gregkaos

Kings of continuity


Written by Greg Kaos (gregkaos)

Posted in :Original Content, Springboks on 1 Sep 2016 at 09:34
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I’ve been mulling over the performances of the Springboks of late, as well as the drumming the Aussies are getting and feel that there is a issue that few seem to be talking about.

The Springboks are seriously lacking continuity at the moment, and now we’re 12 years behind the All Blacks, three years behind the Pumas and a year year behind the Aussies in this department.

Daniel Hourcade has been in charge of the Pumas since 2013, and they’ve been growing ever since. Honestly, I would not even be particularly surprised if the Pumas manage to sneak into 2nd place this Championship.

Now let’s compare this to All Blacks; Steve Hansen was assistant AB coach from 2004 to 2012, Head coach since 2012 to present – he’s been working with them for 12 years! They are, by far, the most structured and settled side in the world. Combined with an SA-like rugby passion and similar genetics, they are progressively getting further ahead of the competition. For the last 12 years it has simply been a case of fine tuning and tweaking.

Back in 2004 we got Jake White, who won the World Cup when we were level in terms of continuity with the ABs. Both of us had new coaches, and new systems had been put in place.

Four years later we bring in a whole new coaching setup with Peter de Villiers; riding on a crest of experience with minimal changes to the systems Jake put in place, he kept the momentum going, for the most part. However, we did begin to slide back slightly from the ABs. After the RWC we had mass retirement of our core players and the Springboks were suddenly back to square one.

2012, and enter Heyneke Meyer and co. From day 1, Meyer was at a distinct disadvantage against Hansen. Like him or not, he did pretty damn well to stay almost within arms length of the ABs despite their continuity advantage and our mass retirement of the 2011 cohort. We were the only team whom the Kiwi’s would not presume heavy bets on beating; Hansen did become head coach at the same time as Meyer, but due to him being an assistant for 8 years it meant it was a far more seamless transition to head coach. I’m not aware of any major changes to the ABs when he took over.

Now, spare a thought for Allister with a completely new side, game-plan, assistants, and structures. His job of keeping up with the ABs, on a difficulty scale, is the equivalent of training a competitive, synchronised swimming team comprising solely cats.

In their current state, I think Martin’s tweet sums up the issues we have pretty well. “Tweaking Bok selections = band-aid over a shotgun wound.”

I’m not sure what the solution to this is, however I’m fairly sure that knee-jerk selections are a one way ticket back to ground zero.



43 Comments

  • I agree with this sentiment; the Bok coach (and in fact, pretty much every international rugby coach) is at a significant disadvantage to the All Blacks.

    Having said that, Alistair Coetzee does create the impression that he is stumbling blindfolded through the maternity ward, plaster in hand, while his patient lies bleeding in ICU. Can’t recall another Bok coach who looked as at sea as Toetie does at similar stages of their tenures.

  • Comment 1, posted at 01.09.16 10:11:23 by Culling Song Reply
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  • Very good article and points made. Where to from here…im really not sure. As has been said the tough decisions need to be made if we are to progress. Will AC be able and/or allowed to make those…well im not so sure

  • Comment 2, posted at 01.09.16 10:45:14 by SheldonK Reply

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  • @SheldonK (Comment 2) : Thanks! Yup who knows. I think a good start would be some serious long term planning. As in Post 2019 RWC planning. Each time we wipe the slate clean the ABs smile.

  • Comment 3, posted at 01.09.16 11:11:45 by gregkaos Reply
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  • We need to focus on the type of game we play at all levels.

    Schools and Varsity Cup teams play attractive rugby but the talent and instinctive play seems to get coached out of the players at the higher levels. I think this could be a symptom of lack of continuity as Greg said in the article. Maybe the players are told to forget everything they’ve ever done on the rugby field and stick to rigid structures and a “kick at all costs” gameplan.

    The Bok coach should not be selecting his assistants. The positions should be advertised and the candidates selected with a view to one of them succeeding the current coach in 4 years time or in 8 years time. That way the continuity will be established.

  • Comment 4, posted at 01.09.16 11:20:43 by ChrisS Reply
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  • Great article Greg! Yes seemingly SARU think they should replace a coach like some people replace cars: every 4 years just before the warranty and service plan runs out!!! ;-)

  • Comment 5, posted at 01.09.16 11:27:03 by JD Reply
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  • equivalent of training a competitive, synchronised swimming team comprising solely cats :lol:

    that’s a good one.

    Very good article, nicely summarized the history and where we are right now in rugby union

    Alister is up against it, but his a good coach, I will afford him the same patients I gave all the other bok coaches, they have two year before I start criticizing any other their decisions they need time to implement their ideas and structures and they dont spend that much time with the player compared to provincial coaches

  • Comment 6, posted at 01.09.16 11:30:06 by revolverocelot Reply

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  • @JD (Comment 5) : Perhaps we should take our Coach for a service when he gets back from this tour…

  • Comment 7, posted at 01.09.16 11:33:33 by SheldonK Reply

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  • @JD (Comment 5) : Thanks JD! Agree. In an alternate universe is love to see where the Boks would be if Jake had not been fired after winning the RWC and his assistant coach (AC) transitioned to head coach in 2012. (Eddie Jones still with Boks and in the pound seat to take over in 2020).

  • Comment 8, posted at 01.09.16 11:36:58 by gregkaos Reply
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  • Good article,good point

  • Comment 9, posted at 01.09.16 11:51:38 by benji Reply
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  • Great article.just to add to it where is the continuity going to come from in this coaching set up.
    We have as our backline coach a man who once was a half decent sevens player,who has had the sum total of one year coaching the backline of arguably the worst team in Super rugby.And a forwards coach whose only claim to fame is that he follows Coetzee around from job to job.
    Once this lot has imploded which will be soon we start all over again.

  • Comment 10, posted at 01.09.16 11:52:07 by The hound Reply
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  • @gregkaos (Comment 8) : with proper people running a proper show,serious people,that is what should have been in place

  • Comment 11, posted at 01.09.16 11:54:22 by benji Reply
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  • @SheldonK (Comment 7) : hahaha it all depends on who’s the preferred service agency!

  • Comment 12, posted at 01.09.16 12:03:36 by JD Reply
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  • @gregkaos (Comment 8) : ja but that’s way to logical for the brain trust that runs things! Everything must change and be renewed every 4 years!

  • Comment 13, posted at 01.09.16 12:05:28 by JD Reply
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  • “is the equivalent of training a competitive, synchronised swimming team comprising solely cats.” :lol: :lol: :lol: no2w that was a vived image

  • Comment 14, posted at 01.09.16 12:17:29 by Zibbie Reply
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  • In my mind the Bok team is the end-result of the work of both the amateur and professional arms of rugby. Players who wind up there have spent some time in High School teams, club teams as well as provincial and (usually) age-group sides.

    If both arms aren’t aligned and in some sort of synchrony, the eventual high-five is not as awesome as it could or should be. The national coaches are there to line up individual fingers, add bling and apply ointment for optimal high-five contact. Even when they’re not great, you still wind up with a pretty respectable high-five.

    My concern is that the arms seem to be oblivious of each other these days. I guess it’s because the head is constantly trying to peer over its own shoulders instead of focusing on delivering the sickest high-five the rugby world has ever seen.

  • Comment 15, posted at 01.09.16 13:12:28 by vanmartin Reply
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  • @gregkaos (Comment 8) : @revolverocelot (Comment 6) : @Zibbie (Comment 14) : @vanmartin (Comment 15) : This is by FAR the most entertaining thread we’ve had on Sharksworld in recent memory as far as all the images being conjured is concerned… :cool:

  • Comment 16, posted at 01.09.16 13:19:34 by Culling Song Reply
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  • @vanmartin (Comment 15) : I find this a pointless discussion on this forum,talk about the elephant in the room.
    The only thing almost as bad as excluding players from a rugby team for any other reason than their ability to play rugby,is to include them for any other reason than their ability to play rugby.
    Until we are as a nation over all this shite we will never be 100% competitive in any global team sport.We will either have learn to embrace mediocrity ,or concentrate on individual sports,golf ,tennis,swimming,athletics.

  • Comment 17, posted at 01.09.16 13:24:49 by The hound Reply
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  • @Culling Song (Comment 16) : Hahahaha! I’d love to be able to draw the combined images into a single cartoon.

  • Comment 18, posted at 01.09.16 13:49:56 by gregkaos Reply
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  • Good article and point!

  • Comment 19, posted at 01.09.16 13:51:39 by Sharkfinn Reply

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  • @The hound (Comment 17) : Agreed.

  • Comment 20, posted at 01.09.16 13:54:21 by Quintin Reply

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  • @The hound (Comment 17) : We’ll have to agree to disagree here and move on. All I’ll say on the matter is it’s a conveniant straw man that, in my opinion, diverts away attention from far greater challenges.

  • Comment 21, posted at 01.09.16 13:58:38 by vanmartin Reply
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  • @vanmartin (Comment 21) : In my opinion the system sucks and always has.Rugby in this country is historically elitist,the control is in the hands of a few self perpetuating individuals,and filters all the way down.
    If you went to a rugby school like Grey College,Bishops,Glenwood,Affies,and their ilk you had a much better chance of making it than if you went to an unfancied school,simply because the guys running the game in this country also went to school there.
    Before you,shoot me down just consider 2 guys maybe20 years apart ,Henri Honnibal,went to Escourt High School,never considered for Craven week,If Gysie Pienaar hadn’t taken a walk across the Kovsie campus and watched a koshuis game we would never have known our greatest Shark.
    Marcel Coetzee went to Porties never considered for Craven week,if Sean Everitt hadn’t plucked him from obscurity and forced him into his under19 side we would never have known him either.
    How many great players in between those 2 slipped through the cracks.

  • Comment 22, posted at 01.09.16 14:18:20 by The hound Reply
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  • @The hound (Comment 22) : I don’t disagree with any of that.

  • Comment 23, posted at 01.09.16 14:41:48 by vanmartin Reply
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  • @The hound (Comment 22) : Whats the solution though? School selectors will always favour their school and province no matter who is put in. If we have ‘neutral’ selectors then they only see a kid once and a great player may have an off day and therefore be excluded or perhaps the ‘neutral’ guy doesnt like the way a player plays at school. For me there will always be players that miss out at school level..but that is why The Club competition- the Gold Cup and the Varisty Cup/Shield are so important in casting the net wide so that as many players as possible fall into the catchment area and can be identified. As they say the cream always rises to the top…

  • Comment 24, posted at 01.09.16 14:47:49 by SheldonK Reply

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  • @The hound (Comment 22) : think you’re correct but a bit wrong. Although I fully agree that rugby in SA is controlled by a few individuals that worry more about their own little unions interest than the overall well being of the sport and yes you have a better chance of making it if you went to one of the “rugby schools” I have to disagree about the reasons why. The reason for the tendency as to why these schools are so successful in producing “top level players” I think are the following:
    1. Remember these schools actively seek out “future stars” (in not only rugby but a lot of other sports).
    2. Usually age level provincial sport teams are selected and coached by teachers of schools within the region. This leads to more players being selected from the schools of these teachers as either they know these players better or just a case of give me 6 players and you can have 6 players in the team. Just think about it in schools adverts it’s constantly mentioned how many players represented provincial teams (However there’s no mention if the said teams won even one game that season). Having more players in provincial teams is thus a big part in promoting you school.
    3. When a selector must select a team he needs to watch a lot of rugby games within a relatively short time. Let’s use a scenario: as a national selector what games would you go and watch Sharks vs Bulls or Border vs Leopards? Same applies to lower levels of rugby and other sport. Selectors will for sure give more time and attention to “bigger/rugby” schools as they should have more “top quality” players. Is this fair? For sure not! Is it understandable? Maybe!
    Like a lot of things in life it’s not easy as we sometimes think!

  • Comment 25, posted at 01.09.16 15:21:32 by JD Reply
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  • @JD (Comment 25) : Most if not all the rugby selectors either coach or are in some way affiliated with the top rugby schools,they have a vested interest in their players making the provincial and national teams .

  • Comment 26, posted at 01.09.16 15:40:51 by The hound Reply
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  • @The hound (Comment 26) : my friend it happens even here where there’s no “big” schools and trust me it already starts on primary school level! Like I said it’s all part of advertising your school.

  • Comment 27, posted at 01.09.16 15:50:01 by JD Reply
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  • @JD (Comment 27) : Exactly its cancer.

  • Comment 28, posted at 01.09.16 15:55:00 by The hound Reply
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  • @JD (Comment 27) : @The hound (Comment 28) : And the solution would be?

  • Comment 29, posted at 01.09.16 15:58:38 by SheldonK Reply

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  • @The hound (Comment 28) : for sure!!!

  • Comment 30, posted at 01.09.16 16:15:37 by JD Reply
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  • @SheldonK (Comment 29) : unfortunately I can’t see an easy (or practical) solution. Independent selectors is probably the best way to go but maybe a results based system where selectors/coaches lose their position if the team lose to many game could work. However the sad news is that (just like the decision making processes of SARU) this is unlikely to change in our lifetime!!!

  • Comment 31, posted at 01.09.16 16:21:42 by JD Reply
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  • @JD (Comment 31) : It is a problem throughout school sport in SA so hence me asking for possible solutions. Even ‘neutral’ selectors have many disadvantages. The only suggestion i can think is there being more than 1 ‘catchment’ process for identifying talent

  • Comment 32, posted at 01.09.16 16:25:43 by SheldonK Reply

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  • @JD (Comment 5) : I can blame saru look a the stock and the type of results they have been getting lately. If we had a bevy of really competent coaches with track records to boot I would ask why they chop and change. But as it stands they have had to deal with a bunch of turnips.

  • Comment 33, posted at 01.09.16 20:05:28 by coolfusion Reply

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  • Why not have a school league in each province with every school playing each other. If in certain provinces that have too many rugby playing schools split schools into conferences with the the big rugby schools split evenly in these conferences. Allocate prize money and select craven week teams from this tournament.

  • Comment 34, posted at 01.09.16 20:22:49 by sudhir Reply

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  • @coolfusion (Comment 33) : problem is by chopping and changing you will not attract better or top class coaches as they know no matter what they achieved after 4 years they will be jobless, ffs not even winning World cup helped JW keep the job!!!!!

  • Comment 35, posted at 01.09.16 22:39:59 by JD Reply
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  • @SheldonK (Comment 32) : basically the main problem is with team sport a personal opinion or judgment is used to select the best players.
    In individual sport like tennis and athletics the guy that win is the best and will get selected. Also in these sports basically everyone has a fair chance as qualifying rounds can be done via individual schools then towns then regions then provincial up to ultimately nationals.
    In teams sport selectors must decide who is the best but for that there is no set criteria. It is done on a personal believe system or feeling. Just look at Sharksworld, we all love the Sharks but yet there are so many different opinions of who must play and in what position that it’s sometimes hard to believe that we all watched the same game!?!?
    For this reason I can’t see things being perfect no matter what is done. We just have to hope and believe that at some stage a coach or selector will see the potential of a player and give him a chance.

  • Comment 36, posted at 01.09.16 23:03:46 by JD Reply
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  • @sudhir (Comment 34) : there’s a couple of problem with that:
    Big schools beat little schools every year with massive scores and so little schools do not want to compete anymore. Locally leagues are devided by strength (and I’m sure it’s the same at most places) to get the schools games more competitive and also boost the confidence of players (by not getting hammered by 50+ points every week).
    Time is a problem as there’s only so many weeks available in a season and getting any money for any school sport is extremely hard. Geez it’s a real headache to just get a sponsor for some basic kit never mind sponsoring a whole competition.
    Also remember sometimes it’s about more sports than just rugby. All sports needs to be accommodated as travelling in different directions with each sport (rugby, nedball, boys hockey, girls hockey, etc) will result in a massive increase of financial expenditures on traveling not to mention logistical problems with finding enough smaller vehicles to accommodate these teams. Being involved with coaching it’s amazing to realise the planing and money needed to ensure that all the teams can travel to and back from another town and to ensure that all the teams arrive on time for their games and that’s when all the teams are traveling to the same venue.

  • Comment 37, posted at 01.09.16 23:29:42 by JD Reply
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  • @JD (Comment 36) : Thats a great comment, fully agree. Every selection in team sport is based on opinion and therefore will include some bias of varying degrees. There is no way around it. All we can hope for is that more often than not the right choices get made.

  • Comment 38, posted at 02.09.16 08:19:43 by SheldonK Reply

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  • @JD (Comment 37) : Another good comment. :) Schools are ranked as either Tier 1 , 2 or 3 and play against each other accordingly. 9 time sout of 10 a tier 1 school will beat a tier 2 school and often by a large margin. Therefore in theory the players at the tier 1 school are better than the players at the tier 2 and 3 schools. So when Craven week sides are selected the vast majority come from the Tier 1 schools and very often the best tier 1 school at the time has the most players. Its not a perfect system by any means…but its the best available solution

  • Comment 39, posted at 02.09.16 08:26:43 by SheldonK Reply

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  • We also have to take into account just how talented the ABs are – we talk about losing players, this year they have lost 4 of the best players in their respective positions – Mccaw, Carter, Nonu and Conrad Smith – how the hell can a side lose players of that quality and still be so damn good? All of a sudden, Barrett becomes head and shoulders the best 10 in world rugby and Sam Cane at 7, who I never really rated, has stepped up to the mark. He looks bigger, stronger and fitter than ever before. The ABs are the most successful sports team of all time, they are incredible and incredibly blessed with talent. To think that the Highlanders flyhalf can not even make the bench is scary

  • Comment 40, posted at 02.09.16 11:32:49 by Vonno13 Reply
     
  • @SheldonK (Comment 38) : @SheldonK (Comment 39) : thanx. We just have to hope that this imperfect system works most of the time and that somehow somewhere another person will pick up the guys that slipped through like Marcell!

  • Comment 41, posted at 02.09.16 11:39:40 by JD Reply
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  • @JD (Comment 41) : To be fair the current system worked for Marcel in terms of progressing into Professional rugby. After being at a small school he enrolled at the Sharks academy and Collegians. He was then noticed by the Sharks by putting in good performances for Collegians (one of the big clubs) and together with their knowledge of him at the academy he was then fast tracked through the ranks. So whilst he was at a small school he was given the Sharks Academy/ Collegians route in which he could be identified and he was. So think he is actually a success story of how there are other avenues besides playing at a big school.

  • Comment 42, posted at 02.09.16 12:11:34 by SheldonK Reply

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  • @SheldonK (Comment 42) : for sure the club/academy structure worked for him but I do think it was much harder for him.
    Personally I believe your provincial and national club competitions (as well as varsity competitions) is very important as other players that missed out on age group provincial teams can use it to show that they too can play at a higher level. Just look at April after “underperforming” at age group level he played himself into a Sharks contract by performing at club level.

  • Comment 43, posted at 02.09.16 13:50:19 by JD Reply
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