JJ Harmse

SA coaches not up to scratch?

2012-03-08 14:59
Sport24 columnist JJ Harmse (File)
Honestly, who of you did not smile when you read the headline that Jake White was in line for the England job? Or more to the point, who believed it?

Of course it is great for South African rugby to hear that two of our former coaches - Nick Mallett being the other - are in line to coach the old enemy - and good luck to them.

We all know how successful both of them were at their time and we all know that their departure from the Springbok team had more to do with politics than rugby logic.

Please don’t throw stats at me for this argument.

Mallett was the right guy at the right time and so was White. The fact that they both lost direction during their tenures is one that one can debate for many hours.

The reason I am using Jake’s latest news flash is to highlight the fact that it is indeed news when a South African coach is wanted somewhere else.

England have shown that they are prepared to appoint a foreign coach and one will have to see if they follow the well trodden path of the likes of Ireland, Wales, Scotland and Italy.

I am in two minds here. Is it a good thing that our coaches are in high demand around the world because it is good for our rugby or is it a true reflection on the lack of ability by our coaches?

I have a funny feeling that it is the latter.

Take White out of the equation for now, how many times has a South African coach been mooted to coach a top country or even high profile club side?

I remember chasing after Mallett once in Hong Kong (post 1999) to follow up on a rumour that he was in line for the French coaching job.

He was kind enough to give me a minute to pose the question and then had a good laugh, telling me that he will probably be linked with some vacant job somewhere in the world for the rest of his coaching life.
How right he was.

White is in the same boat, but because he indicated his preference to coach England before (and while he was still coaching the Boks, one of the reasons for his ultimate exit); it has to be taken seriously.

But why is every half-decent New Zealand coach in demand everywhere in the world? Even Australian coaches, where they don’t have a third of the players or coaching numbers we have, seem to be more influential in the world of rugby.

We have won the Super Rugby title, we have won the World Cup and our Currie Cup competition is rated as one of the best in the world.

We have hundreds of players all around the world and in high and continued demand. We have some of the best referees in the world and even our current CEO, Jurie Roux, has been courted by the IRB and may be on his way to Dublin in the next couple of years.

Yet, no coaches - and I wonder why.

Lack of development structures? Are we not marketing their abilities enough? Lack of success on the international front?

Is the fact that that two out of five of our Super Rugby coaches hail from New Zealand and are not locally developed another reflection that we are seriously flawed in the coach developing department?

The big question, I suppose, is what we are going to do about it?

Read JJ every Sunday in Rapport.

Disclaimer: Sport24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on Sport24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Sport24.

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