Allister Coetzee. Photo: Aubrey Kgakatsi/BackpagePix
JOHANNESBURG - One year ago, Allister Coetzee selected a starting line-up that went on to lose the first Test match of a home series to Ireland. A year later here is Allister again, picking a squad that pessimists will reckon will battle to win the three-Test-series against France.

Let us look at this with perceptive. 

Of the team that started in the first Test against Ireland a year ago, only six players remain in contention for the first Test against France in Pretoria.

They are among a bunch of Tendai Mtawarira, Frans Malherbe, Eben Etzebeth, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Siya Kolisi, Duane Vermeulen, Damian de Allende, Elton Janjies, Rudy Paige, Warren Whiteley and Jesse Kriel.

It looks like the Boks are starting again. And that is not a bad thing given the results of 2016 - just four wins out of 12.

It was despairingly poor, and Allister Coetzee should have been forced to resign on the spot at the end of the November tour, as should have been the Saru committee that appointed him.

The way I see it, this Springbok squad is a decent mix of the good, the bad, and the ugly, but it certainly does not tell me that it is going to win the World Cup in Japan. I say that with the best respects to the players.

I think this is because the Bok squad is not headed by a commanding coaching staff and we have to be morons if we as South Africans expect to win the World Cup in 2019 with the current status quo.

Call me a traitor, but a part of me wants the Boks to lose the series against France. I hate losing as much as any South African, but I honestly believe that Springbok rugby is marking time.

In fact, I would say that the current Bok set-up resembles a person drowning out at sea.

In my opinion, the Boks are not going to win the World Cup in Japan under Allister Coetzee and that the sooner there is an ambulance job at coaching level, the better. I think a coach such as John Mitchell could sort out the mess should the Boks lose at home to France.

Again, I do believe that most of the newcomers who were announced in the squad of 31 yesterday are there on merit, but I also believe that this squad will probably lose to France and most certainly will not make the semi-finals of the next World Cup. Springbok rugby needs change.

This squad is mediocre at best. The coaching staff does not give reason for optimism, and the usual good feeling that goes with the new Bok selection of the year could very quickly give way to some serious overhaul of the Bok set-up some two and half years away from the World Cup.

The Mercury

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