No, I don’t mean tribunals where the rugby public publicly lynch under-performing coaches and players.
What happened to the good old trial match? The simulated test match where the best 60 or so players in the country play against each other over two weeks to prove who is the best, and who is simply not going to cut the mustard…
Off the top of my head –
If I were coach I would pit the following teams against each other, based on what I’ve seen this year.
|15||Johan Goosen||15||Jesse Kriel||15||Clayton Blommetjies|
|14||Bryan Habana||14||Courtnal Skozan||14||Travis Ismael|
|13||Lionel Mapoe||13||Francois Venter||13||Nico Lee|
|12||Rohan JVR||12||Andre Estherhuysen||12||Clinton Swart|
|11||Lwazi Mvovo||11||Sergeal Petersen||11||Jamba Olengo|
|10||Elton Jantjies||10||Pat Lambie||10||Inny Radebe|
|9||Faf du Plessis||9||Francois Hougaard||9||Stephan Ungerer|
|8||Hanro Liebenberg||8||Warren Whitely||8||Philip van der Walt|
|7||Jean luc Du Preez||7||Oupa Mahoje||7||Jannes Kirsten|
|6||Francois Louw||6||Jaco Kriel||6||Albertus Smith|
|5||Eben Etzebeth||5||Lood de Jager||5||Reniel Hugo|
|4||Franco Mostert||4||Pieter Steph du Tiot||4||Jason Jenkins|
|3||Vincent Koch||3||Julian Redlinghuys||3||Thomas du Toit|
|2||Adriaan Strauss||2||Malcolm Marx||2||Acker van der Merwe|
|1||Beast Mtawarira||1||Steven Kitshoff||1||Corne Fourie|
|16||Bongi Mbonambi||16||Chiliboy Ralapelle||16||Robbie Coetzee|
|17||Lourens Adriandse||17||Dylan Smith||17||Ruan Dreyer|
|18||Ox Nche||18||Trevor Nyakane||18||Lizo Gkboka|
|19||Stephan Lewies||19||RJ Snyman||19||Ruan Ackerman|
|20||Paul Schoeman||20||Willem Alberts||20||Roelof Smit|
|21||Piet van Zyl||21||Jano Vermaak||21||Rudi van Rooyen|
|22||Morne Steyn||22||Robert du Preez Jr||22||Niel Marais|
|23||Curwin Bosch||23||Andries Coetzee||23||Anthony Volmink|
|Players excluded –|
|Francois Steyn||Ruan Combrinck|
|Duane Vermuelen||Jan Serfontein|
|JP Pietersen||Daniel du Preez|
|Willie le Roux||Ruan Pienaar|
|Bismarck du Plessis|
|Jannie du Plessis|
The coaches would be able to mix and match combinations, see what works and what doesn’t, who is good under pressure and who isn’t. I think that is far more valuable than playing a series against Ireland for example, where you only really get to see one match-day 23 tested.
Now some might say, “But the players could get injured?”
Yes of course, but they could also get injured getting out of the shower or playing badminton or even, heaven forbid, playing Currie Cup… From the teams above it is clear that there is more than enough talent in South Africa to put together more than one competitive team and they even comply with transformation requirements for the most part.
If the players don’t like the idea then they can go home. It should be about survival of the fittest, bravest and most committed. Test match rugby is hard. Nobody ever played a Test Match against New Zealand and said afterwards, “well that was easy”. It is the pinnacle of the sport. It is where legends are made, reputations cemented and pretenders exposed.