As the Rugby World Cup looms ever closer, here at All Things Jabu we put a panel together to ask them about their feelings on the looming world Cup. The panel were made up of esteemed writers and friends. Here is the panel:
Sam Robinson (SR) – My football loving twitter buddy, that I laid the challenge to in answering some rugby questions. Twitter following is here
Jarred Barnard (JB) – He is my brother and team mate in football. He supports the Lions so at least he had something to smile about this weekend! Tweet him here
Brett Smit (BS) – One of my best friends who is also a lion’s supporter and is known as “monkey” on Superbru
Albert Nel (AN) – A colleague of mine at work with whom I can speak to for many hours on rugby.
Ross Volk (RV) – Another friend from work and twitter, a New Zealand fan too, which gives us a slightly less biased approach to the questions.
Dirk Vale (DV) – A sports media man. A good friend. He might support strange teams, but he has an uncanny ability to pick the gems now and then!
All Things Jabu (ATJ) – That’s me, I’ve decided to add my opinion to the questions too!
Let’s start off, who do you think will win the rugby world cup?
KN: Im in two minds about this, If SA can get to the final they will win it.
SR: New Zealand
JB: Australia / South Africa
BS: NZ looks good. So Does England. It also depends on who plays who in the rounds leading up to the final
DV: I am hoping that Wales will, they seem to have something special about them right now but that’s what my heart says. My head says the All Blacks; they look too finished and strong not to win this year.
ATJ: I think you can count on New Zealand choking and Australia frustrating everyone. So Australia
MS: Third place. Should results work out, the Boks will play the All Blacks in the semi-final – this is effectively the “final” and whoever wins it will win the whole thing. And I expect the home team to win that, with SA winning the 3rd/4th playoff.
BS: If they make the semis, that is how far they may go. Probably quarters. Going on performance, not loyalty.
ATJ: Only because if they don’t win I think we would lose the semi, its gotta be third then
Who would you start with at flyhalf? Lambie, James or Morne Steyn?
KN: James. Lambie should be Francois Steyn’s back-up at 15.
JB: Steyn, BMT and he will guarantee you points on the board
MS: I don’t think Lambie is in the mix for starting flyhalf at all, nor should he be. He’s a good player but in a World Cup I’d like to see the team with experience and not taking a chance on a youngster, even one as talented as Pat. For me, it’s a straight shoot-out between James and Steyn – and I don’t know who I’d go with. I can see the arguments for each player. I think Morne edges it. But not by much.
SR: Morne Steyn – a kicking flyhalf suits our game plan more.
JB: THE INCREDIBLE SCHALK
DV: I want it to be Francois Louw because he can act in a Brussouw fetcher mould but also have the physical presence as well.
RV: Schalk Burger
AN: Schalk Burger
ATJ: It will be between Burger and Russouw, but more likely Burger. That being said, Alberts before Flouw please
Who was lucky to make the world cup squad and who was unlucky to be left out?
JB: Johan Muller
AN: Francois Louw, Ruan Pienaar, Francois Steyn and Odwa Ndungane
BS: Francois Louw
KN: Odwa Ndungane and Johan Muller
RV: Lwazi Mvovo and Ashley Johnson
ATJ: My biggest frustration was definitely Ashley Johnson who deserved a call up definitely. He could have been called up alongside Mvovo and Deysel who have been part of the squad. I also think Coenie Oosthuizen could have been a useful addition to the squad!
DV: Mvovo was unfortunate not to make the final squad.
MS: Mvovo has got to be one of the unluckiest men in South Africa at the moment. Surely he should have been there instead of Ndungane… He’s faster, more explosive off the mark and is going to be a top Springbok wing in the future. And, having interviewed him last year, he’s a helluva nice guy. Also unlucky, I thought, was Jean Deysel. Had a really good season and is a really good player. Ndungane was lucky to get in, as was Johann Botha, who has failed to impress at international level. Ruan Pienaar was also fortunate to get the nod.
Should P Divvy stay after the world cup?
MS: I guess the most PC answer to this is: Yes, provided he brings Webb Ellis home. But there’s just too much animosity towards him at the moment. There’ve been too many gaffes, too many poor selections, too many bizarre elements to his time at the helm for him to continue. He’s got to go (and Alistair Coetzee replace him).
SR: Hell no, bring in Heyneke Meyer or Rassie Erasmus.
For the big question, does John Smit make your starting line-up?
KN: Yes. For the leadership role. He’s always carried the team, and the go to guy when all else fails. Obviously put Bissie on in the second half.
AN: No, will start with Bismarck and have John on the bench to bring on experience at the end of game when needed.
RV: Yes – purely on leadership ability and when the crunch comes he is a go to guy
JB: Yes – At least for the big games (He can come on as a sub against the big boys like Fiji / Samoa)
ATJ: I would start him against Wales, New Zealand, Australia and England. I would start Bismarck in every other game!
Who would you select as captain in the absence of John Smit (should he be dropped or injured)?
BS: Juan Smith, but he is not an option now. Matfield due to experience and cool head. (As scruffy as it is)
MS: A no-brainer for me. Victor Matfield. The most capped Bok of all time, hugely successful for the Bulls and done a good job as Bok leader. He’s also a definite starter so that takes out the question marks that currently hover over Smit’s head. Stability, skill and success – three S-words that secure the skippers’ spot (check out that alliteration!).
RV: Would have been Juan Smith, but I prefer Burger to Matfield
DV: I would keep John as squad captain but starting captain I would prefer to be Jean de Villiers.
KN: Matfield. But he doesn’t have a ‘Boks long term’, so maybe put Schalky
JB: 15) Steyn (Frans) / Lambie 14)Pietersen 13) Fourie 12) de Villiers 11) Habana / Hougaard (don’t really like him but he is quick and can break the line) 10) Steyn (Morne) 9) Du Preez 8)Spies 7)Burger 6) Brussouw 5) Matfield 4) Bakkies to start (Rossouw at about 40/50 Mins) 3) Jannie 2) John 1) BEAAAAAST!
MS: Big, bulky and beefy. Lots of strength. It’s a team built around solid defence. Starting XI: 15 – Frans (although Lambie might be an option is Steyn isn’t fit enough); 14 – JP (Mvovo might have even cracked the nod here for me…); 13 – Fourie; 12 – Jean; 11 – Habana; 10 – Morne; 9 – Fourie du Preez; 8 – Spies; 7 – Schalk; 6 – Brussouw; 5 – Victor; 4 – Bakkies; 3 – Jannie; 2 – Bismarck; 1 – Gurthro.
KN: 15 F Steyn, 14 Pietersen, 13 Fourie, 12 de Villiers, 11 Habana, 10 M Steyn, 9 du Preez, 8 Spies, 7 Burger, 6 Brussouw, 5 Matfield, 4 Botha, 3 Doc, 2 Smit, 1 Beast.
RV: 15. Lambie, 14. Pietersen, 13. Fourie, 12. De Villiers, 11. F. Steyn, 10. James, 9. Du Preez, 8. Spies, 7. Burger, 6. Brussouw, 5. Matfield, 4. Bakkies, 3. J. Du Plessis, 2. Smit, 1. Beast
AN: 15. F Steyn 14. JP Pietersen 13. J Fourie 12. J de Villiers 11. B Habana 10. M Steyn 9. F du Preez 8. P Spies 7. S Burger 6. H Brussouw 5. V Matfield 4. B Botha 3. J du Plessis 2. J Smit 1. Beast
Who do you think will emulate Argentina from 2007 and be the surprise package this year?
SR: Argentina again. Maybe Wales & Samoa.
BS: France, or maybe Wales.
MS: Wales, but this one comes with a clause: its weather dependent. If it’s wet, cold, rainy and windy, Wales will do well. After all, they’re used to it and play in that every week, virtually. They could be the surprise package.
ATJ: For me it would be a straight shoot out between the two teams in the South African pool. Whoever wins the Samoa vs. Wales’s game will be my pick for dark horse. I would say that in my mind Samoa currently shade it!
Should the smaller nations still be included in the World Cup?
RV: Yes they should – otherwise it takes away from the World Cup flavour and the ethos of spreading the game
DV: Yes, Rugby needs to grow and it will only grow by smaller unions getting involved with the game. As we’ve seen with the likes of Argentina, branching out is the only way the game will grow.
SR: Of Course!
JB: Always, in the interest of making it a worldwide game. Take the lead from football that is played in the streets of almost every country around the world!
Where will you be watching the opening game?
KN: No idea, but I like the idea of beer for breakfast ;P so why not make an even outta of it? No?
AN: Somewhere in Parys (SA) as I’ll be on a golf tour that weekend. Awesome!!
JB: Anywhere that will serve beer and biltong!
BS: Hopefully with good friends and a castle light. Location is not a major concern.
ATJ: With mates, biltong and Charles glass lite!
Any closing thoughts?
JB: After this world cup we will have to undertake a big transitional period to ensure that we build a new stronger team for the next one! Alistair Coetzee will probably take the reigns as coach.
MS: Will the All Blacks choke? If yes, then the Boks win the World Cup. Fingers crossed for a choke, then!
ATJ: Thanks to my panel for their brilliant input! Don’t write off the Springboks! We might not have the best coach we have ever had, but 18 of the 30 have won the World Cup, they know how to do it and will definitely be there or thereabouts come final day. Hier kom die Bokke!