 Clermont AuvergneToulouse vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Racing Metro Paris 28 - 11 LyonRacing Metro Paris vs Lyon Report
Bayonne 23 - 6 Brive
Oyonnax 40 - 27 Grenoble
Toulon 24 - 28 Stade FrancaisToulon vs Stade Francais Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Griquas 31 - 27 PumasGriquas vs Pumas Report
Cheetahs 30 - 30 SharksCheetahs vs Sharks Report
Lions 35 - 33 Western ProvinceLions vs Western Province Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Bay Of Plenty 12 - 27 AucklandBay Of Plenty vs Auckland Report
Southland 36 - 34 Northland
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 12
Harlequins 0 - 39 SaracensHarlequins vs Saracens Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Benetton Treviso 10 - 21 MunsterBenetton Treviso vs Munster Report
Newport Gwent D'gons 15 - 17 Ospreys
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens29
2Bath29
3Leicester Tigers29
4Exeter26
5Northampton26