Former Springbok coach Jake White has expressed his concern at the current state of coaching in the South African game and believes it has contributed to the national team’s demise.
Via a column for the All Out Rugby website, White said coaches move to quickly from schools rugby to provincial level.
“It’s an indictment of our rugby that people who remember the standard of rugby pre-professionalism believe that a team from the amateur era would beat the current Springboks,” White wrote.
“(The) amateurs worked full-time jobs. They only trained twice a week, in the evenings after work, and yet people are saying they were stronger and more skilful. The modern-day Boks train every day, have a full nutrition plan, comprehensive opposition analysis, and every kind of specialist coach you can imagine - from a mental coach to a skills coach - so you have got to ask why people believe they would lose against a team of part-time players.”
According to White, South African players from the amateur era were tougher because they were coached in the right manner.
“The reason that era of player is regarded as mentally and physically tougher is because they were coached by men who had been around for a long time. The likes of Buurman van Zyl and Ian McIntosh had been coaching for 20 or 30 years by the time they were appointed to coach provincial rugby,” White, who coached Jeppe High School for Boys’ first team for six years said.
“The coaching structures were completely different. Schoolmasters would have had upwards of 10 years of experience within an age group, and the same went for club coaches. One thing I’ve found at today’s rugby festivals is that every schoolboy coach wants to know where they should go coach next, even though they’ve only been with the 1st team for three years. I started coaching in 1982, and only got the Jeppe 1st team in 1989, and I coached that team for six years before I moved on."