Here, there and everywhere

2016-09-28 06:00

GIVE the man a break. Admittedly things don’t exactly look too bright for the Springboks at this stage. The latest word in sports journalism – as regards Test rugby as presently played by the Springboks – is covered by the somewhat awkward word, “underperformance”. That’s a full sixteen letters, in case you would like to know.

It’s not just awkward; it’s a word that new Springbok coach, Allister Coetzee, has been saddled with at almost every turn since taking over the thankless task of coaching the Boks. Admittedly, things don’t exactly look bright at this stage. The Boks have so far played seven Tests and lost four.

If those are not problems enough, take into account, too, that former president, Oregon Hoskins, just some weeks back plunged the South African Rugby Union (SARU) into further turmoil by handing in his resignation as SA rugby boss after a career that admittedly has had its ups and down, but wasn’t all doom and gloom – where it is now badly stuck as a handful of men wage war in attempts to gain its control.

To make matters worse SARU’s current chief officer, Jurie Roux, presently is not exactly a knight in shining armour with allegations of misappropriation of funds during his time as the game’s top official at the University of Stellenbosch.

It’s apparent, too, that SARU’s general manager of high performance and highly regarded former Springbok captain, Rassie Erasmus, clearly saw where things were heading when he resigned some months ago and left for Ireland to further his career.

But let’s look on the bright side. It’s not all gloom. Coach Coetzee isn’t by any means having a joy ride. Far from it. But it’s far too early yet to assess his ability to make a success of the heavy demands of this new job. For a start a major step forward for Coetzee, despite having much of the management staff thrust upon him, is the appointment of Matthew Proudfoot.

So give the man a chance. He’s rugby-bred through and through . . . and Rome after all truly wasn’t built in just a day.

Looking at the Rugby Currie Cup last weekend at the Nelson Mandela Stadium in Port Elizabeth the EP Kings, after a first 20-minute period in which they fought bravely to be just 0-7 behind against the Golden Lions, it all fell apart as the Jo’burg team took complete control to win 71-7.

The Lions, earning five points from their 11- try victory are now set for a crucial league game against the Sharks. A win for the Lions would put them in the semi-finals.

Meanwhile, on the cricket front in the one-off ODI match against Ireland in Benoni on Sunday the Proteas were altogether too strong for the visitors, scoring 355 to win by 206 runs.

Opening batsmen, Temba Bavuma (113) and partner Quinton de Kock (82), were top scorers for the South Africans, the latter joining a small elite number to score a century on debut at this level. Bavuma was dropped on the second ball of the first over.

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