SARU getting it right – Jake

Jake White

When Eddie Jones came to recce our stadiums in January, he was the coach of the two-time defending Six Nations champions, the Springboks were coming off two terrible seasons and England were the hot favourites to whitewash South Africa in a three-Test series that begins at Ellis Park in two weeks.

Clearly, four months is a long time in rugby! SA Rugby have since appointed Rassie Erasmus and they’ve gone out of their way to give the new Bok coach everything he needs to get South Africa back to the top of world rugby.

For my very first Bok camp I was allowed to take 25 guys, which made it difficult when Hanyani Shimange stood on De Wet Barry’s foot, Ashwin Willemse did his knee in Kimberley and then Faan Rautenbach had to go for a knee op. Erasmus has been granted a 43-man squad and he’s been allowed to pick overseas-based players, even if they don’t have the minimum number of Test caps.

It’s great news if you’re a Bok supporter because, if you listen to what’s coming out of SA Rugby, all the pieces have been put in place to be successful from day one.

You have to compliment SA Rugby for doing what was needed – maybe we should also credit Allister Coetzee and the letter he wrote for motivating these changes. The positive communications from the camp are a complete turnaround from Coetzee’s term when he raised issues related to not having enough time to prepare for the Ireland series and not having his preferred staff.

Erasmus would have been tapped on the shoulder months before he was reappointed to the role he had prior to joining Munster, so the Boks have a coach who is well prepared, and he’s said there’s no need to worry about meeting transformation targets or about injuries to important players like Eben Etzebeth and Lood de Jager.

Even though he’s lost the services of scrum specialist Pieter de Villiers, he’s retained Coetzee’s forwards coach, Matt Proudfoot, who Erasmus originally recruited to the Stormers. And the Boks will also benefit from national training camps and the buy-in from the provinces on minimum conditioning standards.

As a Bok supporter, there’s lots of cause for optimism. Erasmus keeps instilling confidence in the way he’s preparing and what he’s saying, and that’s why the excitement is building for the opening of the June Test window.

It’s definitely not what Eddie Jones would have wanted to hear. A year ago, England was touted as the team to beat the All Blacks. They were so eager to test themselves against New Zealand that they requested a match against the world champions which failed to materialise.

England’s success under Jones came because the RFU gave the coach everything he asked for. He brought in Glenn Ella and now Scott Wisemantel to help on attack, scrum guru Marc dal Maso, he’s got Cherylle Calder for the eye gym, and he’s brought in Dean Benton, the Brumbies conditioning coach. England got all of those things right and it seems that’s where South Africa is now.

When supporters talk about ‘what’s wrong with our rugby’, they often talk about what happens on the field – do we kick too much, and why are we getting pushed back in the scrums? But it’s the off-field things that you need to have in place that impact the players on the field.

If the wives and kids come to the game are they happy and looked after? When those things are in place, then you have a content player who plays better. It sounds like a very basic thing, but it’s the truth. So when the coach is able to pick the players and support staff he wants, then we’re getting those off-the-field things right.

If I had written this column a year ago, saying we should beat England would have sounded like a pipe dream.

In 2016, England were unbeaten. Now they’ve lost three in a row, they came fifth in the Six Nations and their defence coach is leaving. The power balance in this series has shifted 180 degrees from one team being confident and wanting to play the world champions, to the other team rediscovering confidence and wanting to get stuck in.

Last year, everyone was writing that England were invincible and that we needed change, from the Boks to the Bulls. Now we’ve got that with a new national coach and a Kiwi coach at the Bulls. That’s brought a new energy and now the braai talk is, “why didn’t Adriaan Strauss get picked?” which is a big change from “why did we pick Adriaan Strauss!?”

- Jake White

Let's chat

  • Mike Neethling

    Rassie and SARU u make me happy. Its been a long time.

  • Billy

    Relax Jake, concentrate on your Japanese club. Rassie is not going to invite you to be his assistant


      FOR SURE , we got super heros who know exactly what to do

    • Ivan

      Why not invite him. Rassie does talk about tapping into South African Rugby’s intellect. It would be a good move to bring Jake into the Springbok game again.

  • Sharky

    The English have Cherylle Calder. Bugger!

    • Shane

      Dean Benton…. Dang it!

  • John Comyn

    I have heard (never believe everything you hear) that Eddie has a history of crashing and burning if he sticks around too long. They say (never listen to them unless you know who “they” are) that his obsessions, after a while, becomes counter-productive to the extent he loses the change room. Just saying!!! Jake would probably know better than most

    • Herman Schroder

      Like John Mitchell, lol. Cheers.

  • Herman Schroder

    In my opinion Jake is perhaps looking at this ‘new’ setup with extra rose tinted spectacles for the following reasons :
    1. Coetzee’s hilariously long list of excuses for not performing at test level ( not that he did any better at the Stormers ) included this idea that he did not have the staff he wanted. Firstly, if he did not get the staff he wanted he should not have taken the job. Secondly, initially he was happy with his original staff and it’s only when he went belly up because of his inability to piece together a decent game plan and to make correct selections that he ‘turned’ on his own staff to try and hide his own deficiencies. Way to go coach.
    2. His failure to recognize that from the get go he should have built his team utilizing the bulk of the Lions players and their highly successful game plan as a means to retain continuity and to create a solid platform to get the Boks ready for battle. Instead he used them piecemeal, interweaving them with players who had a dinosaur like concept of rugby ( domkrag ) and then expecting them to play to his befuddled and non existent game plan. The Lions players especially were reduced to caricatures of their former selves while the rest of the players continued with their poor form in SR and no one was able to perform properly. That Jake is the real reason.

    3. You consider bringing back the golden oldies a plus for Rassie ? I beg to differ. Coetzee originally called up a few of these overseas guys and when that did not help at all the fact that they did not have enough prep time to bring them into the Bok tests was then mooted as an excuse for losing. What’s different this year with Rassie ? Same story not so a few days in camp and they are now ready for England ?. Anyway these oldies also come from the Heyneke era where stampkar and domkrag was the order of the day and his poor last two years as coach is indicative of just how little these players actually improved the situation. Do we really want to repeat the errors of the past again.

    4 And speaking of these overseas guys ( with the exception of Faf, he’s a newbie ) and considering that this diabolical quota system is being applied with a vengeance, why then are these oldies taking away opportunities to blood new black talent ?. All they’ll do is take up valuable playing time to enable these players to develop properly before the WC. The oldies have had their time and one remembers SA’s own Pearl Harbour when Japan reduced the Bok jersey to the laughing stock of the world. They made their choice years ago, experience is over rated and poor experience even more so.

    5. Your optimism is to be commended Jake but the facts don’t support that. Firstly if Wales manage to eventually pick a team remotely reflecting the ‘real’ Welsh test team for Saturdays match and the makeshift Boks lose to them we slip to 7th on the world rankings. Secondly, Rassie if he believes your theory that England is on the ropes and are ripe for the plucking think again my friend. If anything they will be even more inspired to beat the Boks in a series at home and prove their doubters back home wrong. Rassie like you seems believe that picking a Bok team for the first test will not need to have any warm up matches to prepare themselves. Every other country is doing so except us and maybe Australia. Reminds me so much of Coetzee two years ago yet you seem to think the Boks are better prepared than he was.

    6. I’m not sure if you’ve been following SR much this season so I’m not sure if you realize just how badly our teams have been doing so far in the competition. A not so vintage Lions ( still better than the other three SA franchises ) an inconsistent Bulls, Stormers and Sharks now 9th, 10th and 11th on the overall 15 team SR log despite all the fanfare at the beginning of the season and we are even worse off than the last two years. Between the latter three Franchises they have won only 15 out of 40 matches a win ratio of a mere 37%. The Lions have not been beaten by a local Franchise in 21 matches spanning three years. Yet from this bunch 13 Sharks, 9 Stormers and 9 Bulls are chosen for the inflated Bok squad with our flagship the Lions receiving a paltry 5. Remember my comment earlier about Coetzee ignoring the Lions in 2016 ?.

    7. Now one of the reason I’m bringing this up ( item 6 above ) is because there are, apart from injuries, Lions players out there who have performed admirably these past few years yet get overlooked by Rassie due to the perception ( imo ) that these players have not performed well enough this year and while under Coetzee in the past two years. But one has to realize that not only have they been to the top of the mountain twice in the past two years but even this year are still out performing the local guys who are all getting a crack at being picked. They have exhibited a camaraderie, sheer guts, never say die attitude, ,skills and the ability to win against the odds. The inconsistency displayed by those chosen for the Boks goes hand in glove with the inconsistency reflected in the teams results. Lions players like Skosan, Coetzee, Ruan Jv Rensburgh, Mapoe, Vorster, Cronje, Erasmus etc have shown they have the right stuff yet Rassie reckons their experience is not required in favour of 17 newbies who apart from the occasional flashes have not shown the consistency required at the top level. The Lions team a bit too ‘white’ for Rassie ?, pardon the pun, lol.

    So I thought I’d get that little bit off my chest because damn it, I don’t want to experience again what we have had to endure under Heyneke Meyer and Coetzee these past four years. Rassie is to my mind under estimating his opponents and over estimating his chosen squad and his preparations are not ideal in my opinion, he should have sent his best side to the USA as a warm up for the real deal. The next four Saturdays will separate the men from the boys however so will Bokkie rise from the ashes or not, I have my doubts but at least Rassie can’t use lack of preparation time as an excuse, you’ve put paid to that one. Cheers.

    • Simnikiwe.xabanisa Xabanisa

      Your reply is 1 136 words long. That’s more than just a little bit off your chest, mate.

      • Herman Schroder

        Any real comments ? Cheers.

      • OzBok

        You don’t have to read it, mate. Let him have his say.

    • John Comyn

      Herman I have no doubt you are going to be disappointed with Rassie. If you are expecting to see a helter-skelter Lions style rugby it ain’t going to happen. In fact you are likely to see hard physical test rugby where defence takes precedent over attack and you earn the right to go wide. What Rassie calls “smart” rugby! The only way we will beat England and the AB’s is to match them physically. Ireland proved it against England and The Sharks comprehensively proved the point this season against the NZ sides. The NZ sides don’t like it when you hurt them a bit.

      • Herman Schroder

        Sorry pal can’t agree Scoring more tries than the AB’s is the only way to beat them, Our Lions proved it in SR as well as the British Lions and Ireland for that matter. The AB’s can match the ‘physicality’ of the Boks any day of the week anyway.The Boks have been trying to out muscle the AB’s since 2009 to no avail. So it’s going to be tough going out wide if you haven’t got the ball, lol. Cheers.

    • Dean

      AC did use the bulk of the Lions players last year, the most unsuccessful spell in Springbok history. As much as 11 players in some of the match day squads. The Springbok squad is made up of the best players from the entire country and world. Luckily Rassie has foreseen that and added more balance than AC ever did. You need experience and calm heads when things get tough. The guys who have been there before will add massive value. Don’t write off the likes of Frans and Bismarck who have been in great form for Montpellier (98 tries in 26 games). Willie, Faf and Duane have also been doing well this season. The Lions problems of late have been down to missing their experienced (key) players through injury and departing ie. Whiteley, Ackermann, Marx, Kriel and Cronje.

      Rassie has had more time to prepare because he has sent his assistants to the franchises during Super Rugby. He is aligning all the players and coaches around the country with the same vision and rugby style. There has been no shortage of enterprise on attack from our Super Rugby teams. The defense and concentration of our teams is still lacking.

      • Herman Schroder

        Dean, perhaps Coetzee EVENTUALLY had to use the bulk of the Lions players because the rest of the Franchises couldn’t produce any players better than them, lol. Remember most of them were pretty awful during SR since 2016 but more surprisingly this year they are even worse ( 9th, 10th and 11th on the log ) but still dominate the Bok squad ? Explain please.

        Don’t forget how the Lions saved Coetzee’s bacon in the Ireland series in the second test in 2016 but in a way they shouldn’t have because it gave him a lifeline which turned out a total disaster for SA rugby over the next two years. Remember also during Coetzee’s tenure EVERYBODY was poor which supports my theory that his incompetence was the main reason for the unfolding disasters that occurred.

        Rassie can do as much talking as many clinics and practices etc as he wants but you cannot duplicate test pressure outside of a test match, never mind not even a warm up match. Here it’s even worse with the overseas players having to gel with players who themselves haven’t come to terms with their own Franchise’s game plans. 13 Sharks in the mix in the Bok squad and they folded against their first real taste of it in the Jaguares game. England and the AB’s are going to be another level up and Rassie thinks it’s ok to just turn up.

        No sir I stick to my original points. I’ve seen this unfolding twice in the past four years and regrettably to me we appear to be staring down the same barrel. Our biggest problem is we have one genuine world class player in Malcolm in Marx with the rest so similar, so inconsistent and in many cases lacking in BMT that Rassie is going to have to perform a miracle to get the shipwreck that is SA rugby refloated and good luck to him. Cheers.

        • Dean

          “England and the AB’s are going to be another level up and Rassie thinks it’s ok to just turn up.”

          This is your assumption based on ZERO facts. In fact it’s the complete opposite. Rassie has sent his assistants to work with the players and coaches over the course of the Super Rugby season. It was also so they could get an idea on who the best players were and what these guys needed to work on to be successful at international level. Have you not been following. He is aligning all our national and franchise teams, from juniors to seniors, to play in a similar way. Swys is travelling with the Springboks to Washington. Rassie went to watch the English play during the Six Nations so he could study them. He is also responsible for SA rugby scrapping the 30 cap rule, if it were not for that, your star player Faf would not have been picked and we would have a debutant scrumhalf starting against England. Are you seriously telling us that Rassie has done no preparation? Asb man, get your facts straight before you make ridiculous comments.

          • Herman Schroder

            Short answer Dean. The Bok squad has not kicked a ball in anger as a team as yet and will go into the June tests totally under cooked. Great planning Rassie ?. Even Hansen pulled his AB’s out of SR games and they have a settled team who know what they’re doing. The SR season for most of our teams is practically over so disrupting their campaigns wont have any effect on their chances.

            The strongest side should have had a warm up game before they went to the USA and then they should have played Wales as well to prepare them for England. Instead in his haste to blood as many players as he could to keep SARU happy he has chosen a pick up team for Wales and his team for England will go in stone cold. And you call that great planning ?. It’s going to be a long cold June month my friend. Cheers.

        • Rant

          “Remember also during Coetzee’s tenure EVERYBODY was poor which supports my theory that his incompetence was the main reason for the unfolding disasters that occurred.

          Rassie can do as much talking as many clinics and practices etc as he wants but you cannot duplicate test pressure outside of a test match, never mind not even a warm up match”

          I wanted to copy and paste your entire reply, because once again you are a contradiction. Lol. You complain about the Lions not being there and that everyone else is poor, but then you say the Lions drop in form is due to poor coaching. You also mentioned bove that we need to kick the youngsters into the squad and build from there, but then you bemoan the need for experience? Make up your mind dude.

          If you despise anyone not a Lion clap your hands…

          • Herman Schroder

            Rant, This response of yours was posted before I sent you a response to your earlier ‘rant’ so I’ll excuse your ‘confusion’ as to what I did or did not say, unless you have a comprehension problem of course, lol. Please be so kind as to address the points raised by me and honour me with your pearls of wisdom. Cheers

    • Rant

      The only consistency in your arguments are that you consistently contradict yourself. Dear Lions Fan, if you claim Coetzee made the Lions players perform poorly, how can you then state the foreign based players were useless without suggesting there performance was down to the poor coaching? You are clearly a Lions fanatic who wears his own rose tinted glasses when commenting on the Bok set-up. Majority of SA SR teams are poorly coached or going through a transformation period. Your beloved Lions are winning but not convincingly. And they had a terrible tour. The Sharks and Bull shave played some awesome matches but are struggling for consistency (that dreaded word again) but both teams have some undeniable talent. The Stormers, well they are very poor but should have beaten the mighty Lions, if it weren’t for a dubious red card. Rose tinted glasses indeed. You also talk about the lack of success of Coetzee at the Stormers, they were just as good if not better than the current Lions team who are also yet to achieve proper success.

      I mentioned before, what are your credentials? Did you apply for the coaching role? You write an essay that is purely subjective. One should remove emotion unless you just want to rant, in which case keep it short.

      Suggesting these ‘oldies’ are taking valuable playing time away from newbies is ridiculous. Have you ever seen a consistently winning team crammed with newbies? Next thing you will say NZ needs to ditch Kieren Read because he is old. The fact of the matter is the youngsters must and will learn through a combination of good coaching, experience and having a mentor (i.e. vastly experienced player). What can Frans Steyn and Bismarck add…well a world cup winners medal will surely help, and one of them was the youngest ever world cup winner. Once again, what are your credentials?

      Let’s wait until after the England series, then we can chat again. IN the meantime, let’s be positive and support the Boks through everything, instead of throwing toys out the pram when our favourite players (team) aren’t selected.

      • Herman Schroder

        Hi Rant, This is in answer to your post of 30 May at 04.19pm which you do not appear to have afforded me the right of reply ? But in a way it’s probably best to curtail this discussion until we have more clarity on the Boks going forward. You’re not trying to ‘out write’ me are you, lol, although using my own content to pad your post is a wee bit off side don’t you think ?. I do not need to be spoon fed my friend I’m fully aware of what I’m writing about, been doing it for years.

        You clearly have decided to harp on the Lions factor in my posts even when I have given you many explanations as to why I use that aspect to prove my case and also the fact that I was at the coalface tackling these problems and have plenty reason to feel aggrieved at the demise of Springbok rugby despite my protestations. Where you were in this period I of course do not know but it’s hard for me to accept your criticism if you weren’t facing the realities of the situation back here. Pontificating from afar ( despite the internet, lol ) hardly makes you the expert on matters rugby here does it ?

        Just a quick comment on one of your abbreviated points. I don’t accept your Rhule explanation you are clearly ducking the issue. Three weeks suspension give you a clue ? Talk about me not accepting when I’m wrong, jeez.

        But anyway let’s just agree to disagree, history is on my side and I’ve yet to be proved wrong. I’ve set up my stall, have you ? Any predictions BEFORE the tests seeings as you seem to believe Rassie is well on track. Wales and England to beat us in two tests with us maybe winning the dead rubber last test. Cheers.

        • Rant

          Seeing as though I have replied with reason, facts and unbiased points I will not comment on a single thing you have just said as it seems you are stuck in a loop. Enjoy watching the Boks prove you wrong.

      • Herman Schroder

        Rant, Methinks you are blinded by your own set of rose tinted glasses or is it dark glasses, sure appears to be so.

        Point 1. The overseas players were useless before Coetzee even took over the job as can be seen by the test results under Heyneke Meyer during his last two years. Remember Japan ?? So you had the perfect storm. A few battered Boks arriving four days before a test match from overseas to play a weakened Ireland team and under a useless Bok coach and the rest is history. Sound familiar ?

        Funny you mention the Lions had a terrible tour. In 2015/16/17 they played NZ teams on 14 occasions winning 7 of them including three play off games won against the Crusaders, Highlanders and Hurricanes. This year I admit they have not played at the same level yet have a 21-0 record against the local Franchises over three years with four convincing wins so far this year. That obviously counted for nothing in your or Rassie’s books. Adding to that the Lions lost their four games to NZ teams this year by 2 ( Blues after a valid try 3 minutes from time was disallowed ), 6 ( Crusaders always a benchmark ), 9 and 12 points. Not good enough but enough to suggest that at playoff time we will have no fears. So if the Lions are that bad what does it say about the rest ?

        Mentioning one game does not make a team great. The Stormers under Coetzee were woeful during his 8 year ‘reign’ especially at play off time and apart from that Conference trophy ( which is basically a qualifying secondary competition ) he froze on every occasion he was faced with a must win play off game. That the Stormers couldn’t beat what is now a makeshift Lions team at home tells it’s own story. The Sharks and Bulls might be showing some progress but again imo they have not got the mental toughness or true rugby nous to win the big moments and their inconsistency is the result. Those unfortunately are the traits that are almost a must have in a test player and cannot be coached.

        By calling that ‘red card’ in the Stormers match ‘dubious’ tells me exactly where you stand. That late tackle was intentional and the player has since been suspended for three weeks and he’s lucky as hell it was so lenient. But I’ll tell you why he was guilty as hell. I have already challenged some journalists to do the following. Go back to the incident and watch as Combrink approaches the halfway line and chips ahead. The ball leaves his foot and goes over Rhule’s head and Rhules feet at that stage are still firmly on the ground. He then launches into Combrinks head with an elbow/ stiff arm. Watch the same action from the front on view and the evidence is even more damning. I now challenge you to differ with me. Rose tinted indeed.

        Please if you want to contradict posters on these forums do some homework first and back up your arguments with facts. Coetzee got to one SR final in 8 years and choked at home. The Lions were the only thing standing between us being labelled poorer than the pathetic Aussies over the past two year. Finished second ( self inflicted ) on the overall log and first on the overall log of 18 teams scoring more tries in one season that the Stormers could in two. The home final loss last year was a knee jerk reaction from Jackass Peyper when Kwagga was red carded and cost the Lions the game. Since that date similar incidents have only, at a push, solicited a yellow card both here and overseas. In fact if you go to a similar incident in the Lions / Crusaders game this year with seven minutes to go, Jackass Peyper doesn’t even penalize the tackler for the very same offence. That’s why the NZ teams love the Jackass.

        There is experience and then again there is ‘experience’. An AB mentoring a newbie is absolutely ok. But when your mentor is an oldie with a poor test record and having been schooled in domkrag rugby all his life ( you know that style that hasn’t won a rugby trophy for the Boks since 2009 ) then what can he impart especially when the game has moved on so much. Rassie must do what Ackerman did and identify players with the RIGHT STUFF and put your faith in them, assuming of course that he is going to be coaching expansive ( Lions ) rugby. We’ll know soon enough.

        And lastly on a more personal note. Firstly I’ve been commenting on these forums for the past four to five, coincidentally through the darkest period in Bok rugby history and I’ve had similar people like you think they can educate me on what to write and how to write, all have failed. What’s more, not surprisingly, all my dire predictions of the past five years have come to pass, everyone of them. By the way I have no sense of satisfaction about that just a deep sadness that we do not have the right people running the show. Feel free to go to the SS archives to learn more.

        The problem is that there are not enough posters calling out the incompetents on these forums and here I include some big name journalists who contribute on these forums as well. Toeing the line and corporate correctness has not solved our rugby problems believe me the fundamental problems remain the same but that’s a debate for another time.

        Also challenging my coaching background is pure deflection on your part. What has that got to do with a person voicing an opinion on these forums ? Are you on some censorship committee ? Must you be a coach to criticize a coach or his employers ?? Your moniker is rather appropriate, Rant. It’s been my experience that those who rant do not engage their brains before hitting the keyboard and normally end up with egg on their face. May I assume that you are more intelligent than that, at least I hope so.

        As for your ‘toys out of the cot’ jibe let me just add that I’ve been doing it for years now and still that stumbling bungling SARU continues to fail SA rugby. I admire your guarded optimism whereby you are clearly hedging your bets so somewhere in there you know exactly what I’m talking about. That’s the difference between us, I’m prepared to set up my stall ( unless you believe I shouldn’t ) whereas you prefer to wait and see what happens so you really can’t be proven wrong. As the saying goes if you try nothing you’ll never fail. C’mon give us a prediction. Cheers.

        PS : Please also read my comments to Dean above, some are relevant to your ‘rant’ Cheers again.

        • Rant

          Mr Schroder, your Lions allegiance has made you completely blind. You keep mentioning how amazing the Lions have been the last 3 years, where were they before that? Explain please (to use your own logic). Coetzee was useless despite the Stormers topping the overall log, making the final and dominating South African teams for several seasons. The Bulls won 3 SR titles, the Sharks made several finals. So the Lions are definitely not the most successful team, far from it. The Lions had the best coaching team and the team came right at the right time. It is always easy to be outspoken when your team is doing well, hence the Kiwis are always outspoken.

          Your essay’s are beginning to get really tiresome, spouting the same old nonsense. My simple question to you is why not give Rassie a chance? I mean he took a ‘useless’ Free State team and dominated the CC, a ‘useless’ Stormers team and dominated (sure, without actually winning) the SR. I am certain he knows a lot more than you do sir. I mean, he got the job when SARU completely ignored your application.

          I rewatched the Rhule incident, and being a person who played rugby to a good level in England, I can honestly say it was unlucky, Rhule jumped to stop the chip, but realised immediately he made the wrong decision. There was no ‘stiff arm’ at all. “The home final loss last year was a knee jerk reaction from Jackass Peyper when Kwagga was red carded…” double standards chap, Kwagga’s challenge was almost exactly the same as this one. But of course you choose to see what you want. You are the exact problem with South African fans. You are blind to your provincial teams failings and instead bemoan everyone else.

          Also, expansive rugby is not ‘Lions’ rugby. The Lions had a couple of Kiwi coaches who developed the team as well as Ackerman.

          I hope the Lions win, South Africa needs to come good, and we can start getting the Bulls and Sharks playing consistent rugby then I think Bok rugby will flourish. But I have seen enough in the Bulls and Sharks camps to be quietly confident that SA rugby will rise once more.

          On to a more personal note, I am not trying to educate you, I am merely stating that you are one negative piece of work and it is people like you, who cannot learn and cannot see the positives, that ruin SA rugby. You keep going on about ‘domkrag’ and not learning. Not only are you a contradiction, but you are a hypocrite.

          Now, I am not suggesting South Africa is perfect or the management at SARU are perfect, but having experience of living in the UK and playing and coaching here is that you need to follow the game globally and not just your city. Grow your mind, use every experience as an opportunity to grow and develop. South Africa is stuck is the past, and in the past it cannot remain. I hope Rassie can bring our rugby out of the past, for he has seen how the professional environment works abroad.

          I will keep reading your comments because they do have some rather intelligent points, but I will always comment on the contradictions and negativity. I do enjoy a good debate, and I can agree on some of your points. Yes, SARU has destroyed SA Rugby. Yes, there are big issues. But I honestly don’t think there is anyone better than Rassie (apart from the Kiwi coaches or completely dismantling SARU and starting from scratch) who can at least give some pride back. It is time we all look forward and leave that horrible past behind.

          • Rant

            Despite the fact that you are now attacking my intelligence, I am going to reply nonetheless.

            1. “After all what has the Bulls winning three SR titles eight years ago got to do with their 11th position on the current SR log ?” My point is to prove that teams fortunes and form ebb a flow with the type of coaches and game plans as well as the point in said teams development.

            2. “The Lions were ahead of their time ( by SA domkrag standards anyway) and yet it took four years for the other three Franchises to finally take their first tentative steps into the modern era this year which they still haven’t even come to terms with yet” This I am not debating, however you fail to acknowledge that the Lions at the start of this path were just terrible, finishing bottom and then getting dropped from the SR. They decided during that year off to develop the team and change their game. They are a fantastic team, again something I am not debating. Sure the other teams are on the same path now after the Lions showed them the way, but I firmly believe the Lions built on the collective ability and not the super stars that other teams have. And that is why there aren’t 12 Lions in the Bok team.

            3. “Domkrag rubbish” can I just add that modern rugby isn’t just about being flashy and run from everywhere, have you seen the Kiwis win some tight games with said “domkrag”? The absolute fact is that NZ have perfected the ability to adapt to any situation, whether it be attractive attacking play, or a tight, squeezing kicking game. If you could just use that “intelligence” of yours and analyze games yourself then you will see this. Statstics are evidence of NZ kicking more and more of late. But to clarify my point, the Lions are yet to win the SR with their attack from everywhere ethos, maybe a little bit of BMT and “domkrag” from time to time would have won them the SR last year.

            4. “Those are the undeniable facts these past 2 to 3 years. Again feel free to go to SS archives you will find thousands of my posts together with other like minded folk who didn’t have their heads up you know what.” again, I am not disputing any of these facts…move on.

            5. “It will save me time if I don’t need to convince those who cannot recognize facts when they are presented because of their need to ‘shoot the messenger’” once again, hypocrite. Nobody can convince you with facts then should anyone else be convinced with your facts when you clearly don’t understand why someone is calling you out? Do I need to explain once again I am calling you out for your negative provincial biased outlook instead of looking at the bigger picture? But then you don’t learn.

            6. “Was Rhule’s feet still on the ground after Combrink chipped the ball ??? You avoided it in your response, why ?” No ducking and diving champ, I said I rewatched it and there was nothing in it, the slow mo sure does show his feet leave a couple of split seconds after the kick, but if you have ever played rugby there is a thing called momentum and energy, in which case it can be clearly seen that he was in the process of jumping as Combrinck kicked. Not only am I a rugby player, but I am actually a physicist so this is a fact. Answered…Moving on…

            7. “Lions robbed by NZ’s favourite ref, lol.” regardless of what anybody says to you, you remind me of all the English people I meet “Cueto’s try wasn’t out! It was a try, England should have won.” Sure it was unlucky. Anyway, I am not going to debate this any more, I gave you my unbiased opinion (bet you thought I was a Stormers fan, lol) so moving along.

            8. “Mitchells contribution to the Lions revival is vastly overrated. He was not really that successful with the Lions actuall” Agree, but once again you prove you lack any analyses skills to identify the Mitchell period as the point at which the Lions changed their approach and you fail to acknowledge the obvious impact he had on Ackerman. Moving on…

            9. “Ackerman then scouted around for a totally new team picking up all the rejects and refugees from the other Franchises” I would not say he scouted for a completely new team. He keep the backbone of the team and built around that because he had no superstars, so he moulded them into a unit and they developed a collective understanding together. Take them out that system and they could fail. Jantjies is case in point, failed at Stormers.

            10. “Their tardiness despite the obvious success of the Lions was painful to live through so please pardon my frustrations” this is where we agree, however I do feel that once again you forget that the growth isn’t instant, it is a process which is seriously challenged by the player drain to Europe.

            11. “Get out there and voice your disapproval not so” yes but all you are doing is voicing your disapproval at the lack of Lions and saying the Boks will fail as a result. That is not analyzing and dissecting with an objective view on the current state and quality of our players throughout the world. “So please humour me while I beat my drum.” and in return humour me while I beat my drum at your negativity and provincialism.

            12. “I am fortunate in that I’m a retired pensioner with time on my hands ( hence these long posts, lol ) and am considered a bit of a ‘know it all’ but in a good sense ( hopefuly ). So please sir do not treat me like some SA jaap that only follows the Lions to the exclusion of others. A hypocrite is another offensive label you have given me without due cause. I do not recall prejudging your background my good man.” actually you have been judging my background with subtlety throughout our debates. and some of the prejudice in this above reply is quite obvious. Seeing as though you watch all the rugby you can, you should have seen the outstanding form of Willie Le Roux, Frans Steyn and Bismarck.

            In closing, as I said before, I agree on some points and I can certainly see where you are coming from and where this negativity stems. Therefore I will take it with a little more salt than I have been. Clearly you are not gong to change your outlook or learn to analyse things a little more astutely. Good luck and looking forward to our next debate.

          • Herman Schroder

            Dear Rant, Let me answer you paragraph by paragraph if you don’t mind. It will enable you to digest what I say more easily.

            Para 1. A fallback of anyone who can’t respond to current realities is to ”call back the past”. When did I ever say the Lions were the most successful side anyway ? Please advise me. My point has always been the vast gap between the Lions and the other wannabees in recent times. After all what has the Bulls winning three SR titles eight years ago got to do with their 11th position on the current SR log ?. The Lions were ahead of their time ( by SA domkrag standards anyway) and yet it took four years for the other three Franchises to finally take their first tentative steps into the modern era this year which they still haven’t even come to terms with yet. If they had the vision and the coaches to do so back then SA rugby wouldn’t have been in the situation it now finds itself in. I spent four years on these forums criticizing them for being locked into dom krag mode to no avail. The various coaches just stuck to their fail safe easy to coach dom krag rubbish and even now they are floundering once more in SR. So pardon me for punting the Lions they proved that it could be done and are being sidelined once more by the incompetents. Those are the undeniable facts these past 2 to 3 years. Again feel free to go to SS archives you will find thousands of my posts together with other like minded folk who didn’t have their heads up you know what.

            Para. 2.Please do not read my ‘tiresome nonsense’ if you are so sensitive about someone expressing his views on a public forum. It will save me time if I don’t need to convince those who cannot recognize facts when they are presented because of their need to ‘shoot the messenger’. As for Rassie, nice bloke and all but I’ve seen stronger men reduced to bumbling wrecks trying to get SA rugby out of the mud. But if you recall I wished him good luck and he’ll sure as hell need it.

            Para 3.The Rhule incident. Answer me just one question and don’t duck
            and dive again. Was Rhule’s feet still on the ground after Combrink chipped the ball ??? You avoided it in your response, why ?
            As for the Kwagga incident it was exactly the opposite in fact. In Kwagga’s case as the tackler he had stopped and his feet were on the ground and simultaneously the Crusader launched himself into the air and contact was made. I have watched numerous times in SR and Pro 14 that red cards are not given for that. They are even now contemplating putting the onus on the catcher to keep his feet on the ground instead of jumping for the ball and in some cases like we saw recently banning the jumper from leading with the outstretched leg. Result – Lions robbed by NZ’s favourite ref, lol.

            Para 4. Mitchells contribution to the Lions revival is vastly overrated. He was not really that successful with the Lions actually. In fact in his last SR season in 2012 ( yes six years ago ) the Lions finished stone last winning one game I think. He was then given the order of the boot and the Lions were relegated from SR in 2013. Ackerman then scouted around for a totally new team picking up all the rejects and refugees from the other Franchises whom he felt had the ‘right stuff’ and the rest is history. Again the facts cannot be ignored.

            Para 5.Of course I want the Lions to win and despite what you might think my criticism of the other Franchises was not born out of a superiority thing but a genuine desire for these other three Franchises to come out of the dark ages and contribute positively to the rise of Bok rugby. Their tardiness despite the obvious success of the Lions was painful to live through so please pardon my frustrations. In fact what you call my negativity I think is actually me being positive. What good is a supporter if he just takes what his team offers year in and year out, moans about their failure to address their problems and goes home and kicks the dog around. Get out there and voice your disapproval not so ?I always maintain that if everyone in this country was quiet about Mandela being in prison he would eventually have died there with catastrophic consequences. So please humour me while I beat my drum.

            Para 6. You appear to have made a total misjudgement of me and what I’m about. I watch rugby worldwide 24/7 except possibly for the Asian zone. I subscribe to numerous rugby sites including Rugby pass and Stuff NZ apart from about 6 active rugby sites locally including SS and All out Rugby. I watch every test played across the globe and every match in SR in full. I also follow European Rugby, ie Top 14, Aviva Premiership , Pro 14 etc. I am fortunate in that I’m a retired pensioner with time on my hands ( hence these long posts, lol ) and am considered a bit of a ‘know it all’ but in a good sense ( hopefuly ). So please sir do not treat me like some SA jaap that only follows the Lions to the exclusion of others. A hypocrite is another offensive label you have given me without due cause. I do not recall prejudging your background my good man.

            However on a more conciliatory note I do take your point on looking forward and maybe I have seen too many predictions of mine coming true these past five years to feel very confident about the future. If Rassie proves me wrong I’ll be the first to congratulate him but just to warn you ( and him ) I am a hard taskmaster and he would really have to come to the party to sway me. The ball is in his court now but at the back of my mind I still feel he has misread these upcoming tests. Come midnight Saturday we should know which way the cookie will start to crumble or not. Ooh boy. Cheers.

  • Dean

    Things can turn around very quickly in rugby. Jake will know that better than anyone. Let’s not forget that when he took over, the Springboks were 6th in the World, crashed out of the World Cup, and then there was Kamp Staaldraad. The following season he won the Tri-Nations with the same players from 2003. He also added two veterans, considered by many as being past their prime, Percy Montgomery and Os du Randt. Let’s get behind Rassie and back the boys! Right now, the signs are looking good. He has a very experienced group of assistant coaches with lots of IP from overseas. I think he is also fortunate that we have talented players who are capable of becoming world beaters. Right now if you look at Willemse, Bosch, Jean-Luc du Preez, Snyman, Dyantyi, Wilco, Kitshoff, Gelant there’s a lot to be excited about. Combine them with already established players at international like Marx, Etzebeth, Willie, Duane, Frans etc. and the future looks bright.

    • John Comyn

      I have to say I am highly optimistic. I’ll take a 2/1 win against England given the side may be a need short before they jell. What I would really like to see is the Boks beat the AB’s this year. Love the fact that Rassie is talking about the Boks needing to get back to where they physically dominate as well as playing smart rugby.

      • Dean

        He’s definitely identified the major issues the Springboks had the past two years. I’m glad he picked wings who can actually compete in the air and are physical to some degree. People don’t realize but Mapimpi is quite a physical player. That try he scored recently where he knocked the other guy off his feet was an example. The Sharks have shown how to beat the AB’s. Their physicality with an astute kicking and offloading game is very hard to stop once it gets going. Some people think the Lions are all running rugby, but their game the past 2 years was based off solid scrums and dominating at the contact points and breakdown. They have lost that this year with Ackermann and Tecklenburg no longer there. I share your excitement and optimism with this new era. I think Rassie has all the right characteristics as an ex player, coach and person to make us world beaters again. I think Eddie Jones and his team will be feeling far more pressure right now. The RFU will be expecting a positive result in SA, after a few disastrous months. The English tend to panic when the chips are down. So far they have crumbled under pressure in all their recent outings. It bodes well for the Springboks. If we knock the wind out of their sails in the first 2 tests, there’s a good chance we will beat them 3-0.

  • hopeful

    Solid points and yes lots to be happy about….nobody can argue that transformation must take place but at the expense of talent and deserved selection?…..doesn’t sit well with me…

    However – There are number of players who have selected themselves and who have bossed their positions….very excited to see the below guys in action…

    Gelant – Complete package with experience to be gained
    Ismail – Huge fan, this kid is hard as nails

    Quota is not the label stuck to the above they have earned their right to be there….and for the first time in a while you can’t argue to much with the selections…

    Ambrose – If its to gain experience, great pick

  • Maxwell

    On paper we looking good but whats gonna happen on the field I believe will be a different story. The squad is talented but do they have BMT ? They shown that BMT was missing on Superrugby level and they surely would have it on International level. Every test is like a Superrugby final. Winning home games and winning abroad, Winning trophies and crucial games are all signs of players and not the coach that with BMT. Steven Hansen explained what they look for in players. Attitude, excellent consistent play rate, excellent consistent performance in attack and defense on all levels. which means BMT People BMT. BMT wins trophies. We need to start winning SR finals to beat the Allblacks and worldcups.The 2007 Bulls is an example of it.

    • Herman Schroder

      Well done Maxwell finally a post that goes to the core of our problems. Have these players got the right stuff or not. SR has this year shown us otherwise except for the Lions if the last two years are taken into account. Of course Rassie’s game plan is going to be central to the outcome. If he lives in the past we will get thumped by all and sundry. Overseas teams cannot be bullied by the Boks any longer, if anything it’s the other way around, we are in fact being out muscled. If he cannot get the so called ‘balanced rugby’ game plan implemented with the right players, preferably the BMT guys, then we could be in for a torrid time in June and the RC. Time will tell, Cheers.

  • Wessel

    – Jake White, thanks a lot for the post.Really thank you! Much obliged.

    • Hennie

      I read all the comments above and it is nice to see that there is still so much passion among supporters. I, however, have another concern. I try to frequent as many rugby games as I can and because I have two daughters, with absolute no interest in rugby, my love for the game will remain at the supporter level. I try to attend as many primary and high school games as possible and then I even go to Super Rugby games as well. What concerns me is the evident lack of passion in our Super rugby teams. TV rugby displays a very twisted image of the game as the camera follows the ball and the limited amount of action during games. What we don’t see on the TV is the body language and mannerisms of our players on the field when they are not involved in the game. I get the impression that many of our players have lost their passion for the game. We used to talk about “GEES” to use the Afrikaans term. I however don’t see any gees in our teams. I really get the feeling that they are just going through the motions. This observation lead me to the question: “Who will be the sport psychologist for the Springboks?” My view is that the players at this stage are not ready “in their minds” for any test rugby.

      It will also be interesting to hear from Jake what his thoughts are about the motivation and passion of our players, or the lack there-off. It is obvious that the jersey and the honor to play for any Super Rugby team or the Springboks isn’t enough anymore.

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