Coetzee reveals his masterplan for Boks

Fri, 21 Oct 2016 11:59

NEWLANDS INDABA, PART TWO: Jan de Koning reports from Newlands, after the conclusion of the mass gathering of South African rugby brains trust.

Allister Coetzee said he will rely heavily on the Super Rugby coaches to enhance the 'core skills' of players, as the Springboks look to start the long climb back up the world rankings - which will one day, hopefully, see them challenge the All Blacks for the top spot.

The Bok coach described the two-day get-together as a "groundbreaking moment", and listed the improvement of players' core, fundamental skills as a priority.

Apart from the desperate need for an improvement of the players' skill execution, there is a need for improved conditioning.

Coetzee said a separate conditioning indaba will be held on December 12, to focus solely on what needs to be done to ensure players improve their fitness and conditioning.

He added that some kind 'monitoring system' will be put in place from next year to ensure the franchises continue to follow the vision that has been mapped out.

Franchises will also be able to continue logging relevant data that can be shared.

Coetzee, speaking after the conclusion of the indaba on Thursday, said for too long South African coaches have been living in their own little kingdoms - with the Currie Cup and Super Rugby their priorities.

"That is why we are so close to what happened in the amateur era," the Bok mentor said, adding: "In terms of building relationships [between coaches and CEOs] it has been brilliant.

"There has been unbelievable openness from the coaches.

"With the intellectual capital we had in the room over the two days, how can we not succeed?

"For me it was fantastic, particularly seeing so many of the franchise coaches being so open about the game and where it needs to be improved and what problem areas need to be addressed.

"What we got from the room was that instead of just trying to follow and emulate other countries, we need to build something that embraces something new while also maintaining our strengths."

However, at the heart of the matter is the need to "enhance and develop" the core, fundamental skills of the players at franchise level.

"Those Super Rugby coaches have more time to coach, put things in place and when they [players] get to Springbok level they would be able to play in any game plan," Coetzee said.

"[We want the franchise coaches] to hone certain skills.

"If we talk about aerial skills, all the players from all the franchises must be able to have good area skills.

"If we talk about kick-execution, they all should be able to execute [that]."

He added that some franchises have been playing brilliantly on attack, but may have lacked in other departments.

"The Lions are the team with the most line-breaks in Super Rugby," he said, adding: "They could create momentum, play nice and flat and scored the most tries in Super Rugby."

However, Coetzee felt there was a myth and misconception about 'ball-in-hand, heads-ups' rugby - the so-called expansive game.

"Those are the terms that people chuck [around], but there has got to be a balance in everything.

"We have to play, in a way, like that, but not to the extent where it becomes reckless and stupid, and making mistakes.

"So what we are going to take is bits and pieces of what can work, and that what will fit the profile of our players in South Africa.

"But the big thing where we have lagged behind is with our skill-sets, and that is what we need to develop.

"Our decision-making ability needs more time to be worked on."

He said the indaba will allow them to put a blueprint together that is not just for the Super Rugby franchises or Currie Cup teams, but also for players at a development level - from Craven Week teams right to the top.

"It is the start of something, but not the final product," Coetzee said.

"The collaboration is the most important aspect, as the guys now work in the interest of the national cause.

"It's been unbelievable to see how everyone opened up, and we got the sense that we don't need to follow other teams.

"We identified what our strengths are in South African rugby, and how that can be implemented to shape the way we want to play."

Coetzee will name two Bok squads on Saturday - following the Currie Cup Final between the Free State Cheetahs and the Blue Bulls.

The first squad will consist of players who will feature in the non-cap encounter with the Barbarians at Wembley Stadium on November 5.

That squad will consist mainly of young players, earmarked for future call-ups.

The second squad - when the overseas-based players become available, as the BaaBaas game falls outside the international window - will be for the Tests against England (London, November 12), Italy (Florence, November 19) and Wales (Cardiff, November 26).

By Jan de Koning
@King365ed
@rugby365com