To ensure that no stone is left unturned in the search for a Super Rugby revival, the AOR team debates which former SA legends should immediately be appointed to coach the four franchises.
Bulls – Cobus Visagie
Only the Stormers have scored fewer tries, and the men from Pretoria are also mighty low on carries and passes. So bring in an attack wizard, you say? Nope! On 15, they have conceded the second most scrum penalties in the comp! The current Bulls game plan simply cannot afford that sort of tourniquet round their source of ball. Bring in “Drieman”!
Lions – Jannie de Beer
On 133, the Jozi Jollers have made the 2nd most handling errors in the comp, but instead of treating the symptom, I say pull in a man who will change the fact that they have only put boot to ball 133 times this year, the third lowest in the comp! Kick a bit more, run a little less, make fewer errors. He might also improve on the 11 missed conversions.
Sharks – Jaque Fourie
On 4,785m gained via the boot (2nd highest in the comp), the Banana boys certainly know how to get into the opposition half. And while having made just 828 tackles (14th) as they defend to get the ball back, they are also 14th on the missed tackles list (108)! Bring in the Bok known to have been the best organiser of a defence in the game.
Stormers – Corne Krige
The Mountain Goats have scored the least tries (16), and scored the 2nd fewest points (163). Finishing is clearly an issue, but I might look a little closer to the source. The Stormers have conceded the most turnovers (119), and ruck penalties (13) in 2019. Bring in the fellow who’s fingers prove how valuable the ball was to the Boks in his era.
Bulls – Bryan Habana
The Bulls scored eight tries to demolish the Chiefs in the 2009 Super Rugby final, but have crossed the line just 18 times during the first nine rounds of the 2019 season.
Habana is South Africa’s most prolific try-scorer in Super Rugby history with a tally of 56 only four shy of the all-time leader, Israel Folau.
The sting in the tail of the team that hoisted the trophy in 2007 and 2009, Habana’s appointment as head coach would ensure the Bulls understand the ingredients required for dishing up a surfeit of tries.
Lions – Ricky Januarie
Only four teams have missed more tackles than the Lions, an impressive feat when you consider that only three teams have kicked less… pffft!
One cat that wouldn’t find that funny is Ricky Januarie. A nano-back with the density of a tenpin bowling ball and the unnerving intensity of a bull terrier, Januarie’s value in defence and his commitment to the kicking game saw him poached by the Stormers from the Lions in 2008.
If the 37-year-old was given the marker in front of the whiteboard, the Lions could expect the message from their new coach to be real simple: “Kick. Tackle.”
Sharks – Andre Joubert
Joubert is the closest thing to a Jedi Knight that rugby has ever produced, and that’s exactly what is needed at Kings Park right now – an experienced fullback who knows when the time is right to switch on his laser stick.
While the Sharks have gained the second-most kicking metres in the comp, they’ve only been asked to make the second-fewest tackles. This means rival teams are kicking the pill back to the coastal cruisers, and they need Jouba at training in cargo shorts and flip flops to teach them when to run and when to hit grass.
Stormers – Schalk Burger
During the first decade of his career, Schalk Burger was all over the breakdown like a Bull in a braai shop. The Stormers could use some guidance from the only South African capable of rivalling Richie McCaw’s reputation as a loose forward – they’ve conceded the most ruck penalties and turnovers, and are ranked ninth for turnovers won.
If Burger was reunited with his ivory-white, leather single-seater in the team room, the Stormers would reclaim ruck control.
Disclaimer from Lanning, who is no fan of ex-players simply falling into the coaching space: “The above presumes the players will have upskilled themselves as coaches, and earned their stripes coaching at a level below Super Rugby”
OK, so you’ve read what they think, now let us know where you stand in The Big Debate!