Time to think bold

2006-11-24 08:53

Mark Keohane

If it will cost too much to end Jake White's tenure as Springbok coach, then it certainly won't cost too much to bring in the resources to give the Boks a competitive edge at the World Cup.

The problem with the Boks is Jake White and his coaching staff. But it has been reported that to take a broom to the existing mob and bring in an entire new management would be in excess of R20m.

We know what the problem is, but how do we find a solution?

If everyone has a similar agenda and wants only for the Boks to do well at the next World Cup then it calls for maturity among the game's decision-makers. It calls for people to put aside individual prejudice and agendas and to make the right decision for the right reasons.

If it is not practical to remove White en-masse, then bring in the necessary people to help fix the situation.

Currently the obvious replacement for White is Nick Mallett. The latter won't take the Bok coaching job and he certainly won't want to be involved full-time unless there are structural changes within the professional game in South Africa.

But Mallett wants the Boks to win the World Cup and he certainly won't turn his back on his country. It is not too dramatic to urge the bosses at Saru to go head bowed to the right people and ask what they can do for Bok rugby in the short term and, hopefully, also in the long term.

Mallett can work with White and he should be given the head coaching responsibilities. Give him an eight-month consultancy as a manager/head coach role, while keeping White as the coach.

Springbok rugby

Then call on Heyneke Meyer to provide his expertise as the forwards' specialist. Meyer is the best in South Africa and one of the best forward coaches in the world. He does not want to work with White, but this is not about White but about Springbok rugby. Pay Meyer well and ask him to join the team for the next eight months.

Go to Rassie Erasmus and ask him to join the World Cup team as the technical mastermind. He brings innovation, freshness and something very new and it does not mean he has to give up his Cheetahs coaching job.

Primarily, those are the three men you want to add to the World Cup team.

Let's turn the crisis into an opportunity to show the world we can actually get something right in our game. The cost would not be astronomical, but the rewards could be if this combination of grey matter comes good.

Saru can struggle along with White in charge and blame lack of finances for another World Cup failure. But those who supposedly serve the game can also make a bold decision and give White a chance to embrace a World Cup coaching team or leave now.

If White's motivation were the Springboks and not Jake White, it would be hard for him to refuse the help of Messrs Mallett, Meyer and Erasmus.

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