Pretoria - Vodacom Bulls coach Nollis Marais has backed a call for the six Vodacom Super Rugby coaches to sit down with Springbok mentor Allister Coetzee to forge a united playing style heading forward to help the national team.
The Springboks have come under fire after their narrow loss to Argentina in Salta, only the second time in history they have been beaten by Los Pumas and there are growing debates about the style of play the Boks are trying to implement.
While the national team is one in transition, several of the Super Rugby franchises are also in the midst of changing the way they play – the Bulls being one of them – and are having similar mixed results with only the Emirates Lions making any sort of impact in Super Rugby this year.
There are questions about the strength of the Currie Cup this year and while there has been more attacking play, the defensive systems have not always been up to scratch in provincial teams allowing big scorelines in the domestic competition.
But with the Boks leaving for Australia on Thursday, there is growing concern on the way they are playing ahead of two tough games against arch rivals the Wallabies and All Blacks in consecutive weeks.
One point that has been mooted is to follow New Zealand’s example and put all the coaches together to decide on a uniform conditioning programme and general playing style, so that when the players reach the Springbok level it isn’t a new game plan they have to learn.
Marais is keen on this but points out that the direction needs to comes from Coetzee in this regard.
“I’m sorry the Boks lost, but there are a lot of factors on game day that have an influence on how a team performs,” Marais said.
“I think it will be good though and we had a chat last time and Allister said he was prepared to sit down with all of the coaches and we can discuss a lot of things.
“We’re hoping for that, we haven’t had the opportunity yet, but he said in November somewhere we will have a chat. We are open for it and the other coaches see each other at the Sanzar meeting in September in Australia and hopefully we will sit down there and have a discussion.
“But like I said previously we are always open to chat and see what he suggests.”
The Bulls coach says he isn’t concerned about the way the Boks are playing as there is a lot of inexperience in the side that needs to gel before they make the step forward.
“No I’m not concerned, we have a lot of brilliant rugby players but we are expecting results every week. We expect teams to beat other teams by 30 points and more, and if you look at the Bok side, there are a lot of new guys in that side and at certain points they played great rugby,” he explained.
“Argentina are also not the side they were five years ago, so a lot is made of the Argentina loss but they are not number 8 in the world anymore, they now have a Super Rugby side and play some excellent rugby.
“They play better every week and on the day in test rugby any team can beat another. I think the Boks will come right, they have a plan and coach Allister has good coaching staff.
“A lot has been said about Adriaan (Strauss), but he is a brilliant captain. He is our captain and one or two things need to go their way and then the results will come themselves. But they need to determine that as a coaching staff going ahead.
“As I’ve said previously the Super Rugby coaches are always happy to sit down and determine the path forward. We do have a lot of talent in the country and we can play any type of rugby.
“A lot is said about the game plan and game management but each union has to look at how they play and what his result is.
“The Boks are very important to us but my results as a union are not dependent on the Boks. We are more than willing to assist at anytime, anywhere but there is a lot made about how we need to play.
“They must determine what is good for them and if we need to sit down and discuss we will, but we are fully behind the Boks.”
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