Is Bok rugby heading towards a crisis? Well given that De Villiers is seemingly scrambling to get experts on-board and all of them are turning him down, it seems we are getting pretty close.
Anyone that has followed my views in the last 3 years will know that I back the coach first, this is not based on blind-faith, but mostly because of the fact that I believe the media and general public has a scarce understanding of what coaching a rugby team is actually about – no offense.
Of course we are lucky enough to have some media men who have played or coached teams before at high levels and it was following a short twitter conversation with one of these men that got me thinking that if anything had to change within the Springbok management like firing De Villiers, will anything actually change?
I have never supported any calls to fire Peter de Villiers, least of all now when everyone wants his head on a block. There are just too many reasons why this is a bad idea, most of which is timing but also that through some tweaking, I still believe the disaster which was the 2010 Springbok season can be turned around in time for next year’s World Cup with Peter de Villiers still involved.
And it is on that last point that I based my faith in the coach to stay on and not be shown the door where with the right support team or experts brought into the coaching and management setup, we will have a very good chance of success in New Zealand next year.
But now here comes the problem…
It seems not one person is interested in coming in and helping the national coach.
It has been reported that De Villiers has not only approached, one, or even two individuals to possibly come in and assist him, but by my last count and going on reports in the media, no less than 5 people turned down the invitation to work with him. They include Heyneke Meyer, John Mitchell, Rassie Erasmus, Allister Coetzee and Frans Ludeke.
Of course the reasons might not be as sinister as is reported in the media, one just has to remember that all these guys are in long-term contracts with their unions currently and will have to negotiate themselves out of those contracts or come to a compromise with the union, and take up a job which will effectively be a 12 month contract only, after which they will be more than likely, without a job again.
Also considering the pressure that will come with the job given the recent results, chances are reputations stand a much better chance of being damaged than enhanced and in rugby, that is suicide because people do not forget, or forgive.
Tank Lanning (I am sure he won’t mind me mentioning his name) however made a very good point. Given everyone who has turned down De Villiers request perhaps it is time for him (De Villiers) to look in the mirror and ask why.
It is a good point and one that cannot be ignored, although I would caution reading too much into this or over-simplifying the situation. Yes it is a great honour to be asked to assist the National Team or become part of that setup, but it is also just a job and one you have to weigh up against what you currently have.
As mentioned, all coaches approached so far have contracts with their unions extending beyond 2010 Rugby World Cup and it is also vital to remember the choices do not simply lie with these individuals, but the unions who employ them.
Peter de Villiers did not endear himself to the rugby public and fraternity in recent times, and yes I do agree this is a major factor for individuals not jumping at the opportunity to assist him, but if we are asking for him to do ‘the honourable thing’ and resign, just what will change or who will step in?
I do not for one second think any of the individuals mentioned will suddenly jump at the opportunity to become head coach of the Springboks should it be offered them, for pretty much the same reasons they are not willing to assist De Villiers right now. But there is of course that one guy in the wings whose name keeps on coming up, Jake White
Jake has himself made some valid points when he promoted his cause and willingness to become head coach and do a ‘hospital’ job with the Boks, most important of which that he knows all, or most of the players and have experienced and won a World Cup before.
I am however left with the burning question, should the out of contract White take over from De Villiers right now, will anyone be willing to jump on-board to help him, especially anyone currently turning down De Villiers? (Remember Eddie Jones already said he is unavailable)
I don’t think so, which is why I believe firing De Villiers now, or even him stepping down, won’t change a thing unless SA Rugby steps in.
If De Villiers is to convince anyone to come on-board they will need to have some form of assurance, like a contract or job extending beyond the World Cup next year.
It will be a very gutsy but innovative approach, where De Villiers’ successor is identified right now and brought into the setup. A setup which in my view, is heading towards a major crisis.Tweet