Richard Loe on rugby
Richard Loe is a former All Black

Richard Loe: Springbok coach seems to have missed boat

Peter De Villiers. Photo / Getty Images
Peter De Villiers. Photo / Getty Images

I had a good laugh when I heard the South African Rugby Union were going to Sanzar with complaints about how the Springboks were being treated by referees.

Coach Peter de Villiers criticised the handling of the Wellington test, saying that he was considering coaching his team to "cheat" on the field.

"As a coach, you don't want to coach your team to cheat, but maybe that is something we are going to have to consider."

I mean, really ... I hope this character stays in charge of the Boks until after the World Cup as I don't think he is doing them any good.

This is the same Peter de Villiers, who said after that 3-0 drubbing of the All Blacks last year, that New Zealand had missed the boat and had not changed with the times.

Hey, Pete. See that boat disappearing over there? That's the good ship 'Changed Times' - and you've missed it, brother.

The Springboks do not appear to have worked out that the game has changed again. The previous law interpretations suited their game. The new ones don't.

If it is true, as a lot of the stories say, that the senior players are mostly steering the Bok ship, this shows the weakness of that situation. That's when you need a good coach who can step back and convincingly show the players where they are going wrong.

The Bok efforts against the Wallabies last night and in August-September will tell us whether the Boks can change and/or whether the Wallabies are as capable of playing the new rules as the All Blacks clearly are.

I am shovelling a lot of the blame on de Villiers because, to me, the Springboks are not really playing cohesively or as a united force. They don't look like the Bulls, the Sharks or the Stormers in style. They look like a misguided Bok team.

The All Blacks have taken our best players from across the five Super 14 franchises and have aligned them with an All Black game plan and an All Black style. The Boks appear to have taken only some of the best players from the Super 14 and don't appear to have adopted the style to compete at present.

It will be interesting seeing how/if they can adapt.

As for all this bleating about referees, I think it's crap. Nothing's changed. For years now, players have been penalised for head butts, spear tackles and the like.

The old days of sorting out a Bakkies Botha by a swift clip to the chin in a scrum have gone. It used to cost you a lecture and three points if their kicker was good enough. That's all gone now. Now it's a yellow card and the other guys stick 10 points on your side while you're off the field. It can't happen - but it is with them.

It's the same with head butts, spear tackles and pulling a blatant professional foul when your line is threatened. For many years now, that stuff has inevitably earned a yellow card.

The Boks are complaining that Richie McCaw gets better treatment and Rene Ranger should have been punished for a no-arms tackle. Rubbish.

It's like what golfer Gary Player used to say: "The harder I work, the luckier I get."

All the Bok complaints show me is that they are not playing well enough. If they were, they wouldn't be coming under the referees' microscopes and they wouldn't be getting twitchy about penalties and the way they are treated.

No, for me, I hope they don't sack Peter de Villiers. It'd be good to have him there for the World Cup.

- Herald on Sunday

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