JJ Harmse

Div's book worth the read

2012-05-17 10:15
Sport24 columnist JJ Harmse (File)

Jake talks to Ballz Radio

2012-05-17 09:26

Jake White talks to Ballz Visual Radio about Super Rugby, the conference system, and Australia having the weakest Super Rugby teams.

Interesting times ahead with Peter de Villiers’s autobiography hitting the shelves soon. The former Springbok coach will launch his book, written by Gavin Rich, in June and as the marketing of books goes, we will be fed with some snippets, revelations and hints of scandal prior to publication.

Click HERE to buy Peter de Villiers's autobiography

Already we read that De Villiers will never be able to forgive Bryce Lawrence, how he felt shunted by SARU and now, why he picked John Smit ahead of Bismarck du Plessis during last year's Rugby World Cup.

Having followed De Villiers around the world with the Boks, I had a good insight on how he operated and I believe the book will be a good one to read. De Villiers was difficult to judge at times and I for one would certainly love to hear why he made some of the calls he did.

Let’s hope, for example, he comes clean of the whole Luke Watson saga that dogged him early in his tenure. A lot of things happened behind the scenes and let's hope all will be revealed.

It will be interesting to see if Gavin Rich managed to capture the transformation of De Villiers over the four years, as it could serve as a good warning to his successor, Heyneke Meyer, on the pitfalls of the job.

The golden rule in coaching will always be to try and do what you were appointed for - to coach - but in South Africa we seem to expect so much more from our national coach. It was often those pressures and issues away from the field that got to Bok coaches of the past and hopefully De Villiers will reveal how that impacted on his life in the book.

I cannot wait for that one that is for sure.

In the perfect world coaches should of course only be judged by the performance of their team and nothing else. I see in a news report out of Auckland that Blues coach Pat Lam has expressed his disgust at a news reporter visiting his house at night to get comment, as there is normal media protocol when speaking to him. I fully agree with Lam, who ironically, seems to be under more political pressure than any South African Super Rugby coach!

By judging coaches on performance alone and taking the other issues (or the emotion?) away from the job, Lions coach John Mitchell should refrain from speaking about Super Rugby mergers and the resurgence of the Cats for example.

He had no luck this year with some serious injuries to his already culled group of players, but the reality is that the Lions are a broken team.
Mitchell should focus on getting the Lions back in shape and to winning ways and not on why the Lions shouldn't be relegated.

The same with the Springboks Sevens team where coach Paul Treu will be under pressure to explain the Blitzbokke’s fifth place overall finish on the IRB Sevens Series log.

There cannot be any reason for any South African team in any rugby competition to finish only fifth. Or fail to score against Samoa or New Zealand in any match.
Treu will certainly have much to ponder about, but he's shown innovation and grit in the past and always managed to bounce back.

The reality is that the Blitzbokke came desperately close to winning their "own" tournament in Port Elizabeth and more than once lost in the dying seconds of quarter-final clashes. But the margins are so small on the Sevens circuit now that it is indeed seconds of a match that can cost you, something Treu experienced first-hand during the last two tournaments in Scotland and England.

There is no doubt that the Blitzbokke edged ahead of the rest of the world with their planning and structures a couple of years ago, but it would seem that others have not only caught up again, but overtaken us. With Sevens now officially an Olympic sport, it has become a massive focus for a lot of rugby playing nations. We still don’t have that vision and are paying the price.

Read JJ every Sunday in Rapport.

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Read more on:    jj harmse  |  peter de villiers  |  rugby


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