The Springbok coach and players reported back to SA Rugby on Tuesday as part of the review process following what had been a “profoundly disappointing season” in the view of union president, Mr Mark Alexander.
Coach Allister Coetzee and three senior players – retiring captain Adriaan Strauss, Pat Lambie and Tendai Mtawarira – provided their feedback on a year in which eight of 12 Tests were lost.
The report-back session was led by the Springbok Steering Committee, made up of Mr Francois Davids and Mr James Stoffberg, as members of the High Performance Committee, and Jurie Roux, SA Rugby CEO. The committee is part of the process for identifying and recommending national team appointments. Mr Alexander was also present.
The committee received feedback on technical, tactical, operational, logistical and personnel matters and what impact management and players believed they may have had on team performance.
The committee also questioned team personnel on the committee’s impressions of the season and particularly the Castle Lager Outgoing Tour performances.
Mr Alexander said: “We review the Springbok season with the national coach at the end of each year but this year’s process has been given extra attention because of profoundly disappointing results.“This was not a witch hunt but a proper process to interrogate where things went wrong with a focus on finding answers and ensuring that it does not happen again.
“This has been a period of introspection for SA Rugby with all of us looking at our role in a dreadful season. That process will continue into January as we examine the options at our disposal. We will act upon whatever interventions are identified as being necessary by all involved. I would expect that process to be completed before the end of January.”
Mr Alexander added that much work had already been done. A performance enhancement (conditioning) workshop took place last Wednesday and fed back into a second coaching indaba for franchise coaches and national team management which took place on Monday.
The outcomes of those meetings are already being put into place at a franchise level in pre-season Vodacom Super Rugby preparations.
In addition, the General Council of SA Rugby on Friday approved ground-breaking constitutional changes to streamline administrative processes and increase business interests in professional rugby.
Mr Alexander said: “We are following a thorough and holistic process that has begun a root and branch overhaul of the way things are done in SA Rugby with only one outcome in mind; to assist the national team.
“We know Springbok supporters and our partners are looking to us for instant answers and many of them may want to see heads roll. But building winning teams is not an exact science and we want to make sure that the changes we make are the right solutions to our current problems.”