'No Boks in Currie Cup'

2010-01-17 22:22
Naka Drotské (Gallo Images)
Stephen Nell

Cape Town – South Africa should consider standing down the core of the Springbok team from this year’s Currie Cup and end-of-year tour in a bid to have them perform at their best in next year’s World Cup, Cheetahs coach Naka Drotské believes.

“If I were Peter de Villiers (Springbok coach), I would request that Springboks be withdrawn from the Currie Cup and possibly also the end-of-year tour. They are not tired during the Super14,” Drotské told Sport24.

He pointed out that a similar strategy had been followed in 2006 and it may be wise to withdraw 10-12 key players from this year’s Currie Cup.

Drotské was asked, together with South Africa’s other Super14 coaches, about the issue of rest for top Boks.

There has not been contact between them and De Villiers yet this year, and the coaches are also waiting to hear what will be expected of them in that regard in the Super14.

The vast majority of the players that may be affected are contracted at the Blue Bulls, Sharks and Western Province.

“The only Cheetahs player that may be affected is Heinrich Brüssow. He only started training last Monday and has had a month off. If he feels he needs rest, I will be sensitive to that,” said Drotské.

While the Lions will not be affected, coach Dick Muir said that they would co-operate fully if any requests came their way.

“We’re all working towards a national solution. I think one has to consider individual cases and not make any blanket decisions,” said Muir.

Stormers coach Allister Coetzee would like to be consistent in his selections. This policy was rewarded in the Currie Cup.

“We will consider the request depending on our situation. I’m aware of the bigger picture and don’t know which players Peter has earmarked,” he said.

“The longer a squad of players are together, the better they will perform. I will not be looking at simply rotating players. The combinations need to find one another. A player only improves when he plays.

“We’re striving towards achieving our goals … we did ensure that the Boks got the required four weeks’ rest.”

Sharks coach John Plumtree also confirmed that he would consider requests.

“It makes it much easier if you have depth. My experience is also that players prefer to play and do not like to rest. New Zealand learned some hard lessons by removing players from the Super14,” said Plumtree.

New Zealand’s rest strategy in 2007 by taking key All Blacks out of several rounds of the Super14 boomeranged on them. Former Crusaders coach Robbie Deans viewed this as one of the reasons for South Africa’s success that year.

Deans maintained that South Africa gained a lot of success from the Bulls and Sharks’ success in the Super14 in 2007.

The champion Bulls have a positive attitude towards the national interest, though the pressure is on for them to keep achieving.

“We support Peter de Villiers and I have a good relationship with him. I’m sure we’ll have a good discussion about how players should be managed … we see the bigger picture,” said Bulls coach Frans Ludeke.


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