Munster Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus insists that the Springboks will rise again after a tumultuous year for South African Rugby.
The Springboks won just four games in 2016 in what was a very forgettable year for first year head coach Allister Coetzee.
However, Erasmus, who was capped 36 times by the Boks between 1997 and 2001, said that the Springboks are currently in a rough patch but they were also struggling in 2006, just one year before they won their second Rugby World Cup in 2007.
“We know Springbok supporters and our partners are looking to us for instant answers and many of them may want to see heads roll,” Erasmus told the Irish Examiner.
“But building winning teams is not an exact science and we want to make sure that the changes we make are the right solutions to our current problems.
“Teams go through patches like this but, you know, there’s an Afrikaans saying, ‘the Springbok will always stand up again’ and they will stand up again. They will make plans and they’ll work it out and they will be back again. They’re going through tough times now but there are too many good players in that country and there are too many good coaches in that country and administrators and they’ll find a way to get to the top again.
“It’s a bad patch now and I remember in 2006, I think South Africa went through five losses in a row and in 2007 they won the World Cup, so while everybody right now is hurting with the performances they’ll find a way to bounce back. South Africans always find a way to stand up again. So I’m sure everybody involved will do some good introspection and see where the hell the problem is, ‘why are we struggling like this’ and they’ll find solutions, they always do.”
Erasmus points to South Africa’s decorated history of producing strong players as reason for optimism, and while the team’s performances are a big point of contention among Springbok fans, the country’s ability to produce good players should result ina relatively short down period.
“There’s too many good rugby players there to fall totally apart,” Erasmus added.
“It’s a bad patch, everybody knows it. I know it, my children talk about it, everybody talks about it but you can’t just wish. Even if you’re one of the other countries who don’t like the Springboks, you can’t just wish the good players away there. So they’ll be back.”
Jack O’Toole, Pundit Arena