More concern over depth in SA
Ockert de Villiers - Sport24
Pretoria – South African rugby is heading towards a coaching crisis and needs to be addressed as soon as possible, various experts have warned this week.
Former Bulls coach Chris Buitendach added his voice to the growing wave of concern over the state and depth of quality coaching in the country.
"It is a huge concern. 20 years back we had a coaching conference and I said if we are not proactive in the training of coaches we won’t have quality coaches left," Buitendach said at the launch of an international coaching conference in Pretoria on Friday.
"The biggest problem we have in South Africa is we don’t have a pathway where we identify coaches like we do with players."
Buitendach said the country had a wealth of players but there were few coaches that could boast with a ‘CV of success’ while there was no formal plan to bring coaches through the ranks.
"At the moment we are in trouble, we have Franco Smith and Johan Ackermann, who else?" he asked.
"There are no coaches and if they (the SA Rugby Union) are not concerned, and I don’t think they are, then we are in trouble coaching wise."
He said training of coaches has fallen on the wayside with the country no longer producing its own training manuals and instead using the IRB level one and two courses that he believed was not sufficient.
"At the moment we have a pool of approximately 1000 players at the moment and it could be reduced to 500 in 10 years’ time if we don’t have coaches," Buitendach said.
Turning his attention to the Bulls, Buitendach said the Pretoria side faced years of turmoil if they did not find a replacement for Frans Ludeke based purely on merit and pedigree.
"You’ve got to appoint a coach with a winning CV, you can’t appoint a guy at Super Rugby level without a coaching success," he said.
Buitendach said former Pumas coach Jimmy Stonehouse as a disciplinarian and with a history of success to boot could be the perfect fit.
There had been rumours that Springbok lock and Bulls stalwart Victor Matfield could fulfill a coaching role next while Springbok assistant coach Johan van Graan’s name had also been bandied about.
Earlier this week former All Blacks and Lions coach John Mitchell warned against fast-tracking players into head coaching positions at Super Rugby level.
“I have great concern about our industry, if you take American sport, or professional soccer – we are the only industry in the world where players become head coaches within the space of two years,” Mitchell said.
"Coaching is about experience and it is about dealing with failure, success is also about making mistakes.
"You’ve got to maintain your wisdom, there are a lot of fantastic rugby minds here, it’s just a matter of getting them together.”
Tuks Rugby Club on Friday announced the international coaching symposium to be held at the University of Pretoria where national and international experts will be addressing delegates on July 23.