Schalk and Jean see Swys departure as a ‘challenge and opportunity’ for Boks

14 August 2019 - 12:31 By Craig Ray
Swys de Bruin (coach) of the Lions during the Super Rugby match between Emirates Lions and Hurricanes at Emirates Airline Park on June 08, 2019 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Swys de Bruin (coach) of the Lions during the Super Rugby match between Emirates Lions and Hurricanes at Emirates Airline Park on June 08, 2019 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images

Two former Springbok captains‚ Jean de Villiers and Schalk Burger‚ believe that the resignation of current Springbok attack coach Swys de Bruin will have an impact on the team.

De Bruin‚ 59‚ stepped down from his role on Wednesday morning‚ citing ‘personal and medical reasons’ for his departure.

Earlier this year De Bruin left the Lions’ Super Rugby Australasian tour for the same reasons and later confirmed to TimesLive he had been struggling with ‘anxiety issues’’.

His departure leaves a crucial gap in the Boks’ coaching roster a little over a month before the start of Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan.

“Swys’ departure will have an affect on the team‚” De Villiers‚ who played 109 Tests and captained the Boks 37 times‚ said.

“Hopefully the team’s structures are good enough and have been put in place that they can continue with Swys’ work in the interim.

“I noticed that Swys wasn’t with the team in Salta (where the Boks beat Argentina 46-13) last weekend so they have already coped without him in a small way.

“It is a big set back for the team‚ but sometimes you have to use setbacks to your advantage.

"It creates an opportunity for the team and for individuals to step up‚ take responsibility and get through it.

“It’s just a blip though. It’s not like the team will suddenly be down and out. We’re not sure who will replace Swys.”

Burger‚ who led the Boks once in his 86 Tests‚ drew parallels with the successful 2007 Springboks.

“This does give (coach) Rassie Erasmus a chance to bring in someone else‚” Burger said.

“In 2007 Rassie was with the squad as a technical coach and he did a lot of our preparation work before RWC 2007 with the squad split into two groups.

“Before the World Cup Rassie left the squad and (coach at the time) Jake White brought in Eddie Jones to replace him just weeks before the tournament.

“Eddie made a marked difference to our attacking play. It was a masterstroke by Jake because Eddie was a breath of fresh air so close to the World Cup.

“So I see this as an opportunity to bring in someone fresh.

"It might be good for the squad because a RWC campaign is the only time in the modern game where a team is forced together for almost five months.

“That is a the biggest challenge a squad faces‚ so some freshness might be a good thing.”

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