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SA Rugby set criteria for Super Rugby

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Representatives of the six Super Rugby franchises on Tuesday agreed a set of criteria to determine the four teams to represent South Africa in the competition from 2018, SA Rugby confirmed on Tuesday.

At the first sitting of new Franchise Committee – established by SA Rugby in December to streamline and professionalise the running of rugby – the CEOs of the franchises and other committee members identified areas on which the teams would be measured.

The agreed headline criteria, which have been weighted, are: financial and economic sustainability; sustainable support base; team performance; and stadium and facilities. These criteria were further broken down in sub-criteria and measurement mechanisms for each of these were also set and agreed upon.

SA Rugby will now collate the applicable data to prepare a recommendation to go back to the Franchise Committee, to make a decision on the final four teams. This proposal will be sent to the Executive Council before it will go to the General Council for ratification.

“The committee looked at the key question of ‘what are the fundamental criteria required to make a successful South African Vodacom Super Rugby franchise?” said SA Rugby CEO, Jurie Roux.

“We have reached this painful point partly because of over-optimism and partly because we have not always taken a hard-nosed business view of what is good for rugby. It is the right process with a challenging outcome for two of our franchises.

“But they have all engaged in the process at the end of which the data will drive the conclusion. We have more work to do but we are moving the process along as swiftly as is possible.”

The meeting was chaired by Mr Mark Alexander, SA Rugby President. Its other members are the deputy and vice presidents, Francois Davids and James Stoffberg respectively, as well as Roux.

The Franchise Committee will consider the data at their next meeting, scheduled to take place within the next two to three weeks.

Rumors getting louder on Erasmus return to SA rugby

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According to Hendrik Cronje from Rapport, Rassie Erasmus is busy making a u-turn back to South African rugby.

 

According to the Sunday Newspaper Erasmus may even be in his new position as Director of Rugby as early as June this year. They reported that negotiations between Erasmus, SARU and his current club Munster are at an advance stage and they claim that it is just a question of when rather than if.

Erasmus, if indeed returning to SA Rugby, will take up a position of Director of Rugby, a bit different from the position he held previously as General Manager of the Rugby Department.

Erasmus new position will include looked after Sevens, U20’sand SA Schools and all these teams coaches will reported to Erasmus. The Springboks were previously on a law onto themselves reporting directly to Hoskins. Hoskins never bought into it that the Springbok coach should fall under Erasmus because he would have lost power over the Springboks and Springbok coach. He wanted the Springbok coaches to report to him directly.

This was one of the biggest reasons why Erasmus left in the first place.

Erasmus resigned last year about this time to take up the position as Director of Rugby at Munster after a fallout with then SARU President Orengan Hoskins. It is widely reported that Erasmus wanted the Springboks to be coached by the then Mobi Unit so that Coetzee could have been phased into the roll as Springbok coach.

Hoskins did not buy into the the vision of Erasmus nor did he agree to Erasmus plan to assist Coetzee when he was appointed Springbok coach.

Erasmus will have full control over the Springboks, Junior Springboks, Sevens Springboks and South African School sides if he is to be returning to South Africa. Erasmus will add great value to South African Rugby getting things back on track like players contracts, appointment of the national coaches in the junior teams and getting the High Performance Unit back up and running which he started when he joined SA Rugby.

Erasmus return may also bring back the defense guru Jacques Nienaber and scrum guru Pieter De Villiers to add some more value to the Springboks and SA Rugby national teams.

So if all the stars align maybe SARU can not just get Brendon Venter services at the Springboks but may also have Erasmus, Nienaber and De Villiers back at Springbok rugby to help the struggling Coetzee.

Copy the Kiwis – Jake

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People who say that South African teams should play the Kiwi way must understand that we can’t play like the Kiwis because we’re not the Kiwis. And the Kiwis can’t play like South African teams, because they’re not South African.

Rugby must never lose that – we all know how Fiji and Argentina play the game, and in all sports there are styles that are unique to various teams.

Whether it’s soccer, basketball or even American football – not every team has a quarterback who can throw the deep ball, so they adapt their style to play a shorter passing game.

In all team sports, you have to find a way of playing that suits you as a club and there are ways to be successful within that.

There isn’t just one way to play to be successful and, when it comes to South African rugby, we must aim to be unique in what we do well.

But where we can and must copy New Zealand is in what they do off the field. Let me say that it’s not just about copying and pasting. We must copy, edit and then paste.

The one thing that they get right in New Zealand is that they make every rugby decision with the goal of the All Blacks being successful.

A few years ago when they were struggling to string wins together in World Cups, the Kiwis relooked at their domestic competition. They looked for ways to ensure that there were knockout games in the ITM Cup to expose their players to big-game experiences with a view to helping the All Blacks, and they also got that from the Ranfurly Shield which is a challenge competition.

If you were listing South African rugby on the stock market, it would be a sought-after share just because of the country’s rugby history and ethos, the TV numbers, and the highly ranked rugby schools. So what’s missing, why aren’t our results reflecting that value?

What’s missing is that in South Africa, decisions are not made primarily with the best interests of the national team in mind. We have to consider that question when we ask about the quality of our domestic competition and how we plan on keeping players. Where’s the pathway for coaches and players? Why isn’t the franchise system working? Why aren’t we sharing intellectual property and resources?

Another thing that South Africans like to talk about is centralised contracting. It’s not just the central contracting of players that’s so important, it’s that every coach and conditioning coach is also paid by the national union, and it’s therefore in everyone’s interest to make sure that the players are looked after.

In South Africa, there are some coaches who blatantly refuse to share their intellectual property. The reality is that you wouldn’t get a job in New Zealand rugby with that mindset. There, players and coaches don’t have the right to say they’re going to do things their way.

That doesn’t mean they can’t come up with their own ideas; it’s not to inhibit coaches, but everything fits into the framework of where they want to be as a national team.

New Zealand’s players also play in combinations that are chosen to help the All Blacks perform. It’s not by chance that they move one player to another region to develop a combination, and I’m not talking about the average player – there are some really good players that have to move.

In the Six Nations this past weekend, Dylan Hartley threw the ball to the back of the England lineout to Courtney Lawes three times and Jonathan Joseph went through on first phase.

In the English premiership, Hartley throws the ball to Lawes at the back of Northampton’s lineout every week.

It’s the same with the Lions. There’s no doubt that they were so successful last year because they’ve had to play together for so long, and those those combinations have grown together.

So you have to ask why the franchise system in South Africa isn’t about the best players playing across the franchises. You have to live in Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg, Pretoria, Bloemfontein or Port Elizabeth to play Super Rugby – it’s bizarre!

You can’t tell me that, among all the other provinces, none of those players are good enough to make one of the franchises. We’re saying that there aren’t five players from the Pumas and Griquas who are good enough to make one of the franchise teams.

A couple of years ago, I coached a renegades team against some of the Super Rugby franchises and we won. And in the games we didn’t win, it went all the way down to the wire.

There are a lot of guys making careers of rugby overseas who people in South Africa have never heard of. If they’re not good enough to play Super Rugby, how are they doing it?

So there are things about New Zealand rugby that we should be copying, editing and pasting, and there’s nothing wrong with that – it’s common sense.

But one thing I’ve realised in rugby is that, just because something is common sense doesn’t mean it’s common practice.

By Jake White for 

The dark side: Profiling – Transformation Savior or Curse?

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Profiling is the use of personal characteristics or behavior patterns to make generalizations about a person, as in gender profiling.

The desire to be physically dominant has seen coaches neglect game intelligence, tactical abilities and intuitive coaching into players? “When all else matches-up, skill and mental resilience are king”. Physiology plays a key requisite in elite sport regardless.

This is one of the most fascinating topics anywhere but South Africa due to the complications of the socio-political relevance of sport and race in the country.

Some sports are not strict on physical requirements, while most have strict requirements like rugby. So, is there such a thing as player profiling and does it exist in South African rugby?

In terms of transformation you may have to look at in-depth proper scouting to find the players who meet the profile required for specific positions, yet flyhalf, centre, scrumhalf, lock and number eight have been difficult to transform.

Trends in the game (Youth Weeks, Super Rugby & Springboks) have proven this and the question is why?

Checking the Springboks list –Transformation has been a long term process and has speeding it up resulted in player profiles? The familiar trend sees players of color dominate: the flank, outside backs and front row positions. These are positions aiding transformation. The question is, are they the best positions suited to players of color or the easiest route to transformation?

Thus, there is a higher chance for a player of color to make the Springboks or the Super Rugby squad in those positions, while also limiting other ethnic groups in those slots. Transformation must allow for all positions to be developed.

Professor Ross tucker gave us a bit of insight into the science behind physiology and contributing factors to sport performance.

“The differences between people, ranging from ethnicity to the obvious things we see and the more complex underlying things we can’t, exist at an individual AND population level”. So, for instance, take Kenya’s great marathon runners.  That happens not necessarily because there is something unique about a Kenyan runner, though there may be.  It’s not known yet.

Instead, Kenya’s success may be because across the population of Kenya, per 100 people in that specific area of the Rift Valley when the Nandi sub tribe of the Kalenjin tribe live, there are more people out of 100 who have “the right properties” to become great runners. The starting assumption here is that success at the sport (marathon running in this case) requires a set of characteristics that are influenced by genetics.  Things like the heart, lungs, blood, and muscles, which act together to make a great marathon runners. Hypothetically, imagine there are a potential 80 out of 100 Kenyans in that region that have what it takes, compared to say 5 out of 100 Italians, or South Africans.

Add to that the environment, the altitude, their diet, their culture, the physical activity they do from a young age, and compare that to other countries. Suddenly it is not so hard to see why Kenya, as a population, produces 60% to 80% of the world’s top marathon runners.

The same model could be used to argue why transformation needs to take a deeper look beyond simple factors like nutrition and instilling of the rugby culture among the majority of the black community.

“Let’s say you’re trying to identify talented athletes in a sport where height is important – basketball, handball, even tennis, and certain positions in rugby. ‘The entry requirement to play the sport at the top level might be that you’re 1.85m tall. That means that from some populations, say The Netherlands, for instance, the average man is almost there, and so you’re far more likely to find your tall athlete in a Dutch group than say, a Japanese group, where the average man is considerably shorter than the average Dutch man.

“This happens because there are just inherent differences between populations. These are realities, and they constrain your ability to find the criteria you’re looking for in some, whereas it may be easier in others.”

“It’s important to understand that within every population, there will ‘outliers’ – some Dutch men will be 1.70m, but some will be 2m tall.  Some Japanese men will be taller than most Dutch men.  So it’s not about a blanket generalization.  It’s about appreciating probabilities of finding a set of required qualities in one population compared to another, and accepting that you might have limited influence over it.

This is critical because finding that set of qualities costs resources time, money, energy – and if you spend your resources without respecting this concept then you’re wasting them.  You don’t, for instance, look for world class basketball players in a Pygmy population, even if one person out of a thousand is tall enough.  Instead, you look where you know you’re more likely to find what you need.  The trick is understanding the middle ground between wastage and opportunity.’

‘So, what happens in a talent ID system? If you take a number of different groups of people, the ideal is that they all have equal starting potential. If you now pick the best players for a sport that requires height, then what might happen is that you’d have five times as many Dutch people in it than Japanese people, and that’s the outcome of how genetic differences play out across populations.  If you want to complete the picture, then you factor in things like culture, which drives the opportunities people get to play the sport, and thus get noticed.

So now, let’s think about SA Rugby – I have no doubt, though I don’t have data, that the average Afrikaans man is taller than the average man from every other ethnic group in this country.  You could probably argue the same for many other characteristics, including the age of maturation, which is really important in rugby because the younger you mature, the more likely you are to be noticed, identified as a potential rugby player and therefore get the best coaching and playing opportunities.  I suspect that this happens in the Afrikaans population more than it does particularly compared to black African populations.

So if you are looking for locks, or big flanks, or front rows, then you are MORE LIKELY to find the required physical attributes in some groups compared to others, and you’re more likely to be biased towards finding them younger.  And that puts you on a path towards a bias in selection that endures from school into professional rugby.”

What players of color are renowned for are their ability to step, their speed and their elusive skill sets – 47% of players of color play in the outside backs in Super Rugby. Few meet the physical requirements of being 2 m tall athletes, weighing 125kg to play lock or number 8 for example.

Add to the fact, that not all positions require size, which means transformation should look to compliment all ethnic groups. Bringing all strengths to the table.

So for transformation, the question is not “how many black Africans are in the teams”, it should be whether they are in the right fit for the team.

‘What we currently don’t understand in South African sport is how the physical attributes and their development through the years play a role in age group rugby when players are identified.

For instance, do any physical differences, which strongly influence performance, exist at age 13 or age 16 or age 18 as players are identified? Will physical developments stagnate for others at certain stages, while others continue? Yes. So will this be factored in when we anticipate a 16 year old becoming a Springbok lock, flanker, winger, etc. one day? With the way we do transformation, the answer is no.

One area to note is that physical development has seen differences in the selections of the Grant Khomo and Craven week selections of the same age group due to either physical developments or skill development.

When talent identifications are made early, you find that players of color selected at 16 may not develop further as compared to other ethnic groups physically.

There is a difference in Craven Week demographics and Grant Khomo for the various year groups. The question is are we scientifically looking at the progress or is the progression and selections of players in certain position down to stereotype? Now, physically it is difficult to control. It is the other aspects of a player that can be controlled that coaches are not taking responsibility for all round development in the event of change.

Physiology plays such a vital role in rugby, the negligence of game intelligence, skill, tactical and technical development of players is harmful – it becomes one of the biggest deterrents to player development and transformation. Changing this will stop profiling.

The flaw in the transformation system has been the development of players of color in certain positions and not all positions in reference to reaching the highest levels, while also preventing other ethnic groups from thriving in certain positions.

Player welfare and rugby safety under the spotlight

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Representatives of SA Rugby’s BokSmart rugby safety programme and the Chris Burger Petro Jackson Players’ Fund (CBPJF) will join forces with a number of international rugby bodies at a Rugby Nations Workshop in Cape Town on Thursday and Friday, where post-injury player welfare and rugby safety matters will be placed under the spotlight.

The closed two-day workshop, hosted by the Players’ Fund, will feature representatives from South Africa, England, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina and Japan, and will include members of the respective Rugby Unions, Rugby Player’s Funds and Rugby Safety programmes.

The jam-packed programme will cover five core topics namely acute spinal cord injury challenges; effecting player welfare and rugby safety changes at ground zero; the “near miss” conundrum; how science and research can be used to effect change; and concussion and head trauma.

The objectives of the workshop include (amongst others):

  • The creation of an effective model that all Players’ Funds can strive towards to create long-term fiscal and operational sustainability, and sustainable independence for their members;
  • Gaining a better understanding of the Third World challenges experienced in South Africa in dealing with spinal cord injuries, and to share similar experiences, and solutions;
  • To move towards a shared operational definition of a “near-miss” incident and a unified operational strategy on whether a player can safely return to playing rugby or not following such an injury or after having undergone cervical spinal surgery;
  • Share different scientific models used to drive evidence-driven change in rugby safety policies, protocols and regulations and to allow the Players’ Funds or Rugby Unions to engage more on these models to tailor them to suit their situation;
  • Provide potential solutions to improve the implementation of and compliance to safety-related interventions on the ground and to share the challenges experienced in collecting accurate serious injury data;
  • Gain insight into the way concussion is managed at the different unions and to empower them with alternative strategies to manage concussion effectively and efficiently on the ground.

“Rugby safety and the prevention of catastrophic injuries is one of the main objectives for rugby federations world-wide, said SA Rugby’s senior manager for Rugby Safety, Dr Wayne Viljoen.

“However, when things go wrong on the field, a focused and effective support strategy is hugely valuable to those catastrophically injured players. So we are delighted to join forces with the Players’ Fund and embark on this information-sharing practice with some of the other top rugby nations in the world.

“The structure of this workshop is unique in the sense that there are sections dedicated to vigorous discussions after each topical session, which will allow information sharing, learning and debate.  This will then be captured into a closed report, meaning that everyone will walk away with something tangible, which will benefit us all.

“The fact that this workshop will involve a collaborative effort between a few top rugby nations is also significant, as it will assist in creating a pragmatic and more aligned approach to improving the effectiveness of rugby safety interventions, the treatment of concussion and catastrophic injuries, and equally important, player welfare post-injury.”

New race quotas for SA rugby, cricket and netball revealed

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This post first appeared on www.businesstech.co.za

Trade union Solidarity has revealed new sport quotas that will be introduced to South African rugby, netball, soccer, athletics and cricket within the next year – failing which, the federations stand to lose millions in government funding.

The union received the documents after announcing that it would be making an application under the Promotion of Access to Information Act (Paia), to compel the Ministry to disclose information with regard to its transformation targets.

This follows an April 2016 declaration by Sports Minister, Fikile Mbalula, who noted that in the event of a federation failing to meet the transformation targets, he would consider applying any of the following penalties:

  • Withdrawal of government’s recognition of the particular federation as a National Federation – such a decision would be published in the Government Gazette;
  • Revoking the privilege of a federation to host and bid for major and mega international tournaments in the Republic and the withdrawal of recognition of the said federations;
  • Withdrawal of the federation’s opportunity to be awarded national colours via SASCOC to players who participate under the auspices of that particular federation in order to represent the Republic internationally and nationally;
  • Termination of the relationship and any cooperation between SRSA and said federations due to non-compliance
  • Withdrawal of political support and endorsements for sponsorships.

While Mbalula has been praised in some sectors for his radical transformation policies, the move has also come under intense scrutiny, as those federations which do not comply with the targets are in line to lose billions of rands’ worth of possible revenue.

“Although we are still processing all the documentation, it is already clear that the way in which transformation targets are applied in fact comes down to a quota system, something explicitly prohibited by the Constitution, the Employment Equity Act as well as various international sports conventions,” said Johan Kruger, deputy chief executive of Solidarity.

“We will therefore undoubtedly bring further legal action to put an end the use of quotas in sport.”

While Afriforum is yet to release an official response on the proposed transformation targets, it has released the transformation target documents as provided by the ministry of sports.

Note that these are the transformation targets. Not all of the current federations and associations have fully complied with the proposed changes.

Rugby

  • The document forecasts that 60% of full-time staff will be black South Africans by 2018.
  • The document forecasts that 45% of national players (male) will be black South Africans by 2018.
  • The document forecasts that 80% of national players (female) will be black South Africans by 2018.
  • The document forecasts that 60% of nationally accredited coaches will be black South Africans by 2018.

Athletics

  • ASA will have to assign 10% more African women to its executive board committees within the next year.
  • The document forecasts that 84% of males will be black South Africans by 2018.
  • The document forecasts that 40% of females will be black South Africans by 2018.
  • The document forecasts that 100% of coaches will be black South Africans by 2018.
  • The document forecasts that 84% of physiotherapists will be black South Africans by 2018.

Soccer

  • The sports ministry actually expects black representation to decrease in South African football by 2018 with full time black staff members decreasing from 94% in 2014 to 70% by December 2018.
  • Likewise it expects a drop from 88% in 2014 to 75% of Black African players which will be made up for by a 13% increase in “generic black” players.
  • There is however expected to be a 5% increase across the board in female black players at the national level.

Cricket

  • In September 2016, the CSA declared that with immediate effect the national team to play an average minimum of 54% black players and average minimum of 18% black African players over the season.
  • The targets will be an average of the cumulative representation across all three formats in a season.
  • The document forecasts that 60% of males will be generic black South Africans by 2019.
  • It also notes that that 60% of female cricket players will be generic black South Africans by 2019.
  • The document has also forecast that 80% of South African umpires will be black by 2020.

Netball

  • The document forecasts that 85% of full-time staff will be black South Africans by 2018.
  • It forecasta that 95% of male netball players will be black by 2018.
  • It forecasts that 71% of male netball players will be black by 2018.
  • It has also forecast that 80% of coaches will be black by 2018.

This post first appeared on www.businesstech.co.za

BlitzBoks – The beacon of South African rugby

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“We’re average players who put their bodies on the line for each other,” said Seabelo Senatla, these are words that have a hint of truth, writes Benedict Chanakira

Most of the Sevens players are on the fringes of their XV’s teams or not contracted at all, yet they have been exceptional.

Finalists in Cape Town, champions in Dubai and Wellington the Blitzboks have started well. Twelve points clear of Olympic champions Fiji ahead of Sydney; South Africa are currently favorites to win the World Series. Having under achieved last season with an underwhelming Series and Olympic display the Blitzboks have showed vast improvement.

The beacon of South African rugby at the moment, the Blitzboks are flying in the HSBC World Sevens Series. The 7s outfit finds itself away from the limelight and this has allowed the side to finally regain the form that made them 2010 World Series champions. The benefits of little political meddling for now.

Neil Powell paid tribute to the entire system which is encapsulated in an environment finally excelling after signs of being shaky and underachieving.

The South Africans have the best defence with just 4 tries concede in the New Zealand leg. They have made the most tackles – 394 with a tackle completion of 81%. The best in the series; averaging 21 tackles a match. Australia who sit second on the tackle charts are on 315 tackles.

The Blitzboks defence is at the heart of their ‘GAMEPLAN’ with smaller men compared to their opponents punching above their weight defensively. The defensive numbers of the squad are nothing short of phenomenal with the unsung heroes of the squad – Chris Dry (65) and Werner Kok (60) leading the tackle numbers. Kok in second a whopping 14 ahead of the USA’s Stephan Tomasin.

Despite occasionally committing more than one man on an opponent which has proven as a dangerous predicament at times, they have been exceptional in their execution. Coupled with defence, the side has shown excellent breakdown mastery and work ethic as a group. This is how the Blitzboks play, suffocate the opposition by limiting their space, ferocious competing on the ground, sharp decision making on attack and a high level of discipline as they set the bar high. Discipline is unmatched. No cards at the moment compared to their main rivals; Fiji (6 yellow cards) and England (5) who have received several cautions that have proven costly.

Goal kicking is an area South Africa will be looking to fix; amongst the top three Series contenders they have the worst goal-kicking percentage – 66% compared to Fiji (77%) and England (68%). Goal kicking proved costly in the tightly contested Cape Town final against England.

The Wellington final was a perfect demonstration of this effective game plan, with two tries coming of the defensive pressure applied on Fiji, brilliant ball retention and counter attacks that feature speedsters and finishers like Seabelo Senatla, Rosko Speckman, Ruhan Nel and Justin Geduld who was pulling the strings in place of the injured Cecil Afrika.

A winning culture has been ingrained in the squad as they boast the most impressive winning streak in the last 30 games. Talk of this being a one man team may be a touch exaggerated, Senatla is a key cog in this team, but Werner Kok’s contribution both on attack and defence must not be understated as the rest of the squad. The spark of ‘Speck-magic’ is second to none and the constant desire to improve leaves the Blitzboks in good stead.

This has not affected the side much considering they have scored the most tries, most points, made the most tackles and have garnered the most log points in the Series. The Blitzboks have set the pace not just for World 7s but for South Africa rugby. Going forward the challenge will remain being able to maintain the high standards, show a succession plan and remaining competitive.

The transition from the Kyle Brown captaincy to the Philip Snyman captaincy has been seamless. All eyes will be on the Blitzboks as they plot the future post-Seabelo Senatla despite his contributions. Competing without the flyer will be challenging but early signs prove possible. A side that comprises of ballers and grafters.

This is a system that the Springboks can look to learn from, but for now the South African Sevens team is punching well above their weight.

 

 

 

 

Vodacom Bulls Warm up in Zimbabwe

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The Vodacom Bulls will be travelling to Harare Zimbabwe on Wednesday this week to prepare for their first warm-up match of the 2017 Vodacom Super Rugby season.

The Boys in blue will be taking on their Gauteng neighbors, the Emirates Lions, in what is expected to be another enthralling and exciting encounter between these franchises on Saturday 28 January.

Zimbabwe rugby fans are in for treat as the promoter, Kyros Sport, have also managed to secure another fixture on the day, involving the DHL Stormers and the Toyota Cheetahs.

The Vodacom Bulls would like to extend a special word of gratitude to the promoters and the fans in Zimbabwe, for the support shown thus far, this being the 2nd consecutive year that the Bulls have made the trip across the border.

The touring squad is:

1..  Lizo Gboka

2.. Jaco Visagie

3..    Coenraad van Vuuren

4..    Ruben van Heeren

5..    Abongile Nonkontwana

6..    Nic de Jager

7..    Hendre Stassen

8..    Renaldo Botma

9..    Ivan van Zyl

  1. Tony Jantjies
  1. Jt Jackson
  1. Johnny Kotze
  1. Rabs Maxwane
  1. Jade Stigling
  1. Manie Libbok
  1. Corniel Els
  1. Pierre Schoeman
  1. Rg Snyman
  1. Shaun Adendorff
  1. Andre Warner
  1. Francois Brummer
  1. Franco Naude

23  Edgar Marutlulle

24  John-Roy Jenkins

25  Trevor Nyakane

26  Lood de Jager

27  Adriaan Strauss

28  Jacques Potgieter

29  Hanro Liebenberg

30  Rudi Paige

  1. Handre Pollard
  1. Jacobie Adriaanse
  1. Burger Odendaal
  1. Dries Swanepoel
  1. Jamba Ulengo
  1. Jesse Kriel
  1. Warrick Gelant
  1. Tian Schoeman
  1. Luther Obi

Local coaches plot SA Rugby conditioning strategy

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The first steps towards the implementation of a unified performance enhancement strategy was the main outcome of the SA Rugby conditioning workshop held in Cape Town on Wednesday.

The members of the workshop agreed to establish physical preparation standards of players, the continuous monitoring of players and also the management of player training loads.

Springbok coach Allister Coetzee, together with Springbok strength and conditioning coach Dr Warren Adams, and other senior SA Rugby staff, attended the performance enhancement workshop along with strength and conditioning coaches of the six Vodacom Super Rugby franchises at SA Rugby headquarters in Plattekloof.

The following franchise strength and conditioning coaches met with Coetzee and his members of his coaching staff on Wednesday, were Stephan du Toit (DHL Stormers), Johan Pretorius (Cell C Sharks), Quintin Kruger (Toyota Cheetahs), Ivan van Rooyen (Emirates Lions), Nadus Nieuwoudt (Southern Kings) and Henri-Charl Terblanche (Vodacom Bulls).

The ground-breaking coaches’ indaba, which was hosted in Cape Town two months ago, was designed to plot a new direction for Springbok rugby and one of the upshots of that gathering was to host a workshop to specifically discuss the conditioning of the players based in South Africa.

The workshop was facilitated by Sean Surmon, who is head of High Performance at Maties Sport. Dr Adams will now table the outcomes of the conditioning workshop for discussion at the next coaches’ indaba, which takes place on Monday, 12 December, in Cape Town.

Coetzee described the meeting as very productive and confirmed there will be continuous collaborative interactions throughout next year.

“I am very excited about the expertise that was evident from everyone that attended the workshop. We will now present the very positive outcomes of the workshop at next week’s Coaches’ Indaba,” said Coetzee.

“The conditioning workshop followed on a meeting between SA Rugby and the doctors of the Vodacom Super Rugby franchise teams, held last week, where they discussed injury prevention, management and player welfare strategies.”

Boks body language is pathetic – Bakkies

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The most decorated player in rugby history, former Springbok lock Bakkies Botha believes that a lack of commitment among the players is South Africa’s biggest problem.

https://soundcloud.com/user-283107240/vodacom-rugby-bakkies-botha-291116

 Audio provided by Vodacom Rugby

Unfair to blame 2016 on quotas – Wiese

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1995 Rugby World Cup winner Kobus Wiese says South Africa’s worst season cannot be blamed “purely on the quota system”

Audio provided by Vodacom Rugby

 

SA Rugby plans Springbok review and governance overhaul

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SA Rugby president Mark Alexander has outlined plans to overhaul their administration of the game and hold a Springbok review after a disastrous season.

Mark Alexander said plans to bring governance structures more in line with the demands of professional sport were already well advanced while the immediate question of what to do about Springbok results was the organisation’s number one priority.

“It has been a profoundly disappointing season in terms of results and we are acutely aware that we have failed to live up to the Springboks’ proud heritage,” Alexander said.

“We have collectively let down our supporters, our commercial partners and our broadcast partner, SuperSport. I would like to apologise to all our stakeholders for the disappointments we have all suffered this season. We are all feeling very raw and let down and it would be easy to make knee-jerk decisions. But we must resist that.

“For instance, our playing fortunes have been declining since the November tour of 2014 – despite a fine fightback to win a bronze medal at the Rugby World Cup – and we must coolly and coldly analyse what have been the main factors contributing to those results before determining what remedies are at our disposal to solve them.

“We will start by speaking to the coach and other team role players for their assessment and to provide our feedback. We will take feedback from forthcoming indabas and we must critically review our selection policy relating to overseas-based players.

“We’ve seen an unusually high number of injuries to key players this year, and we’ve lost many experienced Test players to overseas clubs, both of which have had major repercussions for the Springboks. We have to find ways to manage these challenges.

“But I can assure our supporters and stakeholders that if tough decisions have to be made we will not shy away from making them.”

A conditioning indaba (workshop) for the national teams and Super Rugby biokineticists would take place on 7 December. The coaching Indaba between the Springbok coaches and franchise coaches takes place on 12 December.

Meanwhile, a General Council meeting on 9 December could also have a significant bearing on the future of rugby in South Africa, Alexander said.

“A number of constitutional changes are being placed before the unions for their consideration. The Executive Council regards them as major and important steps to make structures more efficient and better purposed to meet the needs of professional rugby.

“Obviously their impacts will only be felt over coming months and years – rather than over days – but we believe that they will have a positive impact on the way rugby is managed.”

The key changes planned are:

  • New franchise and non-franchise rugby committees to improve communication between unions and Executive Council; to make recommendations on competitions and playing affairs; and to speed up decision making.
  • Allowing third parties to take a majority shareholding in Unions’ commercial arms and have a voice in running rugby through the new franchise rugby committee.
  • Doubling independent representation on the Executive Council to four members plus the representative of the players
  • Terminating the role of the vice-president (at the end of the current term in 2018) to bring the elected representation to six

The Executive Council is also planning the creation of an Advisory Board of eminent individuals from business and civic society to act as a sounding board for rugby. That body would not have a constitutional role however.

“We have previewed these planned changes with our member unions and they are on the agenda for the December meeting,” Alexander said.

“We trust that they will find favour to provide a structure better placed for rugby to navigate our current challenges. But our number one priority is a turnaround strategy for the Springbok team and that will be looked at immediately and decisively.”

Alexander said that he would provide a further update on progress for supporters and stakeholders once key meetings in December were concluded.

Four debutants for Springboks

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(Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Gallo Images)
(Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Gallo Images)

Rohan Janse van Rensburg, Jamba Ulengo and Uzair Cassiem will make their Springbok debuts against Wales in the Principality Stadium on Saturday, while a fourth uncapped player, Jean-Luc du Preez, has been included on the bench for the final match of the 2016 Castle Lager Outgoing Tour.

Strongly-built inside centre Janse van Rensburg, who takes over from Damian de Allende in a rotational switch, and winger Ulengo, who is in for Bryan Habana, are part of a reshuffled backline announced by Springbok coach Allister Coetzee on Thursday.

Both Janse van Rensburg and Ulengo played for South Africa in the international match against the Barbarians three weeks ago at Wembley Stadium in London, but will now become officially capped Springboks.

Cassiem, who didn’t feature against the Baabaas, will also get his Test debut after Willem Alberts was ruled out because of a neck niggle.

A new-look backline also sees the return of Faf de Klerk (scrumhalf) and Elton Jantjies (flyhalf) as halfback combination, while there is a further change at fullback, with Johan Goosen named to start in the No 15 jersey.

In the other change upfront, Lourens Adriaanse comes in at tighthead in place of Vincent Koch, which means that 14 players who will be based in South Africa for Vodacom Super Rugby in 2017 will start against Wales, with a further seven on the bench.

Coetzee said the revamped side was picked as result of a combination of factors. Apart from rotational changes and injuries, some of the selections were made with the building process towards 2019 in mind. The total amount of caps amongst the backs are 40, the lowest amount since 1994.

“We have a less experienced team, but I want to see some energy and an improved performance. Our selection is also keeping in mind of the process and necessity to build towards 2019,” said Coetzee.

“Uzair was impressive during our domestic competitions and he was man of the match in the Currie Cup final. He made a good impression during the build-up to the Barbarians match and has continued to work hard on this tour since re-joining us.

“Jamba, Uzair and Rohan are examples of players who have forced their way into the squad through consistently performing well on the domestic scene and during training on tour, and now they are getting their opportunities to play for the Boks. Even though Damian played well against England and Italy we felt Rohan deserved an opportunity.

Regarding the change in the front row, the coach added: “Lourens played well whenever he was selected and he too deserves his opportunity.”

Regarding the challenge of facing Wales at home in front of a passionate crowd of 75,000 at the Principality Stadium, Coetzee said he expects another huge battle between the two sides.

“Recent matches between us have always delivered close fought battles and small point margins and I expect more of the same on Saturday,” said Coetzee.

The Springbok team to face Wales in Cardiff is:

No. Names Province/Club Caps Points
15 Johan Goosen Racing 92 (France) 12 25
14 Ruan Combrinck Xerox Golden Lions 6 15
13 Francois Venter Toyota Free State Cheetahs 2 0
12 Rohan Janse van Rensburg Xerox Golden Lions 0 0
11 Jamba Ulengo Vodacom Blue Bulls 0 0
10 Elton Jantjies NTT Shining Arcs (Japan) 10 72
9 Faf de Klerk Xerox Golden Lions 10 0
8 Warren Whiteley Docomo Red Hurricanes (Japan) 14 15
7 Uzair Cassiem Toyota Free State Cheetahs 0 0
6 Nizaam Carr DHL Western Province 4 0
5 Lood de Jager Vodacom Blue Bulls 27 20
4 Pieter-Steph du Toit DHL Western Province 19 15
3 Lourens Adriaanse Cell C Sharks 5 0
2 Adriaan Strauss (captain) Vodacom Blue Bulls 65 30
1 Tendai Mtawarira Cell C Sharks 86 10
Replacements
16 Malcolm Marx Xerox Golden Lions 1 0
17 Steven Kitshoff Bordeaux (France) 9 0
18 Trevor Nyakane Vodacom Blue Bulls 27 5
19 Franco Mostert Ricoh Black Rams (Japan) 6 0
20 Jean-Luc du Preez Cell C Sharks 0 0
21 Piet van Zyl Vodacom Blue Bulls 2 0
22 Pat Lambie Cell C Sharks 55 151
23 Lionel Mapoe Kubota Spears (Japan) 10 0

Forget Coetzee, blame SARU

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A new Springbok coach won’t solve South Africa’s rugby issues. Only the South African Rugby Union can do that.

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The time for denial is over. What SA rugby is experiencing now has been coming for a long time. The first big shock was former coach Heyneke Meyer’s final year in charge, when the Boks lost to Argentina on home soil for the first time before Japan rocked South Africa to its core at the World Cup.

Allister Coetzee’s first season in charge has been a disaster. There is no way around that. And yes, rugby in South Africa is in crisis. Many fans and pundits have blamed Coetzee, transformation and politics for South Africa’s demise and while those three issues have contributed to the problem, they aren’t solely to blame for what is going on at the moment.

The Springboks have lost their aura. Sorry Allister, but it’s true. By the way, denial has been one of the major reasons we find ourselves in this mess.

Coetzee has failed on all levels, even transformation where, because he is a black coach, he has been given an easier ride by politicians and the media compared to his predecessor.

People point to transformation being to blame for where we find ourselves, but in reality Coetzee has introduced only one new black player (Bongi Mbonambi) to Test rugby in 2016. In fact, his transformation numbers have decreased as the season has progressed.

In the series against Ireland, Coetzee picked five players of colour in his starting lineup for the first and third Test, and six for the second. In all three games there were at least a further three players of colour on the bench.

The numbers stayed relatively consistent throughout the Rugby Championship, the second Test against New Zealand in Durban having had the least (four) amount of black players in the starting XV.

During this time Coetzee also did exactly what Meyer was criticised for last year, when he picked a white player out of position on the wing ahead of a specialist black winger. Meyer did it with Jesse Kriel and Coetzee picked Francois Hougaard ahead of Lwazi Mvovo. Meyer was crucified; no one uttered a word when Coetzee did it.

Coetzee also picked only three players of colour in his starting lineup against England. Again, he picked a lock (Pieter-Steph du Toit) out of position on the flank while the likes of Oupa Mohoje and Nizaam Carr were available to cover that position.

In the end the crisis was caused by a combination of factors. They are, in no particular order: Poor coaching, poor decision making, poor game plans, poor structures and probably most importantly, amateur administrators.

Everyone has been quick to point the finger at Coetzee, but he is merely the symptom of a larger problem. But just to be clear, yes, he should be fired for being the coach of South Africa’s worst season ever.

There is, however, no guarantee, depending on who they could get, that the Boks’ problems will be solved by a new coach. While poor coaching and selections have clearly been an issue this year, Coetzee is not the first Springbok coach forced to do his job under the current structure of South African rugby.

The system is broken. It always has been. The reason things haven’t been this bad before is due to talented, world class coaches and players being part of the setup. For years they papered over the cracks of what is a poorly run game where most of the 14 unions are bankrupt and the ones who aren’t are not much better off. Just look at what happened to Western Province recently.

The Springboks have been able to rise above the state of the structures and amateur administrators in this country because of the talent of coaches and players in years gone by.

The start of Jake White’s tenure, a world class coach discarded by Saru after winning the World Cup in 2007, coincided with a golden generation of players, the last of which played under Meyer.

That generation is gone. John Smit, Bismarck du Plessis, Bakkies Botha, Victor Matfield, Danie Rossouw, Schalk Burger, Juan Smith, Fourie du Preez, Jean de Villiers, Jaque Fourie, Frans Steyn and Percy Montgomery were special, world class players. Legends of the game.

Bryan Habana is the only one left, and even he looks as if he doesn’t want to be there.

Coetzee was made coach of the Springboks at a time when those players had all moved on, and a time when the player drain to Europe and Japan has never been greater.

Nevertheless, there can be little doubt that the Boks would not have fallen so far had they been coached by someone better than Coetzee. When Meyer was forced to walk away after last year’s World Cup, SARU declined to advertise the position of Springbok coach and instead headhunted Rassie Erasmus.

When it was clear Erasmus wasn’t interested, they opted for the only viable candidate left – Allister Coetzee. On paper Coetzee is absolutely qualified to coach the Springboks. Unfortunately, that doesn’t say much. It’s clear with hindsight that he was the wrong choice.

The people in charge at SARU should shoulder the blame for the state Springbok rugby finds itself in.

They have failed to act in the best interest of South African rugby time and again and now there is nowhere left to hide. They appointed Coetzee so late he barely had a chance to prepare for the Ireland series. They also equipped him with inexperienced coaches at international level who are out of their depth.

The only people capable of turning things around are the decision makers at SARU. They run the game in this country. If the system is broken, only they can fix it.

They must act now.

by Kobus Pretorius

West Point crowned SA Fish Industries champions

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West Point on Saturday overcame a challenging final day at the SA Rugby Fish Industries tournament at the Smit Sports Grounds in Velddrif on the West Coast to win the title.

The team from St Helena Bay registered two draws on Saturday after a solid start to the pool stages on Friday, but held their nerve to defeat Sea Vuna 15-0 in the Final.

West Point started the tournament strongly as they defeated West Point Fishing 37-3 and Spot-on-Deals 15-0 to top their log table on the opening day. But they faced tough competition in their final pool match on Saturday against Lucky Star, which ended in a 10-10 draw.

Despite this, they advanced to the quarter-final against I&J, which they won 14-9, but then found themselves playing to a 14-14 draw against Elandsbaai B in the semi-final. However, their favourable position on the log earned them a place in the final against Sea Vuna.

Sea Vuna, meanwhile, beat Amawandle 22-0, Sea Harvest 14-5 and Lucky Star Fleet 20-0 in the pool stages before toppling Sea Pride 3-0 and Sea Harvest 7-3 in the quarter- and semi-final respectively to book their place in the final. West Point, however, proved too strong in the grand finale of the tournament, which earned them the title.

SA Rugby Fish Industries Results:

Day one (Friday, 28 October)

Elandsbaai B 14-5 Coastal Links

Amawandle 0-22 Sea Vuna

Cerebos 14-10 Abdive

West Point Fishing 3-37 West Point

I&J 17-10 Elandsbaai A

Lucky Star Fleet 0-31 Sea Harvest

Sea Pride 13-10 Gansbaai

Lucky Star 0-21 Spot-on-Deals

Coastal Links 10-13 Elandsbaai A

Sea Vuna 5-14 Sea Harvest

Abdive 17-12 Gansbaai

West Point 15-0 Spot-on-Deals

I&J 16-15 Elandsbaai B

Lucky Star Fleet 20-7 Amawandle

Sea Pride 3-3 Cerebos

Lucky Star 15-3 West Point Fishing

Day two (Saturday, 29 October)

I&J 15-19 Coastal Links

Lucky Star Fleet 0-20 Sea Vuna

Sea Pride 9-0 Abdive

Lucky Star 10-10 West Point

Elandsbaai B 17-0 Elandsbaai A

Amawandle 0-10 Sea Harvest

Cerebos 0-0 Gansbaai

West Point Fishing 3-8 Spot-on-Deals

Elandsbaai B 14-7 Spot-On-Deals (Quarter-final)

Sea Harvest 20-5 Cerebos (Quarter-final)

Sea Pride 0-3 Sea Vuna (Quarter-final)

West Point 14-9 I&J (Quarter-final)

Sea Harvest 3-7 Sea Vuna (Semi-final)

Elandsbaai B 14-14 West Point (Semi-final)

Sea Vuna 0-15 West Point (Final)

SA Fish Industries teams look to make their mark

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A new champion will be crowned at the Smit Sports Grounds in Velddrif on the West Coast this weekend as 16 teams from the surrounding fish factories take to the field in the 29th edition of the SA Rugby Fish Industries Tournament.

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This tournament was the brainchild of the late Dr Danie Craven, former Springbok centre Ian Kirkpatrick and former Proteas skipper Dougie Dyers, and was first held in Saldanha in 1987 with the aim of providing players working in the fishing industry with an opportunity to participate in sport and wear the colours of their employers.

The competition will feature four pools of four teams, who will each play two shortened round-robin matches of 30 minutes (two 15 minute halves) on Friday and one on Saturday before the top teams go head-to-head in the knock-out stages.  The top two teams will battle it out in the Final, which will be extended to 40 minutes (two halves of 20 minutes each).

Club Mykonos, who will not be participating in the competition this year, won the title last season after defeating Elandsbaai 22-0 in the final, while Sea Harvest are another side to watch after winning the 2013 and 2014 titles.

Elandsbaai B and Coastal Links will meet in the opening match on Friday at 10h00, while Lucky Star and West Point Fishing will meet in the final match of the opening day on 20h00.

Day one fixtures (Friday, 28 October):

10h00 – Elandsbaai B v Coastal Links

10h40 – Amawandle v Sea Vuna

11h20 – Cerebos v Abdive

12h00 – West Point Fishing v West Point

12h40 – I&J v Elandsbaai A

13h20 – Lucky Star Fleet v Sea Harvest

14h00 – Sea Pride v Gansbaai

14h40 – Lucky Star v Spot-on-Deals

15h20 – Coastal Links v Elandsbaai A

16h00 – Sea Vuna v Sea Harvest

16h40 – Abdive vs Gansbaai

17h20 – West Point v Spot-on-Deals

18h00 – I&J v Elandsbaai B

18h40 – Lucky Star Fleet v Amawandle

19h20 – Sea Pride v Cerebos

20h00 – Lucky Star v West Point Fishing

SA Rugby boss admits system flaw

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The SA Rugby coaches indaba being held in Cape Town over the next two days could be a significant first step in turning rugby in the country around so that the goal of turning the Springboks into the No 1 team in the world would be achievable

 

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reports Gavin Rich for Super Sport

 

 

 

That was the summation of the opening addresses of SA Rugby acting president Mark Alexander and Bok coach Allister Coetzee on the first day of the conference on Wednesday. Perhaps the most significant message to come out of the first hour of the meeting was that the national body, or at least its acting president, does recognise the weakness in the South African system, while Coetzee wondered if SA rugby had really embraced and adapted to professionalism.

Alexander stressed that the process of turning South Africa back into a top rugby nation would depend heavily on the coaches, and said that New Zealand had it right in terms of their focus on good coaching as well as in the way the game there is structured.

“New Zealand get it right. Their CEO Steve Tew said last year that to produce great players you need great coaches, and if you don’t have great coaches, you cannot have sustained success,” said Alexander.

“All 180 of the top players in New Zealand are looked after by the New Zealand union. In South Africa we have six different franchises, who each have different goals and objectives and different ways of coaching and messages that are put across to the players. Our players spend the bulk of their time with the unions.

“The system that we operate is clearly not going to be efficient in managing our players well. This indaba aims to find a solution to that problem. The last indaba was in 2005, 11 years ago, and this one has the potential to change the direction of rugby in this country.”

Of course, just what the coaches can achieve in terms of making the necessary structural change when the 14 elected officials who serve as the provincial presidents who make the decisions were not present is debatable. However the impressive spread of rugby people at the indaba and the mood of those present, with the general atmosphere being one of wanting to get the game right after the wake-up call of the Bok performances, struck a positive note.

The indaba is being hosted at a Cape Town hotel and it was noticeable as delegates arrived that the ambit of the intensive two day think-tank has been broad in scope, with all current franchise coaches present as well as many back-room staff.

There were some top local rugby brains not there, with former Bok coaches Nick Mallett and Heyneke Meyer understood to have turned down invitations to attend the event, and there is confusion over whether the only surviving Bok World Cup winning coach, Jake White, was invited or not.

But otherwise there was impressive depth to the representation of coaches and interested parties, with former Bok coaches Carel du Plessis, Ian McIntosh and former Bok captains and players such as Gary Teichmann, John Smit, Ashwin Willemse and Stefan Terblanche among the people attending. Both coaches facing off against each other in Saturday’s Currie Cup final between the Cheetahs and the Blue Bulls in Bloemfontein were in attendance.

Alexander told the conference that the objective was to turn South African rugby around and commit to the achievement of excellence.

“A commitment to excellence will be a vital ingredient of our discussion over the next couple of days,” said Alexander.

“The objective of turning the Springboks into the No 1 team in the world is an achievable objective, particularly if we all work together. Together we must find a new direction, and that can only be realised if there is intense collaboration. We need to identify and acknowledge the common goals, such as players welfare, skills and fitness, so that we can be No 1, and that is what we all want.”

The emphasis on the importance of the Springboks, as the flagship of the South African rugby, being successful, was stressed, but Coetzee said that could not be achieved if the parties did not work together “hand in glove”. Coetzee said that even if he’d won all nine of the games he has presided over with the Boks (his current record is won four and lost five) he’d have seen the meeting as necessary.

“People often talk about how successful the Springboks were prior to 1995, and there has been a big differentiation between amateur era rugby and how the Boks have done do the professional age. We need to ask ourselves if we have adapted as a country to professional rugby,” said the Bok coach.

“There has been isolated success since 1995. We won the World Cup in 2007 and there was an 80 percent win record in 2013. But that success has been sporadic. And we are not just talking about the Springboks. Our home record in Super Rugby (in terms of wins) is just 57 percent. Our percentage away is just 25. In the Tri-Nations/Rugby Championship we have a 62 percent record at home since 1996, and just an 18 percent record away.

“We need to ask ourselves – have we embraced professionalism?”

Coetzee said that there was a clear cut parallel between Super Rugby success and Springbok success, and he cited the 2007 example, when the Boks won the World Cup in a year where the Bulls and Sharks contested the Super Rugby final and provided 22 of the 31 man World Cup winning squad.

“The national body and the National and franchise cannot exist in isolation from each other. This indaba is not about dictating game plans. Every coach has his own ploys and plans, whether he plays off the 9 or off the 10. This meeting is instead about creating a national strategy that will be about equipping players to deal with whatever game-plan that is necessary on a particular day and in a given situation.”

Indaba to upskill Bok attack

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Voda1By: Brendan Venter, The 1995 Rugby World Cup-winner has enjoyed an illustrious playing and coaching career. He proved hugely successful during his time as Saracens’ director of rugby and guided the Sharks to Currie Cup triumph in 2013. Venter now practises as a medical doctor and has been appointed as London Irish’s technical director. Follow him on Twitter: @BrendanVenter

Schalk Burger: ‘South Africa’s future looks quite bleak’

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Saracens’ flanker and holder of 86 caps says rugby authorities must become more proactive as young Springboks are increasingly tempted by bigger pay cheques overseas, writes  for The Guardian

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They call it the European Champions Cup but who are they kidding? When Schalk Burger arrives at the Stade Felix Mayol on Saturday afternoon for Saracens’ Pool 3 duel with Toulon he could almost be back in the southern hemisphere again.

Five capped South Africans – the home captain, Duane Vermeulen, plus Bryan Habana, Juan Smith, Juandré Kruger and Marcel van der Merwe are registered to play for Toulon in Europe this season. A total of 27 current or former Springboks – not counting those born in southern Africa who now represent other countries – are due to feature in Europe’s elite club tournament.

Super Rugby in disguise? At the last count there were more than 300 South African-reared players operating at various professional levels in Europe or Japan. All this at a time when Springbok rugby has never looked more fragile, the national team having shipped nine tries at home to New Zealand last Saturday.

When Burger met up with Habana and co on the eve of Saturday’s contest, the subject could hardly be avoided. “It hurts all of us who have played there for a long time,” said Burger, whose 86-cap Test career ended at last year’s World Cup. “I’m not too sure what the future is going to hold. At this moment it looks quite bleak out there.”

There may be no Table Mountain vistas in St Albans – “I’ve made my peace with that … I had it from 2002 until now and Table Mountain’s not going anywhere” – but the 33-year-old Burger, despite beginning a new life in England with his young family, will never forget his roots.

His lust for competition and life make him a popular team-mate; as the son of a former Springbok himself, he epitomises what South African rugby is presently missing. Having come close to death in early 2013, when he contracted bacterial meningitis while in hospital for an operation to remove a cyst next to his spine, he also has a healthy dollop of perspective. There are few better qualified to say where his proud rugby nation goes from here.

Economic reality, for now, is shaping everything. After years of wholehearted service to the Boks and Western Province, no one can blame Burger for heading north at the tail end of his career but the drain of younger players is a different matter. “The issue we’ve got now is the age at which we’re losing players overseas,” he says. “There’s no qualms about someone like myself, Duane or Francois Louw plying our trade overseas because we’ve done our bit for the Springboks over numerous years.

The big issue is losing the pros in the middle. The bloke who plays 200 games for his team, drives the everyday values, pitches up without complaining and plays 80 minutes every week … we’ve lost them in South Africa. Our pros are sitting in France or Japan or here. We’ve got top players and promising young players but nothing in the middle.”

The situation in England and France is increasingly poles apart. Saracens cannot speak highly enough of Burger’s positive influence on their academy players since his arrival and it is English youngsters who are soaking up precious knowledge from him and fellow former Western Province emigres Schalk Brits and Neil de Kock.

Visa restrictions in the UK make the Top 14 more attractive still – “The reality is you can’t compare what a pro can earn in South Africa and what he can earn in France,” Burger says – before you begin to factor in the political and unique selectorial imperatives within South African sport.

Either way, Burger believes these are crucial times for South Africa’s rugby authorities: “The warning signs were there last year and maybe the year before. We probably lost a few games we wouldn’t have lost in the past. We went through a phase when massive alarm bells were ringing but we probably had a good enough international side at the time to mask it.

“SA Rugby has to become more proactive. We’ve been a good rugby nation for so long and this is the first time we’re really in big crisis. We could have been more proactive in the past but now the issue is real. Everyone is looking ahead to 2019 but there’ll be no 2019 World Cup for the current crop of players if it goes on like this.”

He fears some potential stalwarts may not hang around to find out. “Young players now are probably more impatient or ambitious than we were. I was willing to sit in the queue behind Bob Skinstad, Corné Krige and others; eventually you started playing with them and became a better player for it,” Burger says. “The current generation in South Africa, whether it’s down to their agents or what they want to achieve, are moving away earlier.”

The short-term consequence is that more overseas-based players are set to be recalled for the first November Test against England at Twickenham. Ideally the previous weekend’s game against the Barbarians at Wembley would act as a useful warmup but it falls outside the official Test window so the head coach, Allister Coetzee, will be denied that luxury.

Burger offers one extreme longer-term solution: privately owned South African franchises playing European teams in the same timezone rather than endlessly hopping on planes to Australia and New Zealand: “The only time we’re going to get into Europe is when rugby as we know it in South Africa has a complete transformation, we get privately owned teams like the clubs over here and basically start a new competition.” As on the field, Burger is never afraid to go where others hesitate to tread.

Nothing, though, is more extraordinary than his comeback following the health scare that almost cost him his life. “After three days, when I wasn’t cured, the odds go against you,” he says. “Dying becomes a reality. Surviving without any scarring becomes an issue; coming out of it but being blind or paralysed. My missus phoned my best mates on day three and said: ‘This might be the last time you see him as you know him.’ As luck would have it I battled through and got through to the other side.”

Minor details such as ending Toulon’s unbeaten European Cup home record or replicating Saracen’s double triumph last season suddenly feel irrelevant. By next summer, you suspect Burger’s unquenchable spirit and physicality will be as woven into Saracens folklore as that of his retired namesake, Jacques Burger.

“He used to tackle with his face,” recalls Sarries’ latest Cape crusader. “I try and use my shoulder a bit more.” South Africa’s loss, not for the first time, is very much Saracens’ gain.

SA Rugby works with talented junior players

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SA Rugby hosted 140 Under-16 and Under-17 players at two high performance training camps in the Western Cape, where they were coached on and off the field about what it takes to advance through the national structures.

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A total of 75 players, who had been identified by SA Rugby at Under-15 level and had their progress on the field monitored, attended the U16 camp at Paarl Gymnasium, while 65 players attended the U17 camp at Hoërskool Hugenote in Wellington. Both camps were held last week during the school holidays.

The purpose of the camps were to test the players in four key areas – medical,  nutrition, conditioning and skills – and to teach them the key values required to become a professional player.

Other key focus areas at the camps was to educate the players on SA Rugby’s coaching blueprint and the four pillars at the centre of this blueprint – high-tempo rugby, continuity, scoring tries and having fun.

A total of 30 coaches from various schools were also invited to the camps as part of the organisation’s coaching pathway.

“One of the biggest lessons the players took from the camps was that they had to work on their character first and foremost to one day make it at professional level,” said Jurie Roux, CEO of SA Rugby.

“Some of the core values we focused on off the field were basics such as good manners, because there values are just as important as doing things correctly on the field.

“On the field, meanwhile, the players know that a lot of hard work lies ahead for them advance through SA Rugby’s playing structures, particularly in terms their conditioning and fundamental skills. But that said, I am very positive about the talent on offer at the camps and I believe SA Rugby has a bright future ahead.”

Venter to lead SARU coaching indaba

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The coaching Indaba  next week will be led by former Springbok Brendan Venter and former Springbok team psychologist, Pieter Kruger.

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SARU has invited CEO’s and coaching staff of all the Vodacom Super Rugby franchises to be involved in this two day event in conjunction with Springbok coaching staff, members of the rugby department of SA Rugby, former Springbok coaches and players and a representative of the MyPlayers, the players’ organisation.

The Indaba will discuss current playing trends across a wide range of areas of game play and seek alignment within SA Rugby on ways to ensure rugby excellence and continuous improvement to remain a top rugby-playing nation.

In addition, SA Rugby will be addressing longer term interventions to assist the Springbok team.

The Indaba will take place in Cape Town on Wednesday and Thursday next week.

 

Rugby Championship Mallett: Blame Bok woes on administrators

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Following the Springboks’ embarrassing defeat to the All Blacks in Durban, former coach Nick Mallett has highlighted what he feels is wrong with South African rugby, reports Sport24

Photo: REUTERS
Photo: REUTERS

New Zealand beat South Africa 57-15 at Kings Park on Saturday to record their biggest ever win over the Springboks.

Commenting on the match in the SuperSport studio afterwards, Mallett said:

“There’s no question that structures in New Zealand rugby is the template South Africa needs to follow. A lot of what we saw today should be squarely blamed on our structures and our administrators because we have not got a professional setup in South Africa that equals the New Zealand system.

“In New Zealand the All Blacks are always placed first. The New Zealand Rugby Union contracts their Super Rugby players and places them in the franchises. Here, the every team signs its own players and coach. What I’m trying to point out is they have a centralised system run for the benefit of New Zealand rugby, we have a system that benefits our provinces and not the national side, which should actually be the main priority.”

Mallett also questioned whether South Africa can afford to have 14 professional unions.

“We can’t expect coaches or players to compete at such a high level with inexperienced and unprofessional administrators at the helm. We have 14 unions, but we can barely afford six unions.

‘When I was fired (as Springbok coach), they appointed Harry Viljoen and he lasted for a very short period of time and then they got Rudolph Straeuli and he wasn’t successful. Then Jake White came and served four years and did well and won a World Cup. So surely some continuity should have happened after that?

“But still that is not the main problem. The problem in South Africa is that we cannot maintain 14 professional unions. We always talk about the abundance of talent we have, but a lot of those youngsters are going overseas because of the weak rand. We have to keep those players in the country by reducing the number of unions and making those franchises professional in the sense that people can own shares as they do in England and France. That will allow businesses to run our unions and not people politically voted into position.”

Coetzee calls for input from SA coaches

12

Systems, systems, systems, by Lloyd Burnard – Sport24

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That has been the key word to emerge from Saturday’s horrific 57-15 thrashing that the Springboks received from the All Blacks in Durban.

All Black coach Steve Hansen has seen his side move to 17 consecutive wins, one away from a world record, while the Boks continue to look like they are in the middle of a massive identity crisis.

Bok coach Allister Coetzee could do nothing but acknowledge the difference in quality between the sides, but he was quick to point out the difference in systems.

The All Blacks, and New Zealand rugby, implement a system that coach Steve Hansen last week described as “simplistic”.

That system, Hansen concluded after Saturday’s Test, sees everyone involved in New Zealand rugby – top to bottom – sharing the common goal of producing quality professional rugby players.

The All Blacks are in mind with every decision that is taken, and a central contracting system means that New Zealand Rugby is able to manage its own players in a way that will ultimately benefit the national team.

Every single thing that happens in New Zealand rugby falls within that structure and, as a result, there are succession plans put in place years in advance.

For the Springboks and Coetzee, there was no such succession plan in 2016 following the exit of previous coach Heyneke Meyer.

“There are lots of reasons but yet again the players and the coaching team will have a long look at ourselves. It is only us who can turn it around,” Coetzee said on Saturday night.

“I keep referring to their system, and after every World Cup they just come out the following year with a stronger team … a better prepared team … while we have to start from scratch. Systems are important.”

Now, with the Boks set to tour the northern hemisphere in a little over a month, SA Rugby is hosting a national coaching Indaba in Cape Town from October 19-21.

That weekend will see Coetzee joined by other South African coaches and, hopefully, administrators as SA Rugby looks to put their collective heads together and map the way forward.

It is an initiative that is welcomed by Coetzee.

“Absolutely important,” Coetzee said of the Indaba.

“If you look at a few contestable kicks and the aerial skills are not good enough. They keep winning possession … then surely we have a problem with our aerial skills and it’s not a Springbok thing.

“That’s why the Indaba is important; to address those focus areas where we think we’re lacking.

“I know what we need to fix but I would also like to know from other top coaches in the country if they agree or concur that these are the skill sets that we’re lacking.

“Contact skills, for argument’s sake. We get into good positions on the field and we just lose it. There’s not a lot that you can say here tonight.”

That’s fair enough … there are certainly specific areas relating directly to skill that need addressing in South African rugby.

But one would hope that this Indaba does more than that, and that the first steps towards identifying a common South African goal that is shared by our national team, franchises and unions can be taken.

De Allende starts

6

South African Springboks center Lionel Mapoe stands during the National anthem ahead of a Rugby Championship Rugby union match against New Zealand All Blacks on July 25, 2015 in Johannesburg. AFP PHOTO / MUJAHID SAFODIEN (Photo credit should read MUJAHID SAFODIEN/AFP/Getty Images)

(Photo credit MUJAHID SAFODIEN/AFP/Getty Images)

 

De Allende moves to inside centre, Faf de Klerk comes in and the shift of Juan de Jongh to outside centre leaves us in a very interesting position against the All Blacks.

Faf de Klerk and Damian de Allende were included in Springbok starting line-up to face the All Blacks in Durban on Saturday in the final Test of the 2016 Castle Lager Rugby Championship.

The two personnel changes are both due to injuries – scrumhalf De Klerk comes into the starting team again as a replacement for Rudy Paige, who suffered a concussion in the victory over the Wallabies in Pretoria, while De Allende replaces Jesse Kriel, who was ruled out of action as a result of his groin injury.

In a positional change in midfield, Juan de Jongh moves from inside to outside centre, with De Allende now wearing the No 12 jersey. The two wings, Bryan Habana and Francois Hougaard, will swap jerseys for this Test.

The rest of the match-day squad was kept unchanged from the line-up that defeated the Wallabies by 18-10 last Saturday.

“Unfortunately for Rudy, he will not have completed his gradual return to play protocol by this weekend, which gives Faf another opportunity in the No 9 jersey,” said Springbok coach, Allister Coetzee.

He added: “Damian should slot in well next to Juan de Jongh in the midfield as they play together for their Vodacom Super Rugby franchise.”

According to Coetzee, the bench made a very good impact against the Wallabies: “I expect them to do a similar job this coming weekend. Furthermore, our set-piece have functioned very well and I am hoping for the same against a very good defensive lineout and scrum from the All Blacks.

“The All Blacks will be a huge Test, they are number one side in the world and they have great form at the moment. We are playing at home and the boys are looking forward to the encounter against the world’s best team.

“It is important for us to end the campaign with a good performance against a very good All Blacks side. What I would like to see is that that we keep on improving as a team and build on our continuity and converting more of our opportunities into points.”

The match will be the last home Test match for Springbok hooker Adriaan Strauss, who will retire from international rugby at the end of the season. New Zealand has already won the 2016 Castle Lager Rugby Championship and a positive result will enable the South Africans to finish in second place.

The Springbok team to face the All Blacks in Durban:

Position Name Franchise / Province / Club Test Caps Test points
15 Pat Lambie Cell C Sharks 52 137
14 Francois Hougaard Worcester Warriors (England) 38 25
13 Juan de Jongh DHL Stormers 18 15
12 Damian de Allende DHL Stormers 19 10
11 Bryan Habana (vice-captain) Toulon (France) 122 330
10 Morne Steyn Stade Francais (France) 65 721
9 Faf de Klerk Emirates Lions 7 0
8 Warren Whiteley Emirates Lions 11 15
7 Oupa Mohoje Toyota Cheetahs 13 0
6 Francois Louw Bath (England) 51 40
5 Pieter-Steph du Toit DHL Stormers 16 15
4 Eben Etzebeth DHL Stormers 52 10
3 Vincent Koch DHL Stormers/Steval Pumas 6 0
2 Adriaan Strauss (captain) Vodacom Bulls 62 30
1 Tendai Mtawarira Cell C Sharks 83 10
Replacements:
16 Bongi Mbonambi DHL Stormers 2 0
17 Steven Kitshoff Bordeaux (France) 6 0
18 Julian Redelinghuys Emirates Lions 7 0
19 Lood de Jager Toyota Cheetahs 24 20
20 Willem Alberts Stade Francais (France) 40 35
21 Jaco Kriel Emirates Lions 6 0
22 Lionel Mapoe Emirates Lions 8 0
23 Willie le Roux Canon Eagles (Japan) 38 45

Can the Boks cause an upset? Will this team be competitive?

 

The sad truth

19

Doc Craven once said “Once rugby turned professional the game would never be the same again because it would have become a job.”

Maybe in more than one way those words come true in recent years especially if one look at the declining numbers at our stadiums and even television ratings.

wpccstorymichaeldup2Not so long ago, stadiums were filled with every game does not matter if it was a Varsity or Currie Cup match

If you did not buy a season ticket, your chances of getting into the stadium was zero and it was the highlight of your week to get on the train with thousands of other supporters going to Newlands were I lived.

Not even mentioning test rugby in the early nineties, when even a season ticket sometimes did not get you into the stadium to see the Springboks play.

With rugby at that time a true winter sport any supporter worth his jersey, would not have missed any match either going to the stadiums or watching it with the family or friends on television.

It was bundles of emotions that ran high when your team did not win and the pure joy when your team have won which gave you the bragging rights for the next week.

2dbace1f43844547bd823956488904bfOur rugby players were gods in our eyes and there was no boy that did not dream of wearing that green and gold Springbok jersey one day.

It was a pure love for the game for every little boy felt privileged to be able to play the game from the little boy at under 9 age level group all the way to the one’s that played first team.

It was driven by more passion than most people can imagen.

The game was simple also simple then, every player had his job on the field to do and they gave it their all until that final whistle.

In those days we had rugby people running the game of rugby, because they loved the game and it feel like now we have business people running a business who have forgotten why we play the sport in the first place.

Why did we play the game? ………We did it out of love for the game because there was no questions of money but there was always a great spirit in the game on the field and off it.

I can understand that those amateur days are long gone and the game have come a long way from those days but the game is still played by fifteen players on each side having to do what is needed to get more points than the other team.

There are so many things wrong with the game today and the only way we will be able to save our game is to do the things that is good for rugby.

It starts from the top administrators in the game through our coaches ending with the little boy running around with that oval ball in the back yard.

The game have grown for the better through the years not just for the sport itself but also for the players.

But we need to ask the question do we as supporters, administrators, players and coaches still do it just because we love the game?

 

“A game of rugby is a work of art!” ―Danie Craven
wynand-claassen-2de-toets-nz-81

#WhatMustFall ?

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In South Africa it is just too easy to when the Springboks do not perform to blame the coach and demand that #ThatDudeMustFall.

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Why is that? Well the reason is simple, it requires zero thinking or analysis.

Yes, we are dumb, stupid, and conveniently blind to the fact that now, as the case was for the last 20+ years, the fault is not with the coach.

“Don’t talk kak,” I can hear you say – “Just appoint Ackers and his management team and our problems will be solved,” you will tell me.

Well let’s be honest with one another for a second – if after 3 years in charge of a (any) team having spent your first year out of the spotlight without any pressure or expectation, you would have to be really kak not to get some success.

For the record, let’s revisit that moment in time…  The Lions beat the Kings in PE by 19-26 in the first leg of the promotion relegation match.  On the return leg at Ellis Park, the Lions lost the match 18-23 but thanks to a superior points difference, they regained entry back into Super Rugby for 2014.  Another interesting point, 15 out of the match-day 22 for that second leg match are still contracted to the Lions today – they include (now stars) like:  Ruan Combrinck, Elton Jantjes, Warren Whiteley, Derick Minnie, Jaco Kriel, Franco vd Merwe, Julian Redelinghuis, .

Am I trying to knock Ackers and what he has achieved?  Hell no! The Lions have been brilliant and it has been a fairytale comeback for the lads from Joburg and all kudo’s to the coach and the team – they are without a doubt our best provincial side in South Africa at the moment.

The point however is – given time, patience and some sort of succession plan or continuity, any team has the potential to become great – THIS is the Lions lesson, and this is the lesson we should take from this team.

To further illustrate this point, Steve Hansen, the current head coach of the All Blacks, have been involved in their management team since 2004 as assistant coach to Graham Henry and eventually taking over as head coach following Henry’s retirement after winning the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

To put that in perspective, Kieran Read, the current All Black captain, was 19 years old when Hansen joined the coaching ranks at national level making his Super Rugby debut only two years later in 2006.

I am baffled that we are already hearing an outcry from supporters after just five test matches, that Coetzee must be fired as the Springboks coach.

Clearly we stare ourselves blind to the wrongs of the past four years (or 20 years for that matter), which is something Coetzee and his team inherited and, per public demand needs to turn it around in no time at all – rinse, repeat…

Not wanting to knock another coach (defies the purpose if you follow my argument in this article), Meyer left SA Rugby in a sorry state (not all his fault) after his four years which Coetzee now has to rescue – with no help from fans, media and government.

Rugby has regressed under Heyneke most importantly on the transformation front.  He has capped less than half the black players Jake White did during his tenure (and 40% less than Divvy) leaving Allister under more unnecessary pressure than what is needed.

#WhatMustFall ?If you take into consideration there was no real improvement in results against the top rugby nations, then you get an idea of the mess Allister now sits with – to transform while doing better than his predecessors

And that is not even mentioning shock losses to Argentina at home for the first time in history and then manage to lose the first World Cup match against Japan to go with his single win a the 2015 Rugby Championship.

Add to all this SARU’s General Manager of Rugby and High Performance, Rassie Erasmus resignation to take the up the Director of Rugby at Munster with Jacques Nienaber in tow, and it doesn’t take a genius to figure out whatever succession plans was put in place for Meyer’s successor is almost certainly doomed to fail.

It seems to be difficult for people to understand that test rugby is called test rugby for a reason and not the place to develop players and put in youngsters in the hope they will survive.

The All Blacks that start against the Argentinians this past weekend had a combined 743 caps.

Their bench alone had 184 caps behind making the test side for the match a combined 927 caps.

Then we have supporters questioning Coetzee for selecting Morne Steyn who has 62 caps behind his name to be the backup for Elton Jantjies with only 8 caps.

This after he did not have the luxury of a Pollard or Lambie to pick from.

With Willem Alberts call-up after the injury of Lood de Jager we ask why not Jean-Luc Du Preez? Are we going crazy?

The Springbok side that took on the Aussies had only 481 caps and then take away Brian Habana 119 caps, Tendia Mtawarira 80 caps and Strauss 59 caps you have a Springboks starting lineup with 223 caps.

The Springbok bench had 115 caps and again if we take away Morne Steyn 62 caps we have a bench with only 53 caps.

The Aussies had 622 caps in their starting lineup and 308 from their bench.

As South Africans we need to make a choice, do we want to entertain or do we want to start a new revolution as only one can have a long term future in our sport.

We need to bring all aspects of high performance back into our game as the next revolution and we need to get there as quickly as possible.

The All Blacks have been doing this for years already.

On field science need to drive the human application of the strategic decisions we make towards training and playing the game today.

It all looks at this stage that we are caught between what worked for us and how to move forward.

We are no longer a sport of “rugby guys” making strategic decisions and need best business practices to drive off field decisions making the processes and strategic visions in line with policy.

We want to keep talking about being leaders in shaping the state of the game but ignore the elements that drive this innovations.

If we decide to move forward with that in mind then maybe we will be able to compete again as one of the best rugby nations in the world and it does not include firing your coach after five test matches.

 

Jake White says the writing is on the wall for South African rugby

15

Former Springbok coach Jake White has given a scathing assessment of the current state of South African rugby.

jake-white

With the Boks struggling in recent years, with historic losses against Japan, Argentina and Ireland, White believes things need to change desperately quickly.

In an interview with  Vodacom Rugby, he said: “In the next five years, unless we make some really strong decisions as a union and a country, our rugby reputation will be lost – maybe forever. The writing is on the wall.”

White raised concerns about the outflux of players to overseas club and bemoaned the quality of the Currie Cup.

“I love South Africa and our rugby, I always have… one of the greatest days of my life was becoming the Bok coach. But when I look in from overseas and see the Blue Bulls playing the Golden Lions in a Currie Cup match on a Friday night, when there’s no Test match on the following Saturday, that for me is a tell-tale sign of where our rugby is going,” said White.

 “The Currie Cup was South African rugby’s saving grace during the isolation era. To play Currie Cup rugby was almost tougher than playing Test matches at times – when touring sides came to South Africa, and they had to play Northern Transvaal, a lot of teams called it their ‘fourth Test match’.

“If you look at the kind of players who are playing Currie Cup now, with the Springboks and internationals away, we are saying that the Currie Cup is not what it used to be, and my fear is that we’re accepting mediocrity.”

White also suggested that the Springboks are thinking too small, using New Zealand rugby as an example. He said that the All Blacks use the best sports teams in the world – like Barcelona FC and Ferrari F1 – as their benchmark for greatness.

“The way we’re heading, we’re going to end up where we can’t be a force in World Rugby anymore,” he added.

Government and SA Rugby to take responsibility on the state of Transformation

2

The best way to look at things sometimes is to rather stand back take a little look at it and then with an open mind look at what is going on with an open perspective off all concerned, writes Jacques Nortier

cq5dam_resized_img_1185_large

That is what I decided to do after Minister Fikile Mbalula announced on Monday that he is going to ban hosting of major sport events for cricket, rugby, athletics and netball.

This is what one call a bombshell being drop out of nowhere with sporting bodies all wanting clarity on what goals they did not made for the Minister to make such a drastic announcement. On Sunday we all read in the newspapers that we are having problems in rugby unions with the targets they supposed to have, which could have sparked the minister into this kind of action.

This report came out stating that that only the Stormers Bulls and Kings have met the target of 35% while the Sharks 27% and Cheetahs 24% can do better. The Lions have the lowest representation of black players with only 17%. This is targets SA Rugby have set which means it is something all Presidents of all the unions have agreed too.

The excuse that was put forward by the newspaper from Kevin de Klerk is that the Lions Rugby Union have failed to meet these targets because of money.

This could not have sat nicely with the minister as we know SA Rugby are working towards a 50% representation in 2019. After 21 years surely we cannot still being saying that we could not have develop and transformed our unions to have a 35% transformed team playing in Super Rugby?

Surely the Cheetahs are the only one with the Kings that can through the money card for not meeting their targets? But they are on 24% for Cheetahs and the Kings with 35% and higher, so with unions like the Sharks and Lions they should be able to find another excuse for not meeting these targets.

That government will get to a point where they say enough is enough and it was going to happen sooner than later, especially after the whole race thing that took a nasty turn when Meyer announced his Springbok squad for the World Cup last year.

That the minister have the full right to do what he did is not the real point of worry and in some way one can understand that they have reach a point now to show that they will not wait any longer.

The biggest worry is the impact this action from the Minister will have in our country.

With unemployment at worrying levels and investors not so keen to invest in South Africa this do not send out a very good message. With International events comes job creation and tourism that brings money in the country and future money as well.

Look one could also ask the minister and government why after 21 years they could get sporting bodies to reach only 35% representation?

Surely they did not do their job if they allowed certain sports to be in this state of transformation after 21 years. One has to think that structures and targets should have been set in the past 21 years so that we do not sit at 2016 talking about transformation.

My biggest concern though is the racial fighting that is again sticking his head out between mostly white and black people in our country. We are more divided in our racial setup today than we were in 1994 when we had our first democratic elections.

The funny thing is that we unfortunately have people in our country that cannot wait for situations like this to use it to promote hiding agenda’s or political and social gain. Transformation starts within one self and can only succeed with the right attitude and understanding.

So much have gone wrong in our country since December with first the Penny twitter spatter, then Gareth Cliff, the University unrest followed by our President and now transformation in sport.

When will our leaders start building the country and not divide our people further away for each other?

Transformation is not something you can window dressed with our Super Rugby and Springbok teams, it is the way we transform our sport from the bottom upwards. Identifying the poor kids in the poor areas and give them the change to develop in the sport of their choice and ability.

It is not giving the rich kids in rich schools the bursaries to play the sport after school just to make up the numbers. If that is the case then we are failing and do not really know the meaning of development and transformation of previously disadvantage children.

To have a black kid coming from a wealthy house playing at one of the top schools in your setup is not transformation, it is called window dressing.

One can only hope that this announcement of the minister will spark the sporting bodies in the firing line to action.

What a great day it will be in our country when we do not need to talk about people being judge on the colour of their skin and that if you have the talent you will get picked for teams not matter what you colour of your skin is, this will be the day that South Africa will get to its full potential, it is our social responsibility.

The hits just keep coming in SA RUGBY

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And the hits just keep coming as the Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula announced today that bidding on all hosting of major sports events for cricket, rugby athletics and netball has been ban.

Springboks

This comes after noises again was made last week by a Government that the Springbok emblem should be taken off the national teams jersey although the ANC later said it was not there aim to do so and the minister did not talk on behalf of the ANC.

This announcement comes in the worst possible time as well for SARU as they are well underway to bid for the 2023 Rugby Wold Cup. World Rugby will open bidding for the 2013 tournament next month and will have made a decision by November 2017.

A SA Rugby spokesperson confirmed to Sport24 on Monday that they were as surprised as anybody to hear the announcement of the ban and that there were concerns over how this would impact the 2023 bid.

“We have always said it was our intention to go after that tournament,” the spokesperson said. CSA have also released a statement saying that they would need clarification from the minister what targets they did not met for him to announce this ban.

We are also awaiting the announcement from SARU that Rassie Erasmus will leave SA Rugby due to what is reported a sour relationship between him and SARU President Hoskins and they fact that he was overlooked as Springbok coach. These reason was given by Sunday newspaper Rapport.

Seems like SA Rugby can just not catch a break from bad news following then since last years World Cup in England

 

Rassie finish with Hoskins and SARU?

14

Reports that Rassie Erasmus is leaving SARU for Ireland to take up a position at Munster is again putting our rugby on the back foot, writes Jacques Nortier

Rassie-Erasmus

According to news papers yesterday Rassie Erasmus has had enough of SARU President Oregan Hoskins and it politics within the organisation. Many people will never understand the work that Erasmus and his team have done in the past few years with not the players and coaches but also the development of the game which have been in the news the last couple of days again.

Erasmus is also upset that he was overlooked for the position and Head coach for the Springboks which was given to Allister Coetzee earlier in the month. That there is enough politics going around in SARU is clear to see with Hoskins and his involvement in the Jurie Roux saga, his involvement in the appointment of the Stormers coach and also the Springbok coach.

None of these will do SA Rugby any good especially as transformation is very high on everyone agenda from the Government to the talks in the media and among supporters.

With Erasmus leaving one wonder what will happen to the SA Rugby Mobi unit?

“No man is bigger that the game” was something a clever man once said, but to loose a person like Erasmus and maybe Nienaber as well one need to ask the questions that if people are unhappy with SARU President maybe he is the one that should leave the orginasation and not the people actually doing something for the game.

We are expecting a press released about Erasmus position today which will hopefully share some light on the matter but I think we will only hear the real story behind the story once Erasmus writes a book about it.

One can just hope that we can start having positive news out of SARU than all these negative media that is not good for the game in South Africa or for the Springbok.

SA RUGBY- Building from the ground up!

7

How SA Rugby have been building the game of rugby from the bottom up. The way they have approached the transformation goals and how the future looks for South African rugby, writes Benedict Chanakira

SARU-logoGold

The media and perception of the general public has been that SARU is not doing enough for development. What does SARU need to do to change this wrong perspective on what is being done for long term development?

SA Rugby is engaged at various levels with a number of programmes.  Our involvement starts at U6 Level with World Rugby’s Get into Rugby programme.  Last year the Get into Rugby (GIR) programme attracted 84 000 boys and girls in primary schools from around South Africa.

SA Rugby has also successfully launched our Elite Player Development programmes in 2015 which focuses on kids from ages 15 to 18.  The programme is split into two areas namely EPD 1 (age 15 and 16) and EPD 2 (age 17 and 18).  Players are identified from 15 years-old through a Scout system specifically developed for SA Rugby.

In our first year alone we identified 450 players in the EPD 1 phase from mainly rural areas with the help of our Union Scout Coordinators.  These players undergo various assessments, and a group of the top 80 players and the majority of their school coaches were identified and spent a week in Paarl with our SA Rugby Mobi Unit and National Sevens coaching teams where they underwent various tests including conditioning, medical, nutrition and, fitness tests, and participated in position-specific skills assessment tests.

Following this camp each player (and his coach) received a personal intervention report based on the tests with nutrition, conditioning and training programmes to help the players improve in all areas. SA Rugby remains directly involved with both coaches and players following the camp, and has follow-up visits in each province twice a year where the coaches are upskilled and players’ progress is measured.

Phase 2 of the programme (EPD 2) ensures that all the players identified through the scouting process remains in our systems, so that we are able to intervene directly with the players and coaches throughout the crucial development years from 17 to 18 years-old.

SA Rugby is also closely involved with the rugby development programmes of our associate members, which includes:

  • SA Rugby Legends
  • Coca-Cola Schools of Excellence
  • TAG SA
  • Touch SA

What are you doing to make sure that other countries do not sign our young players at junior level?

While SA Rugby does not contract junior players directly, our EPD 3 phase ( SA Rugby Academies) focuses mainly on ensuring that players who have been part of phase 1 and 2 remain in our union systems.

We have formed close relationships with our unions who are directly involved with our EPD 1 and 2 programmes, which allows them to keep a close eye on their most talented players and to put the necessary measures in place at an early stage to get them into their Academy systems, which are supported by our EPD phase 3.  Our ultimate aim is to ensure that both players and parents feel comfortable that our player pathways do not end once the learners leave school, but that every opportunity is created for players to become professional rugby players in South Africa.

What is SA Rugby doing to maximise the development and the discovery of talent in the country?

SA Rugby has developed an online scouting system and App which has been made available to all provincial unions in South Africa.  The App allows scouts to electronically record position specific skills of players (assessments) at games anywhere in the country.  Once scouts are able to connect to the internet, this data is synched to our online player management system, Footprint, which allows SA Rugby and the Union Development Coordinators to view the data of players.

SARU also engages the union coordinators through various training and education workshops on player-specific benchmarks according to age and position.

As the National Federation, SA Rugby has access to all data collected from all unions.  Once the data is analysed, the SARU EPD Programme Managers engage with their union counterparts to assess and rank scouted players.

The system does not only allow SA Rugby and its unions to identify talent anywhere in the country, but also by proactively identifying any areas of concern nationally, and provincially such as positional depth or low standards of skills.  This in turn allows SA Rugby and the respective unions to focus their efforts on areas which might not be a concern now, but may become a problem in future.

Can the GIR phase be explained to the fans?

GIR, or Get into Rugby can best be described as a programme which is built on three progressive fundamental principles or stages, Try – Play – Stay.

The Try phase is focused on boys and girls ages four to seven years-old where the approach is based on Fundamental Movement Skills.

The Play phase is focused on boys and girls ages seven to thirteen years-old where the focus remains fun first, but also an introduction to the values of rugby, principles of the game, evasion and defence and basic rugby skills.  This is introduced through various platforms including Tag Rugby, Rippa Rugby, Try Rugby, Rugby Ready, etc.

The last phase of the programme is built to ensure kids Stay in rugby.  All of these stages focus on turning values into virtues (solidarity, integrity, discipline, respect, etc.) while an approach of playing to love is preferred over a play-to-win mentality.  Another important focus through all the stages is to ensure kids can enjoy rugby in a safe environment where healthy living and eating is encouraged.

While we do not place a large focus on the specific age of players for any specific stage, it is important that players are introduced to the game of rugby through a safe development process:

  1. a)      Active Start
  2. b)      FUNdamentals
  3. c)       Learn to Train
  4. d)      Train to Train
  5. e)      Train to Compete
  6. f)       Train to Win

Stages a to c are focused on primary schools, d and e at senior school level and stage f for school leavers.

The EPD needs to be distinguished? It has four levels, what is stage 4?

EPD stages 1 to 3 and their function have been highlighted above.  EPD 4, or the final stage, is to ensure that the very best players are included in our various national teams.  This would include the Junior Springboks (South Africa U20 team), Men’s and Women’s National Sevens teams, Springbok A and/or Under-23 sides and ultimately, the Springboks.

Who is in charge of the under 18 High performance squad and their selections?

The U18 High Performance Squad, or SA Schools Squad selection process is made over an extended period through our EPD phase 2 programme and not just in the week(s) of the U18 Coca-Cola Academy Week and Under-18 Coca-Cola Craven Weeks, as is commonly believed.

While our EPD programmes provides us with a wealth of information on a wide base of players SA Rugby relies on the assistance of our Associate Member, SASRA (South African Schools Rugby Association).  SASRA appoints six national selectors who work closely with SA Rugby and the SA Schools coaches and EPD Managers.

While the Under-18 Coca-Cola Craven Week is our flagship event to showcase the best U18 players in the country, SA Rugby, with the help of SASRA, ensures that players who missed out on selection either through injury or any other reason, are not forgotten or overlooked.  With the wealth of data we have collected from players through EPD 1 and the insight of SASRA selectors, who have established relationships with these players as their teachers or coaches in the various provinces, SA Rugby is able to select the best possible team to represent the SA Schools and SA Schools A sides.

How does SA Rugby identify the next Springbok stars and ensure that they continue to develop and grow as players?

Over the last four years SA Rugby’s Elite Coaching Group (Mobi Coaching Unit and Springbok Coaches) have developed a Rugby Blueprint.  The purpose of this document was to ensure that SA Rugby not only documents and protects its Rugby IP, but that this information can be adapted for coaches and players at lower levels.

Two important development initiatives and documents that have resulted from the Rugby Blueprint includes the SA Rugby Selection Policy Manual and the SA Rugby Skills Development Manual.

While SA Rugby will not prescribe to any organisation or individual how to coach at lower levels, we have identified through consultation with various role players that a need for a Rugby Knowledge Library was desperately needed.

These and other documents have been introduced to coaches from U16 level upwards over the last few years and as part of our EPD programme initiatives.  It helps coaches at all levels improve their own skill set, but also offers a clear idea on the benchmarks SA Rugby has set for players at various levels.

It is of great benefit to SA Rugby and specifically our Junior National Teams (SA Schools and Junior Springboks) that players who arrive at any of our training camps are not unfamiliar with our conditioning, skills or technical requirements for each position.

While SA Rugby will always be dependent on our unions to identify and develop our future Springboks, the benefit of sharing our IP and benchmarks help coaches better prepare players for the moment they join our Elite squads.

What is the state of rugby development in the deepest parts of South Africa? How focused does SA Rugby help out with players below the under 13 level, considering the efforts mentioned?

SA Rugby, with the help of our Associate Member, SASRA, is currently rolling out a project in which we hope to audit every single rugby player at school in South Africa.  With over 28 000 schools we are well aware that this is a massive project that will take time to complete.

However, the importance of this project cannot be overstated.  What the audit will allow SA Rugby to establish is not only how many schools present rugby as an extra mural activity, but also the standard of the product (rugby) that is delivered at each school.

Each audit will give us information on the total amount of rugby players in relation to the total number of learners of each school.  How many coaches are available to coach players and what experience or qualification they have, and importantly, what equipment and facilities are available at each school.

Once we have an accurate estimate of the state of the game at school level in South Africa, SA Rugby together with SASRA will look to engage the Department of Sport and Recreation and the Department of Basic Education both nationally and provincially to address the game’s most immediate needs.

How do SA rugby select the relevant locations for the players to develop?

SA Rugby has and always will work closely with our unions in deciding our strategic approach to rugby development.  While it is important to note that no school is excluded, our focus is towards urban township and rural areas in line with our commitment to the Transformation Charter, which all the provincial unions signed.

What is the secret, considering SA Rugby is one of the few sports Unions in the country that have managed to get a win percentage of over 80% in the last three years with fully transformed side? How?

SA Rugby is proud of the fact that our National Schools, U20 and Springbok Sevens sides have maintained a high win percentage over the last couple of years whilst being demographically in line with our targets.  It is both as a result of the hard work we have put into the development of the game and the commitment our unions have shown towards transformation.

We are also thankful to our unions who have been driving the principle that transformation is not the exclusion of any specific race or group, but rather involves the inclusion of all people who want to play the game and providing the necessary platforms for them to do so.

The 2019 World Cup will require South Africa to have a certain percentage of transformed players. Are you confident this will be achieved with distinction?

The success of our junior teams over the years have shown us that fielding a team that is demographically representative whilst maintaining a high standard of performance is a natural result if the programmes are in place to support it.

Again, transformation is not viewed in our rugby structures as a process or system to specifically include or exclude any person based on their race, but rather a process to create an environment where coaches and players of all races can thrive to achieve their best.

With the continued support of our unions and associate members SA Rugby is confident that rugby will meet the expectations.

 

Playing smart and some advice for the Beast

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SARugby Player profile

Passing and how the forwards take up the ball- the art of passing. Either players in South Africa have been instructed not to pass or they find the art pointless is debateable. Countless times this weekend players and more worryingly midfielders (12 & 13) have the option to pass when there are players on the outside but instead looking to take the contact and bump off the man.

This is an ancient way of playing the game. Attacking the man instead of space has also proven to be another trend within our game. The most expansive centres for the South African franchise belonged to the Bulls duo of Jan Serfontein and Jesse Kriel this weekend. A very big improvement from the duo who have seldom pass in the previous 6 rounds.

Both had a combined total of 13 passes and three offloads. In comparison to a Rene Ranger for example who made a mammoth 15 passes on his own.

Majority of the South African centres will not throw the ball often instead looking to hit it up every time and this makes it easier to defend. When the majority of players have the ball tucked in their options are limited to an audacious ‘out the back door’ pass to hitting it up.

Strength and brains could be a formidable combination if some of our midfielders or loose forwards attempted it. Watching the Stormers game could have left a few Stormers fans frustrated in how John ben Kotze blew two try scoring opportunities by tucking the ball in and taking contact instead of passing. The pass requires timing and thought. A skill we need to make more use of. Loose forwards always taking it up leaves the defence with so little to do.

When forwards are in a stagnant position and receive the ball with no momentum. The reliance to make it over the gain line is lowered. Imagine the difference when a forward comes at pace, taking the ball up with momentum into space. What would prove more efficient for a side moving forward? The tweaking of small things could improve the South African side’s attacks massively. What we saw from some of the sides this weekend, while marginally effective was a trademark of stone-age rugby.

Be smart- The officiating of Angus Gardner will leave a lot to be desired and it will be yet another puzzling official in not just round 7 but in the entire tournament. Over the years one has seen how great captains have handled matches and interaction with referees. Richie McCaw, John Smit and Jean de Villiers some of the best in my era.

The conduct of Sharks captain Tendai Mtawarira was not acceptable. The frustration was evident. The Sharks lost key player Marcel Coetzee, they got penalised at a rate of knots at the scrum and their general standard of play was below average. In fact it was poor.

The Sharks looked like a side that was already off on tour. It will be an uphill from here for the men in black and white to make the play offs.

Beast was at the tip of his boiling point and like his coach a few weeks ago was having another argument with the official. A referee in this occasion who also got frustrated. It was very frustrating for the Beast. His choice of words though not offensive managed to lack any respect for the official and in some perspective cost the Sharks 50/50 calls.

The Springbok loose head muttering ‘….it’s not fair….’ in the middle of several arguments with Gardner.  The Sharks camp may be feeling frustrated with the recent officiating in the last few weeks.

A Springbok with over 100 games for the Sharks should know better. Young players are watching and they will follow in their role models’ example. If he was to throw around his toys in that manner. There will be no respect shown to referees in our future generations.

Yes, they are some poor calls from the officials but rugby must maintain its standards of respect. The game can’t become like football otherwise it will spiral to an abyss of no return.

Considering Gary Gold just got punished for his lack of respect towards the officials. It was as if the Sharks as a group did not learn from the incident. A captain must keep his cool, even in the heat of the battle. When he loses it, the side will end up in no man’s land.

Springbok coach announcement maybe not on April Fools day

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Reports are doing the rounds that SARU will not announce the new Springbok coach tomorrow as was widely expected.

Most are expecting to hear former Stormers coach Allister Coetzee to be named as the new coach of the Springboks. He is currently employed by Japanese club Kobe Steelers and the hold up if rumours are to be believed is his a better package for Coetzee and that he wants his assistance to be Proudfoot and Fleck who worked with him at the Stormers.

SARU was initially going to name the coach after their General Meeting on Friday.

In the last couple of months it pointed to the believe that Rassie Erasmus and his department would have a bigger role to play within Springbok rugby with all the elite coaches SARU already have on their books.

Coetzee worked under Erasmus at Western Province Rugby before Erasmus resigned and joined SARU.

SA Rugby wary of match-fixing

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5107ae48e33941dfbb4af3b762a66a09SA Rugby has addressed the potential threat of match fixing in the sport by putting in place a monitoring service for Super Rugby and Springbok Tests in 2016 writes SARugbyMAG.co.za

For the first time, SA Rugby has partnered with Sportradar, a Swiss-based global leader in providing data services to media companies, bookmakers, sports federations and state authorities, to operate a match-fixing detection service.

‘We have recently seen allegations of match-fixing in other South African sports and it is a threat that SA Rugby is not complacent about,’ CEO Jurie Roux commented. ‘In the past few years, World Rugby has really stepped up its quest in ensuring the integrity of the game is upheld with its “Keep Rugby Onside” campaign and we fully support that.

‘All our teams and competitions count among the best in the world, so it’s imperative that we monitor global sport to spot the threats on the horizon. Sportradar can safeguard us from these threats. Its data-related expertise will ensure that its betting monitoring systems, which are employed worldwide, will give us the most powerful tool available to spot and root out concerns.’

Rassie still wants to coach the Boks according to newspaper

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Rassie-Erasmus

Over the weekend Sunday newspaper “Rapport” has ran again with news that SA Rugby high performance manager Rassie Erasmus still wants to coach the Springboks.

With so much going on at SA Rugby at the moment most are forgetting that we still not have a Springbok coach in place and that is taking Springbok rugby backwards.

According to Rapports source, Erasmus wants the job but wants to be appointed immediately and not on April fools day when the next general council meeting is scheduled for. The source also claimed that Erasmus and his mobile coaching unit already have advance plans in place for the Springboks in June.

‘Video analysis of the Irish team is already done, the names of a possible squad are penned down and movements have even been worked out, but players need to know in what capacity Rassie is speaking – as the next Bok coach or head of SA Rugby,’ the source told Rapport.

 

Viljoen, Pisi herald SunWolves 23

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The SunWolves have opted to include experienced trio of Shota Horie, Riaan Viljoen and Tusi Pisi in their first Super Rugby squad. Amongst them is the ever reliable Ed Quirk who played for the Reds. He will likely be their best line out option. The Lions and SunWolves game will be an exciting clash.

Starting XV

1-Keita Inagaki 2-(c) Shota Horie 3-Shinnosuke Kakinaga 4-Timothy Bond 5-Hitoshi Ono 6-Liaki Moli 7-Andrew Durutalo 8-Ed Quirk 9-Atsushi Hiwasa 10-Tusi Pisi 11-Yasutaka Sasakura 12-Yu Tamura 13-Harumichi Tatekawa 14-Akihito Yamada 15-Riaan Viljoen

Replacements:

16-Takeshi Kizu 17-Masataka Mikami 18-Koki Yamamoto 19-Shinya Makabe 20-Yoshiya Hosoda 21-Kaito Shigeno 22-Derek Carpenter 23-Hajime Yamashita

Sharks name 23 for Kings battle

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Gary Gold has named his 23 to take on the Sharks and on paper its an exciting line up, coupled with youth and experience. The Sharks will be looking to start off strongly and better against the newboys the Kings. Among the new faces in the Sharks will be Coenie Oosthuizen who will be at tight head prop, the du Preez brothers and the ever-mercurial Willie le Roux. Franco Marais has won the hooker berth and will keep the jumper until Chilliboy Ralepelle is fit to play.

The Sharks will run on with a new skipper in the form of Tendai Mtawarira. The Sharks take on the Southern Kings on Saturday.

15. Willie Le Roux
14. Odwa Ndungane
13. Paul Jordaan
12. Andre Esterhuizen
11. Lwazi Mvovo
10. Joe Pietersen
9. Cobus Reinach
8. Daniel du Preez
7. Jean-Luc du Preez
6. Marcell Coetzee
5. Hyron Andrews
4. Etienne Oosthuizen
3. Coenie Oosthuizen
2. Franco Marais
1. Tendai Mtawarira (Captain)

 

Replacements:

16. Kyle Cooper  17. Juan Schoeman  18.Lourens Adriaanse  19. Dave McDuling  20. Philip van der Walt  21. Michael Claassens  22. Garth April  23. S’bura Sithole

SA Rugby is rotten

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SARU-logoGoldSouth African rugby’s national leadership stinks, writes MARK KEOHANE in Business Day newspaper.

It did a year ago but the stench is now at its most foul.

Whatever the South African success in Super Rugby in its expanded 18-team format, it can’t compensate or negate the rot within the game’s national leadership.

The leadership, be it Oregan Hoskins who parades as the president or Jurie Roux, who functions as the boss of the Springboks and all things national, is divided as every rotten bit starts to publicly be exposed.

Hoskins has managed to duck and dive every issue on transformation since in 2007 promising the South African government and public that a Springbok team would never again go to a World Cup with transformation an issue.

When there was minimal change in 2011, Hoskins predictably played the patriotism card in urging the people and those who report on the game to unconditionally get behind the Springboks’ World Cup campaign.

Again transformation was secondary to the propaganda fuelled hysteria that the Boks would win the 2011 World Cup. The reality was the international season had been a disaster and the Boks, one-point victors against Wales in the pool stage, lost in the quarter-finals.

Hoskins, in driving transformation, was silent for four years between 2011 and 2015 and the leadership short-term con job in attempting to portray bigger black numbers in 2015 was to include Rudy Paige as the third scrumhalf.

Paige had not played a Test in Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer’s four-year tenure but the propaganda machine again hit the patriotism button and Paige’s selection was hailed as a victory for transformation.

It was a farce, as was the Springboks’ World Cup campaign. The Boks lost to Japan in the pool stage and were beaten in the semi-finals.

Paige played less than 20 minutes in the tournament as Meyer proved incapable of understanding the transformation dynamics within the squad.

Saru’s leadership (read Roux) had already in principle reappointed Meyer before the start of the 2015 season. It proved a costly mistake because Meyer resigned with a payout that was the result of misguided and arrogant decisions based on the illusion that the Boks would win the 2015 Rugby Championship and the World Cup.

The Rugby Championship, only played over a single round, favoured the Boks. They would host Argentina and the All Blacks and the only away game was in Australia. The arrogance, which has had a stink to it the equal of the rotting head of the leadership, refused to entertain on-field realities.

The Bok didn’t win a Test in the Rugby Championship, which was merely an extension of the inept Super Rugby regional performances when not one of the five regional teams placed in the top six.

Now Roux is under investigation for alleged misappropriation off funds when heading up Maties Rugby Club.

Hoskins is said to want Roux out, who in turn hasn’t been too fazed by the powder puff punches of a president who has only been noticeable because of his absence on any relevant issue in South African rugby.

The 14 elected provincial presidents, as has been custom since amateur structures were insisted on when the game when professional in 1996, are divided. There is no unity and when there is no unity there can never be strength.

Sponsors have pulled out, the Springbok coaching successor to Meyer has not been made because agendas are at play. The post wasn’t advertised after 2007 World Cup-winning coach Jake White indicated he would apply for a second stint. Hoskins despises White, and his ego and distaste for White triumphed over transparency.

The leadership, reminiscent of those dark days of National Party apartheid rule in South Africa, felt no obligation to answer for actions. None felt the need to be accountable to the public, over the Boks, transformation, the position of the Southern Kings or the loss of leading sponsors. There was also no fronting for the failed 2015 international season.

Now, with the rot at its most extreme, it’s all falling apart and each day brings another revelation of Roux and Hoskins being a law unto themselves, even if not in sync with each other’s individual agendas.

And of course there’s this weekend’s start to Super Rugby, a tournament that diminishes in appeal with each team expansion from the original Super 12.

The leadership, with Hoskins at the forefront, agreed to stay with Super Rugby when every rational argument suggested South African rugby would be a greater beneficiary aligned to tournament structures in the northern hemisphere.

The little cheer in our rugby will come with the domestic derbies in the first month but that will be short term. What shouldn’t be short term is the haste in which Hoskins, Roux and the leadership should be chased from the offices of SA Rugby

Roux no longer in charge of searching for Bok coach

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5107ae48e33941dfbb4af3b762a66a09SARU CEO Jurie Roux will not be in charge anymore on the search for the new Springbok coach.

Roux who are being accused of making unauthorised payments to Maties Rugby Club while he was director of finance at Stellenbosch University and also chairman of Maties Rugby club.

The decision was made that Roux will no longer submit the names of suitable candidates for the Springbok coach to SARU general council. SARU president Hoskins will take over and drive the process.

Everyone expect the council to confirm the new Springbok coach in March after Meyer resigned in December. There is a lot of speculation on who the new man will be that will take the Springboks to 2019 World Cup in Japan.

Rassie Erasmus name have been popping up in the media in the last month which will keep the Springbok coach in-house. The early favourite former coach of the Stormers Allister Coetzee is also reported to have been contacted by SARU on his availability but no formal discussions have taken place according to reports.

It is also speculated that Erasmus can be put in as an temporary coach for the July test matches which will give SARU more time to find the right man.

As South African supporters are waiting for the announcement many feels that the delay in announcing the new Springbok coach is putting South African rugby is a huge disadvantage.

The Springboks will start there year against Ireland the 11th June for three incoming test matches before taking on New Zealand, Australia and Argentina in the Rugby Championship in August.

No major injuries from Madibaz game

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Southern_Kings_Kit_2016

 

Following the contact session against the NMMU Madibaz on Friday last week, a few players have picked up minor injuries and will be monitored through the week.

Southern Kings Head Coach, Deon Davids, said Lukanyo Am had sustained a bruised knee, while Malcolm Jaer and Jurgen Visser both had tight hamstrings, which would be monitored ahead of the Southern Kings clash against the SWD Eagles in their first official warm up match in George on Friday.

Other players who are on the injury list and undergoing rehab are Phillip du Preez, with an ankle injury, Aidon Davis and Louis Fouche, with knee injuries, Jaco van Tonder, who is recovering from an ACL injury sustained last year and  Kevin Luiters, with a strained calf.

Cornell Hess had also been sent home today due to illness, said Davids.

“It is obviously a concern when you have a long injury list before the start of the season, but we are doing the best that we can under the current circumstances,” said Davids.

Davids said he was thankful for the opportunity to have a hit out against the NMMU Madibaz last week.

“It was the best practice that we could ask for. The NMMU guys really gave us a go. I think we were really tested on defense and on attack, but I’m happy with the way we responded,” he said.

Davids said from an attacking point of view, there was room for improvement in continuity and keeping the ball through phases, and that he was not happy with the tackle count on defense.

He said the first official warm up game against the SWD Eagles at Outeniqua Park in George would play a crucial role in looking at various player combinations.

“Going into our first official friendly our focus will shift, and we will begin to focus more in terms of testing combinations, as well as at improving on our performance from the NMMU game,” he said.

Three new signings for the Kings

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Southern_Kings_Kit_2016

 

The Southern Kings have confirmed three more player signings ahead of their return to the Vodacom Super Rugby 2016 competition.

Chief Operating Officer, Charl Crous, confirmed the signing of the young up and coming lock, Phillip du Preez (22) the versatile back line player, Jurgen Visser (26) and hooker, Martin Bezuidenhout (26).

Crous also confirmed that Sharks player, Jaco van Tonder (24), had joined the team on trial this week.

Du Preez has been described as one of the best up and coming line out jumpers. He recently returned from France, where he played for Bayonne.

Du Preez started his professional rugby career playing for the Lions in the U18 Coca Cola Craven Week competition, before making the SA Schools team. He then joined the Blue Bulls in the ABSA U19 competition before moving to the Cheetahs the following year to represent them in the U21 competition. He made his Vodacom Cup debut for the Cheetahs in 2014.

Visser played 8 games for Western Province before relocating to Pretoria, where he played 40 matches for the Blue Bulls in Currie Cup and 31 matches for the Bulls in Super Rugby.

Visser is known for his versatility, and although playing mostly at fullback, he has also played at wing and scrumhalf.

Bezuidenhout, who played with Griquas in the Vodacom Cup and Currie Cup competitions last year, also played for the Stormers and the Lions in Super Rugby.

Van Tonder is also a versatile back line player. He moved from the George based SWD Eagles, where he played U16 Grant Khomo and U18 Craven week competitions, to Kwazulu Natal, where he joined the Sharks. He made his debut for them in the 2012 Vodacom Cup.

Current squad to date

  • Aidon Davis, 21, No 8
  • Chris Cloete, 24, Flank
  • Cornell Hess, 26, Lock
  • Cyril-John Velleman, 20, Flank
  • Edgar Marutlulle, 27, Hooker
  • Elgar Watts, 30, Flyhalf
  • Jacobie Adriaanse, 30, Tighthead Prop
  • Jacques (Vleis) Engelbrecht,30, No 8
  • James Hall, 19, Scrumhalf
  • John-Charles (JC) Astle, 25, Lock
  • JP du Plessis, 24, Centre
  • Jurgen Visser (26), Fullback
  • Kevin Luiters, 23, Scrumhalf
  • Leighton Eksteen,21, Scrumhalf, Flyhalf, Fullback
  • Louis Fouche, 25, Flyhalf
  • Lukhanyo Am, 22, Centre
  • Luzuko Vulindlu, 28, Centre/Wing
  • Malcolm Jaer, 20, Fullback
  • Martin Ferreira, 26, Hooker
  • Phillip du Plessis, 22, Lock
  • Schalk Ferreira, 31, Prop
  • Schalk Oelofse, 27, Lock
  • Shane Gates, 23, Flyhalf
  • Sipato Junior Pokomela, 19, No 8
  • Siyanda Grey ,26, Wing/Centre
  • Stefan Watermeyer, 27, Centre
  • Stefan Willemse, 23, Flank
  • Steven Sykes, 31, Lock
  • Tazz Fuzani, 25, Lock
  • Thembelani Bholi, 25, Flank
  • Tom Botha, 25, Prop
  • Tyler Paul, 20, Lock/Flank

Shocking development as SA Rugby’s turkeys again vote against Christmas

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Written by Rob Otto (robdylan) 

 

SARU add to an already massive task for new Bok coach

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SARU-logoGoldAs if it will not be hard enough for the new Springbok coach to achieve the new transformation goals of SARU and Government, a statement over the weekend from SARU said that the new coach will only be appointed in March when the next meeting will be held by the general counsel.

SARU President said in a statement last year that the new man in charge of the Springboks will have to make transformation his top priority when he take the Boks for the next term. There will be certain goals that the new coach will have to achieve in the next four years to make sure that the Springbok team that jet off to Japan for the 2019 World Cup are representative of our country and the agreement SARU have with Government.

This leave not much time for the new coach to get his plans in place if his appointment only comes through in March this year, a mere two months before the first test match against Ireland in June. The Springbok coaching job will also not be advertised with the candidates that will be approached during the next month of so.

SARU CEO Jurie Roux, is the man that is driving this whole process and he will be giving his options and recommendations through to the general counsel for final approval.

Although Allister Coetzee was an early favourite for the job it seems that the members from the northern region is not convince that the former Stormers coach is the right man for the job. Other names linked to the job includes Johan Ackermann and former Sharks coach John Plumtree.

Rumours are also doing the rounds that Rassie Erasmus name are in the hat but in times like these many names gets thrown around.

Many supporters are waiting to see not just who the man will be that takes over from Meyer but what structures SARU will enforce on the new coach concerning his assistants and technical advisors, one aspect most believe Meyer had failed in his management team.

SARugbymag.co.za reported that if the post would have been advertised, that former Springbok coach Jake White would have applied.

Who ever get the job with whoever he gets to assist him, will have a massive task just to get his processes and structures in place before the Irish arrives in June for three test matches in South Africa

bunny

 

By: Jacques Nortier

 

 

SARU new plan to keep SA Players

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The Executive Council of the South African Rugby Union has approved a new funding model for professional rugby players designed to encourage more players to see out their careers at home.

The increase in funding – from R25m to R90m per annum (in addition to Springbok contracts and match fees) – was approved by the General Council on Friday as part of the 2016 SARU budget

The new arrangement secures the collective image rights of all South African professional rugby players for use by their employers.

It means that all 14 provincial unions – as well as the mother body – can use the collective images of their contracted players in marketing material and appearances for sponsors, now that those rights have been secured from MyPlayers, the official professional rugby players’ organisation.

MyPlayers will manage the distribution of the income to players in a number of ways, thereby making South Africa a more viable option to ply their professional trade.

“It has always been a challenge keeping our players in the country, made ever worse by the weakness of the rand,” said Jurie Roux, CEO of SARU.

“This new deal that we have struck with the players’ organisation is one part of the effort to retain the skills available to the game. It has meant a realignment of how we budget but we are convinced that it is a wise investment for the benefit of South African players and the game in this country.”

MyPlayers said that the distribution back to players would have a sharp focus on player initiatives such as career development and financial security.

“The foundation for this deal was laid in 2009 when an agreement was reached to remunerate the national players for the use of their collective commercial rights,” said Eugene Henning, managing director at MyPlayers.

“This new agreement will also be extended to all professional players in South Africa while additional provision is made for the collective interests of the players.”

Henning further expressed how this move will further benefit the welfare of players.

“This is a significant step towards ensuring that professional players are well looked after in an environment that is now much more secure allowing them to explore options which will prepare them for life after rugby,” he said.

“It allows us to significantly broaden our offering with a focused investment towards player development and welfare, life after rugby, financial well-being and commercial appeal.”

The agreement comes into effect on 1 January 2016 for a period of five years.

De Allende, De Jager nominated for Payer of the Year

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Springboks Damian De Allende and Lood de Jager were rewarded for their good form at the Rugby World Cup when both earned two nominations in the annual SA Rugby Player of the Year Awards, while Warrick Gelant, Seabelo Senatla, Warren Whiteley and Jaco Kriel each received nominations in more than one category in “breakthrough” years for several players.

The full list of nominees was released by the South African Rugby Union (SARU) on Thursday with a number of other young stars playing their way into contention.

Junior Springbok star Gelant was nominated in three categories – along with dynamic Golden Lions flanker Kriel – while Blitzboks speedster Senatla received two nominations, as did Whiteley, to join De Allende and De Jager among the top performers of 2015.

The Xerox Golden Lions were rewarded for a great season with a host of different nominations. As well as Kriel and Whiteley, their coach, Johan Ackermann, was also nominated and the union’s Absa Currie Cup side was named as one of three contenders for team of the year.

De Allende and De Jager will be up against Kriel, two-time winner Schalk Burger and former Young Player of the Year Eben Etzebeth for the top award, the SA Rugby Player of the Year.

Kriel was also nominated in the categories for Vodacom Super Rugby and Absa Currie Cup Premier Division Player of the Year.

De Allende and Whiteley are the other two nominees for Vodacom Super Rugby Player of the Year, while De Jager is one of the five Absa Young Players of the Year, along with Gelant, Senatla, Jesse Kriel and Handré Pollard.

The exciting Gelant was nominated in the categories for Absa Currie Cup Premier Division and SA Under-20 Player of the Year, where he is up against Junior Springbok enforcers Hanro Liebenberg and Jason Jenkins.

The Xerox Golden Lions, who went through the entire Absa Currie Cup Premier Division season unbeaten, are one of five sides nominated by the country’s media as Absa Team of the Year, and will face opposition from the Springbok Sevens, Springboks, DHL Stormers and DHL Western Province.

Ackermann faces competition from Blitzboks coach Neil Powell and Robert du Preez of the Absa Currie Cup First Division winners, the Leopards, and NWU-Pukke to determine who will be the Absa Coach of the Year.

The three nominees in the category of Vodacom Cup Player of the Year are Wiaan Liebenberg (Vodacom Blue Bulls), JC Roos (Steval Pumas) and Marnus Schoeman (Steval Pumas), while the Absa Currie Cup First Division Player of the Year will be one of Leighton Eksteen (SWD Eagles), Juan Language (Leopards) or Rhyno Smith (Leopards).

South Africa’s rugby-loving public will be able to have their say for the SA Rugby Player, Absa Young Player and Absa Team of the Year Awards, which will be conducted online at www.springbokmagazine.com from Friday, 11 December until Friday, 8 January 2016 (or click here). All the winners will be announced in the New Year.

All the nominations for 2015 (in alphabetical order):

SARU Rugby Player of the Year:

  1. Schalk Burger
  2. Damian De Allende
  3. Lood de Jager
  4. Eben Etzebeth
  5. Jaco Kriel

Absa Young Player of the Year:

  1. Lood de Jager
  2. Warrick Gelant
  3. Jesse Kriel
  4. Handré Pollard
  5. Seabelo Senatla

Absa Team of the Year:

  1. Xerox Golden Lions (Absa Currie Cup)
  2. Springboks
  3. Springbok Sevens
  4. DHL Stormers (Vodacom Super Rugby)
  5. DHL Western Province (Absa Currie Cup)

Absa Coach of the Year:

  1. Johann Ackermann (Xerox Golden Lions)
  2. Neil Powell (Springbok Sevens)
  3. Robert du Preez (NWU-Pukke, Leopards)

SA Under-20 Player of the Year:

  1. Warrick Gelant
  2. Jason Jenkins
  3. Hanro Liebenberg

SA Sevens Player of the Year:

  1. Werner Kok
  2. Seabelo Senatla
  3. Kwagga Smith

Vodacom Super Rugby Player of Year:

  1. Damian De Allende (DHL Stormers)
  2. Jaco Kriel (Emirates Lions)
  3. Warren Whiteley (Emirates Lions)

 

Vodacom Cup Player of the Year:

  1. Wiaan Liebenberg (Vodacom Blue Bulls)
  2. JC Roos (Steval Pumas)
  3. Marnus Schoeman (Steval Pumas)

Absa Currie Cup Premier Division Player of the Year:

  1. Warrick Gelant (Vodacom Blue Bulls)
  2. Jaco Kriel (Xerox Golden Lions)
  3. Warren Whiteley (Xerox Golden Lions)

Absa Currie Cup First Division Player of the Year:

  1. Leighton Eksteen (SWD Eagles)
  2. Juan Language (Leopards)
  3. Rhyno Smith (Leopards)

Other awards that will be presented are in the categories of MyPlayers Players’ Player of the Year, Supersport Try of the Year, Coca-Cola Craven Week Player of the Year, Marriott Referee Award, Women’s Achiever Award and Cell C Community Cup Player of the Tournament.

Bidvest Car Rental new sponsor to SA Rugby

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The South African Rugby Union (SARU) on Thursday welcomed Bidvest Car Rental into their sponsorship family as the Official Car Rental Supplier to the Springboks and SA Rugby.

Jurie Roux, SARU CEO, said he was delighted to announce the new five-year partnership with Bidvest Car Rental, particularly in light of the challenging economic times.

“We are very fortunate to have a number of extremely keen sponsors as part of our family and we’re excited to be working with Bidvest Car Rental for the next five years,” said Roux.

“They are part of a major South African business success story and we are proud to be associated with them. They have raised the bar for service delivery and efficiency in a wide range of areas and we look forward to partnering with them over the coming years as well as gaining insights into their successful business practices.”

The partnership will see the Springbok logo being used in the marketing materials of Bidvest Car Rental as well as appearances by players in support of the company. National players on team duty and SA Rugby staff will also exclusively use Bidvest Car Rental vehicles for the next five years.

Gaynor Von Loggenburg, Sales and Marketing Director of Bidvest Car Rental, said: “We are big rugby fans, and we are proud to support the Springboks and SA Rugby as their car rental partner.

“We believe in the power of the Springbok brand and that we will be supporting something that our customers are passionate about. We have made major strides as a company since our launch and this sponsorship is a key part of our strategy to build the Bidvest Car Rental brand in the minds of local and international travellers.”

An official launch of Bidvest Car Rental’s partnership with the Springboks and SA Rugby will take place in the New Year.

WP Rugby confirm Jones departure

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Western Province Rugby has agreed terms with the Rugby Football Union which will see Eddie Jones depart to take on an international coaching post with England.

Stormers-with-DHL

Hoskins sorts facts from bullshit

5

Many opinions have been aired over recent weeks and I have listened to them with growing frustration. I have been frustrated because the good story we have been telling has been falling on deaf ears; and we do have a good news story to tell.

Bok to the future with Rassie Erasmus

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THE FUTURE OF THE SPRINGBOKS HAS BEEN ENTRUSTED TO A TEAM OF GEEKS AND THEIR TRACKING SOFTWARE, ALTHOUGH A STEADY SUPPLY OF PLAYERS READY TO RUN THROUGH A BRICK WALL ALWAYS HELPS. THE RED BULLETIN INVESTIGATES

Rassie-Erasmus

The bone-crunching physicality of modern rugby is matched only by the number-crunching and analysis that accompanies the game nowadays, with mountains of statistics being harvested, interpreted and stored on a weekly basis.

 

In order to stay ahead of the curve, South African rugby has historically relied on a steady stream of hulking, passionate players, but now theSpringbok brains-trust are looking to big data to improve the performances of the country’s finest athletes.

Rassie Erasmus – the former flanker who played in 15 of the Boks’ world record 17 wins in a row, as well as in the 1999 Rugby World Cup where the Springboks won the bronze medal match against New Zealand – is the man who is driving the South African Rugby Union’s new digital high-performance approach. Even when playing at the highest level, Erasmus was always searching for better ways to do things, to the point of going out and buying an analysis system derived from the Russian army several years before he retired.

 

Rugby

Big data, big futures: Damian de Allende (left) and Siya Kolisi are two Springboks with plenty left to achieve

THE SPRINGBOK BRAINS-TRUST ARE LOOKING TO BIG DATA TO IMPROVE PERFORMANCES

“It was financed by Bankfin for something like R124,000,” he says. “It came in this big black box and was massive. It was days before it would produce results.”

Erasmus’ inquiring mind remains the same, but technology has moved on since then. Two software systems are now being deployed by SARU: ‘Stratus’, which is used for game analysis; and ‘Footprint’ to identify, track and develop young talent as it grows to maturity and leaves the school environment.

The more conventional of the two systems is Stratus, a game analysis tool that is used to code thousands of matches every season. Matches can be downloaded from SuperSport or from the cloud, with each ‘action’ being coded into the database by one of Erasmus’ hard-working data jockeys.

The premise is simple, however the conclusions are worth gold; they reveal, for example, whether Australia tend to flood the breakdown or not. The answer is that they do (often with three players), but the answers themselves are far less important that what is done with them by Springbok management.

As a coach or technical advisor, there are many advantages to having the facts at your fingertips. Firstly, facts take the debate about players out of the subjective realm, rooting it in something tangible. Coaching decisions like selection choices and substitutions can therefore be defended by the statistics. Stats are also invariably long-view, which means that they’re a cool corrective to the vagaries of short-term memory and, in this way, can often be startlingly counter-intuitive.

Rugby

Pass class: De Allende has the size and skills to keep any opposition backline honest

South African referee Jaco Peyper, for instance, might be one of those guys fans love to hate. But the numbers portray Peyper as being remarkably consistent. This means he’s fair, even-handed and therefore trustworthy, qualities which fans choose to ignore during their emotional, short-term reactions to some of his decisions.

Little wonder then that Peyper has been chosen to referee the opening match of the Rugby World Cup at Twickenham on September 18.

Rugby

Go forward: Kolisi’s barnstorming runs in the loose are difficult to stop

You can have all the high-performance systems in the world, but there’s still no substitute for the intangibles that motivate young players on the long journey to becoming a professional.

“Rugby was the only thing I knew when I was growing up,” says Siya Kolisi, the flank forward who played junior club rugby in Zwide township in Port Elizabeth long before he was co-opted into fancy boarding school and provincial systems. “There was nothing else in my life. I was inspired mainly by ‘loosies’ – Big Joe van Niekerk, Schalk Burger and Bobby Skinstad. And, of course, Jean de Villiers. Now I’m there with Schalk and Jean.”

For Kolisi’s Stormers and Springbok teammate Damian de Allende, playing first XV rugby for Milnerton High was maybe also not ideal preparation for where he was destined to end up, but it did give him an inspiring glimpse of what the future might hold, if he could muster the determination. In his first year out of school, things began to fall into place. “In 2011 my club, Hamiltons, paid for me to go to the Rugby Performance Centre in Riebeek West and I only really started gymming then,” he says. “They push you to your limits at the RPC and your conditioning has to be perfect. That was really important for me.” De Allende is an imposing physical specimen, but that’s not his most noteworthy attribute. His real stand-out feature is his competitiveness and appetite for pain.

“The reason why I like to play at 12 is because it puts me closer to the action,” he says. But De Allende is actually equally comfortable at outside centre. Sheer hunger to play, anywhere, is usually the mark of any ambitious youngster, but unfortunately it doesn’t guarantee he won’t fall through cracks in the system. That’s where Erasmus’ second piece of software wizardry, Footprint, enters the picture.

Rugby

Motivation is priceless: “Rugby was all I knew when I was growing up,” says Kolisi

Footprint was initially intended to track young players through four phases, from age 15 until they are 21 and hopefully either playing for the Baby Boks or in possession of their first professional contract.

SARU are also using Footprint to analyse their talent pipeline, with the aim of sourcing more players from more schools, thus developing the sport more widely and taking care of transformation criteria without resorting to quotas. But Erasmus’ team have found that Footprint has morphed from a relatively straightforward player identification and tracking tool into something with far greater potential.

Information is now coming in from all 14 feeder unions on an almost daily basis as player data is captured and monitored as players progress through the ranks.

Data from a coach’s cellphone or tablet app can be sync’ed with Footprint so that players are accurately ranked across 10 categories: conditioning, support play and handling being three of them. If intervention is needed, this can now happen quickly and automatically, thanks to anomalies being flagged by the system.

National age group selectors, for example, don’t have to wait for Grant Khomo Week (at Under-16 level) or Craven Week to rectify a player’s bad habits. And as players get older and improve, they can now be compared against the benchmark norms of senior Springboks like Burger, De Villiers and Tendai ‘Beast’ Mtawarira.

Rugby

Experience counts: “Before a game, I chill. I’m not one of those guys who gets hyped up,” says De Allende

Footprint continues to evolve into a tool that is properly proactive. Player welfare is also on Erasmus’ team’s radar. “We’re refining all the time,” they say. “We want to end up being able to not only identify and track players, but also look out for player welfare.

We don’t want to find out that a player is about to reach a threshold because of over-training. If there’s a mental block for some reason, we want to have enough information on the database to see that coming.”

Burnout is the last thing on Harold Vorster’s mind after he broke through into the Super Rugby elite this season. “After my Super Rugby debut, I’d say that I took maybe three or four matches to get used to the pace and the feel of the game,” says the Lions’ promising new centre. “After that it was all about perseverance and hard work. But by the end of the season and the last two or three matches I was feeling comfortable. It’s important not to get a big head, though.”

While Vorster’s quest to become a Springbok is only just beginning, De Allende’s Bok career is about to take off. That extra experience counts when it comes to dealing with the pressure. “The enjoyment is important to me,” says De Allende. “Before a game, I just chill. I’m not one of those guys to get hyped up.

I listen to rap and hip-hop and take it easy.” De Allende’s not alone in believing the real challenge of coping with pro rugby is as mental as it is physical.

“You always put your body on the line,” says Kolisi. “It’s like being hit by a car. When you wake up on a Monday or Tuesday morning after a match on the weekend, you think you’re carrying an injury or a niggle. But you’re just sore. That’s just the way it is.”

That’s just the way it is, and the way it always will be. And that ability to keep on coming back for more is probably still the best measure of a Springbok, even if it can’t be tracked on a spreadsheet. Yet.

– See more at: http://www.ruggaworld.com/2015/08/26/bok-to-the-future-with-rassie-erasmus/#sthash.1paqDP21.dpuf

A few lessons and maybe some hope?

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By: SA Rugby
By: SA Rugby

Argentina have reasons to be positive

The brilliance that was the Pumas must be acknowledged. Their development side managed to dazzle in the Vodacom Cup a few years ago and some of those performers excelled a few years later. They made history for their country and beat the mighty Springboks.

Their attitude was massive and they managed to beat a side that pushed Australia and New Zealand to the death of games. A simple attitude change can make a huge difference. They showed hunger. Juan Imhoff was playing Vodacom rugby in 2011 and was joint top try scorer with a certain JJ Engelbrecht.

Fast track four years and you have the same player looking set to be a regular in his Pumas team while JJ is an outcast in his country. a player that has had a peripheral role in South African rugby. This highlights the development the Argentinians have been doing and will continue to. It has been coming; this win over South Africa.

A draw in Mendoza a few years ago, scrapping home last year. They have finally managed to go the extra mile. Argentina continue to move forward and despite 11 changes will be happy to say this- They had that first win in the Championship, they manage to get not just a five-pointer against the Springboks but managed to not finish bottom.

They will take lots of confidence to playing at home next week but what they have at the moment is this- a solid scrum (illegal scrumming? The poor prop played to the referee’s whistle just like a certain Pocock did 4 years ago) and a reliable goal kicker something the All Blacks and possibly South Africa are lacking. Kudos to the Pumas for recovering from All Black and Australian hammerings.

 

Go back to the tried and tested then… and Meyer? Meyer must stick to the plan

Well the truth is the Springboks will always be backing the players in the system and we cannot afford to lose to the Pumas next week. I will not say impossible, but it’s unacceptable.

Meyer will need to fast track Willem Alberts, Fourie du Preez and then hope and pray that Duane Vermeulen returns with some form on the opening day of the World Cup. These man on their day would have offered you with some go forward ball on Saturday but also some much needed composure.

What I will say is Faf de Klerk could have been the best option this weekend considering the number 9 offers a spark and pizzazz when with the ball. Look at the games played yesterday. How important where the scrumhalf’s?

Aaron Smith was brilliant but also costly with that yellow card of his; the Springbok number 9’s both let themselves and the side down, Australia’s Nic Phibbs had a shocker but his replacement rescued him with Nic White showing how important a live wire number 9 can be and Argentina? Tomas Cubelli, their nine was really good and played a key part in realising Juan in many occasions.

Sorting the half back issue will be important and the trip to Argentina will remind us were exactly we stand.

Whether we will crash and burn or the Springboks will get a miraculous recovery and mount a World Cup challenge Meyer must not deviate from his plan. Its too late to change everything from game plan to even calling the likes of Jaco Kriel.

I think we need to offer the rest of the squad an opportunity. Meyer has very little option really, unless he picks the same XV to pick themselves up? He will get a hammering from fans whether he does that or anything else. From my understanding it was always part of his plan to use everyone in the friendly game. So will he deviate thanks to this snag?

I hope not. Meyer must show character and back his guns. What type of coach is he? Last I checked he was a successful Bulls-style of rugby coach and this must mean he must get the players that suit this rugby. Go back to basics and do a few selection shake ups.

Bring in a hungry bunch of players to turn the heat up. Pat Lambie, Morne Steyn, Zane Kirchner, Lwazi Mvovo, Warren Whiteley to mention a few. Let them go out there and redeem this mess they dished up this weekend.

The absence of Jean de Villiers, Marcel Coetzee and Willie le Roux is the perfect opportunity; with just Marcel in form it could be of advantage to the Boks. The only concern is playing someone out of position.

Captain is up for grabs once again with Jean de Villiers set to be out for four to six weeks. So will Schalk who showed some short comings as skipper continue or will they throw the armband toward Fourie du Preez?

One game to get some confidence going or even get better combinations in order. Heyneke Meyer will need to prove his mastery in the next few weeks.