I don’t trust all the goings on in the Springbok camp. Jean de Villiers latest injury has ended his RWC campaign and his captaincy is expected to be handed over to Victor Matfield.
After 20 seconds in the Test between South Africa and Samoa in the 2015 RWC, South Africa were awarded a penalty. Victor Matfield not Jean de Villiers who was the Springbok captain on the day, indicated to referee Wayne Barnes for a shot at goal. A pretty inocuous event or is it an indication of Victor Matfield undermining Jean de Villiers?
In the week after the Springboks lost to Japan there were a sequence of articles that intially reported that Heyneke Meyer would take the blame for the shock loss http://www.supersport.com/rugby/springboks/news/150920/Meyer_refuses_to_blame_players; progressing to articles saying that players never followed HM’s instructions http://www.supersport.com/rugby/springboks/news/150924/Duane_can_change_Bok_fortunes ;then progressing to HM reading the riot act to Jean de Villiers and Victor Matfield http://www.supersport.com/rugby/springboks/news/150923/Bok_captaincy_duo_on_thin_ice; progressing to Heyneke winning back the changeroom http://www.supersport.com/rugby/springboks/news/150925/The_Bok_coach_is_the_only_boss to an article where Victor Matfield fully edorses his coach’s ability http://www.supersport.com/rugby/springboks/news/150927/Were_still_under_pressure_Matfield.
Slowly, slowly the story, as they want you to hear it, comes out. Gavin rich admitting in a previous article http://www.supersport.com/rugby/blogs/gavin-rich/Meyer_can_correct_this that he has been the media voice for the Springbok coach. “The excuse I forwarded on the Bok behalf after Durban that the players were over-trained as they were putting money in the bank for the World Cup cannot be used this time. This is the World Cup. And neither can we rely on the complacency theory.” Between Brendon Nel and Gavin Rich from Supersport and Jon Cardinelli from sarugbymag have seemed to be the voice of the Springbok coach.
So at the beginning Heyneke said he would take resposibility for the shock loss to Japan. Then he said, so it got printed publicly, that the players never followed his instructions. Then it was made public that Jean de Villiers and Victor Matfield were told to shape up or ship out. Then the articles seemed to focus on Jean de Villiers and never mentioned Matfield. Finally Jean is reported as saying Heyneke is in charge.
This all indicates to me as a difference in points of view of Jean de Villiers and that of Heyneke Meyer and Heyneke has come out on top and Jean publicly states so.
Now JdV has been forced out of the 2015 RWC because of another fractured jaw. In the Test against Samoa JdV returned to the field when Jesse Kriel left late in the game. Was his jaw fractured then? He gave a full interview after the game without showing any signs of discomfort or pain.
Reminds me a little of when Lood de Jager had expressed his desire to put right the loss to Argentina in Durban only to be suddenly ruled out because of a pectoral muscle strain. Lood made way for Victor Matfield.
Gavin Rich has chosen his side going with Heyneke Meyer and pointing the finger at Jean de Villiers in this article http://www.supersport.com/rugby/blogs/gavin-rich/Just_do_whatever_it_takes Gavin says :
“The Japanese targeted De Villiers in Brighton, and the Bok captain made it worse by exhorting his fellow players to follow a game plan that was completely contrary to what the coach had asked for. You just have to read what Heyneke Meyer said during the build-up week, and how much it differed from what was carried out on the field in Brighton, to realise that the coach was ignored.
It was pretty much the same in Durban against Argentina, which was the other game where De Villiers led the Boks this year. The South Africans kicked the ball only seven times in the entire match and it was that naïve rugby that cost them their unbeaten record against the Pumas.”
So maybe Jean was told you can be publicly dropped or you can finish your career with a win against Samoa and slip away with the excuse of an injury.
Now the old Bull’s combination of Meyer and Matfield have regained total control of the Bok team.
From Victor Matfield’s book ‘Victor, my journey’
“Peter (Peter de Villiers, Springbok coach 2008-2011) and Dick Muir, one of his assistants, wanted drastic changes to the way the Boks played. We had to attack gaps, pass the ball in contact situations and generally play more instinctively. John (John Smit former Springbok captain) and I looked at each other, both knowing that this wasn’t going to work.
At our first field session I was in the so-called B-side, as I wouldn’t be in the starting line-up against Wales. The B-side had to defend while the A-side tried out Peter’s new game plan. But it just didn’t want to work. The ball was dropped again and again.
Later we switched around so that the B-side could attack. As a senior player in the squad, I told the guys that it was impossible for us to play the way Peter envisaged. Some of my Blue Bulls teammates were in my side and we decided to target the defenders and secure possession on the ground.”
That to me is Matfield disregarding more modern rugby and manipulating the situation to institute the ‘Domkrag’ gameplan.
Again from Victor’s book , him talking about the Springbok win over the All Blacks in Dunedin 2008
” Jean de Villiers, who took over the captaincy after I was sin-binned, told everyone with a broad smile on his face that he was the first Springbok captain to have won a Test in Dunedin. Jean has a good sense of humour and we had a good laugh at his ‘opportunism’.”
You might of laughed Victor but you never forgot did you?