How to create harmony in the Springboks by 2019

Jonty Shonty Roar Pro

By Jonty Shonty, Jonty Shonty is a Roar Pro


22 Have your say

    In December 2014, the South African Rugby Union General Council approved a five-year roadmap in the lead up to the 2019 World Cup, called the Strategic Transformation Plan.

    The most high-profile target of the plan was to field a Springbok team that is 50 per cent black by 2019.

    Allister Coetzee was appointed coach in 2016, but was sacked this month on the back of poor results and having largely failed at transformation.

    He was given four full seasons before the World Cup to give good black players exposure to Test match rugby. With effective planning, he should have been able to achieve the target with a competitive team.

    Allister Coetzee South Africa Springboks Rugby Union 2016

    Allister Coetzee (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)

    Let’s look at the South African team that concluded last year’s Rugby Championship:

    15. Andries Coetzee, 14. Dillyn Leyds, 13. Jesse Kriel, 12. Jan Serfontein, 11. Courtnall Skosan, 10. Elton Jantjies, 9. Ross Cronjé, 8. Francois Louw, 7. Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6. Siya Kolisi, 5. Lood de Jager, 4. Eben Etzebeth, 3. Ruan Dreyer, 2. Malcolm Marx, 1. Steven Kitshoff
    Subs: 16. Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17. Trevor Nyakane, 18. Wilco Louw, 19. Franco Mostert, 20. Jean-Luc du Preez, 21. Rudy Paige, 22. Handré Pollard, 23. Damian de Allende.

    This team had only 30 per cent black players, and a number of mediocre white players. He shunned black players such as Lukanhyo Am (13), Makazole Mapimpi (14), S’bu Nkosi (11), Nizaam Carr (8), and Warrick Gelant (15), who all had strong Super Rugby campaigns. Surely these guys would have been no worse than those selected?

    Furthermore, the Junior Springbok team that made the semi-final of the 2017 Junior World Cup had 11 black players in the starting 15.

    Damian Willemse can play 10, 12 and 15 and reminds me of Tim Horan. Curwin Bosch can run, pass and kick, and play 10 or 15. No.9 Embrose Papier reads the game well and has a crisp pass – this year he’s been picked ahead of Rudi Paige in the Bulls Super Rugby squad. No.8 Juarno Augustus is a beast that can play 7 and should get game time for the Stormers. Salmaan Moerat is a typical South African lock.

    These players can improve, but the right approach would have been to work with them and the regional franchises to develop their game in the lead-up to the World Cup. I seem to remember Jake White doing something similar with Bryan Habana, Jaque Fourie, Jean De Villiers, Fourie Du Preez and Shalk Burger, and that turned out ok.

    After Coetzee’s axing, Rassie Erasmus was appointed director of rugby – although there’s talk he will have a dual role, doubling as coach, until the World Cup.

    But, as a result of Coetzee wasting two years, Erasmus has little time to produce a balanced and competitive team that’s half black players.

    However, he was reportedly planning well before his official announcement. Recently he’s been spending time with the regional franchises, visiting South African players in the UK, and watching England play at Twickenham. He’s a meticulous planner, and he brings tactical acumen combined with a clear vision of how to play the game. I’m sure he’s aware of these transformation targets and what he needs to do to achieve them.

    Rassie Erasmus

    Rassie Erasmus (Photo By Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

    The following squad achieves the 50 per cent target and is packed with talent, even if they have aspects to work on.

    Who would you pick, fellow arm-chair coaches? Can you achieve the 50 per cent target?

    15. Warrick Gelant – Good in attack, but must work on his aerial and kicking game.
    14. Makazole Mapimpi – Probably the best finisher in South Africa but must work on his defence.
    13. Lukanhyo Am – Needs Test match experience.
    12. Jan Serfontein – Was excellent last year and brings experience to the backline.
    11. Sbu Nkosi – Has speed, physicality, defence, and apparently he’s incredibly focused on improving his game.
    10. Curwin Bosch – Lots of potential and with time his reading of the game will improve, but must work on his defence.
    9. Embrose Papier – Has played with Bosch from junior level and also needs game time, but must work on his kicking game.
    8. Nizaam Carr – Athletic and physical.
    7. Jean-Luc du Preez – Athletic and physical.
    6. Siya Kolisi – He would be the captain of this new Springbok era.
    5. Lood de Jager – Physical and mobile.
    4. Eben Etzebeth – Physical and mobile.
    3. Vincent Koch – Experienced tight head.
    2. Malcolm Marx – First name on the team sheet.
    1. Tendai ‘Beast’ Mtawarira – Brings experience and wasn’t as bad as people think last year.

    16. Bongi Mbonambi / Scarra Ntubeni – I’d leave Marx on for as long as possible, but these two would combine with the Stormers locks if they came on.
    17. Steven Kitshoff – Brings anger and mobility off the bench.
    18. Trevor Nyakane – Needs more time at tight head.
    19. Franco Mostert – Mobility off the bench.
    20. Pieter-Steph du Toit – Covers lock and flank.
    21. Jaco Kriel – Mobility off the bench.
    22. Damian Willemse – Covers inside back positions.
    23. Jesse Kriel – Covers outside back positions.

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    The Crowd Says (22)

    • Roar Guru

      February 16th 2018 @ 4:01am
      Corne Van Vuuren said | February 16th 2018 @ 4:01am | ! Report

      Whilst I applaud your effort for suggesting who should be looked at I disagree with a few names, Nkosi showed promise when he came onto the scene a couple of years ago but has turned out to be too lightweight, he is most certainly not physical enough.

      Augustus and Moerat is going to have too show a hell of a lot to convince me.

      Bongi Mbunambi and Scarra is not international class hookers.

      What SARU should do is set up a dozen matches this year for an A team, expose as many potential players as possible

      • Roar Pro

        February 16th 2018 @ 8:43am
        Jonty Shonty said | February 16th 2018 @ 8:43am | ! Report

        I like your idea for the A team to give players exposure Biltong. It’s going to be key to achieve the target.

        It’s going to be interesting to see how Rassie tackles this. And I’m keen to see how some of these players develop over the next couple of seasons.

      • February 16th 2018 @ 6:01pm
        Carl said | February 16th 2018 @ 6:01pm | ! Report

        Sorry Biltongbek I agree with a lot of your sentiment, but Nkosi only made his debut last year and was electrifying in a handful of Super Rugby games before getting injured. He is 97kgs and turned 22 a couple of weeks ago – hardly a lightweight for that age!

        • Roar Guru

          February 16th 2018 @ 8:04pm
          Corne Van Vuuren said | February 16th 2018 @ 8:04pm | ! Report

          Carl he has been with the Sharks since 2015, he doesn’t hit like a guy weighing 97kg.

          I think those numbers are inflated

          • Roar Guru

            February 16th 2018 @ 10:33pm
            Harry Jones said | February 16th 2018 @ 10:33pm | ! Report

            Up to now, I have to agree with BB

            Seems like he only uses force effectively on attack; not defense

    • February 16th 2018 @ 7:17am
      Sherry said | February 16th 2018 @ 7:17am | ! Report

      Jonty – When I look at your 15, with all that talent, it’s hard to see them not being a pretty damn good team if they get the right coach. I thought Rassie was definitely going to be the coach. No? I’m one of the few people who hasn’t given up on Elton J as he’s usually so good from the tee, and his playmaking would benefit greatly if he had the right mentor.
      Nizam Carr is going great guns overseas. Mapimpi is also a kicker I believe. I note that your forward pack is almost the regular Bok 8, which serves to point up the current weakness in the backs.

      • Roar Pro

        February 16th 2018 @ 8:46am
        Jonty Shonty said | February 16th 2018 @ 8:46am | ! Report

        Cheers Sherry. Yep I think he’s doing this dual role as Director and Coach. It’s what he was doing at Muster too.

        I do agree with Elton. There’s something to work with there, and he may be the best 10 we have in terms of a kicking game. Just not sure about his temperament.

        Our forwards will never be an issue. Getting the right backs with the right skills is the key!

    • Roar Guru

      February 16th 2018 @ 8:33am
      Harry Jones said | February 16th 2018 @ 8:33am | ! Report

      Thanks, Jonty.

      Gelant looks promising, as does Willemse. They both seem up for the physical level of test rugby.

      L Am was just unlucky (broke his cheek right as he was selected). Looking forward to seeing these three this year.

      I’m worried about Mapimpi becoming Rhule 2.0. Nkosi also does not seem to love collisions, like Am does.

      To meet the quota, I’d look at these players for possible inclusion in the 35: Gelant, JPP, Leyds, Senatla, Kolbe, Am, Mvovo, Willemse, Bosch, Papier, Beast, Kolisi, Notshe, Carr, Nyakane, Johnson, and Ox.

    • Roar Pro

      February 16th 2018 @ 8:49am
      Jonty Shonty said | February 16th 2018 @ 8:49am | ! Report

      Agree with all those names Harry. Kolbe’s 24! Hopefully he’s not lost to SA rugby.

      • Roar Guru

        February 16th 2018 @ 10:34pm
        Harry Jones said | February 16th 2018 @ 10:34pm | ! Report

        Kolbe was named Best Signing in the Top14

        He’s a real rugby player

        • February 18th 2018 @ 2:16pm
          HayMrDj said | February 18th 2018 @ 2:16pm | ! Report

          Has anyone tried Kolbe at halfback? He’d be lethal off the back of a springboks scrum!

    • February 16th 2018 @ 8:53am
      Redsfan1 said | February 16th 2018 @ 8:53am | ! Report

      Who cares about the Springboks harmony?! This last couple of weeks there is a constant stream of articles. Come the Rugby Championship yes will be interested in their form guide and personnel.

      The ridiculous racist quota they have is not something even worthy of being discussed to give it legitimacy.

      • Roar Pro

        February 16th 2018 @ 9:09am
        Jonty Shonty said | February 16th 2018 @ 9:09am | ! Report

        It’s a timely issue in SA with Erasmus in full planning mode. The quotas are a bit ridiculous Redsfan, but unfortunately also a reality.

    • February 16th 2018 @ 11:56am
      William said | February 16th 2018 @ 11:56am | ! Report

      Not a bad choice but I think we just need to play our best 15 no matter whether you are black or white.We will never field our best 15 under this transformation policy.I think Rassie will make a big difference.