Springboks

Smith to assist 'out of depth' Stick at Boks

Franco Smith (Gallo Images)
Franco Smith (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Cheetahs coach Franco Smith has been tasked with assisting Springbok backline coach Mzwandile Stick.

Smith was one of two additions to the Springbok coaching squad named by SA Rugby on Thursday.

Smith, who has guided his province to the Currie Cup final this weekend after a seven-year absence, will join the Boks on their year-end tour to Europe.

Stick, a former national sevens squad star, came under fire and was also accused of being "out of his depth" by ex-Springbok skipper Corne Krige.

Meanwhile, the embattled Boks also axed defence coach Chean Roux ahead of the tour.

Once renowned for their defensive prowess, the Boks conceded 27 tries in nine Tests this season against Ireland, Argentina, Australia and New Zealand.

Allowing the All Blacks to run in nine tries in a 57-15 drubbing in Durban this month was the tipping point with the media insisting inexperienced Roux had to go less than a year into the post.

However, replacing him with JP Ferreira from 2016 Super Rugby runners-up Golden Lions has raised some media eyebrows.

The Johannesburg outfit conceded 51 tries in 18 matches this season - virtually the same average that led to Roux being sacked.

Head coach Allister Coetzee, who took over in April and has a four win-five loss record, also called up kicking specialist Louis Koen for the tour.

The backroom staff changes came after a conference in Cape Town involving Coetzee, the six South African Super Rugby coaches and some former Springbok skippers and coaches.

Coetzee painted a gloomy picture of rugby in a country that produced Rugby World Cup-winning teams in 1995 and 2007.

"We are living in our little kingdoms (franchises), hoping that we are the best rugby nation in the world. We are not."

"There needs to be an alignment between the Springbok and franchise coaches to identify tactical shortcomings that impact on the performance of all our teams."

"Ultimately, we need a shared philosophy to share our continuous improvement."

Coetzee wants the Springboks to play a more expansive game with the kick-and-harass approach of the past no longer effective.

But a lack of imagination on attack and half-hearted tackling on defence led to three consecutive Rugby Championship away defeats this season.

Some blame former Super Rugby coach Coetzee for the woes of South Africa.

"Coetzee coached the Stormers for six years and never won the Super Rugby title. The investment in him as Springboks coach has no rugby merit," said columnist Mark Keohane.

Starting on November 5, South Africa play the Barbarians and England in London, Italy in Florence and Wales in Cardiff.

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