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Of captains and Indabas

Protea Captaincy

The inevitable withdrawal of our world class cricketer, AB de Villiers, due to injury following his sustained presence in all formats in the game, may be a blessing in disguise.

We tried to follow the example of other countries by having three different incumbents for the T20, ODI and test sides. Amla bailed out, AB had to, and suddenly Faf du Plessis is the only captain left standing.

Judging by his performance, both as a player and captain in the 5-0 whitewash of Australia recently, I think he is the best man to lead us in all three formats. The extra responsibility brings out the best in him as player, and he has the ability to match his style of batting with whatever the match situation demands.

But, best of all, is that he expects this from his team mates as well, and is able to share his expectations in a manner that not only gets the message across – they actually warm to his belief in their ability.

I hope I do not have to eat my words after the three tests in Australia, but from what we have seen so far, I think Faf will be the man to help us keep our feet on the ground, and our heads held high.

Rugby Indaba

I have never made a secret of my admiration for Brendan Venter as a rugby genius who has proved himself as player and coach time and time again.

While many other prominent ex-coaches scoffed at the idea of an indaba, he was at the forefront, turning the meeting into a foundation on which to rebuild SA rugby.

His article on the Vodacom Rugby website leaves no doubt that there definitely is a light at the end of the tunnel, and it is not a train heading our way.

 For my money, the most important elements to emanate from the indaba was the way in which the assembled role-players contributed and the openness to proceedings. A recurring theme was how ego-less the personnel in the room were. It was refreshing that all involved showed up with an attitude of: “What can I do for SA rugby instead of what can SA rugby do for me?” because that has not proved to be the case in the past. Furthermore, I was extremely impressed with how many good ideas came to the fore during the gathering, and all the contributions were fantastic because they were practical, technically-driven solutions aimed at addressing the shortcomings within SA rugby.

If Coetzee can implement the learnings from the indaba, in my book, it would make his tenure as national coach an unbelievable success. The indaba is not a perfect process but an invaluable starting point where we listened to and learned from each other in equal measure. The relationships that were forged in the conference room were so positive and some real tangibles were forthcoming. As a result of the discussions, in the coming weeks a document will be produced in order to outline the culture that we feel SA rugby players must adhere to and the general attack and defence strategies, set-piece and territory options and discipline protocols to be followed. In essence, it’s a guideline to a blueprint. We have now started with a skeleton and, as time goes by, we will add meat to the bones.

Yes, there will be issues that we as fans will find frustrating:

  • Why has Jannie kannie skrum nie du Plessis been recalled?
  • Waar is Morné Steyn?
  • Watter kans het nuwelinge om in een toets teen die Barbarians te wys hulle is beter as ouer spelers wat lankal oor die kruin is?
  • Hoekom kies ons nog spelers wat in die buiteland speel?

Ensovoorts, ensovoorts.

Ek gaan bloot, sonder enige verwagtinge, objektief kyk na die manne, en tekens van vordering soek.

Dis nog lank genoeg voor die volgende Wêreldbeker. Ek bly ‘n optimis.

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