Twitter, succession plans and 3,000 'coaches'
EXCLUSIVE: rugby365 columnist Ethienne Reynecke looks at the role of social media and the armchair critics.
Twitter is a quite spectacular thing on the day the Springboks play.
Following the trend with New Zealand versus South Africa, you have to be surprised that we don't have the best coaches in the world in charge of the Springboks.
There are about 3,000 candidates in South Africa alone although many have never played or coached the game at any level.
Mind you, the chances are that some have not even been on a rugby field.
Even worse are the complaints of former players on social media that play on the public's emotions.
These people love to jump on board with their negativity and they seem to get a nice ego boost with so many people replying and agreeing on the ill-founded comments they post.
The Boks are being put to the sword. The coaches are being put to the sword. The players are being put to the sword. (Sad to think I already wrote this part before the game against the All Blacks in Durban)
It's hard to defend this new era's campaign.
After our loss in the first Test again Ireland on Newlands the 'Times are Changing' article alluded to the fact that other Tier One nations historically ranked below us are catching up with us.
It has been evident during the last year, with shock losses that would entice Danie Craven to turn in his grave.
However, it's completely unreasonable to expect that a whole era of arguably the strongest core of players since the game turned professional retires, and we then expect the new era to seamlessly tick over.
All you ever hear when talking about the All Blacks coaching is their succession plan.
The All Blacks is are coached by Steve Hansen who has been in the mix since their shock departure from the 2007 World Cup. In fact, he has been there since 2004 - alongside Wayne Smith.
That is 12 years. Talk about consistency paying off big time.
How can a man grow if he can't learn from his mistakes?
What do we do with our former coaches?
These are men from whom can Allister could enjoy a transfer of knowledge to curb mistakes.
Surely the only other option then is learning by failure?
The coaching indaba with the other super rugby coaches is a great idea.
But why not all the coaches from the past?
I know the game evolves constantly, but surely having input from the past can only better prepare you for the future?
Apparently it's purely a technical session on the Bok gameplan and not an in-depth think tank on South African rugby.
Perhaps that's why the panel was hand-picked.
Would it not be brilliant to get input from Rudolf Straeuli, Jake White, Nick Mallett, Pieter de Villiers and Heyneke Meyer.
Perhaps they have grown enough as people to highlight mistakes they made by not listening to others or being stubborn in their own ways or thinking of the game.
This alone could surely be of help to Allister Coetzee.
They have nothing to lose and can only be honest with what they felt worked and what pitfalls to avoid?
It seems some invitees have declined to participate, but it's not worth going into depth on that issue.
You would just hope that at this Indaba there will elicit as much LISTENING as there will be talking.
Remember the year before we won the World Cup in 2007, we lost 0-49 in Australia.
Not to mention the 16-52 loss to the All Blacks on South African soil in 2003 and that same year there was a 26-25 win over an Argentinean side in Port Elizabeth that did not even field a full team of professional players.
Could you imagine what Twitter would have been like then?
But all these coaches have experienced what the current coach is experiencing - to some degree.
They can guide him through it or even could have prevented it from happening.
Seems that Springbok rugby has been in this place before and managed to come back stronger. Could be that is was artificial plastering for a quick fix to cover a bigger underlying problem?
Only time will tell, but because the Springboks are in dire straits it does not mean South African rugby is in the gutters, though.
Did any of these Twitter pundits watch the Under-19 international series?
The SA Schools team did not lose a game. It came close against the likes of England. But England are traditionally very strong in that age group and have given us many a beating in previous years. Especially if you consider that the European teams that participated had already enjoyed a Six Nations campaign in preparation. Our boys on the other hand just came together since the Monday before the first-round games on the Friday.
Add the fact that the core of the team was involved in the Craven Week tournament only two weeks prior, playing three games during that week as well as playing in school games the weekend before and bashing the living daylights out of each other in derbies like Paarl Boys versus Paarl Gim.
* If you still hold onto stereotypes on how certain provinces play a certain style, you must be blindfolded when watching!
I look forward to the final between the Free State Cheetahs and the Blue Bulls.
They are two teams that showed an exceptional level of skill and handling across the park from No.1 to No.15, tactical awareness in their kicking game, original and fresh applications in the game plan and a desire to score tries not reflected by our highest representative teams.
* Part Two of this article will lament the above facts by looking at the Currie Cup. We saw some awesome rugby in the semi-finals. Then I also make mention of the Cats in relation to a point being made on the New Zealand domestic game.
I worked under Allister Coetzee at the Lions, while he was an assistant coach to Frans Ludeke.
Our human consciousness is made up of experiences and perceptions being formed based on these experiences.
Toetie (Allister Coetzee) obviously holds some kind of subconscious resentment or contempt towards anything originating from this union or from the time he spent in Johannesburg.
The fact that the Cats/Lions team, while he was involved, was not successful compared to his time at the Stormers might explain why he is reluctant to lean towards elements of the successful Lions team of this year.
The fact that there were only two starting Lions players in the game against the All Blacks would suggest so as well. Never mind the fact that absolutely nothing that worked for them on the field was absorbed into the Springbok game plan.
It might be a completely atrocious attempt at thinking outside the box and looking for explanations for problems, but perhaps deviating from the norm is exactly what Springbok rugby needs.
By Ethienne Reynecke