Wed, 14 Nov 2018

Boks better but only because bar set too low...

06 Dec 2017, 20:44 GMT+10

The All Blacks are the rugby union benchmark and if the Springboks have any aspirations of once again reaching the top echelons of world rugby, it's impossible for coach Allister Coetzee to remain at the helm.

It's a harsh statement, but one that needs to be made.

The Springbok coach was in defiant mode on Monday when he arrived back in South Africa after the team's year-end European tour.

He was quick to point out that the Boks had won 50% of their matches on tour, having returned winless at the same stage last year.

The Boks finished the 2017 season with seven wins, four losses and two draws.

That translates to a 54% win-percentage and is no doubt better than the 33% (four out of 12) from the annus horribilis 2016 campaign.

Coetzee is right when he says "we're better than last yearamp;", but if the Boks want to measure themselves against a horror season - as was the case in 2016 - then they're setting the bar extremely - and embarrassingly - low.

The two-time world champions should not be using the worst season in their history as a benchmark for improvement.

It's worth comparing the Boks' 2017 season to those countries who currently occupy the top spots in the World Rugby rankings - positions in which the Boks once found themselves.

World No 1-ranked New Zealand played 14 Tests - including a memorable three-Test series against the British amp;amp; Irish Lions - and won 11 matches for a 79% win-percentage.

Eddie Jones led England to nine victories from 10 Tests in 2017 (90%) and landed the World Rugby Coach of the Year accolade for his efforts.

Ireland, vastly improved in recent times under Joe Schmidt, triumphed in nine of their 11 Tests this year for an 82% win-record.

Coetzee's comments that he was "pleasedamp;" with the 2017 season because the Boks have made "massive progressamp;" is a slap in the face of supporters and stakeholders.

It means Coetzee is satisfied with mediocrity and it has showed in the way the Boks have performed these last two years.

His record now stands at 11 wins from 25 - a meagre 44% win-record and well below his 65% mandate.

One can only imagine what would have transpired had an All Blacks coach ended a two-year stint with a sub-50% win-record.

No doubt that person would no longer be the coach!

It's remarkable to think that since taking over as head coach of the All Blacks in 2012, Steve Hansen has lost only six of 82 Tests in charge.

Coetzee has lost double that in two years alone!

It was interesting to note former Springbok coach Jake White mention earlier this week that Coetzee alone should

Coetzee did not coach the team on his own, but unfortunately he is the man who will have to face the music when his performance is reviewed over the next few weeks.

Coetzee may not alone be at fault for the Boks' current woes, but it will be tough for him to argue that a 44% win-record is enough to remain the head honcho, especially when compared to his three immediate predecessors in the Bok hot seat - Meyer (71%), Peter de Villiers (68%) and White (68%) - fared significantly better in their first two seasons at the helm.

Furthermore, Coetzee's seven victories in 2017 came against arguably the weakest France side in recent memory, now ranked ninth in the world (4); Argentina, who have hit rock bottom in recent times having won only eight off their 27 Tests since the last World Cup (2); and Italy, ranked 14th in the world (1).

The Boks have been better than in 2016, but what barometer was used when declaring 2017 as 'satisfying'... ?

Herman Mostert works at Sport24, is a struggling golfer and enjoys tennis...

Disclaimer: Sport24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on Sport24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Sport24.

Source: News24

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