WHERE TO FROM HERE?
As introduction I would like to confirm my support to South Africa and all our sport arenas/codes and specially rugby.
I know there are officials, media and people thinking that I am very outspoken because I am leaving the country, but this is so far from the truth.
I have always stood up for what is right and the truth and therefore I can and will give my opinion to the advantage of rugby and the players.
"If you don't stand for something you fall for anything."
I love this country and its people and think we have great coaches and players and will continue to have so, we just need to be smart about it.
The ice is broken with the first Test in the in the new era, under a new coach and a few new players, and the result was not what we believed or hoped for – but it is done and the record stands.
While there are still outcries, criticism and turmoil within the rugby mad public, the media and specially the social part of it regarding the management team, the players and performance.
Let's get realistic and empathetic because this was the first shot at it, with limited time to prepare for the game.
However, now is the time to be calm regroup, re-think, re-plan and re implement!
All is not lost its not the end of the world, but in saying that now is the time for change – getting SA Rugby in the right direction and start the build up to the World Cup 2019.
No coach coaches a team to lose and no player runs onto the field to lose, these things happen.
I guess the trick now is to identify the problem areas and rectify them.
I do believe the Boks will bounce back this weekend in the second Test against Ireland.
If you ask any coach now if they would want the Springbok coaching job, I guess 99 percent of them would decline it under the current circumstances, but Alistair Coetzee had the guts to do it and therefore he needs credit and support.
Having that job has all the pressures such as:
* Political interference
* SARU's dictation
* Some Unions not co-operating
* Winning expectation at all costs
* Critical injuries
* Time with squad to prepare
* Critical public/social media
* Keeping sponsors happy
You can talk to any previous coaches, nobody did not experience some form of abuse, harshness, unfairness and unfounded criticism from the public and social media – as well as the awful effect it had on their family members, even kids at school being bullied and implicated.
Come on South Africa, we can do better. As I said now is the time to stand by our boys, we have enough violence, economical and political pressures.
Lets get it right in the sporting world and specially on the rugby field!
I am not saying positive accurate criticism is not a good thing, I actually think that we should invite conflict and turn it into positive improvements rather than ignoring it or lying to the public.
So what do we do now ?
* SARU needs to negate political interference and back the coach and team 100 percent with strong leadership and direction
* The coach should have a advice/technical committee (all super and national coaches)
* There should be a selection committee consisting of ex springbok rugby players involved with rugby
* Management team needs to be more balanced with specialist coaches (not the mobi unit) dedicated kicking, defence coaches etc.)
The rest is easy, let's get behind our coach and team and support them with heart and soul just like we South Africans can.
There is that saying "before you go up to the mountains we must go down to the valleys", it's there where we start building a solid foundation and build toward the mean springbok machine and empower them to have a great shot at the next world cup.
By Eugene Eloff