Town - When the Stormers squad for this week's trip to Argentina was announced
on Monday, the name of Siya
Kolisi may as well have been written in bold.
After three gruelling Test
matches against England where the Boks have gone a long way towards restoring
some pride to the national jersey, Kolisi is in desperate need of a rest.
He has been ever-present in
captaining the Stormers in Super Rugby this season, and now he will be on a
plane to South America on Tuesday, having had just two full days off after the
He is not the only one, of
The likes of Pieter-Steph du Toit
- who will have done America, South Africa and Argentina for five outings in
less than a month - is also due a break.
Franco Mostert at the Lions,
Tendai Mtawarira at the Sharks and RG Snyman at the Bulls ... all could use
some time off.
But with the Super Rugby sides
under their own pressures to perform, these players will in all likelihood have
to suck it up a while longer.
The Stormers, for example, need a
minor miracle if they are to qualify for the Super Rugby playoffs this year. Coach
Robbie Fleck, though, is under massive pressure at the moment and he will be hell-bent
on securing two wins to end the season and hopefully restore some dignity along
Why, then, would he go into any
match without his captain and the bruising, game-changing Du Toit?
In the best interests of the
Stormers, it makes sense to run the engines of Kolisi and Du Toit for as long
But, in the eyes of Rassie
Erasmus and the Springboks, it is a decision that has the potential to do more
harm than good.
When asked about his chances of
winning the World Cup in Japan next year in his post-match press conference on
Saturday, Erasmus began speaking about the unique balancing act facing him
between now and then.
Managing the workloads of his
players was the first challenge he spoke of while using Kolisi's minutes this
season as an example.
It is one area where South
African Rugby is still light years behind the All Blacks.
The improvements on the field may
be there for all to see, but until South Africa's Super Rugby franchises are
all on the same page and united in the common cause of aiding the national
side, the Springboks will struggle to keep up.
In May this year, the Chiefs went
into a Super Rugby clash against the Sharks in Durban with 20 players
unavailable because of injuries and the fact that the All Blacks had requested
a camp back home.
Mid-Super Rugby, the Chiefs had
to give up all of their national players for a tough assignment in
And while the depleted Chiefs
lost that game, there was no moaning and groaning. Instead, there was an
understanding that this was a decision for the greater good.
It is extremely difficult to
picture the same thing ever happening in South Africa.
For all of his faults, this is
what former coach Allister Coetzee was trying to address during his two
troublesome years in charge of the Boks.
The coaching Indaba of 2016 was
part of his efforts to get the Super Rugby franchises on the same page. Coetzee
wanted every decision to be taken with the Springboks in mind.
On the surface, it was a noble
idea and one that made the most sense.
But, in the age of
professionalism and financial concerns at unions, the Super Rugby sides must
look out for themselves first.
It is a problem that doesn't
appear to have an end in sight just yet, but Erasmus simply has to have more
say in how his key players are used between now and the World Cup.
The planning off the field is just
as important as the performances on it.
Follow @LloydBurnard on Twitter ...