Exciting times. It’s like walking into school after your December holidays and although you are nervous on what is lying ahead, you have this excitement in you that you can’t hide. The excitement on seeing who is going to be your teacher and who is going to be your classmates for the rest of the year. This is the same excitement we are sitting with after falling out of the World Cup. I personally think that there are a few things to blame for us falling out and I won’t go into detail on that, because it’s done and dusted. It’s time to look forward!
Although I am just a fan and not a rugby specialist (is there any difference?) I also think that Peter De Villiers must step aside for the next generation. I also think this need to happen as soon as possible, to give this new coach enough time to get his mind, planning and strategies in order. Don’t get me wrong, Peter De Villiers did his best and he did it in his way. He was a player’s coach but not a dynamic coach. This was the best coach for the time, because we had the experience in the team itself and this was the sort of coach that we needed from 2007 to 2011. But now it’s a new era and we will have to start all over again. Not just new players, new coach but also a new mind-set. The question here is just how serious is South Africa in getting a team together that can keep us in the top three spots of world rugby or will it again be a political (including provincialism) decision. We have some of the best coaches in South Africa but it won’t be a bad idea to get an international coach such as Jon Mitchell or even Eddie Jones because that will give us an unbiased team choice.
But I still think it will be unfair to the coaching talent we have in South Africa. I think a head coach such as Brendon venter will be my favourite. Although spending his career playing for the Cheetahs, he wasn’t really involve in any South African team the last few years. He’s got a good track record overseas and that analytical approach a new team need. He was also a very good Springbok and somebody the players will look up to and will have a lot of respect for. Something I think lacked with Peter DeVilliers.
For supporting staff we can’t go worse than Gold and Muir that had no good track records before they started with the Springboks. To be honest, their provincial teams actually showed a significant improvement since they left. For the backline I will seriously consider somebody like Paul True or a Breyton Paulse. For the forwards I will definitely look into getting somebody like Rassie Erasmus, Jimmy Stonehouse, Dawie Theron or a Naka Drotske. I don’t think having somebody like Victor Matfield or John Smit will be a bad idea. Other technical spots I will get Braam van Straaten or Vlok Cilliers as kicking coach and for the scrum itself I can’t think of anyone better than Os du Randt.
When it comes to the Springbok captain, it’s a really tricky situation. I can see why everyone is pointing to Schalk Burger and I have a lot of respect for him and he played really well the last few years, but will he be a certain feature in the Springbok game for the next four years? I am not saying we have to choose a guy that must be in the team for the next four years, but we need to choose somebody that can potentially do it. Chilliboy would have been by far my firm favourite but again we will sit with a good captain in the place of a world class player like Bismarck. So who will the captain be? To me it looks like we will have to “make” a captain as we did with Joost and Bobby Skinstad. Perhaps we make Bismarck, Spies, Jacques Fourie or even Frans Steyn Captains then. Sometimes it works sometimes not, because I am a firm believer that you are born a leader and to get somebody like Smit will take years or getting another player in the mix that is not necessary the best player but a good leader. I wish I can say who the next captain should be, but this is where I get stumped.