Cape Town - Retired South Africa referee Jonathan Kaplan has expressed his concern at the current state of Springbok rugby.
The Springboks have endured a torrid 2016 season under tutelage of Allister Coetzee as head coach, losing seven of 11 Tests.
It included a first ever loss to Ireland on home soil, losing away to Argentina, getting pummelled by a record 57-15 scoreline at home against the All Blacks, as well as last weekend's fiasco in Florence, which saw a first ever loss to 13th-ranked Italy (20-18).
In an interview with Vodacom Rugby this week, Kaplan was forthright in his assessment of the Boks.
“It’s a sad state actually. If you look at how the standards have dropped... from the 70s and 80s and long before that actually... it’s not just the pride in the jersey but it’s the results that go with that. And the culture has gone backwards, we’re getting used to mediocrity and it’s so sad,” said Kaplan.
“I don’t like criticising players themselves or coaches, they don’t pick themselves, but it is a dreadful state of affairs and it hasn’t been helped by the political meddling either.
“A lot of commentators have mentioned that this is a perfect opportunity (to beat the Boks) and many have questioned whether we’ll ever be back to where we were, given the state of the meddling and current administration.”
In the interview Kaplan also shared his thought about the All Blacks’ indiscretions and World Rugby’s referee training protocols.
CLICK HERE to listen to Kaplan's full interview