Cape Town - A two-day coaching Indaba came to an end in Cape Town on Thursday, and Springbok coach Allister Coetzee was in visibly upbeat spirits afterwards.
Addressing media following the final session, Coetzee looked nothing like the man who had just watched his side smashed 57-15 in Durban back on October 8.
There is still much to do, but Coetzee seems to think that the first steps towards recovery have now been taken.
The common theme to emerge from the talks is that there needs to be continuous engagement between the national coaching team and the Super Rugby franchises.
A coaching blueprint is set to be put in place, which the Super Rugby franchises will be expected to follow to ultimately benefit the national team – as is the case in New Zealand.
The blueprint will not be a gameplan or style, but rather provide players with the necessary tools to fit into whatever gameplan the Springboks decide to use.
The Indaba emphasised the importance of South African rugby focusing on its strengths in its bid to evolve rather than seeking to “copy” any other nations, Coetzee said.
SA Rugby acting president Mark Alexander described the discussions as “vigorous”, but added that they were the start of something significant.
“For me, personally, it’s been a ground-breaking moment in South African rugby history,” Coetzee said.
“We wanted to look at the core fundamental skills to be enhanced and developed at franchise level where those Super Rugby coaches have the time to coach and put things in place.
“When they (the players) get to Springbok level they will not necessarily come with gameplans, but with the ability to be able to play within any gameplan.”
Coetzee was looking for certain skills to be enhanced at franchise level, most notably aerial contesting and kick execution.
“If we talk about aerial skills, then all the players from all the franchises must be able to have good aerial skills. If you talk about kicks execution, then they all should have that,” Coetzee said.
“Now we put the blueprint together that is not just for Super Rugby or Currie Cup level, but also for our development level from Craven Week right up.
“It will form part of the South African blueprint. U-13 Craven Week and up … these are the skill sets that must be put in place. It is the start of something.
“The collaboration is the main thing … that guys are not just thinking Currie Cup and how good they are on their own little island, but they see the picture for the national cause.”
But how will Coetzee and Springbok management ensure that franchises and unions adopt this blueprint?
“SA Rugby will make sure that there is a monitoring system that will be available to every rugby franchise from next year,” Coetzee explained.
“That system is in place. They will just log data onto it (the system) and it will make life easier.”
The Indabas are set to continue.
A conditioning Indaba has been pencilled in for December, while Coetzee is also set to meet with just the six Super Rugby coaches on December 12 to ensure that the aspects discussed at this week’s Indaba are implemented in training.
“There will be Indabas and more time to sit around on various issues,” Coetzee said.
“The CEOs see the need to discuss things like player retention, overseas-based players and the business of rugby. We need to talk more.”