Springbok assistant coach Brendan Venter instructs the players during a training session. Photo: EPA/KIM LUDBROOK

CAPE TOWN - So, Springbok defence coach Brendan Venter believes that fans should stop watching if the only thing they’re interested in is a winning performance. Is he right?

I don’t know if that question is one that can be answered with a simple yes or no. After all, Venter, just like anyone else, has the right to believe whatever he wants. If that’s his opinion, so be it.

After the Boks’ 27-27 draw with the Wallabies at the weekend - the second Rugby Championship draw against the Australians this year - Venter took to Twitter and made a number of comments regarding the Springboks’ performance.

There were a few tweets in particular from the former Sharks Director of Rugby that caught the public’s attention, like: “This Aust team has been together for 3 years. We have been together for 4 months. We keep throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

“Team cohesion both on attack and defence does not happen overnight. The players played their hearts out. Courageous warriors. All of them.

“And if you are one of those supporters that cannot see that. If winning is all you see. Stop watching. Boys deserve respect not criticism.”

Okay, so Venter’s message regarding the team cohesion on attack and defence does make sense. Perfecting something like that does, obviously, take time. Although New Zealand also had a lot of new faces in their team on Saturday night and whipped the Pumas 36-10 ...

But saying that supporters should “stop watching” if winning is all they see is just wrong.

Firstly, as a part of the Springbok coaching team, Venter shouldn’t be making statements like that. I’m not going to get into the whole that is not professional conduct debate, because that is not the point I’m trying to make here. What is that point? Supporters have the right to be upset.

They had the right to be upset when the Springboks took a 57-0 hammering from New Zealand. They had the right to be upset when the Boks drew 23-23 with an Australian outfit that doesn’t exactly set the benchmark for performance.

And they had the right to be upset when the Boks failed to secure a win against the Australians yet again this past weekend. And who doesn’t want to see their team reap results?

Regarding Venter’s tweet about respect and criticism - if the Springbok fans’ joy and positive messages are accepted with wide open arms when they win, then the same should go for their criticism when they lose, or draw.

That “respect” that Venter mentioned will be more abundant if fans see results - and in saying that I’m not saying that it’s okay for supporters to go on a Springbok-bashing spree when things go wrong. What I am saying is that, just like Venter, those supporters have the right to their opinions.

Also, comparing the Boks to the Australian side in terms of how long they’ve been together isn’t going to make the situation any better, it’s just going to be seen as an excuse by someone in the Bok set-up.

Cape Times

Like us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter