Willemse: SR coaches on board to help Boks

Ashwin Willemse (Gallo)
Ashwin Willemse (Gallo)

Cape Town - The cause is noble. 

Plotting the way forward, Allister Coetzee is looking to establish a South African rugby blueprint that must be implemented at Super Rugby franchise level through to junior rugby. 

In an ideal world, that would only benefit South African rugby. 

The obvious concern is that, at the end of the day, franchise and union coaches are under their own pressures to deliver results. 

Will Gary Gold or Nollis Marais be able to put the Springboks first when preparing for a must-win clash against the Crusaders at home? 

That looks to be one of the trickiest challenges lying ahead in Coetzee's endeavour to streamline the South African philosophy. 

Coetzee says that there will be systems in place to monitor the progress of the training throughout the Super Rugby season, but at the end of the day it is the franchise coaches who will have the final say.

All six Super Rugby coaches attended the opening day of a two-day indaba that concluded in Cape Town on Thursday.

The common cause is to improve the state of the national team. 

There is surely a mutual understanding that a successful Springbok team translates into better supported Super Rugby teams. If the Boks are in an unhealthy state, then the game suffers. 

Former Bok wing Ashwin Willemse sat in on the indaba, and he believes that the desired alignment between the Springboks and the franchises is attainable.  

"Rugby is all about team-work and if you look at all the Super Rugby coaches that were part and parcel of this and how they actually engaged, I think this is very achievable," Willemse, who was capped 19 times by the Boks, told Sport24.

"It was really encouraging to see how the different coaches, who play against each other, came together with the common goal of trying to assist the Springboks.

"They exchanged ideas and technicalities, but as you can imagine it is hard to fit everything into two days."

There had been a concern going into the indaba that some of the coaches would be reluctant to share their knowledge, especially given that it was a Currie Cup final week with Franco Smith (Free State Cheetahs) and Nollis Marais (Blue Bulls) preparing for Saturday's showdown.

But, after a little push in the right direction from facilitator Brendan Venter, all of the coaches got going.

"The input, the contributions ... a lot of good quality things came out of it and it also gave a better understanding of what SA Rugby is trying to achieve," Willemse said.

"To see the collective contributions was heartwarming."

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