Dan Retief

Fiddling while the boat sinks?

Posted in Home by Dan Retief on 7 Dec 2016
Categories: Home

While Cape Town is busy with “Sevens spotting” the mandarins of SARU are ensconced in a series of crucial meetings on the way forward for the Springbok.

“Sevens spotting” is fun for Capetonians. It involves spotting members of international Sevens teams in and about the city – in the gym, in shopping malls, on the big red tourist busses – and every sighting whets the appetite for the massive party which is the Cape Town Sevens tournament.

But the suits and blazers of SARU will not be having fun.

They will be busy trying to dissect a horror year for the Springboks – the worst in history – and coming up with a solution they have been unable to find pretty much since the dawning of South Africa’s new democracy in 1994.

Meetings have been scheduled as follows:

• A conditioning indaba. Highly important given the clear evidence that the Boks were not as fit as they should have been this season.

• An executive meeting to discuss policy issues surrounding the national team and players.

• A general council meeting to discuss proposed constitutional changes and competition formats. (The turkeys are going to be asked to vote for Christmas!).

• Then they’ll all take two days off to strut around at the Sevens and make as though it’s success is all down to them.

• On Monday comes the nitty-gritty. A follow-up meeting between Allister Coetzee and the Super Rugby coaches.

• Tuesday has been set aside for “Springbok 2016 Review.” Apparently there’s more to discuss than Played 11 Won 4 Drawn 1 Lost 8 and one trusts the debate will be driven by “why” and strive towards “what do we need to do to get out of this mess?”

I just can’t get out of my head an image of mostly overweight men trying to bale water out of the Titanic with beach buckets after it hit the iceberg!

The juxta-positioning with the Sevens provides an apt reminder of how good we are at rugby but I fear SARU’s running conferences are going to turn out to be an exercise in futility.

For starters all the wrong people will be there – the people who are unlikely to concede that they mismanaged Springbok rugby.

I have not seen that the Minister of Sport Fikile Mbalula, whose edicts cause SARU and their coaches so much grief, will be present.

I have not seen that anyone from SASCOC will pick up a name-tag at the door – although Gideon Sam does love hobnobbing and catching the limelight.

I have not seen that immediate past president Oregan Hoskins will the there; after all he is the man who for many years bore the brunt of government interference and took the lashes in parliament.

What about Jake White, Peter de Villiers and Heyneke Meyer? Surely their input would be valuable seeing as they dealt with the problems first-hand.

Will Rassie Erasmus be flown over from Ireland to account for the challenges faced by the High Performance Unit he ran? You have to ask: where is that high performance?

Dawie Theron under whom the Baby Boks, in spite of literally dripping with talent, played dreadfully stodgy rugby. Would somebody not like to ask him why?

Should Nick Mallett not be marched out of the SuperSport studio and stood in front of the worthies of SARU to lambast them with his strong, and strongly expressed, views?

Will Tim Noakes be there? Other top medical experts to account for the scourge of injuries that bedevil the life of the national coach?

The players themselves? Who is representing them? The players’ agents so often accused of not having the best interests of SA rugby at heart?

Will someone ask why so many black players simply disappear from the game after showing so much promise up to under 20 level?

The Press? Not to report on proceedings but to participate?

Forgive me but I am not positive about it all. I fear at the end of SARU’s deliberations there’ll be more nice words crafted for new president Mark Alexander by the union’s spin doctor in chief, there’ll be no word on the future of Allister Coetzee, more obfuscation and Springbok rugby will be in exactly the same space.

I really do hope I am wrong.

Springboks win the World Cup in 2007

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2 Responses to “Fiddling while the boat sinks?”

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