Cape Town - South Africa’s 1995 Rugby World Cup hero Joel Stransky feels Springbok coach Allister Coetzee has "lost the change room".
ALSO READ: Lions stars haven't stepped up - Stransky
Under Coetzee’s tutelage in 2016, the Springboks have lost seven of 11 Tests.
It included a first ever loss to Ireland on home soil, losing away to Argentina, getting pummelled by a record 57-15 scoreline at home against the All Blacks, as well as last weekend's fiasco in Florence, which saw a first ever loss to 13th-ranked Italy (20-18).
In a Skype interview on New Zealand chat show, The Breakdown - which was aired by SuperSport this week - Stransky expressed his concern with his former team.
Former All Black wing Jeff Wilson hosts the show, which had ex-All Black lock Ian Jones and current hooker James Parsons as part of the panel.
When probed by Wilson whether he felt Coetzee had lost the dressing room and if a Springbok team should ever lose to Italy, Stransky commented:
“No way ever! The reality is I don’t think he (Coetzee) has the change room. The Springbok culture - what has defined it in recent years and what has made it strong in the history of however long - is lacking. I saw it when I was down in New Zealand for the Test match in Christchurch. I witnessed it and I saw the young guys... the way they go about things... I don’t think the culture is there and if the culture’s not there it means the coach has lost the dressing room.”
Stransky also feels there is a lack of leadership in the team.
“What doesn’t help matters either is in our hooker, Adriaan Strauss, we have a really talented player, but he’s a captain who decided three or four months ago that he’s packing it in at the end of the year and leaving.
“That’s also not a good message. If you look at the leadership environment, we have a coach who has quite possibly lost the change room, and I say that with respect to Allister Coetzee because he’s a lovely man, he’s a super human being and a wonderful guy... he’s got a decent coaching record and probably was at the time the right guy for the job... but he doesn’t have a support team that is his, aside from Matthew Proudfoot. He’s got a couple of other guys who have come in to help. He’s got a captain who’s already put forward that he’s abandoning ship. How can this leadership team have the change room, how can they have the respect of the players?” Stransky continued.
Jones, who played against the Springboks in the 1995 World Cup final when Stransky’s extra-time drop goal handed South Africa a 15-12 win, suggested the players should also take some of the blame.
Stransky agreed, saying: “The players have to put their hands up and be accountable. And I think it comes down to work-rate, attitude... and back to Jeff’s point about the coach having lost the change room... if you’re the coach your players have to want to play and live and die for you and I’m not sure those players at the moment share that view of living and dying for the Springboks, for the coach, for their country. It’s sad and disappointing. And I’m not sure there’s a whole lot this particular coaching environment can do for it right now...”