Daily Dispatch

Indaba told game is at crossroads

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SOUTH African Rugby is at a turning point and must adopt a new strategy to administer the game or face continued decline, interim president Mark Alexander warned delegates at a coaching conference yesterday.

The two-day conference, or indaba, includes current South Africa coach Allister Coetzee as well as his predecesso­rs Ian McIntosh, Carel du Plessis and Rudolf Straeuli plus the country’s six Super Rugby coaches and former Springbok captains Gary Teichmann and John Smit.

At the heart of the discussion­s will be how the Super Rugby franchises can align to aid the national team cause.

Alexander suggested the organisati­on use New Zealand, where there is uniformity in the coaching, developmen­t and management of players, as a blueprint.

“In New Zealand, all 180 players are contracted to New Zealand Rugby, but in South Africa we have six different franchises, each with their own different methods of playing the game,” Alexander told delegates.

“This system is clearly not proving to be an efficient and effective way to manage our players well and get the best out of them.

“This indaba aims to find a solution to the challenges we face – with collaborat­ion and input from all our franchises.

“Hopefully in a few years’ time we will look back at this indaba with a sense of achievemen­t – knowing that this was where the new direction was forged, this was the turning point for South African rugby, this is where we adopted our shared winning mind-set.”

Coetzee said the conference was not a knee-jerk reaction to South Africa’s struggles this season – struggles that culminated in a record 57-15 home loss to the All Blacks earlier this month.

“There needs to be an alignment between us as a coaching team and the franchise coaches to identify tactical shortcomin­gs that impact on the performanc­e of all our teams,” he said.

“We cannot operate in isolation and a national rugby strategy is not about dictating game-plans to any team.

“It is about equipping our players to adapt to any game-plan our coaches want them to.” — Reuters

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