When you’re look­ing for per­fect fit for coach, try look­ing in for­eign mould

Where there’s a Wills

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT -

ANY­ONE want to coach the Eng­land rugby team? Any­one at all?

The money’s ex­tremely good and the play­ing tal­ent is there but it seems the bru­tal pol­i­tics at Twick­en­ham and the ra­pa­cious Lon­don me­dia that come with the ter­ri­tory are putting ev­ery­one off the job ex­cept the in­evitable Ed­die “Me Me Me” Jones, who puts his hand up for every­thing yet re­mains for­ever in charge of the Soya Sauce XV, or what­ever it is, in the Ja­panese league.

Much the same thing is hap­pen­ing with the Bok po­si­tion where more prime can­di­dates have ruled them­selves out than in.

There’s cer­tainly plenty of flux in the rugby coach­ing world at the mo­ment with New Zealand, France, Eng­land and SA among the A-list na­tions look­ing for new ones.

Nick Mal­lett’s name pops up in con­nec­tion with just about any va­cancy but, for me, he’s the man to coach France.

They need a dose of out­side per­spec­tive and Mal­lett speaks the lan­guage, has ex­pe­ri­ence at Stade Français and car­ries a hand­some Gal­lic “take me or leave me” air about him al­ready.

And af­ter Marc “my play­ers were cowards” Lievre­mont, even the blunt Nick will seem like a diplo­mat!

For­eign coaches for national teams are now the rage in ev­ery sport.

Who would’ve thought that the Aus­tralians, of all peo­ple, would end up with­out a dinkum okker in charge of their cricket, rugby and soc­cer teams?

And if the English twist Mal­lett’s arm hard enough, they’ll be in the same ex­tra­or­di­nary po­si­tion.

We’ve done it of­ten with Bafana Bafana – a Scots­man, a Peru­vian, a French­man, a Ro­ma­nian, a Por­tuguese and a cou­ple of Brazil­ians at the last count – but never with our cricket or rugby, although the Boks have dab­bled with a cou­ple of Aussies, Jones and Tim Lane, as as­sis­tants.

For me the start­ing point for national sides should al­ways be home-grown tal­ent as coaches but ad­min­is­tra­tors need to keep an open eye for an uit­lander who might serve a par­tic­u­lar pur­pose best.

In the case of our rugby, that could mean a need to avoid provin­cial­ism, which is far more preva­lent in the national squad than most ap­pre­ci­ate.

Both Jake White and Peter de Vil­liers ar­rived in the top spot with­out the bag­gage of a par­tic­u­lar re­gional loy­alty – their path was through the U21s.

I doubt that neu­tral­ity is avail­able to Re­gan Hoskins this time round un­less he’s go­ing to go spec­tac­u­larly lat­eral and try the suc­cess­ful Sev­ens coach Paul Treu.

What­ever he does, Hoskins and his ex­ec­u­tive must not look for some­one to fill a mould. Jake was very dif­fer­ent from Kitch and there are few co­her­ent threads run­ning through the per­son­al­i­ties of all the World Cup-win­ning coaches.

Do not look to repli­cate be­cause that’s a mis­take that many English soc­cer chair­men make.

In­cred­i­bly, there are seven(*) cur­rent man­agers in the English Pre­mier­ship who were born in Glas­gow which I can only as­sume is on the prin­ci­ple that if you can’t get Sir Alex Ferguson you get some­one who sounds like him.

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