Home Opinion Where lies SA’s Super Rugby problem?

Where lies SA’s Super Rugby problem?


I have seen allot of talk about the South Africa poor show yet again in this years Super Rugby competition.

With only the Lions and the Sharks able to get a playoff spot one can not hide from the fact that our teams have been below from what is expected.

The Bulls coach John Mitchell has this week been speaking to the media and put it down to the quality of their squads.

We’re guessing and thumb-sucking to think that our sides can win a tournament of this magnitude, especially with the amount of games that need to be played,’ Mitchell said. ‘To rely on just a few world-class and Super Rugby-quality players is a joke.

We, as South African teams, simply don’t have squads that are of Super Rugby quality in its entirety. Only when we start creating squads of Super Rugby quality overall will a South African team win the tournament.”

I want to take it to a step further in saying that before you even look at the quality of the squads we need to look at the qaulity of coaching.

I know coaching and gameplan will differ from person to person but we can with a clear mind ask who of the four current coaches are actually good enough for this position.

Is it not the coaches that pick his squad and buy the players to strengthen theses squads?

Stormers coach Robbie Fleck was pulled from U20 team to Super Rugby and after three years have failed miserably in converting the Stormers to a side that can win the competition.

I remember him saying he will win the competition in three years. Well he has achieve in three years 5 wins from 15 matches so far.

It is not that WP Rugby do not have the talent, in fact they have some of the best junior teams in the country but does not seemed to be able to pull these youngsters to stay in the Cape.

When they buy players it seems they also only by players with and after sell by date.

At the Sharks they have Robert Du Preez and in my mind he has failed as much as Fleck with the Sharks in the two years he has been the head coach.

Every year we say at the start of the season that the best team on paper from a South African point of view is the Sharks but every year they seemed to fail.

With the quality of players du Preez should be better off than just 6 wins from 14 matches.

I put it down to poor coaching.

With the Lions Swys de Bruin have not come out with praises this year after taking over from Ackermann.

Although he had plenty of injuries the Lions just do not have the same oemf as what they had with Ackermann in charge.

We once knew when the Lions backs got the ball the chances are 99% that they will score tries and this season it just did not happen or they let more pass them than what they were able to put on the board.

So the question is again if Swys are a brilliant coach when he has a strong head coach or is he able to make the switch to head coach.

The Bulls have a coach that have coach locally, in Super Rugby and at International level.

At the start of the season they showed so much improvement but as the season went one they faded away as the promises from politicians after elections.

One can give him and his Bulls a chance to grow as it is only there first year together but plenty of work needs to be done to get quality players to the union and to the level to compete for the title.

The sad part is that South Africa have good quality coaches that has just been shown the middle finger who are now coaching overseas or at lower levels.

Coaches like Johan Ackermann, Jimmy Stonehouse, Jake White, Gary Gold, Heyneke Meyer, Alan Solomons, Frans Ludeke and Nick Mallett are all quality coaches with the CV to proof it but do not get top jobs in SA.

Not one except Mitchell maybe has better CV’s than anyone of the above mentioned one’s, so why are we letting them go to coach overseas?

Last year SARU enabled Franchises to get up to 80% investors in the franchises and up to date not one franchise have took advantage of this policy.

If we do not get investors to get the money in we will not be able to keep and compete with the European and Japanese markets and we will keep having to breed new stars for other clubs.

At the end for me we need to get the quality coaches back in SA so that they can get the quality of players back in our teams and maybe then we will be able to compete for the Super Rugby title again.

Franchises needs to get investors in to have the backing to buy and keep the quality players.

If we do not start this now we are heading nowhere and our Super Rugby teams will stay in just keeping up the numbers.


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  1. Until you travel to Oz or NZ yourselve, you will never understand the impact it has on the body. I have travelled West (to NY) and was fine after just 1 day. But when I travelled to Australia I was fucked (at least more than usual!) for nearly a week! We will always (and ALWAYS) be at a handicap in this supershit.

  2. Ja the travel is bad, but for me the bigger problem is that about 50% of our worldclass talent is playing overseas so our Super teams will never have the depth of nz or even Oz. Serfontein is a huge loss 23, one of our future stars, and already off to France. Transformation is another criteria that just adds to it. No surprises but expectations do need to be managed.

    So Mitchell is right that at present, SA don’t have those championship winning teams – the challenge is to create them. At present all the SA sides are all the same average quality – none of them stand out.

    But this is maybe not a bad thing for national level, because Rassie can pick-and–choose who too select. I think at least two SA teams could be picked that could give the ABs a good run for their money, but ja we don’t have their depth.

  3. @Bekke:

    Cry me a river pussy.

    I have had no such trouble over two decades of travel.

    If you cannot see the elephant in the room why 400 Japie players are in the NH… you are a fucking dolt.

  4. @bryce_in_oz:

    I agree with you, I was in California for a month, and came back to the UK, was good and tired, had a night’s sleep, and I was fine the next day, no jet lag and such crap.

    I can appreciate older people having difficulty, but these are strong young men in the flair of their life.

  5. Why are we crap at Super Rugby apart from the obvious 400+ players overseas?
    Players: Grass is greener on the other side attitude. Yes, money and security big factor for players moving overseas and these get younger by the day. I get requests from Schoolboys in SA to come over to play for my club in Austria – all they want is a part time job and a place to stay. Unions can not build continuity like Leinster to build up a championship team/squad.
    Coaches: Same as the players – PS: my club needs a coach so if you know someone that wants to move to the heart of the Alps and coach a bit… I have no time with my new ventures as photographer etc.
    The coaches coaching the Super Rugby franchises are out of their depth, especially Fleck and RdP. These big franchises need to spend more on getting the best coach which in return will motivate players to stay and play under a great coach for a year or 2 longer than the current are willing to do. This will create that continuity and in turn show in the results.

    Motivation: Super rugby changes year by year and has lost its glamour! Super 10 and even Super 12 still had a meaning for spectators, players and coaches as a great tournament to win or do well in. Now it is an over-hyped mess that no-one takes seriously incl. the players hence they move…
    This affects SA players more than Australia that has no traditional competition. NZ because they are organized around the AB’s and the SR comp is where they showcase their skill to get that AB’s jersey. This lacks in SA due to the Bok jersey that has lost its appeal thanks to the run of poor results and political meddling.
    However, the way Rassie has taken on this issue has IMO made it easier to understand and even support. He has the talent coming through but it takes time and continuity to build a championship team. Jake did not do it all in one go – the core was his U21 side…

  6. What Bryce said…

    Amazingly when our coaches go to overseas clubs they are sudden;y super successful…

    OOPSie DAIsy

    iT Is tHe pooR cOaChIng of SouTh aFrICa

  7. @Welshbok die Brandwag: That means fokol Welshbok – your body clock was already on UK time and the re-adjustment was nothing. In the same way I need very little re-adjustment coming back from Oz or NY. Same for you Bryce, as your body clock is already set on down-under. Ask anybody LIVING in the SA / UK time-zone for an extended period, to go to Oz for a week. No matter what you try (e.g. convert to Oz time-zone on the plane) you are still only at 30% of your performance on day 3 after arrival – and then only close to 70% by day 5. So no matter what else you throw in the mix, we are never close to 80% of our peak on any given Saturday when we play down under. And if I am a pussy, then I am in serious trouble – as you-know-who is visiting the UK on Thursday….

  8. @JT: Agree. I think we must make a list of all the factors and then rank / rate them. I agree that a big impact is the political situation, and the fact that the 30 test rule has been relaxed (so why the F would you stay in SA if you are already close to the Bok mix)?
    I am not sold by “SA coaches are super successful when overseas”. AC bly kak. Ludeke is still average at best. And Hak Hak gaan kak in Paris. Ackers could not improve his team in 2018 – so jury still out. Gold was kak at Worcester, and it is still debatable what his value is at US. Parabat Loffie Elof returned without any major achievement. Docter Venter could do fokol at Italy. Gert Small was OK as forward coach for Ireland – but he was not even considered for replacement there. Jake? He was always excellent. So who are these “super successful” coaches?

  9. @Bekke: Zondach could achieve nothing and returned to create an Academy in the Cape. Solomons was good in SA, but could not really take it to the next level in the UK. Nick Mallet could not even get Italy to win anything in Europe!!!! General Franco returned prematurely from overseas (and his results in Vrystaat and assistant Bokdrol says everything).

  10. Francois Pienaar won EPC
    Brendan Venter & Gary Gold too
    Gert Smal at Ireland
    Jake White
    Saracens is the most successful club in England since Zondagh
    Nic Mallet’s Paris side won everything… since he left they can’t even get into ERC qualifiers
    Even Alistair’s Canon Eagles have been decent in Japan under him
    Your nemesis Jimmy Stonehouse has had excellent seasons with Brave Lupus
    Hak Hak HAS done well in the UK and France

    Sorrie for yoooooo

  11. @DavidS: nou praat jy regtig kak. Hak hak’s team has not even played in France. And please enlighten me what he has done in UK? Jy eet te veel spookasem.

  12. @Bekke: yes his team hasn’t played yet, but in the 9 months or so at Leicester, he took a team that failed to quilify for play offs the previous month, to the quarter finals when he had to leave due to family problems. He did not leave on a bad footing either

    “Heyneke is a very honourable man and, after spending time discussing the situation with his family, he felt it unfair on both parties to carry on indefinitely and has offered his resignation. While disappointed that he is unable to carry on the good work here, we sincerely wish him and his family well for the future. They will always be welcome at Leicester.”

  13. @JT: PS: my club needs a coach so if you know someone that wants to move to the heart of the Alps and coach a bit… I have no time with my new ventures as photographer etc.

    Maybe you need to get hold of Bennie who is doing well at the Kwasse.

  14. @Bekke:

    Haha I was not referring directly to you… and yes Sadiq’s London is about to embarrass itself in a major way.


    You can add Dave Wessels to that list after what he achieved for WA rugby from grass-roots to the Force and now at the Rebels who might just sneak into the playoffs for their first time ever.

  15. Players and coaches pretty much the same. Rugby ingrained in history like NZ. We got the talent, some better than others. Problem is we were isolated for 40 years so now playing catchup. I reckon it’s now changing, SA playing more attacking rugby and looking at foreign coaches , etc.

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