Mitchell: Boks still have time

2010-11-25 07:29

Pieter Jordaan

Johannesburg -  Two former Test rugby coaches, John Mitchell and Eddie Jones, believe the main reasons for the Boks struggle overseas is that they are unable to establish their own playing style with the new rule changes as well as peculiar team selections.

Mitchell, a former All Black coach who these days coaches the Lions in Johannesburg, says there is still time for the Springboks to fix matters before the World Cup but that they will have to work quickly.

That is why he doesn't think that South Africa needs to start panicking after Saturday's poor performance and defeat against Scotland in Edinburgh.

"England have shown that you can take an older team to the World Cup."

"There is of course still time (for the Boks) to fix matters, but time is running out."

The English made the 2007 World Cup final by picking old hands like Jason Robinson, Mike Catt, Andy Gomarsall, Ben Kay and Lawrence Dallaglio.

South Africa's version of these players in terms of experience, are men like Victor Matfield, Bakkies Botha, John Smit, Juan Smith, Jean de Villiers and Bryan Habana.

To make big changes to the squad now will not provide a solution, says Mitchell.

"I think they have to look at their style of rugby and especially the new rules at the breakdown."

South Africa were punished several times in this department in the match against Scotland.

Jones, a former Wallabies coach, also criticised the Boks' playing style after the Scottish tragedy.

"It is still the same as in the Three Nations," he told

"They can't decide how they want to play. With the new rules most of the teams have decided how they want to play."

"I don't think that the Boks believe in the way they play at all. It influences the team and that is why their attacking is also so one dimensional," says Jones.

Jones does believe that the Boks will beat England on Saturday,though, but thinks that the underlying problems won't go away.
"They like to play against England and always want to win there."

"South Africa will play with passion and have a good chance of winning, but their problems won't go away as a result, despite what happens."

"You can deliver one passionate performance at the end of the season but it won't hide the problems."

Jones also thinks that the Boks team selection leaves a lot to be desired.

"You have to wonder why smaller loose forwards like Deon Stegmann and Ryan Kankowski were chosen in wet conditions against big Scottish forwards. If you wanted to select Kankowski, you should have done it against Wales."


  • jurgendp - 2010-11-25 07:35

    Can't you guys please coached the Boks! This the only way we will win the RWC!

      Fikile - 2010-11-25 10:31

      Oh what the hell. There are many black coaches more capable than pdv. If U really wanted to mess things up and turn the rugby folks against a black person in charge, than choosing PvD was not such a bad choice. He lost me after his bees comments, he has to go.

  • thyspelser - 2010-11-25 07:38


  • Jaco - 2010-11-25 07:41

    At last a coach that confirms everthing we already knew for the past season. Appoint Mitchell and Jones and we will win the RWC.

  • AJ - 2010-11-25 07:42

    Why is it they we always seem to get a whole lot more (useful) information about the Springboks from coaches from other countries than we do from our own? Our coaching team never provide insights, plans etc - nothing.

      Hannes Perth - 2010-11-25 10:11

      The training of SA coaches are not very good. NZ is the best. Jsut look at Deans, Mitchell, Plumtree, Henry and Gatland. There is no SA coach better than these not even Heynecke Meyer that is now out of date. SA referees are however excellent and they have a good change to be the top refs at the World Cup again.

      tktoplis - 2010-11-25 10:55

      Well said both of you! As a nation we fall back and try "Prove" that our "Physicality" is superior, far too often. When it comes to proving mental & intelligent prowess,we fall well short... all too often

      AJ - 2010-11-25 11:22

      It's frustrating, but if I wanted to hear a 30 minute chat on Sprinbok rugby tactics etc, I would pick Henry, Mitchell, jones or someone like that well before I picked ANY of the current national coaching setup. It would be a much more sensible and informative session that's for sure.

  • Bollie Bol - 2010-11-25 07:46

    SARU will stick to Pdv until the our Boks are FUBAR, only then will they be happy and will they have achieved their goal

      ray.romans - 2010-11-25 08:56

      I couldn't agree more.

      BardofAvon - 2010-11-25 09:10

      What do expect from the South African Racist Union?

      StaalBurgher - 2010-11-25 11:42

      Pretty much. This is about destroying white pride, sapping our will and hoping we will disappear completely from South Africa. It has absolutely nothing to do with equal opportunity. And for those that think it is a crazy conspiracy theory need to wake up. That is how it works. You undermine a culture in all spheres, not just politically, but economincally and socially as well. That is how you win when you want Race Revenge.

  • swart59 - 2010-11-25 07:47

    OK SARFU, real world-class international coaches have spoken, and I suspect are announcing their availability to coach the Boks for WC 2011 in this fashion. Both of them was not exactly well treated as National Coaches in their respective countries, and thus potentially have a score to settle. Throw in local flavour Allistair Coetzee to show the ANC that we care, and let's rock!

      BardofAvon - 2010-11-25 09:12

      Yes, Mitchell & Jones were subtly indicating their suitability and availability to coach the Prots.

  • Johnny - 2010-11-25 08:01

    .....only if we can get rid of AA Helium Snorre... ....only then....

  • alecroller - 2010-11-25 08:03

    al Its a pity that all these comments only fall on deaf ears. Is there any way we can get the people in charge to read all these comments not only the ones made by Proud SA supporters, but also the comments made by other coaches. Somehow our coach, his selection panel and his two muscateers are going to make SA look like a joke.

      ray.romans - 2010-11-25 08:57

      Too late, we are already the laughing stock of the rugby world.

  • BCC - 2010-11-25 08:16

    SA are welcome to Mitchell. He singlehandedly destroyed the ABs from being a great team to being pretty bloody ordinary. I can see why you want to replace your clown coach but surely a proud rugby country can find someone that is at least a citizen. Where's all this depth that is constantly dribbled about on this site?

      mullerjj - 2010-11-25 08:43

      Why will John try and coach another team to beat his OWN people in the NZ World Cup. This is the WC NZ wants most, i just can not imagine that JM will take the job against his own people. So my fellow South Africans forget it.

      Hannes Perth - 2010-11-25 10:22

      Disagree. SA coaches are not very good. Non of the SA coaches (not even White) has achieve as much success as a Deans, Henry, Gatland or Mitchell despite having a much wider player base. Uur problem is that SA are so inward looking and entrenched with our own ideas that we cannot use our back line and our game plan is one dimensional. New Zealand is the side to beat and who is better placed than a Kiwi to teach us how to do it. Dingo Deans is doing a great job with a tiny Australian player base and Mitchell proved himself with the All Blacks (85% success), Force and the Lions. People forget that Deans was Mitchell's assitant at the All Blacks - this guy is phenominal. Does mullerjj suggest that Deans is coaching the Wallabies to loose against the All Blacks. He can only do better than the clueless clown.

      tktoplis - 2010-11-25 11:02

      We have no coaching depth!! Thats the problem. Im no Bishops old boy, but I say bring Basil Bey onboard, somewhere, somehow.

      BardofAvon - 2010-11-25 13:13

      @ Hannes Perth: Excuse me, didn't the Heyneke Meyer/Frans Ludeke team demolish all comers two years in a row (in the Super 14..... but I guess you ain't a Bulls supporter, right?)?

      Hannes Perth - 2010-11-27 15:54

      Boks do not need a good Super 14 coach they need a proven international coach that can turn them around in a couple of months. Can Meyer/Ludeke compete with a 85% win ratio in international games? The fact that you cannot figure out what team I support must count for me as it shows that I do not show provincial bias.

  • AGENT - 2010-11-25 08:19

    I'm considering not calling them the Boks anymore, this is not how the Boks should be rememberd, all because of one Ahole who is clueless and has the depth and insight of a brick. The Boks will rise again , I believe this, but for now Pdiv will rape , breakdown and destroy the beloved game. Pieter Deviliers I HATE YOU !!!.

      BardofAvon - 2010-11-25 09:16

      It's not Div's fault, AGENT, it's the people that appointed him. Yes, the Prots are the mutant descendants of the mighty Boks.

      swart59 - 2010-11-25 21:10

      Well put, Willem Wikkelspies!

  • mullerjj - 2010-11-25 08:22

    Eish boys you just read what you want to. John says there is time to fix it, that was his main point. I say that since the disastrous 3N too. With so many of our top players, and more so our game breakers out PdeV is in a difficult situation. We did not lose to the All Black and Australia that bad. In the last games against them we were beaten in the last minutes by controversial referee decisions, if that went the right way we would have had 3/6 wins in the 3N. A lot of people wanted Kanko in, and at the end Peter gave in under pressure. He also gave in under pressure to get Frans Steyn into the team, both flops. Be patient our top game breakers like Steenkamp, Brussow, Schalk Burger , Danie Roussouw and FduP is not there now. Put them in the team now and you will see the difference. Peter still have more wins against the AB's than JW.

      Standi - 2010-11-25 10:13

      We were soundly beaten by the Wallabies and All Blacks, with full strength teams. We did not have a bad year due to injuries or ref decisions. Refs were poor yes, but they are not the cause of us having no constructive game plan or pattern. Go and read Gary Gold's statement from yesterday's press interviews, it is mind numbing how shallow our planning is: “We just weren’t clinical enough in building phases, one or two individual errors just kept letting us down. It was one of those days where guys would drop passes that they would not normally drop. We would box kick with the idea that the kick would be chased down and we would win possession back, but it just wasn’t working out that way. We just kept surrendering possession every time we tried it. “When those problems keep repeating themselves then the errors just keep compounding and compounding. I thought we started well, but then we started to give away penalties, and we did not help ourselves by missing two kicks. We are not normally a team that misses kicks." - Gary Gold That's it, that's our game plan! What if it doesn't work? Who knows, the coaches don't seem to either. MullerJJ I understand you support Pdiv and I also gave him a big chance up until this year, I actually like him because he is himself and that's it, but he just is not capable of coaching our side. The question is not whether PDV or JW is better, you need to look at Pdiv's tenure in isolation and it simply is poor. Full stop.

      Hannes Perth - 2010-11-25 10:25

      Can't you see that they are clueless on the field? They look like a team that ran out of ideas. All teams have injuries at this time of the year, it is only the Boks that is making an issue of it.

      WernerBeytel - 2010-11-25 10:27

      Mullerjj are you still flogging that old “referee conspiracy” dead horse? Come on, man up! We weren’t good enough, not by a country mile, and lost to better teams. If it wasn’t for some individual brilliance we would have had an even worse win/lose stats this year. You are also seriously deluded if you think that the only thing wrong with the Springboks are the injuries in some key positions. How do a couple of injuries affect things like our game-plan, cohesion, strategy, defensive patterns, preparation and “attack” (yes the sarcasm is intentional) to the extent that we look like impotent headless chickens? We look completely uncoached and play like a pick-up team of 15 individuals. Make no mistake about it, we were humiliated by Scotland. Remember they also had to field a weakened team due to injuries. A full strength Scotland was destroyed 49-3 just a week earlier by the All Blacks and you think we were “cheated” by the referee a couple of times and that reason alone cost us the game? We were, at that stage, the number 2 team in the world playing the no 8 team! We should never have been in a position were a couple of referee decision could have such an impact in the first place, it is like saying that you lost to your baby sister in arm wrestling because your palm was a bit sweaty. Pathetic!

      sannahan - 2010-11-25 10:48

      We play outdated rugby in the Trinations. Yes, a few games were close, but the rugby we dished up is not dynamic, visionary rugby which will fill opposite sides with awe. A YOUNG Australian team ran us ragged. We cannot primarily rely on our physicality any more. Frans Steyn can make a difference, but then he will have to be coached and used differently. The same applies to other game-breakers. Furthermore, the rules have changed and a gamebreaker in 2009 can only make a difference in 2010/11 if he can adapt big time. Alberts is an example. [Boy, he can be a FORCE next year!] Can Danie Russouw really compete with him? Maybe, if he can change AND up!

      AJ - 2010-11-25 11:24

      @mullerjj, yeah and losing a WC quarterfinal by 1 point is also not losing too bad, but guess what - you're still on the next plane home....

  • Moersteen - 2010-11-25 08:33

    Look at the successful Currie Cup & S14 teams. They have proper coaches. Any one of them would do better than "I am a God given gift".

      Hannes Perth - 2010-11-25 10:26

      None of them are on Mitchell's level when it comes to international experience and knowledge of the game.

      Shistirrer - 2010-11-25 11:16

      Too true. PDivvy knows only one thing: Blue Bull style "stampkar" rugby. It might have worked in the past, but now it's so-o-o-o-o last year. It didn't even work for the Bulls this year in either the S14 or CC. The only coaches in SA who really know how to coach for open, running style rugby is Coetzee, Plumtree and Mitchell. How about appointing all three of them as an "emergency squad" Bok coaching team up to the WC?

  • Squire - 2010-11-25 08:36

    Isn't it time that SARU actually started listening to the people who pay their salaries; make it worthwhile for sponsors to throw money at the sport; and fill the stadiums....yes the paying public. It's time we got someone in charge of the game who gives the ANC (I'll refrain from calling them a government) the two fingers and says that their primary concern is to their bosses; US. But of course that could only happen in the real world and not in cloud cuckoo land where we live.........

  • Emile - 2010-11-25 08:46

    Funny how the basics of rugby and team selection are so clear for all to see, except for the South African coaches - if you really have to call them coaches. Team selections under different playing conditions simply have no meaning for the Bok coaches and it has been going on since Pietie took over. Don't even have to mention the mindless selection of January. Just imagine the Boks being coached by a Jones or a Mitchell for 4 years.

      StaalBurgher - 2010-11-25 11:45

      That is because they play race politics instead of rugby.

  • Gay69 - 2010-11-25 08:56

    Guys, we need to relinquish the WC, there is no way in hell DIV & the current Bokke will win it next year even with the all the injured “Allstars!” We have won it twice already, the All Blacks are destined to win it next year in their own backyard, it’s their time, & they deserve it. Div leaves after WC 2011, and then we can get John Mitchell assisted by Alistair Coetzee so we have the BEE element to coach us back to greatness in 2015. It is NOT necessary to have a forward & backline coach! We need to learn to play expansive AB style of rugby in next 4 years so that we reclaim the WC again..

      Hannes Perth - 2010-11-25 10:37

      The players are there, it is not rocket science, all that needs it someone that is strong enough and respected by the plaers to get back to basics. There is only a few people that can do it and I think Mitchell is best place. What do he need to do: (1) take charge of them team so that the out of form senior players do not select themselve; (2) make sure that all players including the captain are super fit prior to the start of the season, (3) develop a game plan around our strenghts (line out, maul and kicking game) but with sufficient variety to keep the opposition guessing and (4) bring back competition for places in the side.

      StaalBurgher - 2010-11-25 11:47

      No matter when Div goes, Coetzee will be the main coach with a "technical" adviser (i.e. the best coach that should've been the head coach but he is white). South Africa does not deserve success because of the inherent racism that the ANC extols.

      swart59 - 2010-11-25 20:47

      Why wait?

  • BardofAvon - 2010-11-25 09:10

    To articulate the obvious is a rare art indeed.

  • ArtGee - 2010-11-25 09:27

    If PdV thinks he has a chance to win the RWC, he has been SNORTING HELIUM! He will DESTROY the Boks before they even get into the 2nd round! Maybe SARU should look at getting some assistance in, in order to do some "CATCHING UP"!!!!! Can only do the team the world of good to get some FRESH LEGS into the Coaching team!

  • dictator - 2010-11-25 11:38

    Coaches from another country?????Then you just miss the whole point...Rather I would loose than win with a Aussie or AB coach....Seriously people...seriously????Proud Springbok through thick and thin!Brother!NOT PROUD SPRINGKIWI or WALLEBOK!!!!!Thank you!

      JuaKali - 2010-11-25 17:01

      Grow up "rugby/dictator", your nappy is dirty. I take it you were disapppointed by the 2007 RWC win because Eddie Jones was on the coaching staff? Shame, you missed out. There is a big bad world out there and it is dominated by professionals and SA should get the best in to do the job. Does your xenophobic attitude extend to players too? Careful, you might have to stop supporting the boks.

  • Gido - 2010-11-25 11:42

    Local coaches, and tv commentators are too politically correct and afraid to speak the truth (watch any of the current rugby tv programs.. its a waste of time!) Its simple.. If you cant recognize and acknowledge a problem.. you will never be able to fix it!

      eentyd - 2010-11-25 13:10

      So true, watch Re-union and they call a spade a spade. Why must we watch out for poeples feelings. When one has messed up call it and when they have done well praise them.

  • eentyd - 2010-11-25 13:08

    I am going to put it out there. The Lions are going to finish in the top six next year of the Super 15. Why? Because they have a coach that is a forward thinker and not scared to take a risk. He is a very asstute coach. You will alos see the Power House Teams of the Stormers and the Bulls fulter becuase they can not addapt to the modern game. Had the Semi final in Durban been dry the Sharks would have put 20 points against the Bulls as well.

  • Ammie - 2010-11-25 20:35

    yeah lets get some white idiot coach. tlike the rpev ones. then you wil never moan. drop all the overhyped useless whites in the team

      swart59 - 2010-11-25 22:18

      No Ammie, you are taking this the wrong way. The contributors above are generally pleading and crying out for a coaching team upgrade to international standard; race is irrelevant here. I bet you all Springbok supporters would heartily support the appointment of Eddie Jones (half Japanes descent), and many would also welcome the appointment of Alister Coetzee (although he does not have an international coaching CV, he is a popular local coach of a reasonably succesful provincial side). The coaching CV of John Mitchell is also impressive enough to make other WC 2011 teams a little worried if he is appointed as a Bok coach. The problem here is not the color of the coaches (that should be irrelevant), but the skill level.

  • cajokata - 2010-11-26 11:18

    The mark of a true coach is someone that brings the best out of the players he has.You dont addapt the game to the way you want to play. You form a gameplan according to your players strengths. And then you add to that. Change PDV. If John Mitchell can bring the best out of a dreary lions side and make them competitive again. Imagine what he could do for our Springboks.

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