Stransky: South African rugby in rotten state

South African winger Bryan Habana chases the ball during the Springboks' defeat to the All Blacks. Photosport
South African winger Bryan Habana chases the ball during the Springboks' defeat to the All Blacks. Photosport

Former Springboks great Joel Stransky says South African rugby is in a rotten state from the international side all the way down to grassroots.

Stransky, who kicked the winning drop goal to clinch the 1995 World Cup final, has slammed the state of the game in South Africa saying the recent showing by the Springboks has been coming for a long time.

Despite finishing third at last year's World Cup and being the only side to get within single digits of the All Blacks during their current 17-game win streak, the Springboks have been well below their best which saw World Cup titles in 1995 and 2007.

South Africa lost at home to Argentina and Ireland for the first time in 2015, suffered a shock upset to Japan during pool play at the World Cup and finished third in this year's Rugby Championship with four defeats from six games.

Last weekend's 57-15 defeat to the All Blacks in Durban was a record loss at the hands of their old rivals who they've beaten just twice in 15 tests since 2010.

"You cannot look at 2016 in isolation, it is a problem that has been coming for some time and you need to look at the game holistically from grassroots level to the top," Stransky told Reuters.

"The kids coming out of school do not have the same skill-set as in other countries, or are as well coached. The education system plays a major role in that.

"The next level is where the system really fails, from South African Rugby down.

"The (14) unions are not focused on the Springboks being the best team in the world, they are focused on winning the Currie Cup, winning promotion to the Premier Division or succeeding in Super Rugby."

South Africa have the most teams of any nation in Super Rugby with six, compared to New Zealand and Australia's five, which Stransky believes dilutes playing talent. The Springboks also have the issue where many of their best players head to Europe to chase lucrative contracts.

"It means players are leaving in droves for contracts overseas, further weakening local teams," he said.

"If you come through that weak system, you become a weak player."

Stransky also said the lack of talented coaches in South Africa adds to the problem.

"To be frank, in some instances we have got a bunch of inexperienced, amateur coaches leading our top domestic sides," he said.

"There appears to be no long-term plan, no mentorship and little goes into improving coaching structures. Something needs to change."

- NZ Herald

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