Tank Lanning

Eddie Jones a Bok option?

2015-11-05 13:23
Sport24 columnist Tank Lanning (File)

Sure, the SARU General Council have to ratify it on December 4, but we can take it at as fait accompli that Heyneke Meyer will be in charge of the Boks for the next four years.

The conspiracy theory suggests that Meyer was promised eight years from the get go to make up for his non-appointment in 2007 when Peter de Villiers came in from left field to appease the government who wanted a black coach.

The reality, though, is that there is no one else in the country right now who is ready to take over.

Johan Ackermann might be showing South Africa the way with regard to how we should be playing our rugby, but most would agree that he is not quite ready for the top job. This while all the other SA franchises are also scratching around for coaches right now.

Which, unlike our player pipeline, speaks to our poor coaching pipeline. A problem I have addressed in this column before, and one I sincerely hope SARU are now addressing.

Two left field options SARU could consider though:

1 - Doing a deal with the WPRU that would see Eddie Jones appointed as the Bok coach, and the Stormers job given to rising coaching star, John Dobson. I really like this option, but SARU are probably too proud to appoint a foreign coach as they would see it as a failure of our current systems.

2 - Appoint a strong non-coaching manager (like Ian Schwartz) into a more senior role to run the show operationally and let the mobi-unit headed up by Rassie Erasmus (with the likes of Chean Roux, Pieter de Villiers, Louis Koen and Jacques Nienaber as his lieutenants) actually coach the team. It’s not as far-fetched as it first might seem. Think Clive Woodward and his team of merry advisors, specialists and consultants.

It’s highly unlikely that either of these two options will be given more than a second or two’s consideration, so we are left with a coaching appointment made not because he is the best man for the job, but because there is nothing better on offer.

Succession planning at it’s very best... not!

Who needs a succession plan when you have already appointed the man for eight years, though? Perhaps there is something to that conspiracy theory!

That said, the Boks did beat the USA 64-0, their biggest loss ever. They smashed Scotland, a team who were a controversial penalty away from beating finalists Australia. And they came within two points of beating eventual winners, the All Blacks, a team many are calling the best ever!

Quite simply, all is not lost.

That the Boks were booed by their fans while beating Argentina, whose fans were spotted dancing and singing in the stands, speaks to the fact that Meyer really has “lost” the SA fans.

His obsession with winning might not necessarily be in sync with supporters, who now seem ready to accept a loss or two in the name of progress. As World Cup semi-finalists, that no South African was nominated for player, coach or team of the year, and rightfully so, speaks to our lack of evolution, and that has to change.

De Villiers started the player power malarkey, and it has again thrived in the Meyer era. His so called attempts at transformation have been nothing short of embarrassing. We now have him for another four years by default, but it cannot be a case of rewind and press play.

Graham Henry was given a shot at redemption in 2007 and he came through for New Zealand. Meyer, rightly or wrongly, now has that same opportunity.

Tank is a former Western Province tighthead prop who now heads up Tankman Media, and sprouts forth on all things rugby on the Front Row Grunt.

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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