Systems, systems, systems, by Lloyd Burnard – Sport24
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.