Put Malcolm Marx at 6 - by James Dalton

Forum » Rugby » Put Malcolm Marx at 6 - by James Dalton

Jun 27, 2019, 00:52

Malcolm Marx is capable of making a successful transition from hooker to openside flank, writes former Springbok hooker JAMES DALTON.

Marx is quick enough, he’s big enough and he plays towards the ball in an era of rugby where so much revolves around the breakdown.

The Springboks are, and always have been, spoilt for choice when it comes to their pack. This year is no different, and a positional shift for South African rugby’s 2017 Player of the Year, may be the best way the Boks can utilise their wealth of heavies.

Marx has been criticised before for his lineout ability, and is part of a Lions front row that doesn’t evidently dominate scrums. So why endure the negative aspects to his game, when we can make way for an environment where only his positive ones are displayed?

We have quality depth at hooker in Schalk Brits and Bongi Mbonambi, and a positional vacancy at openside, whereby the No 6s of the last few years have found their roles undefined. Marx could fill the Sam Cane-like role that South Africa has been lacking – the specialist opensider who allows for disruption at rucktime, which is the area of the game where most plays evolve from.

With Marx specialising as an opensider also allows for further positional malleability within the starting pack and on the bench. Let’s work from a starting loose trio of Duane Vermuelen at No 8, Marx at 6 and Siya Kolisi at 7, with the latter’s style of play lending himself to the blindside as he is a strong ball-carrier and a skilled link between the backs and forwards.

Brits and Mbonambi can now become interchangeable at hooker, leaving the Boks bolstered with specialised skill at No 2 and with the option to shift Marx back to hooker towards the end of games and open up space on the pitch for an extra loose forward.

A dynamic loosie like Kwagga Smith, whose form this season cannot be ignored, can now be optioned on the bench, but not necessarily at the expense of a physical bench presence like Jean-Luc Du Preez. What you’re doing is creating a bigger pool of talent within your pack of eight.

Rugby starts and ends at the breakdown, and Marx will have the ability at flank, without the responsibility at hooker, to upset the ruck and therein disrupt opposition momentum. His presence in the open would complete a powerful loose trio that at times last year looked to lack cohesion, probably due to non-specificity in their roles at 6, 7 and 8.

Marx already plays the game of a flank, but wearing the No 2 jersey. His only adjustment in shaking the No 2 from his back would have to be the running lines on attack and defence, which I imagine would be a fast adaption.

In a World Cup year, the Springboks need as many of their best players on the field at once, and most importantly their strongest pack. This positional shake-up would offer a new way to utilise these players’ talents within the numerical restriction of selection.

Photo: MB Media/Getty Images

Post by 

James Dalton
Marx is the best fetcher in world rugby. Marx may need to do a bit more fitness training to cover more metres, but many have said in the past, including the highly esteemed Sharkbok that Marx could be lethal at 6. 
 With no specialist fetcher, Marx is the best option.

Jun 27, 2019, 04:05

Could be but would he be? Is there enough time to mold him into a new position leading into a WC and then also there's the factor of speed, everything happens so much quicker at the highest level, players are at their instinctive best.....would he be?

Jun 27, 2019, 04:43

Apologies Shark, I never scanned the existing posts when I duplicated the topic.

Jun 27, 2019, 06:46

Lolol Move the best hooker on earth to another position!!

Christ we are stupid.

Besides all wed be doing is plugging one hole and opening another.

Jun 27, 2019, 07:05

Yep, and that with the WC a few months away. Unless of course we're both wrong and that swopping roles is like taking candy from a baby. But then as you ask, who is going to plug the hole and added to that who are the reserves?

Jun 27, 2019, 09:21

Where in the laws of rugby is it written that the openside should be the fetcher? Just because everybody is doing it like that doesn't mean it's the only way. It's a team sport, different combinations and strengths and weaknesses striving for the best possible balance. Trying to typecast isn't the way to succeed. 

Jun 27, 2019, 10:50

It is not cast in stone anywhere, but playing openside is a much better opportunity to get more turnovers than when playing in the front row.

The openside flank is positioned to break from the scrum and put pressure on the opposition flyhalf.  They have the least scrumming responsibility, and for the most part, just help prevent the scrum from wheeling. 

As Dalton mentions, there are some question marks over the lineout throwing of Marx, and potentially even the scrummaging. He is so big, that the props may struggle to bind with him in the centre

Jun 27, 2019, 11:07

Let's be honest, James Dalton has never been the shiniest coin in the fountain. He did a lot of stupid stuff on the field and by all accounts he is an even bigger idiot off the field . . . so it's no surprise to see this dim bulb suggesting we take the best player in the world in his position and play him in some other position he's hardly ever played other than an injury emergency . . . just a few months before the RWC kicks off.

This is an incredibly stupid idea put forward by someone who clearly has diarrhea of the mouth and constipation of ideas.

Jun 27, 2019, 12:29

To quote Dalton is as stupid as Dalton himself is.

Jun 27, 2019, 13:00

Dalton may or not be the brightest as I have never seen his IQ score or indeed too much about him. 

What is priceless though is ou rooidumbass sounding off about Dalton being stupid. :D

Best not go there rooidumbass. 

Friendly advice from Beeno to rooidumbass - after all he caused spell check fiend dense Denise to crash. 

There are though quite a few options one would have liked to have seen tried. I guess Rassie was trying to get some results above everything. 

Jun 27, 2019, 13:08

It is probably too late in the day to move to Marx - but within the context that SA has lots of tight forwards of international standard, but so few flankers - especially those that are effective on the ground there is some merit in the idea.

Marx is the best fetcher in the game, so removing the tight forward responsibilities would make him ever more effective.

Dalton was a good player, even if he lost his cool more than every so often

Jun 27, 2019, 13:13

Like it or not, the Springbok captain Siya Kolisi wears the #6 jersey. If he had to get crocked we could always pull in Jaco Kriel or Marcell Coetzee to fill the role. 

If we move Marx then who do we have left at hooker? Mbonambi and Akker are good but they're not great and certainly not as good as Marx.

The whole idea is just plain stupid.

Jun 27, 2019, 13:31

Admit you like it and always have. 

Jun 27, 2019, 15:06

Listen dolts - an openside flank needs PACE and Marx is more a strength player than a pace player.   He is a TIGHT 5 player and will - like so many of a slow-paced loosies over years mean too many missed tackles and will be a liability as a loosie.   


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