Stransky paints bleak picture of South African rugby

Date published: October 13 2016

South African rugby is set up to fail and won’t change overnight, says former fly-half Joel Stransky.

The South Africa Rugby Union is set to hold a coaching indaba from October 19-21 where the six Super Rugby CEO’s and coaches will be joined by the Springbok coaching staff to talk about the problems in South African rugby.

The indaba will be led by respected coach and former Springbok centre Brenden Venter.

However, looking at the immediate future, Stransky said there weren’t many players outside the current squad who could improve it.

"I don't see a quick turnaround," Stransky told Reuters

"There are maybe a handful of players who could come in to improve the team. The reality is we are set for long-term pain. We need a wholesale change. This system was voted in 100 years ago and the turkeys aren't going to vote for Christmas to change it. We are set up to fail."

South Africa have been on a downward spiral since before last year’s World Cup, despite reaching the semi-finals of that tournament. They have suffered embarrassing defeats to Japan, Argentina at home (twice) and Ireland (at home) in the last year.

"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 said.

”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 focussed on the Springboks being the best team in the world, they are focussed on winning the Currie Cup, winning promotion to the Premier Division or succeeding in Super Rugby.”

Stransky believes the six teams South Africa has in the southern hemisphere championship, compared to the five each of New Zealand and Australia, dilutes playing talent.

"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 believes the domestic set-up has a lack of quality coaching talent at all levels.

"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."