Cape Town - Munster
director of rugby Rassie Erasmus is optimistic that the Springboks will
bounce back from their poor performances in 2016.
The two-time world champions appointed Allister Coetzee as their head
coach after bowing out at the semi-finals at last year's Rugby World
Cup in England, but things have not gone according to plan and they won
just four out of 12 Tests in 2016.
Coetzee's apologies to the South African public for the team's poor
showings became a regular occurrence and the season reached its lowest
point when the Boks suffered a humiliating 20-18 defeat to Italy in
Florence on their end-of-year tour in November.
In a bid to improve matters, two coaching indabas have been held in
2016 and the South African Rugby Union introduced what it described as
“ground-breaking constitutional changes”, which will allow private
investment in SARU’s provincial unions.
“We know Springbok supporters and our partners are looking to us for
instant answers and many of them may want to see heads roll," Erasmus
told the Irish Examiner.
"But building winning teams is not an exact science and we want to
make sure that the changes we make are the right solutions to our
The Boks' poor results in 2016 have seen them drop to sixth position
in World Rugby's rankings but Erasmus believes the team will turn the
corner in due time.
“It’s so hard for the coaches, the players, the supporters," he added.
"Teams go through patches like this but, you know, there’s an
Afrikaans saying, ‘the Springbok will always stand up again’ and they
will stand up again. They will make plans and they’ll work it out and
they will be back again. They’re going through tough times now but there
are too many good players in that country and there are too many good
coaches in that country and administrators and they’ll find a way to get
to the top again.
“It’s a bad patch now and I remember in 2006, I think South Africa
went through five losses in a row and in 2007 they won the World Cup, so
while everybody right now is hurting with the performances they’ll find
a way to bounce back. South Africans always find a way to stand up
again. So I’m sure everybody involved will do some good introspection
and see where the hell the problem is, ‘why are we struggling like this’
and they’ll find solutions, they always do.
"There’s too many good rugby players there to fall totally apart.
It’s a bad patch, everybody knows it. I know it, my children talk about
it, everybody talks about it but you can’t just wish. Even if you’re one
of the other countries who don’t like the Springboks, you can’t just
wish the good players away there. So they’ll be back.”