5 talking points: Italy v Boks

Bok flops... (Gallo Images)
Bok flops... (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Sport24’s Herman Mostert highlights FIVE talking points following the Springboks’ 20-18 defeat to Italy in Florence:

1. Allister Coetzee’s time has run out

Straight after doing live updates on the game on Saturday, I wrote: “Disgraceful performance from the Springboks. Nothing less can be said. Allister Coetzee and his whole coaching staff deserve to be fired. They simply have to go...”

This was an emotional response after witnessing another shock Springbok defeat.

But reading my reporting again on Monday I feel exactly the same. It was emotional, but to the point.

This team is not properly coached. No matter how many off-field issues there are in the South African game at present, if Coetzee - given the quality of players as his disposal - cannot coach a team to beat Italy he should not be in the job.

Under Coetzee’s tutelage in 2016, the Boks have lost seven of 11 Tests. It has included a first ever loss to Ireland on home soil, losing away to Argentina and getting pummelled by a record 57-15 scoreline at home against the All Blacks.

The Boks have no game plan, no idea what to do with ball in hand and are clueless on how to position themselves on defence.

These are things that should have been coached.

Win or lose against Wales, the winds of change should be blowing in swiftly...

2. Terrible pitch conditions

The only thing on par with the Springboks’ performance on Saturday was the state of the pitch at the Stadio Artemio Franchi.

The rainy conditions no doubt played a part, but it was worrisome to see the pitch in tatters after every scrum, with large chunks of grass emerging all over the place.

At one stage in the first half, the thought crossed my mind about what would happen if the game was called off...

Luckily it wasn’t that bad, but it still wasn’t acceptable for a rugby match in the professional era.

But that’s probably what you get for playing the game at a football stadium and the Italian rugby federation should be criticised for opting for this venue.

This was one of the great days in Italian rugby history and would have been fitting if the game was played at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.

3. Puzzling e-mail from SA Rugby

Less than half an hour after the Bok defeat, SA Rugby sent out an e-mailed statement where its president Mark Alexander said a full 2016 season review would be conducted following the final Test of the year against Wales.

The statement was a bit ambiguous though, not stating whether Coetzee’s job would be safe.

I can’t help but think that this statement was drafted before the game - just in case the Boks lost - which would explain the current state of affairs of our rugby...

4. Six embarrassing Bok losses

After the 57-15 defeat to the All Blacks earlier this year, I wrote a story highlighting the five most embarrassing moments in Springbok history.

The others were the 34-32 loss to Japan at last year’s World Cup in England; the 53-3 loss to England in 2002; the 52-16 reverse to the All Blacks in 2003; and the 49-0 drubbing against Australia in 2006.

Saturday’s match was No 6. It cannot be separated from the above-mentioned fiascos.
The fact that two of these have occurred in Coetzee’s first year in charge is all the more reason for him to be sacked.

5. A 0/10 player rating?!

Local newspaper, Rapport, poked fun when they awarded all the Springboks 0/10 in their player ratings. A few players probably deserve 2s and 3s, but after another wretched performance, who can blame the Afrikaans weekly?

There are several senior players in the team who badly need to pull up their socks. Yes, the coaching is clearly sub-standard, but what happened to so-called player power? Sometimes it is needed for senior players to take charge and say, 'enough is enough'.

I can't believe that Bryan Habana doesn't know how to position himself on defence, or that Willem Alberts needs to be taught how to clean out at a ruck...

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