Cape Town - South African
rugby is “rotten from the bottom up and top down” and needs radical
reform if the current slump is to be reversed, according to Joel
Stransky, whose drop goal sealed their greatest triumph when they won
the 1995 Rugby World Cup on home soil.
emotional extra-time victory over the All Blacks in front of Nelson
Mandela, and another World Cup triumph in 2007, underlined South
Africa's re-emergence as one of the sport's superpowers, but those heady
days are starting to acquire a sepia tinge in the wake of their recent
Last year they lost
at home to Argentina and Ireland for the first time, to Japan at the
World Cup and followed up with defeat to the Pumas this August during a
ragged Rugby Championship.
Things reached their nadir last Saturday with the humiliating record 57-15 capitulation to New Zealand in Durban.
their next fixture coming against a resurgent England at Twickenham in
November, South African rugby is having to face up to some painful
Coetzee, whose four wins from nine games in charge gives him the
second-worst win percentage after the dark days of Carel du Plessis in
1997, was quick to blame the country's domestic system as he tried to
explain the crushing defeat and Stransky agrees.
cannot look at 2016 in isolation, it is a problem that has been coming
for some time and you need to look at the game holistically from
grassroots level to the top,” Stransky, now a respected pundit and
businessman, told Reuters.
kids coming out of school do not have the same skill-set as in other
countries, or are as well coached. The education system plays a major
role in that.
next level is where the system really fails, from South African Rugby
down. The (14) unions are not focussed on the Springboks being the best
team in the world, they are focussed on winning the Currie Cup, winning
promotion to the Premier Division or succeeding in Super Rugby.
Stransky believes the six teams South Africa has in the southern
hemisphere championship, compared to the five each of New Zealand and
Australia, dilutes playing talent.
means players are leaving in droves for contracts overseas, further
weakening local teams," he said. “If you come through that weak system,
you become a weak player.”
Stransky also believes the domestic set-up is hamstrung further by a lack of coaching talent at all levels.
“To be frank, in some instances we have got a bunch of inexperienced, amateur coaches leading our top domestic sides," he said.
"There appears to be no long-term plan, no mentorship and little goes
into improving coaching structures. Something needs to change.”
Black coach Steve Hansen, when asked for his analysis of South Africa's
problems, said the country could take a lot from the New Zealand model.
golden goose is our central contracting system because when you have
good administrators at the top in control of contracts, then everyone
has to work together because you only have one paymaster," he said.
"Our only agenda is to win matches and produce quality players."
has cut a frustrated figure in post-match interviews, bemoaning
mistakes made by his side who have now gone nearly four hours without
scoring a try and rarely threatening one.