What has been a stubborn characteristic of the Meyer era has been his unflinching loyalty to certain players who have won his trust over the years.
There was many a raised eyebrow at his press conference this week when the Springbok coach said he had told Jaque Fourie
that he would like to keep him on standby.
Surely, at this 11th hour, he cannot still be uncertain about
what players he has at his
The Boks have plenty of depth – in fact, they have too much depth in certain positions.
This has led to a situation where some players, despite great form in Super Rugby, have barely had a look-in over the course of the Rugby Championship, despite Meyer’s having said that each of his players would get a fair chance.
It is simply too late now. What will be, will be.
It is telling that there was such a collective raising of the eyebrows when Meyer said he would have loved to have given opportunities to several of his other players yesterday,, but the absolute need to win yesterday’s game meant that he couldn’t. Even for the most hartthick-skinned of his back-up players, that utterance would have stung.
Essentially, Meyer was saying that he didn’t trust his second tier of players to come through and beat a much-changed Argentinian side, on home soil, with all those players pulling out all the stops in an effort to get on the World Cup bus.
It was a dangerous comment to make this close to the tournament.
If Meyer doesn’t back them to win against a side that has scraped together eked out just one win in this competition since joining it, then what hope would those players have in the World Cup, thousands of kilometres from home, in conditions that will be unSouth African?
Of course, Meyer long ago missed the opportunity to blood the “back-up”. That window was open three, four years ago, but he when he had alreadyr earmarked several players to stay the course with him until the World Cup.
There is nothing wrong with that. Every coach has his “untouchables”, as José Mourinho calls them; the men he would go to hell and back with, because he knows what he will get out of them when it truly matters.
But among these icons you need foot soldiers, just in case something goes wrong.
And those soldiers need some sort of work experience so that they know what to expect should they be called up for battle.
In a perfect world, Meyer’s preferred XV would go through the tournament unscathed, and the Boks would compete fiercely for the title.
But a perfect world doesn’t exist in sport, and especially not in rugby.
There is no better example of that than New Zealand’s flyhalf debacle in 2011. Hamstrung by injury after injury, they played the final with their fourth-choice pivot , as injury upon injury hamstrung their best-laid plans.
That is the problem with a contact sport like rugby. In an instant, a player can be laid low, through no fault of his own. It is just a part of the game.
That is why yesterday’s game was a great opportunity missed to play a Pat Lambie or an Elton Jantjies from the start, if only for Meyer’s peace of mind.
It would be incredibly unfair to chuck those players into a World Cup semi-final, with precious little game time.
But that is what it has come down to now.
It is simply too late.
In Meyer’s perfect world, Handre Pollard and the rest of his chosen ones will go through the entire tournament unscathed.
But this is rugby, and kak happens…
Original source: This is rugby and k*k happens!