Strauss backs Springbok overhaul

Sun, 27 Nov 2016 10:31

REACTION: Retired Springbok captain Adriaan Strauss has thrown his weight behind a decision by SA Rugby Union president Mark Alexander to overhaul the administration of SA Rugby as well as a Springbok review process.

Speaking at the post-match press conference where the Springboks suffered a 13-27 defeat to Wales in Cardiff - which ensured they ended winless during their November internationals - Strauss was adamant that everyone needs to take responsibility.

He added that, despite retiring from the international stage, he would still like to contribute to paving a new direction for the future of the game in the country.

"I think no fingers can be pointed, we are all responsible for this - everyone up and down the ladder. I think it's the ideal situation for change and accountability from everyone and to make constructive and productive changes. I would like to be part of that.

"When I get the opportunity to air my views in the correct platform, I will do so openly and honestly and will be ruthless with the truth.

"It's [this year] been a massive challenge. When I accepted the responsibility of the captaincy, that day I became accountable for things that happen to the team.

"I'm not here for a pity party, I take responsibility - I am accountable, I am responsible - I will do the best that I can in the coming months. I did everything I could, I made many mistakes - I knew that I would - but in any situation, I put the Springbok first.

"I would love to be part of something that can produce change. I would love to still contribute," Strauss said.

Springbok coach Allister Coetzee wants the cracks fixed from the core.

"It is very a difficult time for us as players and staff. We obviously live in a country where results are important for the national team and I am definitely not proud about the way this season has gone - it's way below what is expected of the Springbok team.

"But hopefully, it's the start of a greater time and place to get SA Rugby back on track again - not fix the cracks but make sure we fix it from the core. If you look at Springbok level alone, that is not just where the problems are.

"Our Under-20s have under-performed this year - we lost by a big margin to Argentina in the play-offs - so it is the right time to start working together and fix things.

"We have spoken about skill level [at the Indaba] and I don't think that you hone skills at international level. It should be working together with the franchises, where players spend 38 weeks and only 12 weeks with international teams.

"I think that is also where we realised that it's not just the job of the Springbok coach to up-skill the players, it's a collective effort from all coaches. We need to get the standards up.

"The Springbok stands for excellence, so we need to make sure that whatever systems we put in place will give the players a platform to achieve excellence - to set the players and the team up for that," Coetzee said.

Another issue that the Springboks face is the murky waters regarding overseas-based players, something Coetzee believes will be resolved as early as December.

"I am pleased there will have to be a firm decision on what we do with our overseas-based players versus our home-based players. A new policy and clear guidance will be released early December about overseas-based players.

"You've got to weigh up more time spent with the same team, compared to a team that comes in a week before a Test. But we will have to be creative in some ways - it's difficult to compete against the pound and the euro - to retain players in our country.