The Blitzbokke play as a team. They have a clear objective and understanding of their game plan on attack and defence. This eclectic mix of players and cultures seem so comfortable together; so harmonious and so dynamic. They are clearly the best Rugby 7s team in the world.
They proved it comprehensively by wrapping up the World Rugby series in Paris, prior to the final leg in London next weekend.
The Republic of South Africa is close to my heart having spent the best part of three seasons playing rugby there and riding waves along the 2500 km’s of its pristine coastline. It is also a complicated country; with a multitude of views on what is right and what is wrong. But South African Rugby XV’s is rapidly imploding, with a breakdown of traditional structures and the contrived development pathways for players and coaches.
Currie Cup coaches and selectors do not attend club rugby, which thus starves the clubs of ambition. On my annual trip to SA a couple of years ago, I had a few very social drinks at The Crusaders Rugby Club in Durban and met a frustrated young rugby player, Dillon Nel. His frustration stemmed from his ambition versus the lack of opportunity through club rugby to become a professional player. Two weeks later Scott Robertson rang me looking for a loose forward for his club Sumner. I gave him Dillon’s contact details.
Ten days ago, Dillon Nel was selected as a replacement for the Crusaders in their match against The Bulls at Loftus.
I digress, but it’s a lovely story and it highlights a serious shortcoming in traditional rugby in South Africa. I have no idea where Neil Powell finds his players, but I have watched him over the last few years introduce new players and seamlessly integrate them into his team culture. Now, this is probably the number one attribute required by a coach who seeks success; and success against the odds Powell has achieved.
Without a doubt, he should be part of the next Springbok coach combination, if not Head Coach.
- Murray Mexted, IRANZ Managing Director