Home #LoveRugby Benedict gets to know Oom Rugby a bit better

Benedict gets to know Oom Rugby a bit better


Oom Rugby has been giving us so many insights on the game, so Benedict Chanakira decided to catch up with him and get to know the man  known to us only  as Oom Rugby.

Who does Oom Rugby support? 

Springboks and Cheetahs of course! Even though true love can be difficult sometimes hey.

Why is there a hidden Identity? You are like a super hero who is known by a few people. Will the fans ever know you? 

I prefer to keep to myself and stay out of the spotlight. I enjoy to talk rugby on Twitter and that is where I learn the most.

I am just what we can call a “rugby academic” so sometimes I worry I shoot off my mouth to real coaches and real people working with players in real situations every day, so it is better for me to just stay anonymous. Plus, there are people in rugby who know me so I will prefer if they don’t know what is my “alter-ego”!

What is the forecast like with the Springbok season?

It will be a very difficult season for the fans and the media to judge correctly. Boks will build from the ground up and start with defense, so maybe we will be perceived as being “boring” even though it is just the start of a long process. We will all say, “Did we get better? Are the Boks on an upward curve?”. It will be hard to tell – the only way to judge fairly will be on our defense, our set piece (including re-starts and exits), our breakdown work and the spirit of the group being willing to get up and making another tackle for each other.

These are some of the non-negotiables I will personally be satisfied with and then be willing to see how it evolve from there. You know Ben, I have seen how little time even Super rugby coaches has with players – there is so many hundreds of bases to cover from fitness to lineout calls to scrums to mauls to attack patterns to recovery to video work to contact technique etc.

They will say “Ok this afternoon we will have 7 minutes for breakdown work, then 6 minutes for ball placement” and they time it and they stick to it!

So, a Bok coach has even LESS time. What will you focus on? The truth is you must decide what things you will NOT focus on. It is just the way it is.

I expect Allister to focus on defense as the foundation to start building. It is also the foundation of attack, and of course it is the foundation of the team spirit.

If he is a smart man he will employ many Lions players in the “spine” of the team because then he gets a effective “ready-made” attack!

Which player/s do you look forward to seeing most in 2017? Why? 

I have always been a big Elton Jantjes fan and critic. It is a compliment to a player to hold him to the ultimate standard of Test rugby because that means you think he is capable. Elton has poor game management and defense – that is a fact. Last year and this year, he has shown willingness to learn and improve and he did.

I hear they been working hard with him at the Lions and I think he is at the point where he is becoming a Test 10. We all know how he can bring the attack to life – his ability to play

flat and late is the most wonderful thing and not many guys can do it. We just want to see him be able to kick the Boks out of trouble, or play tactical chess when the opposition

is putting on the pressure. I look forward to seeing how he does this year and I hope Allister creates structures and options around him that bring the best out of him.

Otherwise I want to see if Malcolm Marx can throw safely, I want to see a genuine blindside stick up his hand, and I want us to develop a settled back three.

Are we as fans of the game, too harsh on Allister and his management?

No, we are not. In the retrospect, we must question Allister’s understanding of the fine margins, excellence and high performance required at Test level. When he took

the job he was happy to work with the junior staff that was forced on him. That was a massive alarm bell. You will not agree to build a bridge with some junior engineers if you know

how technically difficult it is and how precise you must be. Well I hope he understands now! We were patient in the beginning because it takes 3 years to build a team (ask Johan Ackerman).

We quickly saw that Allister was in very deep, NOW. He is a fantastic guy and the players love him but he needs to bring in a hard edge with himself to find that extra 2% that determine 3rd place

on the rugby rankings or 7th place. Never mind 1st place! I want him to succeed but if there is no clear direction or improvement then we must look elsewhere. We must question

the people who appoint the coaches too. They chase away our intellectual capital and do not seem to understand either, that the modern Test game is won or lost by – for instance – whether

a guy gets technically low enough at a ruck to get quick ball and set up a try. We are talking a matter of millimeters, but our administrators still think it’s a yards game.

What has been your favorite match of 2017? 

I won’t say it was nice to watch because it was frightening but Crusaders against Highlanders was incredible. New Zealand has taken defence, technical execution and tactical kicking to

another level and you just have to appreciate it.

What is your ideal Springbok 23? 

This is always a lekker game to play! Ok no injuries or conditioning questions or overseas limits here is my XV:

  1. Beast (I want experience, I don’t care about anything else!)
  2. Bismarck (Dominates in the tight, and lineouts is most important aspect of play.)
  3. Marcel van der Merwe (A specialist. Playing great in France)
  4. Eben Etzebeth
  5. Pieter-Steph du Toit
  6. Jaco Kriel (I want speed to the ball)
  7. Franco Mostert (I need a physical and fast big guy. Our third lock)
  8. Warren Whitely (I want to play a high tempo game)
  9. Ross Cronje (Calm, good decisions. And combination between 9 & 10 is crucial)
  10. Elton Jantjes (On attack he makes the players around him look good. Simple as that)
  11. Sbu Nkosi (Every coach has a bolter! And Sbu is a future star – Physical, fast and skillful)
  12. Frans Steyn (my 12 must be a ball carrier, passer or kicking threat)
  13. Lukhanyo Am (Physical, good defence and good on attack)
  14. Ruan Combrinck (Good counter attack, physical and good kick too)
  15. Willie Le Roux (He was a superstar who carried the Boks for two years don’t forget. Give him the right structures and let him shine.)

If you were to fix South African rugby, what would you fix first? 

Simply, coaches. Train more coaches, give them more support, give them pathways, train more specialist coaches.  Monitor them, scout for more, improve them, build a ladder of thousands of hungry, technical coaches from primary schools all the way up to the Boks.

Thanks for your time Oom!

It is a pleasure! Always great to talk rugby!



  1. Jirre tog asb, let us hope oom R is wrong about more gdam defense. This poephol coach focused on that last year already and we got pakslae.

  2. Howzit Oom… good to hear a bit more about you… not giving much away lol!

    I’d have to disagree with you on a few positions there… but not by much…

    “WLR carried the Boks for the last two seasons” We were definitely watching different games.

    @cab: No actually he didn’t hence we leaked more tries than we have ever in a season and Brendan Venter has had to be brought in.

    They totally forgot what tactical and proficient exit kicking was… forgot what hitting break-downs at pace and en-masse, forgot what a counter-ruck was, forgot what the pick-n-go is… and all his talk of set-piece they rarely even counter-jumped opposition LO ball even with the two tallest locks around…

    Was simply attempt to run everything laterally… no dummy-runners, no drawing of man… schoolboy’s have more inventive backline plays from set-pieces…

  3. Bryce – as soon as this conservative catch stops talking about defence and the kicking game, then we got a chance. until then we get exactly the same.

    Agree that the pack is being coubter-rucked and beaten. I think Oom’s team is much better, and he picks a bolter. Fk knows what this coach is doing, maybe another gdam indaba. Indaba here, indaba there, indaba everywhere.

  4. I dunno how Mr. Chanakira gets these interviews, especially with the Great Oom R.

    Now all we need is one with Mitchell and why the Bulls are so crud.

  5. Aldo – I see Mitchell says he loves SA. Amazing considering how he been treated by some of our genius’

  6. @cab:

    What else is he going to say… he’s lives in the country, has been in world class club rugby wilderness for quite some time now… and has been handed one of the deepest talent pools in the country.

    Going to be interesting to see how he handles government and local political meddling… South African rugby needs the Bulls to be firing.

  7. I think Willy was the official carrier of the Bok mascot – so maybe it was just lost in translation.

  8. @Bekke:

    I thought he was simply there to teach the touch-judge’s how to catch a sneaky no-look pass… or wave in the next Air Mauritius flight onto the SAA runway after attempting a tackle?

  9. Brycie – I salute Mitchie-baby. He’s been given a hard time by the locals and just has a laugh. All I want to know is that all the Bulls press conference, who is the old ballie doing the talking, I think he should be picked for TH.

  10. This was a shining example of BC’s interviewing nous.
    These were very DIRE times for SA rugby.
    Things have definitely improved once AC got told to beat it.
    Who won’t Japan allow to coach there?

Comments are closed.