SA Rugby seek 'turning point' at coaching conference

SA Rugby seek 'turning point' at coaching conference
By Reuters

19/10/2016 at 11:32Updated 19/10/2016 at 12:55

South African Rugby is at a turning point and must adopt a new strategy to administer the game or face continued decline, interim president Mark Alexander warned delegates at a coaching conference on Wednesday.

The two-day conference, or indaba, includes current South Africa coach Allister Coetzee as well as his predecessors Ian McIntosh, Carel du Plessis and Rudolf Straeuli plus the country's six Super Rugby coaches and former Springboks captains Gary Teichmann and John Smit.

At the heart of the discussions will be how the Super Rugby franchises can align to aid the national team cause.

Alexander suggested the organisation use New Zealand, where there is uniformity in the coaching, development and management of players, as a blueprint.

"In New Zealand, all 180 players are contracted to New Zealand Rugby, but in South Africa we have six different franchises, each with their own different methods of playing the game," Alexander told delegates.

"This system is clearly not proving to be an efficient and effective way to manage our players well and get the best out of them.

"This indaba aims to find a solution to the challenges we face - with collaboration and input from all our franchises.

"Hopefully in a few years' time we will look back at this indaba with a sense of achievement - knowing that this was where the new direction was forged, this was the turning point for South African rugby, this is where we adopted our shared winning mind-set."

Coetzee said the conference was not a knee-jerk reaction to South Africa's struggles this season - struggles that culminated in a record 57-15 home loss to the All Blacks earlier this month.

"We are living in our little kingdoms, hoping that we are the best rugby nation in the world. We are not," he said.

"There needs to be an alignment between us as a coaching team and the franchise coaches to identify tactical short-comings that impact on the performance of all our teams.

"We ultimately need a philosophy to ensure our continuous improvement.

"Whenever our Super Rugby teams do well, the national team does well. We cannot operate in isolation and a national rugby strategy is not about dictating game-plans to any team.

"It is about equipping our players to adapt to any game-plan our coaches want them to."