Bok new coach faces headache

2011-11-10 13:06

JJ Harmse

For any potential coach of the Springboks in 2012, the announcement of The Rugby Championship must have created mixed emotions.

First of all, there was probably the realization that taking this job will be one of the hardest, if not the most demanding of all, of rugby jobs out there.

He just needs to look at the fixtures for that competition to realise how tough things can get.

Taking on the World Champions, the team ranked second in the world and a very unpredictable Pumas team on a home and away basis over six weeks will be a huge task indeed, especially on the back of a Super Rugby season, which depending on the progress of South African sides, could run its course only in late July.

There is some comfort in the fact that the Wallabies will host the Boks in Perth, which will mean a shorter flight, better weather and a good history at the venue.

It also breaks down the trip to New Zealand a week later and for once, the Boks will have the luxury of playing in Dunedin in the new roofed stadium.

The Boks have won at Carisbrooke in 2008 of course, but the idea of playing the All Blacks without the freezing cold of those Arctic winds and rain will be a comfort to the South Africans.

Also, Soccer City and Loftus Versfeld should be endorsed as venues for the inbound Tests against the All Blacks and Wallabies and both would provide the ideal platform for the Springboks to beat their opponents.

Before that though, the coach will have to front up against England for three Test matches. I have little doubt that we will beat the tourists in Test match two and three, but I have serious concerns about the first Test match, which will also be the first for the new coach in charge.

That Test match will be played on June 9th. Take into consideration that the Bulls host the Stormers at Loftus Versfeld on June 2nd and the Lions play the Sharks at Coca Cola Park on the same day (and the Stormers and Sharks meet the week before); it is quite clear how difficult that first week will be for the new coach.

Local derbies are brutal and those two will be no different. And it is not ideal for any coach to see his first team in a defining Test match smash each other into the ground a week before they need to take on England.

We can look back to 2007, where the Bulls and Sharks played each other a week before the Boks played England, but back then, Jake White was in his fourth year as a coach and the Bok side was pretty settled.

This time around the new Bok coach have other issues as well. When to announce the side? Do you do it after those two derbies or before? Do you let the players know beforehand that they have made the side, but only announce it afterwards? Do you pick overseas-based players?

It will certainly be interesting to see the new coach’s take on overseas-based players.

One would like to believe that players like Fourie du Preez and Danie Rossouw will be well rested come June, as their Japanese commitments will be over by then, but will they be considered?

Du Preez certainly did not play like the best scrumhalf in the world he once was during the recent World Cup, but that does not mean that he cannot recapture that form.

And with all respect to the likes of Francois Hougaard, Jano Vermaak and other hopefuls, if Du Preez gets his groove back in Japan, any Springbok coach will think long and hard NOT to pick him.

The same with Gurthrö Steenkamp who is now fully matured as an international prop and will be the best in the world in that position for the next couple of years.

Those issues, the brutality of those derby matches a week before and when and how to announce his team will be things the new coach will have to consider.

There is also the issue about a captain. But perhaps that one will be forced on the coach by the last man standing. Pick three or four captains in your mind and see who is standing by the week you name you first team!

Read JJ every Sunday in Rapport.

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  • Lionel - 2011-11-10 14:07

    Well done JJ,if there was ever a article that was biased towards the Bulls then this is it!!!!Forget about Fourie Du Preez and Danie Rossouw,they chose to go and ply there trade overseas,more than enough talent in SA.

      Gert - 2011-11-10 15:32

      @Lionel Please think a bit before you jump the JJ's column bandwagon and dismiss everything he says because he is a Bulls correspondent. Danie Rossouw showed he can be on par with the best in the world in three different positions. Fourie du Preez at his best, witch he was not too long ago is a better overall rugby player than anyone else. Nobody in SA had the ability to change the course of a match as well as he did. He showed that in the 2009 S14 final, the 2010 S14 semi and against England in 2007. When a prop has hit a groove he is unstoppable. This is the fact with Gurthro. The Bull dominated SA rugby in the past few seasons. Through this domination players came to the fore who is miles ahead of their peers. You don't have to be a Bull supporter to appreciate this. And a question. Other than these three players who incidentally played for the Bulls. Witch other Saffa that plays oversees will you add to the list?

      Sharkshoot - 2011-11-10 17:29

      Danie Russouw may have talents but ball retention is not one of them........the most basic of concepts for any forward.....

      Lionel - 2011-11-11 07:17

      Gert, you said it yourself,Fourie Du Preez was at he's best last year and the year before and the year before and the year before.........He will never be back to he's best because he's to injury prone and he's playing in Japan which is probably equal to our club rugby!!!!

  • Shoosh - 2011-11-10 18:24

    PDooWaahDivvy can handle the headaches, it's the coaching & team selection he can't handle efficiently.

  • hendrik.pienaar - 2011-11-11 02:28

    Playing well in Japan should hardly be seen as getting your 'groove' back. No player playing in Japan should be considered. In Europe yes, where the player gets more exposure and competes against other internationals. Gurthro Steenkamp, Ruan Pienaar & Frans Steyn. That is it. Gerhard Mostert doesn't warrant being picked as an overseas player with only 2 caps to his name. That privilege should be for experienced test players only. Danie Rossouw overrated anyway. Got good reviews for his ball-carrying, but that's hardly the job we needed him for. Drops it half the time as well. Good riddance I say. Need to stop putting so many Bulls players in the Springboks that aren't good enough as well. I'm talking Dean Greyling, Werner Kruger, Deon Stegmann, Dewald Potgieter, Pierre Spies, Wynand Olivier, Bjorn Basson & Zane Kirchner

  • hendrik.pienaar - 2011-11-11 02:36

    Five players mentioined in this article. All current or former Bulls. Francois Hougaard, Jano Vermaak, Fourie du Preez, Danie Rossouw & Gurthro Steenkamp. JJ wouldn't be naming Jano Vermaak as a hopeful if it weren't for him moving to the Bulls. Very biased. But obviously want us to continue the way we've been going. Selecting the bulk of the Springbok squad from a team who failed to qualify for either the Super rugby or Currie Cup play-offs in 2011. Next Springbok coach will be in a great position if he makes the right selections. Don't fall into the Bulls trap. Got smashed in Australasia this year by picking the worst of what they have to offer. Werner Kruger & Deon Stegmann especially embarrassed themselves.

  • hendrik.pienaar - 2011-11-11 02:40

    As for picking 3 or 4 captains. There's only 2 men fit to lead the Springboks in 2012. One is Juan Smith. Made for the job. The ideal choice. And the other is Schalk Burger. Plays his heart and soul out every time he puts on a Bok jersey. Leads by example. Let's not start with that Dewald Potgieter being a future Springbok captain rubbish again.

      Steenbra - 2011-11-12 10:25

      I'm not sure about Schalk as captain....and I'm a Stormer. He lost the plot in the semi and didnt give the kind of leadership one would have expected. Juan has been injury prone in the last two or so seasons. I think we need new blood, who that would be frankly I wouldnt know yet.

  • philip.chambati - 2011-11-14 14:12

    i do agree that the new Bok coach is going to have a tough job but the Blue Bulls bias is too much Du Preez is past his best and isn't gonna get back there and danie has been a good servant to the country but his time is up its time for new blood and there's plenty of promising guys coming up

  • Stephen - 2011-11-22 11:23

    What would good form in Japan prove?! Japanese rugby is a significant step down from Super Rugby and even Currie Cup. They chose to travel for the Yen, start re-building a new team. Perhaps Guthro will return in a few years but in the interim Matfield's suggestion should hold sway, stick with local

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