Roux still waving his magic wand
OPINION: Eugene Eloff, a two-time former Under-19 World Cup winner, returns from his hiatus to share his wisdom with rugby365's readers.
It's so great to chat with the rugby365 readers again.
In the past few months I have been working on building the Austin Huns franchise into a mean machine.
More about that later.
The rugby world has become a very small place and the speculation by the media - especially social media - has become very accurate. It means nothing remains secret and it seems everyone has a price.
I will not speculate in this column, but rather give my thoughts and opinion.
Jurie Roux has been an unsuccessful boss of the South African Rugby Union in all aspects - not only with the results on the field (Sevens excluded), but also the mismanagement off the field.
And he is still sitting in power, calling the shots. Everyone continue to vote and agree - there is simply no opposition.
Francois Davids is his go-to man, or his wing man, and they make a 'great' team.
Together they have steered SARU and rugby in SA into the ground.
I am not being subjective or discriminating.
How can Chean Roux (Jurie's best mate) coach get the position as coach of the Junior Springboks, after failing as a Bok technical advisor and defence coach?
Abe Davids (brother of dear Kabali) is probably one of the most below average coaches I have worked with, yet he retains a position on the coaching panel of the SA A side.
That must be true brotherly love and keeping it in the family.
There are better coaches in the country. Everyone knows who they are!
How should a possible career path for a top coach look? I'ts doing hard yards paying dues and climbing the steps.
The road becoming the top coach in SA Rugby should be stipulated in a document: (see my simple example)
I believe by the time you get to the top, through a good transparent system, we should have only the best coaches.
And everyone in the coaching arena should get a chance to coach a top team, if they are qualified with a good track record!
I do believe that the Minster of Sport, Fikile Mbalula, is a good man and wants to see the job done properly. However, they failed him with their false promises and great presentations regarding transformation.
And now it's crises management per excellence on international level …. eish.
I am sure he was misinformed.
I am going to try my utmost to have an informal meeting with him in July when I visit.
Go look at the management teams. Yes, we are 'transforming'. But look where: The doctors, physiotherapists, S&C coaches, managers, baggage masters, and yes assistant coaches.
Is this windows dressing or is this for real?
Was any of these posts advertised? Did everyone get a chance to submit their resumes and get a chance, in an interview, to prove their worth and knowledge of the game with some transparency?
Not that I am aware of.
Or is the constitution written in such a manner to allow leadership to keep control without having to care about the processes? What about the democratic rights of any individual?
My last comment on the subject, and I will never comment about this again.
This is not the Maties or Wellington traffic department where you can do as you please, because you are in a position of power. This is international rugby.
The pride of our rainbow nation is at stake.
It is the livelihood of talented young men.
Congratulations to Franco Smith and Brendon Venter (even though it has yet to be formally announced) on their appointments.
The nation expects miracles from Alistair Coetzee and you guys.
I will always support our Boks, but I am not afraid to give my opinion - as I know how it works in SARU's inner sanctum.
Niel Powell and the BiltzBoks have kept our flag flying high!
Also, great to see Paul Delport and Johnathan Makwena's names popping up. Now we are starting to talk about young coaches with integrity, who are busy climbing the ladder and doing the hard yards. Not coaches being fast-tracked
THE BABY BOKS
We have a proud history with the Junior Springboks - Under-19, Under-20 and Under-21 - because of our excellent talent and great coaching at certain schools.
I have often said that we have some of the best junior players in the world.
We have won those prestigious trophies on numerous occasions with Eric Sauls, Jake White, Pieter de Villiers, Dawie Theron. Even I had a bit of luck.
This is the foundation for our game's future - where possible elite players who can play Super Rugby and for the Springboks can be identified. It can also be done at school level, but has proven to be less successful, as only X-factor and special players come through.
This means that the BEST coaches with top experience and track records should be named to coach these teams.
We appoint a Varsity Cup coach, who was pushed in everywhere by his mate. He failed as technical advisor and failed as defence coach at Springbok level, but he is again appointed to an elite team.
I have met Chean Roux. He is a great guy and rugby man, but not the right guy for the job. His assistant, Mzwandile Stick, was also used as political bait and got badly hurt in the process. Both have potential. However, let them come through a structure and system.
We must follow a proper system and protocol: Advertise, interview (by external panel) and appoint.
PLAYERS GOING INTO DEPRESSION AFTER RETIREMENT
It was with real sadness and shock that we heard of Dan Vickerman's tragic death as a possible result of depression.
I don't think rugby is really geared for this post-playing mental conditions.
It really reminds me of boys returning from war with depression (as a result of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder0, going into rehab and rebuilding programs so they can fit into the society. (This happens here in the United States)
We have great Sports psychologists in SA - the likes of Jannie Botha, Henning Gericke, Martin Scheepers and I am sure there are more.
They should be commissioned by SARU to investigate such programs and implement them in satellite stations at unions for players with this traumatic symptoms.
I am not in the least qualified to comment, but as a coach I have seen these players, they battle in life after quitting the game.
We as coaches also play an integral part in the mentoring and forming of players for life - not necessary for top teams and trophies.
We are working and playing with human lives so let's help them to build a future for life after rugby.
THE AUSTIN HUNS
In my next article that will be much more positive and informative, I will explain the thoughts and future of rugby in the USA.
It is the biggest growing sport here, by 25 percent, and the women's fame is also really strong and well supported.
We are pretty much still in the process of promoting rugby to the communities - as NFL and the other American sports codes overshadow our game. There are 105 000 people at a college football game, compared to 500 to 1000 at club games. There were just 6000 spectators at the Brazil Test.
When I arrived, the Huns were a fun social club, However, that changed quickly after a combine (trials). The team used to train Tuesdays and Thursdays in season and pre-season.
It was a massive shock to their systems.
They now go to gymnasium from 6am to 8am (06.00 to 08.00) on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.
They train on the field fro 7pm (19.00) to 8.30om (20.30) on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, while Saturdays here are team activities.
We certainly reaped the rewards - beating Dallas, Harlequins, Ombac (California champs), Dallas Reds (Red River champions) and our Austin rivals Austin Blacks.
The last victory was very significant, as we made history by beating the Blacks for the first time in 24 years (85 games).
Last week we had our first loss, against the Glendale Raptors - a great side playing together for a couple of years.
The benchmark has been set. If you want to be the best you must beat the best.
A good loss is sometimes good medicine at the right time if it does not influence the log.
This weekend coming, we have a bye and I will be in Las Vegas to support the BlitzBoks at Round five of the Sevens World Series.
It is also Super Rugby time. There were great wins by the Stormers and Lions, good efforts by the Southern Kings - while the encounter in Bloemfontein between the Cheetahs and Lions could have gone the other way.
Our other teams did not seem to get rhythm and momentum.
Just keep on chipping the wall coaches, the results will come.
Let us support all our SA teams when we play foreign opposition.
Good luck to Toetie and his management in their preparations. Let's get behind them and give them all the support to bring rugby pride back.
And lastly, lets clean up our house!!
By Eugene Eloff