Players who coasting....prior to the WC.

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May 05, 2019, 21:04

Much BS about Vermeulen not being able to play 80 minutes......totally vaporised yesterday when he saved the Bools twice in the last 5minutes. But there is an element of truth.....he and other players have one eye on the WC.

And that's not new, it even happens in the RC/TN prior to WCs. The WC is the pinnacle of a test player's career, and nobody wants to miss out because of a silly injury in an irrelevant match in a competition nobody cares about in a WC year.

It makes sense to protect our best players prior to the WC. But that in turn makes it difficult to judge performance.....players who have been protective include Allende, Jantjies, Kitshoff, Malherbe, Etzebeth, Kolisi, Stephanie and Vermeulen.

Mostly these are players who are pretty sure of their WC ticket. But as we saw with Allende his play suddenly became more urgent after the Houwing expose, saying he was losing ground.

Distasteful as it may be, ignore the's human nature. Focus on talent and the skills to be relevant. Everybody will be fully committed at the WC

May 05, 2019, 21:52

When I have seen Vermuelen play, it looks like he is pacing himself. He actually does not look tired, instead, he just seems to be running a long distance marathon - and involving himself in key moment of the match. He seems calm and collective. 

May 06, 2019, 04:14

I think the Boks are in a much better space than last year, Rassie has more and better to choose from going into the WC,  I'm feeling a bit more positive. Rassie needs to make the right selections, Van Staden and Ruan Botha are just a couple of players sticking their hands up. Curwin Bosch looks promising.

May 06, 2019, 07:38

We saw Vermeulen do the same last year against the Poms.

The first test against them saw him playing at full pace. He impressed us all.

The second test saw him giving it his best shot but the man's body had clearly been worn down ... he had exhausted himself in the first test and wasn't able to maintain the same standard in the second.

Then in the third we saw him vanish from sight ... warning us of his inability to keep up with the younger, hungrier players.

He then fled to Japan under the guise of contractual issues ... but we all know the truth.

He didn't want to expose himself ... which could leave him sitting on the sidelines come WC time.

Issues were raised about his fitness ... or rather lack there of. It was suggested that he would have the SR season to build himself up and that we'd see a fitter, vastly better Thor as the season progressed.

Well ... we're still waiting for Thor to show. All that I've seen is a tired old man. No Thor.

He hasn't used the time effectively. He is still unable to put quality back to back performances together.

One week he's hot ... then the next three he coasts, as you so aptly put it.

Nothing has changed..

It's time to bring a real no 8 into the mix ... one we can build on for seasons to come ... not one who pretends rugby every 4th weekend.


May 06, 2019, 08:01

It's time to bring a real no 8 into the mix

And who would that be? It's not like we're spoilt for choice.

May 06, 2019, 08:11

Dan Du Preez for one would be a step up from Vermeulen ...

He's consistently producing top performances ... week in, week out. In fact I'd go as far as to say that the Sharks would have been deep in the dwang if it weren't for him.

Have you been watching him? I have and in all honesty, there is no better 8 in the country.


May 06, 2019, 08:12


I like your style of serving up BS as a dessert.   I read your comments about the above and want to ask you one simple question about the last WC ibn 2015 - how many of the so-called coasting along players in 2015 made a real impression in that year?   

A few names would help in that case.   The players who really had to carry the can in that series were not amongst the list of passengers relying on reputation only and ending up with a paid holiday in  England and Wales.

The myth that players who under-perform in other matches suddenly turning into world beaters when putting on the Springboks jersey has been exposed so many times in both the 2011 and 2015 World Cups, as well as in other tests, it is unbelievable that such BS can be punted still on this site,

It is clear that the June fiasco against England involving Vermeulen - two good performances and one poor one - could easily have re-surfaced in the remaining tests before the WC and that is why Vermeulen left for Japan in what is essentially a part of the "test window" period.

Vermeulen  was so-so in the tests he played in in November and was thus far repeated  in the Super Rugby series,    Looking at the latest game - Vermeulen did something I have never seen him doing in all the tests and games he played in before and that is to score an intercept try having to carry the ball for about 60 meters.    A good effort - but that was the last everybody bar you saw of him.   He was coasting badly and his ever-present defense deficiency was much worse in the game,    

I would rather see him not going to Japan - or rather go to Japan to play club rugby there than see him in the WC squad - where it is likely that he would be the top of the list of passengers.   

May 06, 2019, 11:48

Vermeulen was the difference between losing and winning the England series last year.

People point out that he did not play well in the third test - but then again the team lost - and this is perhaps why. Did anyone play well in the third test? 
Age prejudice means that because an older player did not play well, it means they are past it - even if the younger players were worse. Van Staaden was totally hopeless. 

Not sure who was awarded man of the series- but Vermeulen could easily deserve this.

Jantjies had a mare in the wet weather - conditions that the English are used to.

Vermeulen was fantastic in the first two tests. The Alberts twins are ineffective at the ruck, neither can even reach the ground. 

The all-around game of Vermeulen means he can adapt his game plan to the situation and play as a fetcher or ball carrier.

Without a 6 who is a specialist fetcher - at least the Boks will have Marx and Vermeulen which will make the team effective at putting pressure on the ruck.

Coetzee also had an all-around game. Too many of the loose forwards in South Africa are poor at ruck play. 

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