The Springboks’ abysmal 2016 can in truth be blamed on poor rugby structures in South Africa. An abundance of talent is lost overseas at a young age and fielding six Super Rugby franchises appears to spread current resources too thin.
As ever in South Africa, racial tension and the authorities’ failure to respond to it serve to exasperate such problems. Players ‘of colour’ will have to comprise at least 50 per cent of the South African squad for World Cup 2019, whether the players in question are of the required standard or not.
However, even bearing all these factors in mind, Springbok rugby needs a scapegoat and it would appear that their current head coach fits the bill.
Allister Coetzee was widely considered to be a popular selection as head coach, but his record since makes for difficult reading.
2016 saw the Springboks earn a 33 per cent win ratio, topped off by a first ever loss to Italy last month. It can then come as no surprise, that a successor is being lined up.
Dave Rennie is the man in question, according to South African outlet Rapport (via the New Zealand Herald).
The kiwi is currently the head coach of the Chiefs, who he lead to Super Rugby titles in 2012 and 2013, and it is understood that the powers that be at SA Rugby would give him their full support.
The story, initially reported by Rapport, mentions the “potential stumbling block” that is the cost of buying Coetzee out of his contract. Such a move would likely cost Rn13m (€880k), and could be a bridge too far for the already cash strapped SA Rugby.
Another point of contention is the fact that Rennie signed a two-year contract with Scottish side Glasgow earlier in the year.
Evidently, SA Rugby have plenty of work (and money) to expend if they want to bring Rennie to South Africa. Only time will tell if they can do so successfully.
Colm Egan, Pundit Arena
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