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Loubscher exposes fractured coaching system


Transformation has been a ripe topic in the last few weeks and unfortunately is not going away and the best we can do is find ways to make it work and happen, writes  Benedict Chanakira.


We are looking to give equal opportunities to all players and coaches alike but the sad reality is, the system is broken. For years we have labelled the blame entirely at SARU’s door and at times it has been well warranted but the problem lies in the Unions as well. They are responsible for offering opportunities and allowing everyone to get a crack at coaching or playing, allowing everyone to earn the right.

It is in the coaching area which we see a system flawed beyond recognition. A few years ago we saw Victor Matfield bounce between coaching and playing, which was surprising because it was down to his superior knowledge as a player. If only the realisation be noted that playing and coaching are two hemispheres apart; as stark as the playing styles of New Zealand and Italy.

This week a familiar story broke out of former Springbok and Blue Bulls assistant coach Ricardo Loubscher taking up a role to help coach Pretoria Boys High under 14 rugby team. Credit to the school for appointing the former Springbok coach, however unions must take a closer look at themselves seriously……..Are you kidding me?

This is what is wrong with the system, from coaching at World Cups to either Monday night University matches or early Saturday morning games. It just feels like an insult. Peter de Villiers also pops to mind when you realise a man who once coached the Springboks can’t find a single job in South Africa at any of the Unions.

How is this even possible? These are both men that have been left in the wilderness. One is involved at the lowest level (under 14) of High School rugby and the other helping out in Namibia. It’s because they are surplus to requirements in their own country. These two are the highest profile names available, but that’s not where the real problem lies.

It is my understanding that every union has, or is supposed to have a coaching association who controls coaching education and the development pathways for accredited coaches.  This means somewhere someone should have a very clear idea of how many coaches we have in each union, their relevant accreditation and experience, and whether in fact they are actively coaching?

More importantly, it should also be the responsibility of the coaching association to ensure that only coaches’ with the relevant experience and accreditations are considered for professional coaching positions in each union.  But considering how coaches are appointed currently and the fact that Level 2 and in some instances even Level 3 coaches aren’t even coaching at school and club level it becomes apparent this system is completely fractured or non-existent. Not to just mention coaches of color but ALL coaches who have had to suffer being ignored or not even considered. A wealth of knowledge neglected to facilitate names earned in playing and not coaching.

Unfortunately this process is rarely used, instead appointments are done on who coached you at high school, who did you play for and it has showed up South African coaching. There is no succession in most capacities.

The SA A coach should be elected as a man that will likely take over the Springbok role. He must be familiar to the systems, players and should provide SA with clarity. I have to credit the Blue Bulls in this instance as they managed to reward the next coaches in line. When they appointed the under 19 and 21 coaches to their Currie Cup and Super Rugby roles.

Surprisingly in most of the Unions in South Africa, you will get a list of qualified coaches and in some instances Level 3 coaches who are either not in the game at club level or not involved at all. You wonder why New Zealand coaches are lauded as the best in the business.

You ask why these coaches don’t get a fair shot. Their Unions don’t deem them not the right fit and it becomes the same old problem of rather appointing an ex-player to take up the role of coaching a side or someone who has connections or family in the Union.

The system is fractured. South Africa takes pride in educating the most coaches in the world, yet some of them find themselves in shadows. Those who have been afforded years to develop player skills have been shown up on countless occasion. Can we get a criteria to appoint coaches that have earned their stripes? How can men who have coached the highest side in the land be unable to land at most a decent coaching role? Surely their experience can prove useful at one of the struggling Unions in the country at the very least or even at Junior Currie Cup levels?

South African rugby Unions need to take a look at themselves and step up. Come to the ball game and be willing to play on a similar level with everyone. Pieter de Villiers will be remembered for his quirks and bizarre rants but the man has a rugby brain. A curriculum Vitae that very few will be aware of. I met the man a few months ago and it is just ridiculous he can’t play a part in the growth and development of the game in the country. The system is non-existent. It needs to be fixed.

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  1. It is really sad, the system is broken, I just understand how PdV can’t get a gig. If Matfield comes back and takes a coaching role at the Bulls I will lose complete faith in the system.

  2. @GrootBull: It really looks if the buddy system still works nicely in our sport rugby.

    What piss me off properly is the fact that this will just stir all these racist pre-madonnas again to put another knife in SA Rugby players.

    Some journalist and these political people can not wait for rugby to mess up.

    With you on matfield, he must go back to SS

  3. You lost me when you said that these two are the highest profile names available! Seriously? You know what, South Africa (and the rest of the world) will be a better place once the "previously disadvantaged" stop feeling sorry for themselves.

  4. Two people of colour are currently going to coach the Boks, but yet you find a reason to complain. Yet you decide to live in the past. Grow up.

  5. Bring back The Great One.

    He is sorely missed.

    The ABs still have psychological scars after 2009.

  6. You lost me for the simple fact that you do not read what the writer is really talking about, and no it is not about race but our systems and the way its being manipulated to suit certain people and unions need and not for the better of the game.

    It amaze me when a black or coloured player or caoch is named people go on about race.

    You have a caoch that won one VC and are now a Super Rugby coach and then we angry with the Minister of Sport?….make sense? No it does not…

    Do you knwo about teh coacjing associantion? I doubt it becuase you only read that BC is writing about two black okes and then you make it about race. You recon BC must grow up, a bit rich if you do not knwo what it is all about my friend.

    Fact in SA we pat ouselfs on teh back because we train more coaches than any other country in the world but then 95% ofthem can not get a job and then we allow coaches not even on level 2 coaching professional teams. We have level 3 coaches not even coaching club sides

    Our system is broken….

    All unions are suppose to coching associations with a database of coaches in their provinces, with their qaulifications and experience Unions are then suppose to consult with these associations who on their part need to give forward a shortlist qualified experience canidates but in SA you are more likely to get a coach job if you were a formar player or sometimes it seems if you have family in the industry.

    Another fact under Ricardo the Boks have scored 97 tries from the back line, 13 v All Blacks, 15 v Aussies and 40 tries from forwards.

    I truely believe in todays day and age with social media we are brainwashed to believe what the mainstream media is feeding us and not knowing what the real facts are.

    Maybe before you tell a person to grow up becuase you do not either understand what he is actauly saying, get the facts and look past the black and white that is always easy to complain about.

    BC does his research before he put the FACTS to our followers, he does not have an hiden agenda and in fact he has nothing to do with SA Transformation as he is from Zimbabwe involved in rugby in his own country seemengly knowing more about the game than ceratin people by the looks of it.

    We have seriouse problems in SA in our rugby and we need seriouse people to sort thsi our and get our game to move forward.

  7. @cab: They recovered fairly well after 2010, I doubt they have any scars when they fixed the problem,learning to catch the ball, and a tactical kicking game.

  8. This is a rugby site, where should tolerate all opinions (even those of blue bulls supporters :-)). And because we live in a skewed abnormal society, does not mean we should have different opinions. Ricardo is the product of a insecure below-average coach who picked somebody to (1) apeace the political mob and (2) that will not challenge his own position. There was just 1 outcome for that decicion. Unfortunately, Pieter de Villiers (the one who played for France, and was the useless forward coach for Hak Hak) should have been in the same position – yet Disco Johnny appointed him in his mobile disco squad! Does it seem fair? Nope! Is it unconcious bias? Probably!

  9. @Bekke: Not about personalities Bekke but about qaulified experience coaches getting overlooked by my daddy’s friends daughters ex-boyfriend.

    Not many people understand the coaches development and system, and that included me until today that I was informed how it works.

    We will keep on having government interfere in our game until we use the systems for what it was designed to do and that is to develop players and coaches alike to get the opportunity in the sport.

    It will be short cited from us to think all will be good if we just add black dudes in our teams, it is a process that we need to ensure that we give all people the opportunity to reach the highest level.

    The sad part of it all is that coaches like PDV and Ricardo have reach the highest level and now just gone in the system and that is why these political guys say we are just window dressing and not ding anything for transformation.

    More so if a Level 3 coach must go and coach a high school team and a coach with lower level are coaching senior professional teams.

  10. @Bekke: O and Bekke everyone opinion is welcomed but it is not ok too call a guy out as to stop living in “previously disadvantaged” stop feeling sorry for themselves. Why would you say that because BC is not a white afrikaans dude?

    And then to tell him to grow up because all that Ben Venter saw in the whole article was that BC used two non-white guys as examples?

    Welcome opinions but then like I said before, before you make such statement of a guys who did his research on the coaches structures get a bit more info on the subject and leave your political views out of the argument

  11. @Jacques (Bunny): see where you’re coming from. I did not see his comments directed at the writer / BC, more a comment of a gatvol supporter that we can pull from the dark side. I’m really hoping AC will steer us away from the abyss, as he is for sure one who came through the ranks 100% on merit!

  12. I think we’ve gone over this before. SA is not the onky place in the world for a rugby coaxh. Working in the Bok team gives one a lot of international exposure. If you can’t use it land a gig in any one of these countries then perhaps it’s a sign that you were just not very good in the 1st place.

  13. But look, my dislike for Loubsher shadows Bunny’s dislike for AC but I’m sorry, the man has all the qualifications as well as 4 years if international experience, yes Oom Heynie ran the show but you can’t tell me her learnt nothing.

    Just being exposed to that environment as well as the SARU Mobi unit will have given him a wealth of knowledge, to then only be able to land the lowest of a high school coaching gig is absolutely crazy.

    Had he been a more popular player with absolutely no experience I bet he would be sitting pretty in a Super Rugby franchise somwhere now.

  14. Guys to be very honest with you, looking at this from outside of your country, we can see the problems in your system. I have been on courses in SA where there are black, white, coloured coaches who are never givne the chance due to the thier lack of knowing the right people. Like your players that are going over seas – your coaches will go, and have already gone for better and fair chances of coaching – nothing to do with colour but rather capability of the individual. everyone has thier problmes – NZ rubgy has problems with white kids not playing rugby due the the islands players being to big – NZ then adpoted a weight and height system which has helped them – nothing to do with colour. Some states in Australia do not even play rugby at school boy or club level, and yet they still dominate most other countries. with regards to the coaching i feel that sometimes SA appoint on colour instead of merit no doubt about that – but there are coaches in positions due to them knowing the right people – that is human as you will always go with what you know. what BC is saying i feel is that there is no system in SA rugby that allows people a fair chance to be given a team to coach to prove themselves – and if they are given a team and fail, instead of putting them back into training they simple let go of them – in this day and age to find people that are passionate about rubgy is not always easy, and these guys are the ones being left out and have to find a job in some other industry.
    SA rugby is in for a fall soon unless there is some sort of system that shows what they are doing – does SA even know what is happening with thier own union – if you go the the NZ or AUS unions you can see thier plans, what they want to do and where they are trying to go – even if people do not agree with them – and some do – they have an understanding and will support them. How many SA supporters have given up on boks rubgy because they are fed up with the system – they have no idea what is going on because they are not being informed properly. I know of an SA coach that went on a exchange program with a NZ teacher and within 3 months had resigned from his SA school to stay in NZ – this was due to the amount of knowledge he had picked up in 3 months over there. he had franchise coaches come to his session – he had them email him with drills, and helped him solves problems – basically form what he told me, they had a system to help all coaches – they had a system for coaches in schools to get advise, they had systems for club coaches to get advise, they had system for NPC coaches to get advise and so forth – they had sessions every week where any coach could go to a session in thier town to watch a Suoer rubgy coach – either current or past go over a topic in defense or attack, line outs and scrums – FREE of CHARGE – NZ rugby covered the costs. where in SA will you find that – PRIVATE schools only because they have paid for a coach to come to them. GUYS wake up and see that SA rubgy has no real plan for any distance future – HOW are they bringing in players of colour into the system – NZ had a quota system back in the 80's and 90's and now they are trying to reverse that plan as it worked TOO WELL – but they have a plan – SA rubgy is in for a shock unless they have a plan that all coaches, provinces and players understand – SA rubgy has a UK 15 ever month of SA players that are not playing in SA anymore due to this and money(which is the main pull i feel).
    it has nothing to do with colour, but rather a poor or no system that SA rugby has put in place. speak to your union and ask them for a plan on SA rubgy – woul really like to hear what you get ffrom them – i think even you guys will be shocked – if you even get a reply

  15. @Ross Nel: we can only dream! But impossible at the moment to change leadership at SARU – clan of ja-broers, covering for one another! And indeed: this is happening in all katers down to school tugby. With our talent, we should dominate world rugby, but never with vrot leaders

  16. GB

    Face facts, he is The Greatest cos no one has come close to his record v ABs. You supposed great coach could not beat ABs in 4 years the amount that pdv did it in 1 year. Don’t make excuses, those are the cold hard facts.

  17. He talked the talk and walked it too. He insulted them, got on the plane, whipped their ass, insulted them and then returned.

    They loved every moment of that beating – legend.

  18. @cab: no one can deny his record vs he all blacks which is exceptional but then he has a poor record vs the wallabies. Look i believe he deserves better treatment but we still fluctuated from 1 to 5th in the world rankings under him. And being nimber 1 for a month or two only in 2009. Remember there were a few embarrassing results for divvy too, definitely not as bad as japan though. What im saying is that heyneke cracjed in the last year and was no doubt not fit, but it was dedinitely nit moonshine andnroses under divvy like your trting to claim hell one year after we narrowly beat them in nz they came over here and nilled us…what scars?

  19. You cannot tackle the prolem from halfway up the ladder. The problem starts at primary school level. Sadly, Government is in full charge of these institutions. They need to provide the infrastructure like playing fields, funding for amenities, trainable personnell etc. Then only can the Unions and Saru assist with training of coaches, referees etc. The problem lies with GOVERNMENT. They want to precribe and rule but is not willing to accept this basic responsibilty.

  20. Bring the Wee One back, those kiwis will be shitting in their broek something vreeslik.

    I bet you he starts beating them again. PdV was that rare specimen, he selected right (apart from smit over Bismarck which ended his RWC) and he gave the players license to express themselves and he backed to the hilt (to hell with everyone else).

    He was perfect.

  21. Zzzzzzzzzzz.Funny how it’s always a color issue in South Africa .
    The eternal excuse.
    Poor me.

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