The Springboks, this is one name that is not rivaled among any sporting teams in Africa, a name that is world renowned and to most African pride. South Africa have one the most accomplished rugby side of all time having lifted The Webb Ellis Cup (which is one of the most coveted trophies in the world) and on the grandest stage of them all. Having said that we look at the 2017 season of the Springboks which had 7 wins, 4 losses and 2 draws from their 13 Tests, and in those test they suffered 2 land slide defeats one from the All Blacks and another from Wales, if this was not enough they got a rude awakening from the Italian side who pulled a dramatic win over the green and gold side. Having put all these factors in, the South African Rugby Union saw it fit to cut ties with Allister Coetzee and end his term as the Springbok coach. Now one could think this was the worst performing Springbok side, one could never be so wrong.
Record of Springbok coaches:
John Williams – 1992: Played 5, won 1, lost 4 – 20% win-record
Gerrie Sonnekus – 1993: did not take up position
Ian McIntosh – 1993-1994: Played 12, won 4, lost 6, drawn 2 – 33% win-record
Kitch Christie – 1995: Played 14, won 14 – 100 % win-record
Andre Markgraaff – 1996: Played 13, won 8, lost 5 – 62% win-record
Carel du Plessis – 1997: Played 8, won 3, lost 5 – 38% win-record
Nick Mallett – 1997-2000: Played 38, won 27, lost 11 – 71% win-record
Harry Viljoen – 2000-2001: Played 15, won 8, lost 6, drawn 1 – 53% win-record
Rudolf Straeuli – 2002-2003: Played 23, won 12, lost 11 – 52% win-record
Jake White – 2004-2007: Played 54, won 36, lost 17, drawn 1 – 67% win-record
Peter de Villiers – 2008-2011: Played 48, won 30, lost 18 – 63% win-record
Heyneke Meyer – 2012-2015: Played 48, won 32, lost 14, drawn 2 – 67% win-record
Allister Coetzee – 2016-2018: Played 25, won 11, lost 12, drawn 2 – 44% win-record
And was the move to fire Coetzee the best solution again it would be wrong especially the timing and here is why.
- The style of play that the Springboks subscribe too has has to be changed, almost every team now is capable of matching the side for Brut strength and kicking game, which is why Japan now Italy managed what seemed to be biggest upsets as they deprived the team of the ball and matched them physically.
- Coetzee’s approach to rugby was based on depth position and back line breaks and most of his tenure was spent looking for that killer fly half and center combinations, and was his main goal as he was aiming to move from the old fashioned physical style style of play and change with tide.
- One thing that South Africa have been good at is sacking coaches, instead of giving time and having a lengthy discussion to match the goals of the union and those of the coach they set goals and expect to coaches to walk on water and meet targets.
- Desperation for wins kicked in and what did the Union do, they fired the coach, instead of sticking by the coach and helping with the transition to play a diverse type of rugby, now they have gone to square one. My personal opinion the Springboks where on a good track heading towards the world cup and where establishing new combinations, testing the running game and getting explosive forwards with a good work rate such as Malcom Marx who was a revelation top the side, Elto Jantjies who is the best fly half The Boks have produced as he is a complete player he certainly doesn’t play like a traditional South African fly half, in the pocket and looking to find territory. Jantjies plays on the advantage line, tries little passes and dinks over the top. He is not scared to attack the line himself and take contact. But he is also an enigma of sorts.
- Fans put a lot of pressure on the national side for wins and voiced their disappointment after suffering major losses to wales, Italy and New Zealand. This is whats is very disappointing when you are looking at altering an style of play that has been engraved in a side for generations it will not happen over night no, the Union was supposed to stick with the coach and the vision to better the teams rugby and not just want wins. Fact of the matter is if you look at the castle test Argentina is the best example, they got into this series and they where every teams gift shop, the coaches s knew that it was going to be a long and hard road but they stuck it out and now Argentina is a side you just do not walk over.
Surely this inconsistency with their coach heads will come back to haunt the springbok side, one can only wonder when the union will back up a coach and see him through a bad season. As they look forward to welcoming a new coach one can only but wonder when The Springboks will stop they old fashioned style of play and evolve with the times.
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