SPRINGBOK NIGHTMARES

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Last night I dreamed that, after Saturday’s horror show vs the All Blacks, the entire SARU board and all the so-called executives had resigned in shame and committed Seppuku.  I was ecstatic.

But then I woke up…

All those incompetent nincompoops are still employed and none of them has done the honourable thing and fallen on their own swords.

I don’t get too emotionally invested in sports results, unless I’m betting which I very rarely do. It makes no sense to tie my emotional well-being to the fortunes of a sports team. Many people do though, and I can tell you there are a lot of very angry people in South Africa after Saturday.

The Mighty Springbok has fallen, again… Not since 2002 and that horrible England loss has the Bok fan been so embarrassed.

I feel really sorry for coach Coetzee. He’s probably going to take the fall eventually. The big wigs up there at SARU certainly won’t…  Coetzee has been set up to fail from day one. He’s got a sevens player as his backline coach, and a defense coach with less experience at being a defense coach than the guy who put up the razor wire at my house the other day, and very little else. The only guy on his team that he actually wanted is Matt Proudfoot, forwards coach.

I’ve written before about how the people that run South African rugby have messed things up over and over again, so here’s a short re-cap.

Nick Mallet – Longest winning streak in Bok history. Fired!

Jake White – World Cup Winner – Successful wherever he goes. Fired!

Heyneke Meyer – 3rd in the world cup, narrowly lost to New Zealand in semi-final. Won 3 Super titles. Basically Fired!

Pieter de Villiers – Beat British and Irish Lions and All Blacks 3 times in one year. Fired!

Rassie Erasmus – Best rugby brain in the country, high performance manager – passed over for Coetzee and now he’s gone overseas.

Imagine if just one of these guys had been given the time and support Graham Henry and Steve Hanson have been given by the NZRU?

And so we start again, at rock bottom. The only consolation is that we actually managed to beat Australia and Argentina in South Africa. Where to from here?

Well, the first thing we need to do is bring back the aura and fear that the Springboks are meant to inspire and to do that we need to pick the right players. That means 100kg plus centres – Andre Estherhuysen and Rohan Janse van Rensburg. That means getting Frans Steyn in at flyhalf or fullback. That means picking big aggressive blindside flankers like the du Preez twins. That means getting Bismarck du Plessis back in the team at hooker.

That means aggression in everything that the team does. There is no room for self-doubt or self-pity. Win or lose the team needs to play like they mean it. Aggressive intent is the best way to describe what I’d like to see. Butch James and Bakkie Botha were good examples of the attitude required, if not the execution.

It is time to stop messing around. It is time to put the real beast back in the Springboks.