Pick the best team and coach!

2011-10-27 11:53

JJ Harmse

The Rugby World Cup is finally over and by the time you read this, all of the South African journalists who travelled to New Zealand to cover the Springboks and their glorious defence of the Webb Ellis Cup, will be back home.

Some of them returned shortly after the quarter-final defeat against Australia, but most of us stayed until the end. Having some good mates in the New Zealand media who stuck around in Paris in 2007, I only now realise how brave they were to do that.

New Zealand is a wonderful country and we will long remember the great times of RWC 2011. The reality though is that, without the Springboks being part of it in the last two weeks, it was just horrible from a rugby perspective.

I honestly believe that we were the only team that was capable of beating the All Blacks on any given day during the tournament, especially with the shackles of knock-out rugby that seems to grip them, but the fact is that we could not do so because we lost to the Wallabies.

In a way, the fact that the Boks were out of town very early the next morning, and as I understand, some of them had to fly via Bangkok and Dubai, was good justice served on them.

But even if I did want to curse them, I could barely bring myself to that. I think they all know what a great chance they blew. Yes, they did let the country down and they did let all of their supporters down, but they also let themselves down. And knowing how proud a group of players they were, I am sure it will haunt them for a long time. I hope it does.

But also, having to stay behind in New Zealand was a good thing for me as a rugby fan. It was incredible to see how much passion they have for the game and how much rugby is part of their daily lives. New Zealanders live and breathe the All Blacks. That is the way it is and it makes me jealous.

Of course the Springboks had their opportunities to become the soul of South African society and in 1995 did more for national building that will ever be fully understood, but at the moment they are not where they need to be.

I am not suggesting that the Springboks should equal the All Blacks in their national standing, as New Zealand only have just over four million people and with their cricket team being pretty average, the All Blacks have almost sole claim to the hearts and minds of the public.

The Springboks have to battle with soccer, as poor as Bafana Bafana are, the Proteas (outside of World Cups) and even the likes of the Bulls, Stormers and Sharks for support. But the reality is that the Springboks also have to fight their own demons as well as those created by politicians.

In the perfect world we are trying to create and in our efforts to be politically correct at all times, we make mistakes that cost us World Cups - and will cost us another one in 2015 if SA Rugby does not make the right calls with regards to a coach for the next four years.

We need to be sensitive because of past discrepancies in our game, but we must also move on. The average fan does not care what the colour of the Springboks are or, more importantly, what the colour of the coach is. They support the team because they represent us and because they win. Because they are good enough to be the world champions. Or at least, that should be the expectation.

The Springboks can beat any other team in world rugby. They have showed that again and again. What they have also showed, is some inconsistency and that is the one element we can get rid of. Forget about World Cups and building towards them. The two disgraceful defeats suffered in Sydney and Wellington during this year’s Tri-Nations, in the name of World Cup preparation, must never, ever be repeated.
The Springboks should play every Test match to win and the only way to achieve that and to give them the best possible chance is to pick the best team and the best coach. That cannot be THAT difficult, can it?

Allow me to say ‘Ka kite ano’ to all those wonderful people who made the last two months in New Zealand a great experience. Enjoy that Webb Ellis Cup, your team deserves to lay claim to that. But be warned, the 'real owners' want it back in 2015. As we say over here, “hier kom die Bokke!” 

Read JJ every Sunday in Rapport.

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  • coolshoesouthafrica - 2011-10-27 11:59

    what a crap story...

      Francois - 2011-10-27 17:46

      JJ Harmse cannot even correlate the name of his article with the title. The players play to the coaches thinking or if they were allowed to play to their own thinking, they did not need Snorre. Thus the person in the firing should be Snorre and those who picked Snorre. The demise at this RWC was sealed with a victory over the British Lions and a fabulous away tour against NZ 2 years ago - Snorre never got over that and picked his team and specifically his flyhalf to that. It would have been easier to learn Lambie to kick in 2 years than to make Steyn fast in 2. However these points Harmse does not raise - maybe he loves the Bulls too much and his is politically too correct - the one thing he is not, is a good rugby reporter - although one must read his stuff to have a good laugh after a Bryce Lawrence day at work.

      Francois - 2011-10-28 08:48

      And JJ loose some weight - you don't even look fit.

      Dwerg - 2011-10-28 09:07

      [sic] "...Springboks and their glorious defence of the Webb Ellis Cup..." Are you f*%#ing kidding me? It was soiled by controversy. I would be happy to lose if the other team deserved to win. It doesn't serve anyone if reporters make backhanded comments about transformation and besides I'd put Alister Coetzee in the top 2 for Bok Coach candidates purely on merit

      Bob - 2011-11-01 10:20

      when will you yappies get over it,and stop whinging like spoilt little lost .....some times it happens, your team was average and was lucky to get past the pool stages let a lone win the world cup.

  • Deon - 2011-10-27 12:28

    I agree, we should want to win every game, not this nonsense of building a team over 4 years.

  • Philip - 2011-10-27 12:48

    Best team, best coach...correct but unlikely in SA

  • roboman1 - 2011-10-27 13:13

    Interesting article. I personally am of the Bryce Lawrence school of thought. i.e. it is easier and cheaper to buy the ref than create a good team. SA beat the All Blacks 18 to 5, handsomely, just 3 weeks before the world cup. I team was good enough to win this time, but the IRB decided before the tournament started that NZ were the chosen ones for 2011

      Thomas - 2011-10-27 19:54

      roboman1!! It had to be that way!! The final was played the SA way hard and grinding, we are masters at it! The IRB and Paddy O Cheat realised we got our stragety right once again!! The ABs and Aussies were tiring after a grueling season and we were building momentum and fresh!! To add salt to the wound Steyn was the best sharpshooter in the tournament, SOMETHING HAD TO BE DONE!!!!!!!!!!!!! Looking at the winning kick again shows it missed!! I thought the kick Wales missed was over, but the difference between these two is that Wales"s one was above the posts which is harder to tell as where the AB's one was only two-thirds up the pole, poor decision!! The two assistants were the refs outside of Lawrence who brought the most controversy, which means Paddy had to have some control out there as he wasn't going to get it from Joubert!!!!!!!!

      Rich - 2011-10-28 21:53

      Ridiculous. The Boks beat a second string ABs side at home. Roboman, have a long hard look at the Boks performances over the last two years. You have no idea what you're talking about. I hope the saffas continue to kick away possesion - will they ever learn? You probaby need a foreign coach now - or you will continue to go backwards. The Boks record over the last two years is woeful. Stop blaming the ref, you have other excuses to use - poor gameplan, poor coach, players to old, not adapting to the game etc etc. The truth hurts but suck it up and get on with it. You Saffas are embarrassing yourselves.

      Rich - 2011-10-28 22:23

      Thomas,you've been had! Very gullible indeed.

  • Dhirshan - 2011-10-27 13:19

    2015 xi : mallet, mitchell and eddie jones as coach lambie aplon de jongh frans mvovo goosen hougaard alberts burger/juan brussow bekker hargreaves coenie bismaark beast killer team . . .

      Dhirshan - 2011-10-27 13:21

      xv sorry

      walterjohnsmith - 2011-10-30 19:52

      2015 : Coetzee, Rassie en Bredon Venter as coach 15 Lambie 14 Aplon 13 Fourie 12 De Joghn 11 Hougaard 10 Frans 9 Sarel 8 Dwayne 7 Burger 6 Brussow 5 Bekker 4 Alberts 3 Coenie 2 Bis 1 Beast 16 Steenkamp 17 Schalk Brits 18 Elstad 19 Josh 20 Duvenhage 21 Sadie 22 JJ

  • Christo - 2011-10-27 14:43

    Stem saam JJ - insiggewend. So pas gelees Graham Henry sal met die Engelsee praat oor 'n rol in hulle rugby. My magtag as ons hom en John MIchell as span kan kry sal NIEMAND ons stop nie. Ek dink die SA rugbypubliek is reg daarvoor.

      Ockie - 2011-10-27 15:24

      JJ en Christo. Ek dink ons kan redelik baie beter af wees met enige coach wat van New Zealand kom. In die 2011 World Cup was hulle orals betrokke en het van swak spanne (2007) skielik kompeterende spanne gemaak. Die nuwe bloed (inspuiting) vir SA rugby kan net goed vir ons wees. Die naweek is 2 spanne van New Zealand coaches ook in die Currie Cup final. Dit vertel ook 'n storie.

      Gert - 2011-10-27 15:44

      Christo, ek sal maar bietjie versigtig wees oor John Mitchell. Almal praat oor hom, maar niemand kyk na sy verlede nie. Hy was taamlik suksesvol in al sy vorige posisies, maar na slegs 'n jaar by elke span wat hy afrgerig het, het sy verhouding met die spelers verswak. Hy is bekend vir 'n "no nonsense" benadering, maar hy is geneig om te ver te gaan met sy behandeling van die spelers. Ek dink hy sal goed doen om 'n groep wat nie goed vaar nie bietjie reg te ruk, maar dan moet hy waai. Dis nie noodwendig wat die Bokke nou nodig het nie. Ons kort iemand wat goeie visie het en wat die vermoe het om 'n groep spelers uit verskillende agtergronde te laat saamspeel.

      Moses - 2011-10-27 19:54

      Wel ek stem saam. Dis baie goeie coaches daai en veral saam kan hulle nogal 'n kwaai afrigterspan wees! Maar dan wat baat dit die coaches se mentality is reg maar die spelers is nog ni reg nie? Ons moet toelaat dat die regte spelers gekies word wat elke, ek herhaal, elke wedstryd onder die son kan wen! Ek dink die tyd is al lankal reg daarvoor so hoekom nie dit doen nie? Wat het ons om te verloor?

  • Mike - 2011-10-27 15:16

    The way things are going in this country I think the last thing anyone should be concerned about in 4 years time is the RWC.

      Dhirshan - 2011-10-27 15:32

      lol exactly and that is why rugby is all we have

      Smell - 2011-10-27 21:42

      Yes that is the wisest comment I have read on this blog for ages. The Boks are the only part of SA that is still remotely competitive on an international stage. And the politicians, includiong those in SARU, have to ruin that too. We cannot blame Sports Minister Mbalula though - he seems to have been the best we have had in a long time.

  • christo.present - 2011-10-27 17:23

    disgraceful defeats never repeated ??? I think that was a great strategical move by SA. Just let the money hungry IRB and Rugby administrators forget about mony and let the players play the hours of rugby that will be good for the bodies as was asked by Prof Tim Noakes. Nobody will ask in future who won the Tri-Nations in 2011 . Scrap Four Nations and Six Nations in WC year and let teams prepare properly for the WC.

  • Steve - 2011-10-27 18:34

    JJ I think your article stinks;The Boks had chances yes but I suppose you did not have the chance to review the match again?Perhaps this will open your eyes.It is poor that the IRB allowed the fool Lawrence to be part of the Cup(of course his father being head of refereeing in New Zealand counts).The Boks would have given the AB's a better go?maybe not.The French though showed what a motivated team can do.

  • Alan - 2011-10-27 19:02

    I disagree with you Joubert the majority of Springbok fans do care VERY much what color the coach is? It was proven over the last 4 years!!!! A coach is someone who has played rugby all his life, lived and breathed rugby, been a Springbok many times, a coach in currie cup rugby. I just hope the biased rugby board are not so stupid again and have learned their lesson, when they chose a new Springbok coach

  • Ernest - 2011-10-27 20:46

    Mitchell Head Coach, Spencer Bacline Coach and Naas Botha Tactical Kicking Coach. No political appointments such as Allistair Coetzee thank you very much, we had enough...

      Smell - 2011-10-27 21:47

      I disagree, we need someone like Allister Coetzee to be able to deflect political BS. To him we could add the best available international backline and forward coaches we can find on the planet. Do not underestimate the political issues here. Just my honest opinion.

  • Eugene - 2011-10-28 00:20

    not to knock jj,but in general,most of our sports columnists stink and the articles during the world cup are proof of this.There are no hard hitting investigative articles but merely lukewarm garbage that can be written by most high schoolers.If anyone reads the nz written articles,including those by mark keohane,you will find that nothing is ever negative pertaining to nz rugby.Does Mccaw cheat? Are nz decoy runs by nonu and others designed to obstruct would be tacklers?Those who watch rugby know full well that they are.No journo called Bryce Lawrence a cheat,yet we no he did or at best is incompetent....I think the quality of sports journalism sucks...ooh,maybe we will not be liked by other journos....So c'mon you bunch of soft assed sissies and give the public something to read.I'll help you guys out.Find out why after a hundred years of rugby we only have 20 teams in the world cup and and only about a third of them actually know how to play the game.Find out why the top tier country like nz has the high ranking officials on the referees board and has yet to produce a single referee (from nz) that is at least mediocre.Do an article on the irb,telling us who these people are,how much they make etc.........Don't be journos in name only,step up or step out

      Pieter - 2011-10-28 11:44

      That is what I have been asking repeatedly, but nobody has given me an answer: How is it that NZ and Ausies have, bar the Bokke, the best rugby teams in the world but they cannot produce referees that are at par? Is there something wrong in the way they prepare their referees or do they teach them to be dishonest whenever it suits their teams? Years ago their was the story about the message between NZ and Ausie referees who formed a pact to do the boertjies in. Is that pact still in exsistence? What does the IRB do to put things right? Why do they appoint people like Paddy O'brien as referee boss when he clearly is sub-standard? Mr JJ Harmse, will you please write us an in depth article on the subject? I and other rugby fans are very interested in the truth.

  • trevorbklein - 2011-10-29 08:27

    Look Guys, I think that something critical is being overlooked in the way the Boks went out of the RWC. Did we ever think that the powers that be, were going give the Boks an even chance of doing what no other Country had ever done? That is defend the Webb Ellis Cup? NEVER IN A MILLION YEARS!!!! The message was out early, loud and clear. "How can allow those Africans to win again?" The referees directive from wherever it came. "Get the Boks out at the QF stage. If that does not work, there would still have been the SF stage to stop the Boks. At all costs prevent them from getting to the Final or they would win the thing again". How else does one explain such inept refereeing and notice who was in charge of referees and their appointments. It is clear as has been said on these platforms time and again that the Boks were getting stronger all the time as the tournament progressed. It started here during the Tri Nations when the Aussies struggled to beat a returning from injury Bok team who then beat the AB's the following week. In the QF of RWC they physically overpowered the Tri Nations Champs only to be dubiously relieved of their RWC championship. Was it then a legitimate victory for Ireland over the Aussies or rather a calculated rig to get all the Southern Hemisphere teams into the same side of the draw and so ensure a North vs South final. Were there those who were hoping for another Nothern Hemisphere RWC champion? I rest my case!! Gentlemen, look beyond the obvious!!

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