Springboks turn jeers to cheers in rugby resurgence

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South Africa coach Allister Coetzee has overseen a turnaround inside the Springboks’ fortunes © AFP/File / GIANLUIGI GUERCIA

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, Jun 23 Coach Allister Coetzee, defence specialist Brendan Venter as well as skipper Warren Whiteley as well as his Golden Lions have been key factors inside the resurgence of South Africa This kind of year.

Should they beat France at Ellis Park stadium in Johannesburg Saturday, the Springboks will complete a 3-0 series whitewash eight months after being jeered by supporters.

The anger of the crowd in Durban followed a humiliating 57-15 defeat by arch foes fresh Zealand, the heaviest South African home loss since first competing in 1891.

the idea was the darkest day of a bleak season for the two-time world champions, worse even than losing for the 1st time at home to Ireland, away to Argentina, as well as to Italy.

The first season in charge for Coetzee was calamitous with eight defeats in 12 Tests a calendar-year record for the Springboks.

As the public as well as media clamoured for the ex-Western Stormers coach to be axed a quarter of the way through a four-year contract, the 54-year-old realised dramatic alterations were necessary.

Out went several of his assistants, who had been appointed by the national rugby body, as well as skipper as well as hooker Adriaan Strauss retired, avoiding the embarrassment of being ditched.

Springbok captain Warren Whiteley © AFP/File / CHRISTIAAN KOTZE

In came defence coach Venter, widely recognised among the brightest minds in rugby, a fresh captain in No. 8 Whiteley, as well as far more Golden Lions made the starting line-up.

The man management of Coetzee, the brains of Venter, the drive of Whiteley as well as skills of the Lions were to prove crucial as the Springboks sought redemption.

Former provincial scrum-half Coetzee had three pre-season training camps, which were denied to him last year because of his late appointment as successor to out-of-favour Heyneke Meyer.

“the idea was suicidal going into the 2016 season without pre-season training camps. We played with fire as well as got badly burnt,” reflected Coetzee.

Of all the ills which inflicted the 2016 Springboks, a sieve-like defence was among the most glaring, with numerous soft tries conceded.

– Venter impact –

Enter Venter, a former centre who was part of the 1995 Rugby World Cup-winning squad as well as combines coaching having a medical practice in Cape Town.

His impact was obvious inside the 37-14 as well as 37-15 triumphs over France in Pretoria as well as Durban which clinched the series having a match to spare.

inside the last quarter of the first Test as well as the third quarter of the second, France camped in Springbok territory, attacking relentlessly only to be repeatedly repulsed.

The South Africans tackled with conviction — a far cry by the previous campaign in which seven of the last eight Tests were lost.

“the idea was heartbreaking last season to see Springboks taking forever to get up after doing a tackle,” lamented TV analyst as well as former Springboks coach Nick Mallett.

With the media sights set on Coetzee, Strauss escaped lightly for lacklustre leadership, poor performances as well as post-match interviews which bordered on pantomime.

As the team stumbled by one disaster to another, Strauss kept insisting which a fresh dawn was on the horizon. In fact, things only got worse.

Whiteley has been an inspirational leader of the Lions, by far the best-performing Super Rugby team in South Africa, using a potent mix of running as well as kicking.

Unassuming off the field, the loose forward leads by example — defending, attacking, seemingly always close to the heart of the action.

“I think the idea can be fantastic which Warren can take his Springboks to his home ground tomorrow (Saturday) having a 2-0 lead over France,” said Mallett.

“Imagine the confidence a whitewash will give South Africa ahead of the Rugby Championship. With these performances we can quickly get back to No. 2 inside the globe.”

Tougher Tests than France lie ahead, notably matches in Argentina, Australia as well as fresh Zealand within four weeks by late August.

however the Boks have got a spring in their step again as well as even the harshest critics of Coetzee have lauded him for accepting his mistakes as well as changing course.

Hard-hitting Business Day columnist Mark Keohane says Coetzee must get credit for identifying Venter, Whiteley as well as his fellow Lions as catalysts of change.

“The key can be to keep This kind of group of players as well as coaches together as well as allow them to develop as well as learn by the tougher challenges which lie ahead,” he wrote.

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Springboks turn jeers to cheers in rugby resurgence

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