by the Editors
Mild euphoria swept some of South Africa following news of electoral losses suffered by the ruling ANC in the local government elections. Even if this does not mean a looming change of government it has rattled our rulers and brought hope to many who want little more than decent, fair and accountable governance. However those hopes may have been quickly dashed with news that Finance Minsiter Pravin Gordhan was under scrutiny and may soon be arrested. The Rand dived along with national morale and we wait anxiously to see that the week brings but now another blow to pride and spirit with the ‘Boks’ losing to Argentina in the ‘Rugby Championship’.
In search of expert opinion we reached out to our old friend Errol Bredenkamp:
‘The Green and Gold’ is now the ‘Green and Mould’”.
“Generally speaking, (there are of course individuals and individual team exceptions), South African rugby has for years, been showing major warning signs of growing weakness and decline but the drop is sharpening because for too long nothing has been done about it from a national level nor from a schoolboy level. The public -(like me and you)- have been crying out for at least the last 10 years asking WHY, WHY, WHY and what to do?
“External factors (and not the referees) are partly to blame. Overseas contracts, the way SA rugby refuse to ‘centrally contract’ their players is part of the problem but so is politics. We live in a new democratic dispensation in which, to quote the minister..’the wrongs of the past have to be corrected’.
This is a big factor and former All Black coach Laurie Mains has been blunt about this. “For my money they (the ‘Boks’) are gone. With racially selecting teams they’re not going to cut it. With the quota system they have I think the days of them being top competitors are over.”
Sad to say but the golden era of ‘Bok’ rugby is firmly finished! Two factors preside which means one cannot fix the problem;
1) Transformation and politics is here to stay.
2) Overseas salaries for our top players are much better than the local franchises and being a ‘Bok’ has lost some of the magic, so the “brain and brawn” drain will continue. Sponsorship will start waning and ‘Bok’ rugby will soon join ‘Bafana’ at the bottom of the pool.
Add to this another problem. This lies with the mentality of how the game is played in South Africa and the failure of our coaches and administrators to recognise this. The global game has changed but we have not. Along with this has been the failure of South African rugby coaches and administrators to realise that their players also, seriously lack the skills, finesse and fitness to cope with the top teams. I can go on forever but the proof is in the pudding ESPECIALLY after school boy age. Simply look at New Zealand (not super rugby) equivalent of “Currie Cup” rugby and compare that to our provincial competition. Alarm bells must ring, warning of the talent gap; the chasm of class between the top nation in world rugby, and South African rugby. And worse, we are now often beaten, too often, by teams like Ireland, Wales, Scotland and Argentina. Look at the first time ever defeats against these nations in the past 20 years! Oh….I forget Japan! Have a nice Sunday folks and don’t rush to buy your tickets for the NZ and Oz games in South Africa. On match day you can buy at the stadium!