[OPINION] Saru needs to provide clarity on Springbok coaching saga
The South African Rugby Union (Saru) has been embroiled in its national coaching structure saga for the past three years now, and it is high time that the rugby board provides transparency and clarity to the rugby public in the country.
Since the appointment of Allister Coetzee at the beginning of 2016, the Springboks’ image has been tainted on the field of play, and the once feared and revered South African rugby team has fallen from its astronomical heights of winning the 2007 Rugby World Cup, to embarrassing defeats against Wales, Italy and two humiliating results against fierce rivals, New Zealand.
Much has been made about Coetzee’s record as Springbok coach and the calls for him to be replaced by Rassie Erasmus at the helm are valid, but Saru’s silence on the issue hasn’t done much to help remedy the situation.
There have been damning reports about a leaked letter that Coetzee has sent to his bosses at Saru, in which he lambasts them and accuses them of set him up for failure as the Springbok coach.
As much as I agree with Coetzee’s accusations, I do think that his claims of him being a much better candidate than Erasmus are far-fetched and absolves him of his responsibility and contribution to the dire state of the Springboks.
My plea to Saru is that keeping quiet about the Springbok coaching saga doesn’t settle the nervous displacement of the millions of rugby fans in this country. The board needs to clarify the situation to the public and take responsibility where possible and to start the rebuilding phase of the Springboks as a team and as a brand.
Eddie Jones’ England are due in the country in less than six months for a three-match series, and the rugby public is still in the dark as to who will prepare the Springboks going into that important series, against a side who could potentially be Six Nations Champions for the third time in a row before they tour South Africa.
There is also the matter of a Rugby World Cup in less than 24 months time that requires extensive preparations, if we harbour any ambitions of being world champions again, or at the bare minimum, to be competitive at the tournament.
Saru needs to do a deep introspection and clarify the situation as soon as possible before the Springboks find themselves in a quagmire of further failure and disappointment.