Forgot Password




Create your Connect ID

This will allow you to login to all DStv websites & applications

Login using

Email Reset


Loading Live Scoring...
*All times CAT (GMT+2)

Why Potgieter’s not to blame

South Africa’s participation in the 2013 Super Rugby tournament came to a halt this past Saturday when the flag-bearing Bulls crashed out to the Brumbies.

While critics will cast Dewald Potgieter as the villain for opting for the touchline rather than the poles on three occasions in the second half, I believe this line of thinking is completely flawed.

To close a game down and take the conservative route is the easiest thing to do. Yes, it’s a strategy which has served the Bulls well in the past but will it carry them into the future?

I believe that the major difference between South African and New Zealand sides, in particular, is in our attitude to playing the game.

At large, SA sides play in a way whereby they minimise their mistakes and thus employ a more conservative approach in terms of attack.

In so doing, the development of our players’ individual skills is neglected in training. One cannot just decide to switch on when there is an opportunity to attack in a match if such a strategy has not been practised in training over and over again.

As Potgieter and the Bulls discovered to their detriment, upping your attacking game in a playoff is exceedingly difficult if you have never trained that way previously.

A technique only becomes a skill when one can perform it under pressure. Thus, training has to make provision for this progression in order for all players to react timeously to pressure situations and ultimately make the right decisions in a match situation.

I believe that New Zealand players are afforded the opportunity to be creative. They are empowered to react to the situation in front of them and in turn, it’s up to the supporting players to back them up. If the attackers make a mistake, the supporting players attempt to turn a negative situation into a positive one.

To offer an example: in one of the 50 tries the Chiefs scored during regular-season play, I counted no fewer than 35 passes. They attacked from within their own 22 and finally scored.

It is interesting to note that not one of those passes was a long torpedo. They were all short-type passes to support players coming from depth and at pace.

The speed in rugby is on the ball and I firmly believe it should be a fast game, not slow and pedantic.

As I predicted in last week’s column, there was a huge difference between the two semifinals in terms of game speed.

I share the view that a team has to train in the way they want to play and their fitness and conditioning programmes must be in line with this. Fundamentally rugby is about fast activity and quick recovery.

The oval-ball game needs strong, explosive players and most notably, it seems to me that the New Zealand teams are getting this right.

While I don’t agree with the notion that South African sides are less fit than their New Zealand counterparts, it’s fair to say that the latter are more fitness-specific in terms of the way in which they want to play.

Recent columns

All Columns



Live Video Streaming

Barclays Premier League - Matchday 3: West Ham Utd v Southampton
Tue, 02 Sep @ 05:00
Wed, 03 Sep @ 16:00

Sports Talk

Tony Johnson
Sick or not, the show must go on
I am suffering from a serious ailment that my beloved wife refuses to acknowledge as anything more...

Brenden Nel
Perspective, a Bok fan's unwanted friend
For all the howls of anger that have come after the Salta great escape by the Boks, perhaps it is...

Brendan Venter
The measure of a man
For all the criticism I levelled against Argentina for their negative play in the Loftus Versfeld...

Gavin Rich
Selection continuity may be Bok problem
I have subscribed to the assumption that the Springboks are benefitted playing the Pumas at the...