Cape Town - Springbok lock Lood de Jager described both his own form and his
team-mates in 2016 as “shocking” and called for players to take more
responsibility for last year’s poor international season.
According to the supersport.com website, the uncharacteristically honest assessment isn’t always seen in players,
but De Jager remains one of the few straight talkers in the modern game
who is more than willing to put his hand up and take responsibility for
some poor form that led to the Springboks winning only four of 12 tests
The results have placed Bok rugby at an all-time low, losing to
Argentina and Italy during the season and put coach Allister Coetzee
under immense pressure to find solutions or be replaced by SA Rugby.
But De Jager, who has looked exceptionally fit as compared to last
season, spoke candidly at the Bulls practice session at Loftus
Versfeld about the Boks 2016 season, saying there was way too much
“blame-shifting” going around.
“Firstly the players need to take responsibility for last year. I think
there is too much blame-shifting from the players’ side,” De Jager said.
“Look, everything is not right everywhere, but as players, we dropped
ourselves, we dropped our coaches. We dropped the country last year.
“We were shocking as players. We made a lot of mistakes, we had a clear plan every weekend. We just didn’t execute it.
“I put my hand up there first. There were a lot of handling errors, a
lot of system errors that we made and I think we weren’t hard enough on
“That is why we had a terrible season.”
De Jager dismissed talk of little experience in the team following the
World Cup, praising outgoing captain Adriaan Strauss for his
contribution and admitting that players should have contributed more in
“We didn’t have a lot of experience, but Adriaan and the guys who were
there made a massive contribution as leaders,” he explained.
“That wasn’t the problem. We didn’t take enough responsibility as
players. As young players you need to have as much responsibility as the
“You can’t just be there, think you are young and try and do the things
you want to. You need to fit into the system, and take responsibility
for your role and your job.”
De Jager is looking forward to a much better 2017 season, and has closed
the door on 2016 - where he said he had placed too much pressure on
himself mentally after winning the 2015 SA Rugby Player of the year
“I was overtrained. I put a lot of pressure on myself and I only took a
week off after the 2015 World Cup. I played Barbarians, then took a week
off and then went straight into a pre-season,” De Jager explained.
“I was tired last year. I told the guys last year that at times before I
sat in the changeroom, my legs would be lam (tired). I was tired. I
couldn’t get going.
I put way too much pressure on myself and I was mentally exhausted. This
year I got away from the game, recharged my batteries and these days if
I take a break, have an off day, then I am off, then I don’t think of
the game and try and get away.
“Right now I feel good, I feel it will be a very good year for me.”
Wedding bells chimed for the big lock in the off-season, and the change
in marital status seems to have given him a lot more enthusiasm for the
“I rested. I got married, was on honeymoon and said to myself I wanted
to get away from the game a bit. I wanted to recharge my batteries. It
worked, and I feel good. I’m looking forward to the games ahead and I’m
looking forward to training.
“ I know what I can do if I feel good and right now I feel good. I think it will be a very good year.”
De Jager is set to make his debut for the Bulls in their second
pre-season friendly against the Chiefs in Brisbane next month.
Read the full article on supersport.com