Sacking BOK Coach Coetzee would be like putting an elastoplast on an amputation.

It is as simple as this. If the South African Rugby Union was listed on the stock exchange, the Board of Directors would be fired. The investors would have looked at the plunging stock, the disappearing dividends, and heads would roll.

There is no sentiment in business. Not when there is cold cash involved and expectant investors.

Are we taking it too far in saying that the Springboks are far more than sport and a business and that the Saru Board should fall on its sword?

Of course not. And when we are talking about a brand as internationally famous as the Springboks, the economic impact of a brand in free-fall becomes more complicated.

There are the direct stakeholders, the title sponsors and a whole bunch of supporting financial contributors that have their name attached to the Boks but, perhaps even more importantly, there is the countless multitude of “silent investors” that are the supporters.

The folk who buy (and burn!) the supporters jerseys and pay large sums to watch their team in stadiums around the world.

Springbok matches are watched by South Africans in virtually every city in the world. I have found a pub to watch a Springbok match in Bangkok and New York, others will have found a live screening in a startling array of arenas across the globe.

The Boks are big business. Those green and gold jerseys surface all around the world when the Boks play.

But what if more immediate supporters, those in South Africa, just stopped going to watch the Boks get humiliated …. again?

It is not debatable that the Boks are at their lowest ever ebb. Yes, they have lost a number of matches in a season before, such as in 1965 when there were seven losses and just one win (which was against the All Blacks) but that has been against top class opposition.

This year, the scale of the losses has been horrible, and how on earth can a Springbok team possibly lose to a very poor Italy team?

The easy target is Allister Coetzee and yes, he has been proved terribly out of his depth, but I feel sympathy for him and my sentiment is that the buck should stop with the Board that appointed him in the first place.

Allister was never going to be a success. And especially with the backroom staff that he was (mostly) given. I have nothing against Mzwandile Stick but how can he come from absolutely nowhere to coach the backline of the Boks? We know that it is because the coaching staff of Heyneke Meyer was seen to be too white.

Why on earth not continue with Ricardo Loubscher, one of Heyneke Meyer’s assistants who had spent four years with the Boks and is highly regarded? He would have been a merit appointment and offered continuity.

This is just one point among many that critics could make.

The bottom line is do not blame Coetzee for the blunders he has made this season, blame those who appointed him.

The stakeholders should be targeting the South African Rugby Union, not the hapless Coetzee. He did not appoint himself and he is surely doing his best.

But he was set up to fail by an amateurish Saru Board who did no forward planning – have they ever given that the Bok coaching staff changes entirely every post-World Cup year? – and appointed Coetzee almost by default. The suspicion is that nobody else could be found to take the job and the lateness of Coetzee’s appointment this year confirms that Saru were squirming ever since the end of the 2015 World Cup when they made it untenable for Meyer to continue.

Meyer did not want to leave. Yes he lost to Japan but in the end the Boks came third at the World Cup and almost beat the All Blacks in the semi-finals (18-20).

What would be soothing for the army of Springbok supporters worldwide (who can only voice their dissatisfaction on social media) is if the financial muscle that sponsors the Boks got together and read the Riot Act to the real culprits that are sinking South African rugby.

Sacking Coetzee, with no change among the green-blazered denizens of the Saru boardroom, would be like putting an elastoplast on an amputation.

BY Mike Greenaway


The South African Rugby Union went on confrontational attack

The South African Rugby Union went on confrontational attack this morning as the best form of defence of the alleged Springbok training camp in Rustenburg that is running concurrently with the Tri-Nations tour to Australia and New Zealand.

In fact, CEO Jurie Roux angrily denied that there is a training camp at all, telling a packed media conference at the Springbok hotel in the New Zealand capital that it was merely a gathering of injured players who are being collectively rehabilitated.

Rouz, who was in Australia last week for broadcasting meetings and in New Zealand this week for a Sanzar conference, sat on the right of coach Peter de Villiers at the conference to announce the team and when the predictable first question was about the “Rustenburg 21”, he began a defence that was initially measured but by the end of the conference had developed into full-scale attack, which culminated thus: “I am not denying that they are in Rustenburg, I am denying that there is a secret training camp. I have got my players in a single high performance entity being rehabilitated,” he said. “That is it, but you (the kiwi media) want me to say that I am running a separate Springbok team and have sent a B team here.

“Well, I would like to cut the cast off Schalk Burger’s finger, I would like Andries Bekker to not need an operation, I would like all of them to be uninjured, but they are injured and being rehabilitated, so what do you want me to do? I am not a miracle worker,” he exclaimed.

Roux, a Stellenbosch accountant by trade, then raised eyebrows with his response to a local reporter who said he had merely been seeking clarification of what was going on.

“It is a unique thing to me that people are worried about this at all. I run a multi-million rand corporation where my biggest asset is my players. I need to do something to get them all ready for the World Cup and that means the best medical attention in the best environment for the injured.

“This is a simple thing and if I was not doing it, I would need to come to New Zealand to look for a job, which is the last thing I want to do,” he said.

A cocker-hoop De Villiers gleefully added: “And I won’t come with you!”

Roux concluded: “What do you with injured players? You don’t send them to Bali or Mauritius to have a holiday, you put them into a high performance centre to get the best possible rehabilitation – I don’t understand the confusion and why there is this conspiracy theory.”

It was pointed out to the CEO that the “training camp” stories emanated from South Africa not New Zealand.

“That is perception and confusion coming from the media, and you can’t believe everything you hear in the media,” Roux said.

It was just about forgotten that Roux was there to announce the Springbok team.

The only surprise was that Morne Steyn was named at 10 and not 15, where he has run this week with Patrick Lambie doing the duties at 10. Oh well maybe it is all part of a cunning plan and Lambie will in fact do most of the attacking from flyhalf and Steyn and his boot will be there for the defence.

The expected changes see Gerhard Mostert making his debut for injured Flip van der Merwe; flank Jean Deysel coming in for axed Ashley Johnson, with Danie Rossouw moving to No 8.

In a tactical switch in the centres, Juan de Jongh moves to No 12 and Adi Jacobs starts at outside centre with Wynand Olivier dropping to the bench.

Lambie replaces injured Gio Aplon and Odwa Ndungane is promoted to the bench.

Springboks: 15 Morne Steyn 14 Bjorn Basson 13 Adrian Jacobs 12 Juan de Jongh 11 Lwazi Mvovo 10 Patrick Lambie 9 Ruan Pienaar 8 Danie Rossouw 7 Deon Stegmann 6 Jean Deysel 5 Alistair Hargreaves 4 Gerhard Mostert 3 Werner Kruger 2 John Smit (capt) 1 Dean Greyling

Substitutes: Chiliboy Ralepelle, CJ van der linde, Ryan Kankowski, Ashley Johnson, Charl McLeod, Wynand Olivier, Odwa Ndungane.

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