Ross Roche

By Ross Roche

Senior sports writer

Coaching shake-up unlikely to change Blitzboks’ fortunes

Recent reports in the media have said that SA Rugby are looking at trying to bring some of their former stars back into the Sevens fold.

Sandile Ngcobo fell on his sword earlier this week when he chose to be removed as head coach of the Blitzboks, with his assistant Philip Snyman taking over until the end of the current season, which includes the Olympic Games in July.

A press release from SA Rugby on Wednesday stated that the Springbok Sevens coaching team was reformatted and a review of the Sevens department’s structure is being undertaken in response to disappointing results.

ALSO READ: Blitzboks desperately need reinforcements ahead of Olympic Games

It also said that Ngcobo had returned to his previous role as coach of the next generation of Sevens players, and that the changes were made at the suggestion of Ngcobo.

Although he was under massive pressure with the inconsistent Blitzboks underperforming in this seasons Sevens World Series, after they won the opening event in Dubai, but have since stumbled to new lows in the latest tournaments, there are plenty of other problems that need to be addressed first.

The Blitzboks had already started being inconsistent under previous head coach Neil Powell, who did a fantastic job at the helm during his time with the team.

Switching codes

But towards the end of his tenure a slew of Blitzboks stalwarts such as Kyle Brown, Cecil Afrika and Snyman himself, were calling time on their careers, while at the same time a number of superstars chose to make the switch to 15s.

That is arguably the biggest problem for the Blitzboks at the moment, their talent pool of players which they can draw on currently is incredibly small, and injuries to key players make a much bigger impact on the team than they previously did.

Recent reports in the media said that SA Rugby were looking at trying to bring some of their former stars back into the Sevens fold for the final few events on this season’s series and for the Olympic Games, if the Blitzboks qualify.

Players such as Stedman Gans (Bulls), Werner Kok (Sharks), JC Pretorius (Lions), Angelo Davids (Stormers) and Sako Makata (Griquas) are some of the names mentioned.

If SA Rugby can entice these players back to play in the Sevens tournaments, while also being available to play for their 15s franchises, that would solve a massive problem and would improve their performances drastically, which is something that a coaching change is unable to do.

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