What is it about coaches and winning and losing? What is it about coaches when it comes to their best players?
Mark Keohane calls it as he sees it.
A team loses and the coach invariably says it is a good thing. The team, he says, will be better for it. The players, he says, can take positives. It is not all gloom.
A week later that same team wins and the same coach says it is not good enough. He says the players have to be better if they are to win the next game. He finally adds that they still have to improve on many things.
Why can’t coaches, captains and players just say something to the effect of: “We were not very good today and hopefully we can be better next week”? Alternatively: ‘We were very good today and hopefully we will be as good next week.”
Why can’t they just call it as it happens, instead of trying to tell the masses who watched that they didn’t see the same game, and to have an opinion of a rugby match you have to study a video tape three times.
The same applies to coaches and their frontline players.
Take Schalk Burger as the latest example. The Stormers loose-forward, alongside New Zealand’s Richie McCaw the best in the business, is suspended for two weeks.
The coaches say the team will have to dig deep in his absence. The coaches say you don’t replace a player of his class. The coaches conclude it will take something special to survive in his absence.
Then the team wins and the same coaches say they have a headache as to who to select and leave out.
In the case of the Stormers, there is no choice between Burger and Luke Watson. You accommodate both and you accommodate them around Burger. He chooses where to play and the rest slot in. That it is even a discussion point is absurd.
When I read about whether it should be Burger or Watson as the open side option, I am reminded of Jake White’s comments when asked the same question.
“It is all subjective,” said White. “You have an opinion, and I have an opinion. What is not subjective is if I put them in a room and ask one to come out with the No 6 jersey. I can tell you it won’t be the guy with dark hair.”
If that response has some edge to it, the same cannot be said of the nonsense churned out by most coaches each week.
The majority of coach sound bites in the Super 14 are embarrassing and the only thing more embarrassing is that we hapless souls actually have to report the meaningless words post-and-pre a match.
The Sharks’ Dick Muir and John Plumtree have been the exception this season. They tend to call it like we all saw it, for better or worse.
Is it then a coincidence that they are unbeaten after four rounds of the the Super 14, and South Africa’s only bet for a play-off?
No it isn’t. The Sharks are our only hope because they are the most talented squad with the two best coaches.
It really is that simple. The other four South African franchises don’t have a price for a top four placing.
There is nothing cynical about that comment. It really is stating the obvious.
So my advice to the punter is to enjoy the odd South African win in the next two months, back the Sharks and always keep the faith because Super 14 rugby is not Test rugby.Tweet