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Allister not the only one at fault

Opinion
Sometimes I feel for Springbok coach Allister Coetzee and sometimes I don’t.

I can already see how fingers will be pointing at him, those die-hard Bok fans baying for his blood and certain high-ranking Saru officials speaking off the record on how the guillotine is about to fall on Coetzee.

The truth is that Coetzee is on a hiding to nothing really even though many of the problems to befall his team are beyond his control.

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Allister Coetzee Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

We only need to look at our Super Rugby teams to realise the national team problems from last year will continue this year more so in the Rugby Championship.

Our Super Rugby franchises are failing our national team and nobody seems to be pointing fingers at those coaches.

Look at the Stormers and how they started the competition, I almost bought into the hype they are serious title contenders.

At least the Bulls showed they pose no danger at all from the beginning and are now just hanging on to keep their dignity intact until the end of the season, and save coach Nollis Marais's job.

The Sharks have never really become a serious factor in the competition since Jake White's departure three seasons ago and by the look of things there won’t be anything meaningful coming out of King's Park this year again.

The Cheetahs have done what they do every season, play good rugby some of the time and get us excited momentarily before they are quickly forgotten.

Thank goodness for the Kings this year. Even though their contribution is never considered when it comes to the national team, they have shown what some determination, kraag and playing to your strengths can really do for a team.

Photo: Samuel Shivambu, BackpagePix

The Lions carry the blueprint of how Super Rugby must be played and that comes with the benefit of having been together as an outfit under the same coach for a long time.

Coetzee will again have to rely heavily on what the Lions are doing and a lot of their players as he has been given little or no options by the other franchises.

For all the excitement the Stormers have played with especially post the Coetzee era, there is plenty of proof that there was some merit to his defensive mindedness during his time at Newlands.

Yes it is good to play with freedom and give the ball some air but it is equallyimportant to be able to defend. We have all forgotten how free-spirited the Stormers were earlier in the season and how breathtaking their game was against the Chiefs at Newlands, all of this after they conceded 104 points in two matches in New Zealand. 

I can go on about how woeful the Bulls have been with the amount of talent in their squad while the Sharks continue to bore us with some exciting players as well in their team.

The real problem with our rugby is not at international level alone but it has everything to do with our Super Rugby franchises and the way players are being coached. Our Super Rugby coaches are found wanting for most of the time but nothing gets done. There needs to be consequences for under-performing coaches in Super Rugby in the same way all of us expect there to be consequences for Coetzee when the Boks do badly.

I feel for Coetzee who will now adopt some of these players and is expected to take them from being average to being world beaters. I don’t feel for him is when he makes the same mistakes as our Super Rugby coaches and his predecessors.

The Star

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