Rudolph Jacobs
Rugby Journalist
2 minute read
6 Jun 2017
9:45 am

Springboks aim to be the ‘winemaking’ kings of rugby

Rudolph Jacobs

Like the tasty blends of the French, Allister Coetzee wants to fuse the philosophies of his assistant coaches into one fine product.

Brendan Venter is one of the Boks' winemakers. Photo: Carl Fourie/Gallo Images.

The Springboks have their own “winemakers” ahead of this weekend’s first French Test at Loftus in Pretoria.

At least that’s what head coach Allister Coetzee believes.

Also read: Boks’ grand plan with Duane Vermeulen fails before it starts

While winemaking is considered a speciality of the French, Coetzee was referring to his assistant coaches Franco Smith (attack) and Brendan Venter (defence).

Both men have differing philosophies on the game but, like the world’s best blends within the cork and bottle, those approaches can be combined into an excellent product.

“There’s a good balance in the team environment,” he said.

“I have a Franco Smith and a Brendan Venter here. It’s almost like we’re making wine in this team. The one is assistant coach is very attack-minded and the other one has got to get the defence right. But somewhere one has to fuse things to get the balance right. I have always professed balance.”

Coetzee said while the Lions have played some extraordinary rugby in the Super Rugby competition and provide the national side with lessons on attacking play, the as Boks have also grown a lot from their defensive frailties last year.

“You can’t just run. If you play too much, you end up behind your own posts like we have seen in Super Rugby. It’s about doing the right thing at the right time. You can’t always just kick either, if you kick too much it’s also not ideal.

“But I’m happy the Super Rugby teams have shown the attacking intent which is great, all we need to do know is to get that balance right.”

Fans can also be rest assured that the preparation in 2017 will be in stark contrast to the rushed nature of last year’s planning.

After all, Coetzee was only appointed in April last year, leaving him with virtually no opportunity for pre-season strategising.

“It’s something we have moved onto from, I have had no December holiday to be honest and that’s where it’s started.

“I’ve had to ensure that we are better off in terms of our management team. I’m happy with the coaching team we have at this point in time.

“I’m really happy that we have negotiated training camps, so compared to last year it’s a completely different process.”

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