Allister puts Bok machine back together

22 June 2017 - 07:48 By Brendan Venter
Coach Coetzee was made out to be a failure because the results were poor last year, and the public underestimate his ability. File photo
Coach Coetzee was made out to be a failure because the results were poor last year, and the public underestimate his ability. File photo
Image: GETTY IMAGES

Having clinched the three-Test series against France courtesy of a 22-point win in Durban, supporters of the green and gold are proud because the fight is back in the Springbok team.

While there is still plenty of hard work to be done to win the series 3-0, we extracted many positives from the performance.

For the second consecutive Test match we scored four tries against a very good French team and, to me, it feels like this Springbok side can score a five-pointer from anywhere on the field.

With Franco Smith at the helm of our attack, there is a genuine belief that we can cut opposition teams to pieces.

Meanwhile, the way we defended our line and at one point repelled 27 phases from France in the second half, underpins the fantastic attitude of the current playing group.

Siya Kolisi was deservedly named man of the match for an all-action display at Kings Park, while Franco Mostert and Jan Serfontein stood tall.

However, when we studied the game again the work ethic of all the players was immense. I maintain that you win matches with fighters - players who never give up and never give less than their all.

We have already claimed this month's series, but I can promise you that we won't play poorly at Ellis Park on Saturday because this team boasts an abundance of energy and endeavour, which are precious commodities.

Allister Coetzee took the criticism last year and, in the same vein, should take the credit this term for putting the Springbok machine back together.

Neither I nor Franco came in and waved a magic wand. The turnaround in fortunes at Springbok level has come about owing to a collective effort from the coaching staff and playing personnel.

Coetzee was made out to be a failure because the results were poor last year, and the public underestimate his ability.

As someone who is inside the Springbok camp I can attest to the fact that Coetzee is actually amazing at what he does in terms of bringing people together and getting the best out of them.

There are so many factors that play a role in getting a team into a position where they perform with passion and purpose.

None of us is perfect, but we are on this journey together. Coetzee has overseen the process of preparation and he has been able to rectify the mistakes that were made last year.

The national indabas, training camps, input of performance psychologist Pieter Kruger and the additions to the coaching staff were all at the behest of Coetzee and have served to reignite Bok rugby.

Looking ahead to the third and final Test in Johannesburg, I foresee France looking to take us on out wide, because that is where they have gained some return on their investment this series.

Every time the visitors have gone wide we have been under pressure. It's mainly due to the fact that we have got a bit tight defensively, which is not an individual issue, but rather a collective concern.

We have worked on that aspect in training this week and are staying humble.

Back-to-back victories against France represent a solid start for us as a new group but, as our captain Warren Whiteley  pointed out, we haven't achieved anything yet.

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