What is the next step when you commit yourself not to offer any more excuses?
Last week Jean de Villiers was quoted in the media that they (Stormers) have no more excuses (not to perform against the Highlanders), and while many will remind me they won quite comfortably on the scoreboard, no-one can convince me this team is currently playing to its potential.
Allister Coetzee, who used the same line in the past many times of ‘no excuses’, came out following the Highlanders game and quite forcefully defended one of the many underperforming stars in the Stormers setup, Bryan Habana.
Whereas I can understand a coach’s frustration with perceptions in the media and public about his team or players, Coetzee’s attempt to defend Habana simply served to confuse or further justify the criticism of the player.
Myself and others have for years now promoted the idea of teams, and specifically their coaches to embrace social media to, if anything, educate the supporters whose only source of information is the mainstream media.
The problem with Coetzee’s attempt to defend Habana is that his stats, or what he referred to work rate or positive contributions, is invisible to the public and supporters – they simply cannot see what is seemingly crystal clear for him (Coetzee). This gives the impression, as is felt by the media in many post-match media conferences I attended personally, that the coach is sucking facts out of his thumb and indeed, contrary to pre-match quotes, offering excuses.
Getting frustrated with the media, as Coetzee clearly did, does him and his team or individuals in question more harm than good.
Quite simply, the lack of information, leaves the door open for speculation – and if Coetzee continues to offer these ‘invisible’ statistics to defend or back his players, he is in fact the root cause of speculation found in the media slamming his players and team.
Many people know that the success of a rugby team has a lot more to do from what we see for 80 minutes on a weekend, but ultimately, those 80 minutes is what Coetzee and his team is judged on.
Which brings me back to my question…
If the Stormers underperform, or as I believe personally lose, to the Bulls this weekend, will we hear more excuses, based on parameters only visible or available to those close or inside the Stormers team setup, or will we finally see some action taken?
I expect that similar to Days of our Lives, we can all tune in next week, or even in a month, and pick up the same old plot within 10 seconds.