Innovative thinking can avoid Bok crisis

Written by Morné Nortier (Morné)

Posted in :Original Content, Springboks on 30 Sep 2010 at 12:12
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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.


  • I distinctly remember that there was a great uproar in 2006, when the media (Rapport in particular) called for the immediate axing of Jake, saying that our WC hopes were pathetic.
    Goes to show what they know!
    And btw, I’m getting sick of this crap about not facing NZ or AUS in 2007. If THEY were good enough, we would’ve faced either of them in the semi’s or the finals.

  • Comment 1, posted at 30.09.10 12:27:23 by Crock Reply
  • Well written once again, I really enjoy your viewpoints.

  • Comment 2, posted at 30.09.10 12:29:16 by Crock Reply
  • Holy Crap, Morras! Are we doing are we doing problem solving and decision making and rootcause analysis next?? 😈

  • Comment 3, posted at 30.09.10 12:32:53 by Ice Reply
    Competition Winner Ice
  • I can’t believe that 5 other coaches don’t want to get involved in the RWC Bok team based purely because of other contracts…..I think they are more concerned for the reputations in working with PdV.

  • Comment 4, posted at 30.09.10 12:42:35 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @Ice (Comment 3) :

    If you want! 🙂

    @Pokkel (Comment 4) :

    Would you give up a 3 year contract for a 12 month one where the pressure and expectation is 10-fold what you currently experience?

    I am very patriotic, but not stupid, so I am with the other coaches.

  • Comment 5, posted at 30.09.10 12:56:04 by Morné Reply
  • I am also with the other coaches. We won the WC under Jake, and he didn’t even get an offer to renew his contract.

  • Comment 6, posted at 30.09.10 13:03:48 by Crock Reply

  • @Morné (Comment 5) : I am 99,9% sure u gonna do it anyway! LOL

    Maybe not a bad approach…SA Rugby should get a facilitator in to get to the root and then get feasable solutions and implement them from the bottom up. Now it seems they are fixing the symptoms rather than the cause..

  • Comment 7, posted at 30.09.10 13:19:17 by Ice Reply
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  • I do agree that changing coaches is not going to help. Why doesn’t PdV ask White to help him out 😈

  • Comment 8, posted at 30.09.10 13:23:59 by Jarson Reply
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  • @Ice (Comment 7) : Probeer jy nou slim klink? 😈 😉

  • Comment 9, posted at 30.09.10 13:26:59 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @Morné (Comment 5) : I wonder if any of them even tried to make some sort of arrangement with their current employers?

  • Comment 10, posted at 30.09.10 13:28:43 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @Pokkel (Comment 9) : Flip, ja!!! Wat dink jy?? LOL Dis net common sense, nie? En, take it from me, ek is di blond met di hoogste IK wat jy ken, net bietjie verstrooid…soos Einstein 😈

  • Comment 11, posted at 30.09.10 13:43:51 by Ice Reply
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  • @Ice (Comment 11) : 😉 Jy klink eintlik soos n politikus wat baie se maar einlik f#kol 😆

  • Comment 12, posted at 30.09.10 13:49:54 by Pokkel Reply
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  • Guys I think pdv should never have been coach and still shouldn’t be coach! I think we all know why he was given the job those reasons are obvious! Who of you have read jake white’s book?

  • Comment 13, posted at 30.09.10 14:00:59 by Benna08 Reply
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  • @Pokkel (Comment 12) : bullshit baffles brains… :mrgreen:

  • Comment 14, posted at 30.09.10 14:05:26 by Ice Reply
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  • @Benna08 (Comment 13) : Benna – go see the “rules” 😉

    I have read it..

  • Comment 15, posted at 30.09.10 14:08:12 by Ice Reply
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  • @Benna08 (Comment 13) : Hi Benna, lets stay away from politics and such shall we

  • Comment 16, posted at 30.09.10 14:43:32 by Clayton(PJLD) Reply
  • @Ice (Comment 15) : I need to refresh the page more often, damn

  • Comment 17, posted at 30.09.10 14:45:18 by Clayton(PJLD) Reply
  • I see Mapoe has told ‘states to get stuffed…he wont go back and will appeal…this is never going to end! 🙁

    nice little paid holiday for him! 😉

  • Comment 18, posted at 30.09.10 14:54:34 by AlienArmy Reply

  • If Snorre anounced today that he’s hanging up his voice, I’ll wager the Bentley that all those who were unavailable will suddenly clammer for the job.

  • Comment 19, posted at 30.09.10 14:55:54 by rhineshark Reply
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  • @Ice

    Is it breaking the rules to bring forth the obvious?

  • Comment 20, posted at 30.09.10 15:02:34 by Benna08 Reply
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  • @Benna08 (Comment 20) : See it however you want, if it has a political connotation, its not allowed – then you must keep the obvious to youself..

  • Comment 21, posted at 30.09.10 15:19:08 by Ice Reply
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  • Why does the obvious need to be brought forth? Surely it must already be visible to all?

    Could it be because its not so obvious? Things termed obvious usually are such only to those expressing the opinion on it.

  • Comment 22, posted at 30.09.10 15:22:36 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • Even before the wheels appeared to come off, Div’s appointment of Muir and Gold were early signs of trouble. As was his idea of bringing back Barney. He put himself up against it from the beginning:

    1. He is out of his depth
    2. His assistants are more in it for limelight that actual rugby and were the worst forwards and back coaches in SA at the time.
    3. A World Cup medal around his neck, Barney was into payday, leaving the province that made him to seek a buck overseas. That didn’t work because the Real Mr Smit didn’t like France.

    As the only Union not to vote for Div, at least the Sharks are not responsible for his actions. The fool should never have got the job in the first place.

    What would I do, this is mad but I would have chosen Alistar and put in Deon Kayser as assistant, he’s doing awesome work at the Academy and U19 level. Great coach. Great guy.

  • Comment 23, posted at 30.09.10 16:13:12 by goyougoodthing2 Reply

  • @Morné (Comment 5) : “I am very patriotic, but not stupid, so I am with the other coaches.”

    I think that sums it up best, and when PDV gets the old heave-ho and the new coach (broom) sweeps clean (in PDV’s case, I believe he even booted the bus driver so as not to be tainted with the JW brush), the assistants will go to. And what happens to Coetzee or Ludeke if their replacements are on long term contracts at WP and the Bulls, they have no job either.

    Dick Muir used to be THE MAN, now he is blamed for much of the ills at Bok rugby. Bok rugby is not a place to build reputations!

  • Comment 24, posted at 30.09.10 17:19:11 by Baldrick Reply

  • AC: “Hello.”

    PDV: “Ja, Alistair, it’s me your coach.”

    AC: “I am the coach, who is this?”

    PDV: “Heh Alistair my brother, you joking man. Ja, it’s your coach, the Oom Coach. Ja.”

    AC: “Oh it’s you Peter, I should have guessed from the high pitch but I thought it was just my cellphone going flat.”

    PDV: “Ha, ja Ali, my brother, you know I always said, if I were coach, I’d like a brother by my side. To share my vision. Ja.”

    AC: “Brother? Who is your brother?”

    PDV: “Ali, you are man, we are from the same stock.”

    AC: “I don’t think so, and besides, you picked Muir and Gold.”

    PDV: “Ya but, let me tell you Ali, I know things. I am not coach for nothing. Those men they want to see a black man fail and so I gave them to white sheep in wolfs clothing.”

    AC: “You selected the 2 worst coaches in South Africa. And you stole my job or Heyneke’s job.”

    PDV: “Ali, theft is a strong word. Brother to brother, Cain to Able, we have to walk in the fields before we come back with the coat of many colours.”

    AC: “Cain killed Able didn’t he? And when the Boks go walking on field 100m long they get lost. The only colour I see is yellow.”

    PDV: “My brother, ja, it is time. Join me, let’s take the show to another level, show them what we can really do.”

    AC: “I’ve seen enough of what you can do thanks.”

    PDV: “It’s just the start Ali, of a dynasty.”

    AC: “More like the sacking of Rome Peter, no thanks.”

    PDV: “It is a wise fool who talks of Nero, who fiddled while Rome burned. I have a bucket, I will douse the flames.”

    AC: “You started the fire in the first place.”

    PDV: “Ja the fire. It was always burning you know. And fire is good. The Pheonix rose from the ashes Ali, join me, share my vision.”

    AC: “No thanks Peter, it’s a bit too early in the day for the hard stuff, but carry on.”

    PDV: “I will.”

    AC: “I know.”

    PDV: “Ali you will be sorry, the glory will come.”

    AC: “Hangover will come first Pete, thanks, sorry going into a tunnel under the Mountain…ccccjjdjdjdjccnn… click.”

  • Comment 25, posted at 30.09.10 17:23:46 by goyougoodthing2 Reply

  • Oh my Morne make them short please 🙂

  • Comment 26, posted at 30.09.10 17:31:35 by chaz Reply

  • Holy carp! The rugby world cup is this year…

  • Comment 27, posted at 30.09.10 18:03:29 by Rahul Reply

  • *sigh*

  • Comment 28, posted at 30.09.10 19:16:13 by wpw Reply
  • @Rahul (Comment 27) : 😆 @wpw (Comment 28) : 😆 😉

  • Comment 29, posted at 30.09.10 20:51:45 by chaz Reply

  • 😯 you and the theorys might know 😳 but please PDV nows S 👿 he was the last person that should of been coach i would and really got KSA i think he knows more about SB R

  • Comment 30, posted at 30.09.10 20:55:32 by chaz Reply

  • Fair weather supporters!!
    Last year the Bok coaching staff could do no wrong and yet they are solely to blame for this year’s performances??

  • Comment 31, posted at 30.09.10 21:38:34 by wpw Reply
  • @wpw (Comment 31) : quite right, some here were squirming when the Boks were winning bcoz they had to live in pretence. Now the true selves are out 😀

  • Comment 32, posted at 30.09.10 21:46:06 by Megatron Reply

  • I blame the Bulls. 😉 😈

  • Comment 33, posted at 30.09.10 21:50:20 by McLovin Reply

  • Me too

  • Comment 34, posted at 30.09.10 23:05:21 by robdylan Reply
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  • It’s a sad thing.

    Morne’s daily thought provoking articles elicit mostly nitwit comments.

  • Comment 35, posted at 01.10.10 01:04:43 by fyndraai Reply
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  • I think this is as simple as none of those coaches wanting to hitch their wagon’s to Peters.

    Not one of those coaches would’ve said no if they were offered the head coach role. Not a chance.
    Imagine the prospect: take over the reigning world champions 12 before they defend the crown. There’s not a professional coach living who would hesitate to take that position, despite any other contract concerns and even if the Boks are admittedly a little off form.

    They want the job – they just want to live and die by their own decisions and not somebody as… unpredictable… as de Villiers.

  • Comment 36, posted at 01.10.10 01:39:41 by VinChainSaw Reply
  • @VinChainSaw (Comment 36) : Well said

  • Comment 37, posted at 01.10.10 07:55:51 by Pokkel Reply
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  • i see that SARU is planning on getting rid of the 2 asst coaches. as i am not the biggest fan of the coaching staff as a whole, i understand that SARU cant fire PdV at the moment and i fully agree with that, but how can SARU now let the Asst coaches go? i mean, all of the above arguments to keep PdV in his post should be fair arguments for the Asst coaches too? now SARU wants to fire the Asst Coaches for the poor form shown by Boks and fire the Media Liason for Div`s media outbursts… its not at all been confirmed but if true i will not understand the thinking behind it…

  • Comment 38, posted at 01.10.10 08:52:32 by VanWilder Reply


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