DURBAN – Springbok management recently announced that they would be providing national coaching support to franchises across South Africa for Super Rugby, as well as the PRO14. This is of course pertinent in the lead up to the World Cup in Japan next year.
Off the bat it sounds like the top brass of the Boks including director of rugby Rassie Erasmus, as well as Bok assistant coaches Matt Proudfoot, Mzwandile Stick and Jacques Nienaber, and Bok Head of Athletic Performance, Aled Walters, will be getting up close and personal with the full pool of potential Boks before the squad is named.
More so, it would seem that this is a chance for the coaching staff to push for an equal and understood standard across the franchises, and try and align a national blueprint going forward. This is what was implemented by Saru and former coach Allister Coetzee in early 2017, but this is not the tactic that Erasmus is taking.
In the press release, it was stated that: “Erasmus said the national coaches would in no way be dictating style or tactics or trying to impose a national blueprint on teams.”
It is an interesting deviation from Coetzee’s attempts, which must be said, ultimately failed, but regardless of what is being stated, the move still seems like a good one for the Boks overall.
Erasmus explained in the release that their assistance would be on generic areas such as skills and conditioning, mauling, scrumming and lineouts.
Erasmus has specifically been invited to assist Bulls coach, Pote Human, in the pre-season phase, but the same offering has been afforded to all teams.
Having the Bok coaching staff around, but promising not to interfere in the running of the franchises, or even dictating the play and blueprint is probably the best of both worlds. The idea of implementing a national blueprint is far easier said than done, and not a quick fix, especially not in a World Cup year.
But at the same time, the fact that Erasmus is the director of rugby as well as the head coach means that it is well within his wheelhouse to offer assistance, and at the same time, keep a close eye on the players and structure they have in place in preparation for the World Cup.
Simply put, the fact that the coaching staff for the Boks will be present, even if it is in the background, as the Super Rugby and PRO14 sides warm up towards the World Cup means that a lot of the groundwork will be out of the way when the World Cup squad does finally come together.
Furthermore, those players looking for a late ticket to Japan will have more than 80 minutes on a Saturday, off the TV, to impress the coach, they will be able to show their worth in training and in a team environment.@DarrynJack216