If Allister Coetzee’s 18 months at the helm of the Springboks could be equated to a boxing match, the referee has allowed our beating to go on for far too long.
The humiliation of a record defeat against Ireland last Saturday was a southpaw to the guts, while the 2023 Rugby World Cup being awarded to bid rivals France landed an uppercut to the jaw that has floored us all. A powerful combo to an already fragile Saffa psyche!
In the wake of the Dublin debacle, I planned on writing a follow-up to my excoriation of Allister Coetzee and his cohorts, but enough column space has already been dedicated to this act in the last few days.
As such, Coetzee’s race is run and it’s time for his bosses at SARU to show him and his assistants the door. As for the players, they should be ashamed of their efforts for most of his tenure, even if it is patently clear that their mentor did not have a plan to begin with. Coetzee’s stint is just the symptom of a disease that has put our rugby in ICU.
The reaction by South Africans to the bid announcement was nothing short of remarkable. When World Rugby recommended the country as a preferred candidate, we were split. And the chasm has only widened since the announcement as those pushing agendas on both sides of the debate tear at one another’s throat. Such was the fallout!
A noticeable sentiment at home and abroad in the lead-up to the vote was that SA Rugby needed the vote to go its way because the injection of funds and interest would serve as a springboard to get its house in order.
Are you kidding? Why do you need to host the World Cup to pull yourself together when you should already be doing so, regardless?
In my opinion, this is where our priorities are wrong as a country. We have proven time and again that we are an excellent host of sports tournaments, but what is currently wrong within our sports is just a microcosm of the serious challenges of governance we face as a nation – Zuptanomics – and hosting tournaments merely papers over the cracks.
Thankfully, with the World Cup gone, our rugby bosses have nothing to hide behind in a social and political climate where gatvol South Africans are increasingly starting to revolt in righteous anger and frustration. As far as I am concerned, our rugby is run like a spaza shop, but I know spaza shop owners who would take offence and dispute this unfavourable comparison!
Our rugby’s day of reckoning has come. As always, democracy is great concept until the vote doesn’t go your way. Losing the bid was poetic – the French and Irish bidders may have played us off the ball at times, but whatever concerns there were about South Africa as a host were valid.
We should now dust ourselves off and move forward with the dignity displayed by our bid team, coupled with renewed vigour to self-correct before it’s too late. There are bigger fish to fry, clearly.
In a thinly-veiled jab conflating our rugby’s mediocrity on and off the pitch, an Irish publication came up with this pearl of a headline, “Get Back In Your Boks”. The courtesy does not extend to you, “In your face”.
FRESH TAKE is an initiative to identify, feature and develop talented rugby writers who are not yet part of the mainstream media.
If that sounds like you, send us a sample of a story you’d like to write to firstname.lastname@example.org