Five things we don't want to see in rugby in 2017

03 January 2017 - 13:38 By Craig Ray
SA Rugby seem to be unable to buy Allister Coetzee out of the remainder of his contract that expires in 2019.
SA Rugby seem to be unable to buy Allister Coetzee out of the remainder of his contract that expires in 2019.

Here are five things we don’t want to see again in 2017.

1. Late appointment of the Bok coach If Allister Coetzee is going to be sacked before the end of January‚ his replacement must be named quickly. Coetzee’s appointment just two months before last year’s June series against Ireland immediately put him on the back foot‚ although the problems the Boks endured from then on were compounded by the coach’s inability to adapt and improve. A new coach must be given every chance to improve the shambles that is Bok rugby at the moment.

2. Allister Coetzee staying on as Bok coach Eightdefeats in 12 Tests was the worst return in a calendar year in Bok history. Coetzee’s excuse of being appointed late can only go so far. His team deteriorated as the season wore on and Coetzee was unable to find answers.

The results were a true reflection of the state of the national team and if we’re honest‚ they could have been worse with three of their measly four wins coming by fewer than six points. Coetzee flapped about‚ playing players out of position and allowing the team culture to crumble. His primary task is to create an environment of excellence. He failed.

3. Blanket selection of overseas-based players for Boks Coetzee was allowed to pick as many overseas-based players as he wanted – something he did liberally. But despite this results were poor. The Bok coach often moaned that it was difficult to integrate those players due to late arrival times and different phases of their fitness regimes.

All valid concerns but of course‚ no one forced him to repeatedly pick those overseas-based players. A clear-cut policy that entices players to remain in SA is needed.

4. Meaningless Currie Cup qualifying tournament After Vodacom pulled the plug on most of its rugby sponsorship last year‚ the Vodacom Cup fell away and in haste SA Rugby replaced it with a tedious Currie Cup qualifying tournament.

It was largely irrelevant as the six Super Rugby franchises were ring fenced and guaranteed a place in the Currie Cup premier division. It was farcical and a desperate attempt to simply keep players busy for a large portion of the season.

5. No more union crisis’ It was a difficult year financially for SA rugby in general but unprecedented with two unions – the EP Kings and Western Province – applying for liquidation. Both were successful in their applications and it forced SA Rugby to step in and fund the Southern Kings Super Rugby franchise in 2016. WP used their liquidation as a part of a tactic to unshackle themselves from a parasitic marketing company that was bleeding them dry.

They managed to do that and then sold more than 50 per cent of the union to an unnamed buyer. It might have been a tactical manoeuvre by WP but it caused huge damage to their reputation and shook the fragile confidence in South African rugby in general‚ to breaking point. - TMG Digital