‘SA players don’t respect coaches’

Date published: November 10 2016

Former Springbok centre Hennie le Roux believes South Africa's struggles on the rugby field is partly due to the players' lack of respect for the coaching staff.

While the Boks haven't lost to England in 10 years, they have endured a turbulent season with losses to Ireland (home), Argentina (away) and two heavy defeats to the All Blacks.

Le Roux feels there were many factors which has contributed to South Africa's decline, including a lack of respect from the players for the coaching staff.

"There's been quite a lot of turmoil in South African rugby," he told the BBC

"At this point, England playing at home I think will have the edge. We accept that a lot of teams have improved greatly but there's a real cause for concern that South African rugby is on a bit of a decline. It's a real issue and needs some serious addressing.

"When I was fortunate to play there, one of the aspects that I experienced was to receive direction from those who were either skilled at coaching or had played at the highest level.

"When they haven't been in that environment, it's almost as if it doesn't carry the same weight.

"I think there's a significant lack of respect towards the South African management team, in terms of having the players' respect and the players acknowledging when they're being spoken to by someone who's informed and has had the experience.

"You have to look at the last Test match in the first half against New Zealand. We should have been leading by 12-5 at half-time. But then to have the complete collapse in the second half with 45 points against you, you have to start posing questions as to where the problem lies.

"Is it the character of the players? Is it in the guidance and support they are receiving or is it something more deeply rooted in the make-up of the team. If they are ever ripe for the taking, it is now."

With regards to England, Le Roux believes they are flourishing under the coaching of Eddie Jones, who has led his side to a Six Nations win and a series whitewash in Australia since succeeding Stuart Lancaster after last year's disastrous home World Cup campaign.

"I've got a lot of respect for Eddie Jones – as a coach, he is very astute," he added.

"There is an example of someone who's walked the walk and understands and that was immediately reflected in England's performances within months of him taking over. That's the ability of certain coaches to bring about that change."