SA Rugby

Springboks Rugby In The Doldrums – Will Anybody Take Responsibility?

Bok coach Allister Coetzee has arrived back from the end-of-year tour suggesting that the Springboks have had a successful season. They lost two and won two on this European excursion with the losses being a record defeat against Ireland and a narrow defeat against Wales’s second-string (some might argue a third-string) side.

The wins were against weak Italian and French opposition. This was a year in which the Boks also lost both Tests against New Zealand, were held to 2 draws by Australia, beat Argentina twice, and defeated France three times in the home series. That’s 7 wins, 2 draws and 4 defeats.

So, compared to 2016 when the Boks won only 4 of their 12 Tests, it’s an improvement. But when the base is so low, can this performance really be seen as a positive, especially as the Springboks are back where they started at the beginning of the year, in 6th place on the world rankings? More than a year ago, the brains trust of South African rugby gathered in Cape Town to plot the future of the sport.

None of the things discussed at the “indaba” seem to have materialized. And nobody seems to have taken responsibility for those failures either. This report first appeared on Daily Maverick. – David O’Sullivan

Towards the end of 2016, as South African rugby’s crisis deepened, the men in suits all descended on Cape Town to solve its ills. More than 50 of them put their heads together at this “very important event for South African rugby”.

At the time, Mark Alexander, now president of SA Rugby, said: “We need to place player welfare high on the agenda, and we need to develop short-term interventions and a long-term plan to change the way we deliver the game in South Africa.”

Anyone who has ever worked in public relations will be familiar with the buzzwords thrown into that sentence. It is hardly a surprise that more than a year later, what exactly was garnered from this rendezvous remains unclear. Unless, of course, the plan forward was to play ugly rugby, fall deeper down the abyss and suffer an identity crisis.

Yet, in the wake of what has been a miserable tour, coach Allister Coetzee used words like “proud”, “character”, “improvement” and even said that he believes the team is heading in the right direction. Again – anyone who has worked in PR or familiar with media training of professional sports people knows that these words are practiced rather than believed.

After the indaba last year, Coetzee said: “There must be alignment between the Springboks and the Super Rugby coaches, and vice versa, in identifying technical shortcomings that impact on the performances of all our teams.”

Tweet Received:

** Ben Karpinski
The thing about firing Allister Coetzee is that he isn’t the only one that needs to go. He is just one of many who draws a big salary in South African rugby that shouldn’t.
4:30 PM - Dec 3, 2017 **

Nothing that was put forward as possible solutions for the Boks at the Indaba has come to fruition. There are still no central contracts – so player welfare remains dubious. The country’s Super Rugby teams have been cut and while they might have found themselves a place in Europe, one side having its players raided and the other playing a season so long it might as well be a piece of string, isn’t exactly “player welfare”, is it? The “long-term plan” is nowhere to be seen and the technical shortcomings have not been addressed.

For the briefest of seconds during the year, there were moments of what the Boks might hope to become, but that all came crashing down with an almighty thud during the European tour.

There were some positives, sure, but they are in spite of the failings elsewhere, not because of solutions implemented.

And so, we continue this fiasco merry-go-round. The saga began long before Coetzee even took over the poisoned chalice and it has been shown that there are no quick-fix solutions, despite trying some of them.

For instance, the public wanted a change in support staff. They got that. Nothing changed. The public wants a lot of things. The public gets a lot of things. Those things do not always change things.

Even when considering that just three of Saturday’s XV started against Wales in 2016, shiny and new doesn’t always mean well-oiled.

Tweet Received:

** RhymesWithRuck
Allister Coetzee says he is pleased with the year. Won the June series comfortably and "only lost to New Zealand in the Rugby Championship".

We can't afford to have a management team that fully believes the last two years were acceptable for the Springboks' legacy and fans.

3:51 PM - Dec 3, 2017 **

And so, it is with caution that we tread towards the end of the year where rumors abound that Coetzee is likely to get the boot when rugby bosses meet next week.

That Coetzee is part of the problem, there can be no doubt. A different coach would make different team selections and different substitutions – the selections and the substitutions the public wants.

Those might solve the problem briefly, but realistically, it’s not going to solve a long-term crisis. It’s a bit like the government hiking tax to make up for their failures in other revenue collection departments.

Which brings us back to the indaba. In any corporate job – which is essentially what rugby is – everyone is expected to deliver on promises made and held accountable for failures to do so. The bell even eventually tolls if you work for Bell Pottinger.

Coetzee said this week that he is “going through normal procedures of a review” and said that he “can’t predict” the future.

While his time is almost certainly up, it’s not Coetzee alone who should be subjected to a review. All those suits at the indaba need to face up and take some responsibility for the sport’s failures.

David O'Sullivan
... Sien MeerSien Minder

Geplaas: 6 dae terug  ·  

Etzebeth Hits Back At Mallett's Comments

Springbok captain Eben Etzebeth has dismissed the notion that he should not be leading the national team.

Following South Africa’s 24-22 loss to Wales in Cardiff at the weekend, the captaincy issue was discussed by pundits in the SuperSport studio.

Former Springbok coach Nick Mallett questioned whether it was the right decision to make Etzebeth captain when Warren Whiteley got injured earlier this year.

“I thought again there was a missed opportunity in the leadership situation. Warren Whiteley is acknowledged as being the best captain of a franchise team in South Africa and he was outstanding when he captained the Springboks. When he got injured, Siya Kolisi, who is another franchise captain, was playing well enough to take over. I know there was a feeling that Kolisi had to nail down his place in the team first, but the form that he was showing would warrant having a look at him as captain in the interim until Warren came back. But least the Bok captaincy would have been given to a man who captains his franchise,” Mallett said after the Test.

Mallett said his comments were “by no means” a criticism of Etzebeth, who he called “a great guy”, before continuing: “But if you look at their personalities, Etzebeth is known for his physicality and ability to get stuck into the faces of the opposition. But you need be withdrawn from the impact situation to make clear decisions as the captain on the field. He also doesn’t look like someone who enjoys picking someone up off the ground or congratulating and motivating the people around him. Whereas Siya seems to thrive on that. He seems to play better when given an opportunity to encourage the players around him. I think he would have done a great job for the Springboks.”

Upon the Springbok team’s arrival in Johannesburg on Monday, Etzebeth was upset when probed on the comments made regarding his captaincy.

When told that the discussion took place in the SuperSport studio after Saturday's Test, Etzebeth responded, as quoted by Netwerk24: “They (rugby pundits) don’t always know what they’re talking about. I enjoy the captaincy a lot and I don’t easily let myself get distracted by the action. I always want to be intensely involved. I do what is expected of me and the captaincy is something that I embrace and cherish.”

Etzebeth left the field at half-time of the Cardiff Test with an arm injury.

The burly lock's arm was in a sling on Monday, with the player saying it was a nerve in his neck giving him problems.

He’ll be consulting a specialist in Cape Town to gain more clarity on the injury.

... Sien MeerSien Minder

Geplaas: 7 dae terug  ·  

Rugby Sevens Schedule For 2017 / 2018 (Coming To A Country Near You!)

South Africans living in Dubai have just had an awesome weekend supporting the Blitzboks as they claimed victory again at Rugby Sevens Dubai.

For other South Africans living abroad, check out the schedule below to find out when the Blitzbokke will be in (or near) your country. (And of course, if you’re in South Africa, you’ll know next weekend the Series moves to Cape Town.)

The World Rugby Sevens Series Schedule for 2017-2018 is:

Dubai – The Sevens Stadium – Dubai 1-2 December 2017 – South Africa won!

South Africa – Cape Town Stadium – Cape Town 9–10 December 2017

Australia – Allianz Stadium – Sydney 26–28 January 2018

New Zealand – FMG Stadium Waikato Hamilton 3–4 February 2018

United States – Sam Boyd Stadium Las Vegas 2–4 March 2018

Canada BC – Place Vancouver 10–11 March 2018

Hong Kong – Hong Kong Stadium Hong Kong 6–8 April 2018

Singapore – National Stadium Singapore 28–29 April 2018

England – Twickenham Stadium London 2–3 June 2018

France – Stade Jean-Bouin Paris 8–10 June 2018
... Sien MeerSien Minder

Geplaas: 1 week terug  ·  

Etzebeth’s Injuries To Be Assessed While Coetzee Mulls Over A "Positive” Year

In fairness to the Springboks, the players fought hard on Saturday in Cardiff. The Test match against Wales looked to be heading for another record defeat for the visitors after the Welsh surged into a 21-3 lead before the Boks came back with three tries to take a brief one-point lead.

Coach Warren Gatland admitted to being relieved rather than elated at his side’s 24-22 victory, partly because he was forced to field a side that showed 12 changes from the team that pushed the All Blacks hard the previous week.

Both teams were without key players because the match fell outside the international window and clubs had a priority call. He had taken a gamble in playing centre Hadleigh Parkes, a Kiwi who had qualified to play for Wales just hours before kickoff.

Parkes thanked his coach (and former countryman) by scoring two tries and winning the man-of-the-match award. After the game, Bok coach Allister Coetzee looked hard for the positives.
He lamented Malcolm Marx’s disallowed try, believing the big hooker had grounded the ball. Despite his side having won 7 out of 13 Tests this year, Coetzee believes it’s been a positive year and a massive improvement on 2016 when the side won just 4 out of 12 Tests. Will this improvement be enough to save his job? – David O’Sullivan

Springbok Captain Eben Etzebeth will see a specialist in Cape Town to further examine his shoulder and back injuries.

The towering lock was forced off the field just before halftime against Wales in Cardiff after he sustained a nerve injury, which caused severe pain in his left shoulder.

“The scans we took on Saturday evening after the match came out normal,” explained Dr. Konrad von Hagen, the Springbok team doctor. “Eben will, however, visit a specialist in Cape Town to further investigate the injured shoulder and his troublesome back.”

Meanwhile, Springbok coach Allister Coetzee said a poor start cost his team at the Principality Stadium. Wales won the match 24-22 after thwarting a determined comeback from the South Africans.

“Wales got off to a flyer, scoring 14 points in the first ten minutes by using a very accurate kick for their first try and they exploited the space behind us for their second,” said Coetzee. “I am proud of the team for the way they fought back to claw their way into the lead and for showing character in the second half.

“We had our opportunities but a loose pass and some individual errors prevented us from taking those scoring opportunities.”
According to Coetzee, his side can be reasonably pleased with the four-match tour.

“We didn’t have a good start in Dublin, but we fought back to win against a determined French side in Paris and then delivered a clinical performance against Italy in very difficult weather conditions.

Tweet Received:

++ Mark Keohane
The Springboks lost more Tests in one year than All Blacks have lost in last 10 years
9:32 PM - Dec 2, 2017 **

“If you look at where we started from at the beginning of the year, then I am pleased with the year overall. We started out as a new group, establishing a new team environment and got the results in the home series against France.

“We only lost to New Zealand in the Castle Lager Rugby Championship, while we were perhaps unlucky in our two draws against Australia,” said Coetzee.

Coetzee praised the emergence of a new crop of Test players this year, and said: “In this group there are several players who played their first full season of international rugby, such as Malcolm Marx, Andries Coetzee, Dillyn Leyds, Raymond Rhule, Courtnall Skosan, Ross Cronje, Uzair Cassiem and Franco Mostert.

Tweet Received:

** RhymesWithRuck
Allister Coetzee says he is pleased with the year. Won the June series comfortably and "only lost to New Zealand in the Rugby Championship".
We can't afford to have a management team that fully believes the last two years were acceptable for the Springboks' legacy and fans.
3:51 PM - Dec 3, 2017 **

“We also saw the introduction of other young players such as Wilco Louw, Dan and Jean-Luc du Preez, Warrick Gelant and Francois Venter. These players will only get better and gain more experience the more they play together at this level.

“Eben also did a fantastic job when he took of over the captaincy from Warren Whiteley and it was great to see him grow in the role, while I am pleased with the rest of leadership group – Siya (Kolisi), Elton (Jantjies), Beast (Tendai Mtawarira) and Francois Louw, who supported him well.

“Duane Vermeulen and Francois also brought a lot of experience to the group and they both enjoyed their time with the squad. The younger players learned a lot from both of them. They have a lot to offer to Springbok rugby,” said Coetzee.

David O'Sullivan
... Sien MeerSien Minder

Geplaas: 1 week terug  ·  

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