SA rugby coddles “nice guys”

In this week’s podcast, Tank and Zels sit down with Worcester Warriors defence consultant Omar Mouneimne to talk about the quality of coaching in South Africa, and the pending French invasion.

Talking about the number of SA’s top coaches who are no longer coaching in the country, Mouneimne said, “All of these guys have got different aspects that they coach at a high level, for example there’s Rassie Erasmus, a technical guru and he’s relentless in his approach… a guy like Nick Mallett is an expert on leadership, building team culture… Alan Solomons on administration, how to do weekly schedules and tie up the drills to the minute so that everything is organised. But in South Africa, if you’re very agreeable then you’ll be in the coaching circle, if you’re not, you won’t.

“If you want to beat a team like the All Blacks, you have to get [coaches] who can’t stand the All Blacks. But unfortunately, [in SA] the more obsessed you are, the more intense you are, the more you’re perceived as trouble.”

On what the Springboks can expect from Les Bleus in June: “France love to keep the ball in hand and they’ve got great ruck speed. Their weakness is that they’ve usually got the lowest kicking metres. But if you don’t keep your concentration, they can cut you to pieces.”

CLICK HERE to download the MP3 or get the RSS feed to add to your podcast stream.

- All Out Rugby Staff Writer

Let's chat

  • Louis Wentzel

    Fully Agreed on the coaching issue. Way too much jobs for pals scenarios playing out in the boardrooms of the unions.
    But can’t help but feel slightly annoyed by your constant “nice guys finish last” comments, especially those directed at Warren Whiteley. Seems to be almost a dig at both Warren and by extension the Lions because they don’t play the style you like? And, what’s worse it seems to your mind, they do it good enough to keep winning.
    As an example, in the two games in 2016 against those selfsame sharks (whose D was coached by Omar) the Lions outscore them by 7 tries to two. Playing different styles of rugby in both games(sexy or as Zelim describes it “disco” and defence and kicking or Zelim describes it “the only way”) all while being led by a nice guy. Or, again as Zelim terms it, the guy who finishes last.
    Seems to me there might be something more to your disregard for our new captain, bit more personal?

    But hey, don’t wanna sound like a snowflake..just an opinion from a guy behind a keyboard.

    • Zelim Nel Zelim Nel

      Great feedback Louis! YOu and I want the same thing – a winning Bok team. My objective is to point out that the Lions are a product of a journey that the Boks will never replicate (5 years of continuity in the wilderness with no expectations) and that many of the players who are suddenly regarded as stars are a system products (backed up by the biggest contingent of Lions featuring in SA’s worst season ever).
      The Lions are, in my opinion, making the most of an excellent plan, but one that has obvious vulnerabilities which the Hurricanes exposed in last year’s final. This doesn’t undermine or minimise their excellent run in Super Rugby, but it does question the suitability of those players and that plan for Test rugby.
      Thanks for reading and keep the feedback coming!

      • Louis Wentzel

        Most assuredly! Nothing grates me more when we lose against NZ teams in our own back yard! And I also agree with you that the best way to achieve a winning bok team is to get our franchises and below winning again. That mindset that you hear the successful talk so much about.
        I am glad you mention the word journey. It was a journey for the Lions, same as it was a journey for the Bulls before them and even the Stormers sides between 2008 and 2012 as well as the Boks from 2004 to 2007.
        Now simply picking a lot of Lions wont give you results as 2016 showed, but starting on a journey towards a common goal (plan) might mean you need to think differently and pick accordingly. So nice guy Whiteley as captain with counter balance Duane, Eben, PTSD might be that rationale. (Maybe i am giving Allister Waaaaay to much credit, but one hopes)
        As for suitability, sure it should. What some might see as sexy rugby only is in fact built of the back of hard graft up front with each player understanding their respective roles (also something that was sorely lacking at the boks last year). And those vulnerabilities were expertly exposed last season by the Hurricanes, hence the adaptations and evolution we see this season.

  • Pieter Burger

    Never really commented on any article before. I made the transition from the corporate world to rugby administration almost three years ago. Just like any other South African, I was an armchair specialist. I am very blessed to be involved with rugby, but I have also learnt of a whole new world, the reality of rugby behind the scenes, the proverbial belly of the beast. Rugby is in a bad place, and we need to employ not only candor, but out of the box thinking to fix it. We deserve it, the players deserve it, but more importantly the fans. A lot has changed structurally in SA rugby over the last 6 months to facilitate breeding future success, and there are still a lot of good people in rugby, working hard to make that change happen. I guess I felt the need to say that if a coach is overlooked for some reason, the answer is most certainly not by default always “jobs for pals”. A coach can be tecnically brilliant, but unfortunately somewhere down the line, with some coaches (not all), they completely loose touch with the reason why they love doing what they do. They become bigger than the game, organization and the players they prophesize they serve. They become an admin nightmare, and ultimately a liaibility to the organization and culture as a whole. Sometimes, people need to consider, even for just one second, that if a coach is perceived as good, but hops from one Union / country to the next, and then complains constantly in the media that they are being done in, and that they are the answer to all of SA rugby’s problems, is there not something more behind the story then “jobs for palls”. Just a thought…..comming from real life experience behind the scenes.

  • Trevor Willis

    It doesn’t help having the biggest contingent of players, in the squad, that don’t start every game, fact..
    On average 3 lions started, when the bulls where dominant on average 8 started, to be dominant in internationals the nucleus of the team should/must come from the dominant SR team, which at the moment is the Lions, and they should be the starting players , not bench/impact players.
    My two cents worth

    • Darren

      Nah I don’t agree with that. In my head the bok coach first needs to decide what gameplan he is going to incorporate to meet his mandate and that means winning games, once he has this clear he needs to pick the right player for that gameplan, even if it means the odd unlucky player who might be a better individual player but doesn’t match the gameplan. For example if Whitley is the captain (which I think is a great call) we gain a wide channel carrier who makes a bucket load of back tackles, is a good line-out option and a brilliant leader but we lose a carrier in the close in channels and lose a bit in terms of winning the gain line. To ensure we balance this we need someone who can generate momentum off slow ball in the close in channels, enter Duane Vermeulen, perfect and he is very good on the floor. If we play Malcolm Marx who is also a good carrier and good on the floor then we can afford to play an openside who isn’t necessarily an out and out fetcher. The balance means we don’t necessarily play the so called best player but the right player for the team’s plan.
      If we played a hooker who wasn’t good on the floor then we would possibly have to play Chris Cloete to ensure we don’t lose too much on the ground, then he might start in front of Kriel/Kolisi who might be seen as better individual players. I love the way the Lions are playing but just because they have SR success doesn’t mean we should as a default flood the bok team with lions players.

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