I say we should back the man and I wish him all the best of luck!
Some people will disagree with his appointment. They’ll say he’s been floating around from consultancy to consultancy for years, and has never been anywhere long enough to really prove his credentials.
They’ll say he’s been fortunate to get the credit when the team he’s consulting with does well, and he’s escaped criticism when they don’t.
As an example, they’ll talk about how Brendan was very vocal when Italy beat South Africa in November, but absent from the media after taking 60 points against New Zealand and Ireland, and losing to Tonga.
They may highlight how he gets praised for Saracens’ success, but isn’t held responsible for London Irish’s relegation.
His critics will also raise concerns that Brendan intends taking on the Bok job in a part-time capacity, so that he can continue consulting to Italy while also running his medical practise.
There’s no way he’ll do that, surely? More than anyone, Brendan will know he has to give 100 percent to coaching South Africa and, more than anyone, he’ll know that integrity, honesty and loyalty are cornerstones of success.
There are two reasons he will have insisted on signing up for a full-time role. Firstly, New Zealand would never appoint a medical doctor as a coach on a part-time basis.
The Kiwis would make such a candidate take a sabbatical from being a doctor and commit to spending the next two years being full time with the All Blacks. And just about every quality coach would happily do that in order to be strong with the All Blacks.
It’s the same in most top national teams and that means that whoever Brendan is coaching against will be working around the clock to beat South Africa.
A part-time arrangement, where he runs his medical practise on the side or consults to another team, would be a 100-percent guarantee of failure for the Boks.
I’m sure he would be the first to admit that he’s got more to offer South Africa if he’s full time than part time.
And the other reason is that Brendan will know that the only way to prove his critics wrong is to fully commit so that there’s nowhere to hide for anybody looking for reasons why he’s not responsible for the results.
Good results is what count in South Africa.
With respect to Italy, the Springboks are not a team where people expect you to lose. In Italy, two wins in the Six Nations is seen as a great success.
South Africa is different and I would say that working odd jobs on the side would be a slap in the face for one of the top sides in the world.
I’m sure it would have been tough for a loyal guy like Brendan to turn his back on Italy, especially after defending their poor performances in the Six Nations by saying “we’re a young team and we will grow”.
Having committed to Italy until the 2019 World Cup, and then leaving after one campaign, wouldn’t have gone down well with the players.
But that proves how committed he is to the Boks and how much he believes in his ability to help them turn things around.
It’s showtime for Brendan and I’m excited to see what he’s going to do. I think his critics should reserve judgement until after South Africa has played France, New Zealand, Australia, Argentina and England.