Gold: Tough watching on TV

2011-10-21 13:44

Cape Town - In an ideal world, Springbok forwards coach Gary Gold would be in New Zealand preparing for the World Cup final; instead, he’s back in South Africa watching from afar, which he concedes has been a challenging experience.

“If truth be told, it is incredibly tough,” Gold told Laureus and Sport24. “We all worked so very hard to go all the way, and the players were so well disciplined and focused to be successful, but it wasn’t to be, and we all need to accept that. Watching the semis back home has certainly been a challenge, especially as we were all so optimistic to be there ourselves.”

No South Africa in semifinals came as a surprise for Springbok supporters; equally unexpected as far as Gold is concerned is the success of France.

“Yes it is a huge surprise,” Gold admitted. “Whilst we were in New Zealand it was widely reported that the French team were in disarray and obviously that was evident in their pool performances, especially in the loss to Tonga. But to their credit, they won the games that mattered, and against England produced a fantastic first half performance. It was surreal that they could lose two games in their pool and still progress, but that is the format of the competition and we all knew that before hand.”

For most people, though, this is as far as France will go, with New Zealand heavy favourites on Sunday; does Gold believe the French have a chance in the final? “It must be said, very slim!” Gold said.

“France are a group of very good rugby players, but they so seldom gel as a team, and when they do, it is very seldom it is for a full 80 minutes. The fear for New Zealand has to be that they do actually pitch up on the big day and cause New Zealand a few headaches they would rather not anticipate, but I would say it is quite unlikely. Interestingly, the style of play France chose on the night could be significant: if they chose to play the ‘Toulouse’ brand, and all buy into it, then funnier things have happened, but this New Zealand team is world class and very well coached, and they would be prepared for anything the French choose to throw at them.”

The Springbok forward coach does appreciate the talent France have, though. “As with all world class teams, the guys who represent the ‘spine' of the team are crucial – hooker Servat, lock Naille, Harinordoquy at eight, scrumhalf Yachvili, flyhalf Parra, centre Mermoz and fullback Medard. And the leadership of Dusautoir is essential. These guys also represent their senior players, so they will have a huge role to play in their respective areas of responsibility if France have any chance of upsetting the All Blacks.”

The chance of an upset is minimal, though, not just because New Zealand are playing at home, but also because of the sheer strength of this All Black team.
“They are the real deal,” conceded Gold. “They are very good – to be playing with what is really their third choice flyhalf and to still be as lethal as they are is an indication as to how good they are. They are a settled team and their coaching staff have been around for eight years now, so they all know each other so well, added to the fact that they are a group of men who are possibly on a greater mission. New Zealand, as a small country, has had a terrible year on global proportions, and the Canterbury earthquake hurt the country immeasurably. I know from our chats with the All Black coaches that their group of players realise the weight of responsibility on their shoulders to bring some hope and joy back to the New Zealand people, so I am quite sure this will all add to them going all the way.”

A home win would be a fairytale finish to a tournament that Gold believes has been a great success. “We certainly were not there to soak up the atmosphere, but it seemed to be a very well run competition, and obviously being held in a country that is so rugby mad, made the event that little bit more special.”

Gold, who also works with the RugbyIQ coaching program, also feels that rugby as a global game has moved forward in this World Cup, with Wales the biggest winners. “I think one or two of the top teams in the northern hemisphere have certainly improved. Wales are obviously the stand out team from the northern hemisphere, and I believe if they keep the coaching staff together, which is apparently is the case, then I would say Wales could well be a significant force at the next World Cup.”

A semifinal finish was a fine result for a young Welsh side; for the hosts, nothing less than winning the tournament will do, and Gold firmly believes that that is exactly what will happen this weekend. “One would have to be either very brave or very stupid to bet against the All Blacks, but rugby is the most incredible sport for the very reason that almost any team can beat the other on any given day, and I am sure out of all the opponents the All Blacks could have chosen, France would certainly not have been on top of that list,” Gold concluded. “But be that as it may, I am sure the occasion is too important for the lovely land of the long white cloud, and I am sure that come Monday morning the sun will be shining brightly on the new world champions, New Zealand!”

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  • John - 2011-10-21 14:00

    According to Gold, the French were in disarray and that's why it was a surprise that they made into the finals. I guess that couldn't have been the reason the Bokke didn't progress, could it?

      gordon.trevorrow - 2011-10-21 17:19

      No that's not the reason

      Phil - 2011-10-22 12:56

      No John . nothing to do with shambolic coaching ...and the pi$$ poor record of the Boks before the world cup had nothing to do with it.....neither did the error filled performance against the Aussies. The Boks were DESTINED to win this world cup ........just ask all of the pinheads who reckon they have evidence that there was a conspiracy to get the Boks out.

      Thomas - 2011-10-22 20:05

      If any other team had this coaching team they wouldn't have even qualified for the cup!!!! Well done John, Victor,Fourie and the other senoirs plus the contracted guys Rassie and the defencive coach!!!!!!!!

  • johan.blertsie.cilliers - 2011-10-21 14:24

    Still don't like the idea of a team losing 2 pool games making it into the final. Think the IRB should introduce a system whereby you lose a point if you loose the game.

  • Barry - 2011-10-21 14:41

    If its going to be tough to watch. You dont have to turn on your TV.

  • Jack - 2011-10-21 15:37

    How about playing your best players in the QF Mr Gold? You might have been in business longer that way.

  • goyougoodthing - 2011-10-21 16:09

    It's been tough watching for 4 years GG, tough watching the demise of a few players and the general antics of the coach. Welcome to our world.

  • Deon - 2011-10-21 16:49

    ...."wales will be a force to reckon with in future if they keep the same coaching staff"...?? trying to say soemthing Mr Gold?

  • Gammat - 2011-10-21 17:30

    Big L on the forehead--looserrrrr

  • Johann - 2011-10-21 19:58

    He would do it completely different if he had another go at it, life is full of disappointments.

  • Klark - 2011-10-21 22:00

    Watching last night game it just showed how far ahead the current ABs are of Wallabies, Wales, and South Africa

  • Kenjaymay - 2011-10-22 00:04

    Come on France, suprise us all!!!

      Kenjaymay - 2011-10-22 00:09

      That should read surprise us all :)

  • ksaaiman - 2011-10-22 10:02

    Wow, if you and your colleagues knew what their where doing and accepted that you are out of your depth in coaching then we as South Africa would be watching the boks vs France!

      Michael - 2011-10-22 11:53

      ja nee, it's been about as tough for us trying to work out what qualifies you as a national coach Mr Gold?

  • Barry - 2011-10-22 20:12

    France by 1 !! Go France

  • Kristiaan - 2011-10-22 22:36

    Mr Gold it is really a pleasure for us not to see your face on TV. And hope we never will. Please how on earth did you get that job as national forward coach?

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