SA coaches not up to scratch?

2012-03-08 14:59

Honestly, who of you did not smile when you read the headline that Jake White was in line for the England job? Or more to the point, who believed it?

Of course it is great for South African rugby to hear that two of our former coaches - Nick Mallett being the other - are in line to coach the old enemy - and good luck to them.

We all know how successful both of them were at their time and we all know that their departure from the Springbok team had more to do with politics than rugby logic.

Please don’t throw stats at me for this argument.

Mallett was the right guy at the right time and so was White. The fact that they both lost direction during their tenures is one that one can debate for many hours.

The reason I am using Jake’s latest news flash is to highlight the fact that it is indeed news when a South African coach is wanted somewhere else.

England have shown that they are prepared to appoint a foreign coach and one will have to see if they follow the well trodden path of the likes of Ireland, Wales, Scotland and Italy.

I am in two minds here. Is it a good thing that our coaches are in high demand around the world because it is good for our rugby or is it a true reflection on the lack of ability by our coaches?

I have a funny feeling that it is the latter.

Take White out of the equation for now, how many times has a South African coach been mooted to coach a top country or even high profile club side?

I remember chasing after Mallett once in Hong Kong (post 1999) to follow up on a rumour that he was in line for the French coaching job.

He was kind enough to give me a minute to pose the question and then had a good laugh, telling me that he will probably be linked with some vacant job somewhere in the world for the rest of his coaching life.
How right he was.

White is in the same boat, but because he indicated his preference to coach England before (and while he was still coaching the Boks, one of the reasons for his ultimate exit); it has to be taken seriously.

But why is every half-decent New Zealand coach in demand everywhere in the world? Even Australian coaches, where they don’t have a third of the players or coaching numbers we have, seem to be more influential in the world of rugby.

We have won the Super Rugby title, we have won the World Cup and our Currie Cup competition is rated as one of the best in the world.

We have hundreds of players all around the world and in high and continued demand. We have some of the best referees in the world and even our current CEO, Jurie Roux, has been courted by the IRB and may be on his way to Dublin in the next couple of years.

Yet, no coaches - and I wonder why.

Lack of development structures? Are we not marketing their abilities enough? Lack of success on the international front?

Is the fact that that two out of five of our Super Rugby coaches hail from New Zealand and are not locally developed another reflection that we are seriously flawed in the coach developing department?

The big question, I suppose, is what we are going to do about it?

Read JJ every Sunday in Rapport.

Disclaimer: Sport24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on Sport24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Sport24.


  • Leeu - 2012-03-08 15:13

    then ausie coaches must be screwed if sa coaches isnt up to scratch

  • Bulldozer - 2012-03-08 15:19

    Heyneke and Frans are up to scratch, but that's about it.

      Leeu - 2012-03-08 15:30

      what do you mean scratch, they are way under par

      Bulldozer - 2012-03-08 15:32

      All their trophies suggest otherwise.

      Jason - 2012-03-08 18:29

      LOL i understood what you meant Leeu.....................hahaha but i also enjoyed the answer from BULL. Under Par and scratch are golf terms. Under par is very good. lol Bulls hahahahaha

      David - 2012-03-09 11:27


  • Dhirshan - 2012-03-08 15:37

    tanx 4 deleting my comment. truth hurts?

      Leeu - 2012-03-08 16:06

      not as much as your face hurts this web page though

  • Brett - 2012-03-08 15:54

    Perhaps it is due to the perceived, rightly or wrongly, playing style that SA coaches employ. Perhaps the 8-man rugby philosophy is not widely embraced by many of the top teams.

  • Groenkoors - 2012-03-08 16:06

    Heyneke Meyer at Leicester, Brendan Venter at Saracens, Nick Mallet in Italy, Jake White at the Brumbies... How many more do you want?

      Stormkaap - 2012-03-08 19:11

      Henecke didnt stay long at Leceister

  • S - 2012-03-08 16:29

    JJ, as everybody knows you view the world through Bulls (now rose-tinted?) glasses, when you are not viewing it through the bottom of a Klippies glass. In your narrow minded view Ludeke and Heyneke may not be up to scratch, and there are many, including myself, who will agree with you, but the rest of our coaches are OK, thank you.

      Bulldozer - 2012-03-08 16:43

      I wish JJ could be as impartial as Rob Houwing and Stephen Nell.

  • hannesenbrianda - 2012-03-09 02:54

    Difficult to argue if the number 1,2, and 5 top teams in the world are all coached by Kiwis. Both Currie Cup finalist of last year were Kiwis. Kiwi teams also dominate the Super 15 and Trinations. Maybe we should have a look at what this little island country is doing right and catch-up. Maybe a mentorship under Graham Henry for some of our developing coaches will help SA catch up. Larkham and Gregan is now working as assistants to Jake White - the Aussies clearly have a plan to develop their own. SA used to have some of the best coaches but we seem to be keen to chase them away before they can pass their learnings on to the next generation.

  • beachee1 - 2012-03-09 08:57

    I think that there is a good point raised here. I don't think that our coaches are setting the world alight, and historical results are great, but not the full picture. I agree that Heyneke is a good coach, but still is to be tested at the highest level. This is not the level where it counts...its at the lower levels where coaching gives real competitive advantage. I think that a lot of this has to do with the fact that our rugby is quite one-dimensional in SA. In NZ, the 15-man code is backed up by a strong 7-man code, and a mind-blowingly strong touch rugby code. I understand that there are something like 300000 touch rugby players that are registered to touch clubs, so there is a far broader scope of both basic skills in the players, as well as a far more technical grounding for coaches who come through these ranks in NZ. Don't get me wrong...the WC and Super trophies that have been won in SA show that the rugby we play can be winning rugby, but I am not convinced that it is because we have such good coaches. We are blessed with a ridiculous amount of raw talent in this country, and I am not convinced that it is properly used

  • Raymond - 2012-03-10 22:11

    Reading the comments it is obvious that you guys have lost the plot.What 'Blue Bulls' Harmse is saying is true. Where are the SA coaches other than coaching SA sides. Other than Mallett and White, nowhere (and I reserve my judgment on White)

  • Jock - 2012-03-11 22:37

    In general SA coaches rely on our natural talent: athleticism, size and aggression. In general our coaches do not develop skills to the same degree as NZ and Aus. Our pattern, style and tactics tend to be one-dimensional (channel one crash ball again and again and again) and therefore predictable. SA teams constantly opt to make contact (athleticism, size, aggression), which is why we lose possession, give away penalties. There is a reason the NZ and Aussies know if they can stand up to our aggression the match is almost won. If SA could coach players to play with their heads as much as their hearts and bodies we would be the number one side in the world.

  • coolshoesouthafrica - 2012-03-15 18:15

    We do have some top coaches in SA but we dont make the most of their abilities The current top coaches in SA seem to be Kiwi, based on the Currie Cup Final Brendan Venter and Nick Mallet are class and so is Rassie, Jake has been lost to ACT All of the above could and should be used in some way by SARU.. It's good to see Venter involved with the u/20's and I hope he becomes more involved moving forward. I am hoping Meyer proves me wrong and turns the Boks into the top team in the world. At the moment we are playing catch up We need someone to catch up and take us to the next level All the best to HM and his team...whoever they may be

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