Schalk Burger snr (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - Former Springboks Eben Olivier and Schalk Burger snr have expressed their concern about the style of coaching in South African rugby.
The two former Boks were speaking at a Bok Banter fundraiser at NMMU in Port Elizabeth last week.
Olivier, 71, who played 16 Tests for the Springboks between 1967 and 1969, shared his concerns about a Springbok structure focusing more on size than skill, and the possible "over-coaching" of professional players.
"In some cases, bad coaching is worse than no coaching at all. I think a lot of the guys receive too much coaching and not enough freedom to express themselves on the field,” said Olivier.
Burger, who is the father of current Bok flank Schalk jnr, echoed Olivier’s sentiments by saying rugby is a "socio-cultural extension of a lifestyle" and coaches should allow players to lose themselves in the game.
"Then you will see the real players," Burger said to applause from the crowd.
A host of former Springbok skippers, World Cup winners and stalwarts from days gone by came together at their alma mater in support of plans to build a rugby clubhouse near the north-western edge of the Madibaz Stadium.
Close to 600 guests attended the event at the NMMU Indoor Sports Centre, which served as a fundraiser for the proposed R3.2m clubhouse.
"Legacies are hard to leave behind, but we hope to create a home for Madibaz rugby. A place where players from the past, present and future can come together to support their team," said former Springbok scrumhalf Garth Wright.
An auction of signed rugby memorabilia kick-started the fundraising effort and contributed R28 000 to the clubhouse construction.
Wright was joined on stage by, among others, former Bok flank and NMMU sports manager Bernard Petersen and soon-to-be international rugby hall of fame inductee Danie Gerber.
They were followed by ex-Bok skippers Hannes Marais and Andre Vos, and 1995 World Cup winners Hennie le Roux, Hannes Strydom and Garry Pagel, who were joined by 2007 winning team manager Zola Yeye.
Television presenter Gavin Cowley, a rugby legend himself, played master of ceremonies and got the Springboks to share their knowledge and insights with the guests.
When asked "to put their houses on the line" in predicting the outcome of the upcoming 2015 Rugby World Cup, only Burger backed the Springboks to bring the Webb Ellis trophy home.
The majority backed the All Blacks, while Ireland and Australia also made the cut as possible World Cup winners.