Boks are ripe for the taking, says Hennie Le Roux


Le Roux told BBC Radio 5 Live that the Boks are “ripe for the taking” in Saturday's Test against England at Twickenham, despite the South Africans being on a 10-year winning streak over the home team.

The English have been revitalised under Australian coach Eddie Jones, having won the Six Nations this year and whitewashed the Wallabies 3-0 for the first time in history Down Under in June.

The Boks have struggled under new coach Allister Coetzee, losing five out of nine Tests, including a humiliating 57-15 reverse in Durban last month in the Rugby Championship. Now former flyhalf and inside centre Le Roux, a 1995 Rugby World Cup winner, expects the Boks to experience further pain on Saturday.

“There's been quite a lot of turmoil in South African rugby,” Le Roux said. “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.” The 49-year-old Le Roux, who played in 27 Tests, cited the second-half capitulation by the Boks as a case in point, after they led 9-5 at one stage in the first half. Coetzee's team kicked off their November tour of the UK and Italy by drawing 31-31 with the Barbarians, although their overseas-based players were not available.

“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,” Le Roux said.

“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.”

Le Roux said Jones' progress with England since taking over from Stuart Lancaster in November last year proved that a quality coach can turn a battling team around. England had been knocked out of their home Rugby World Cup at the group stage last year. “I've got a lot of respect for Eddie Jones ” as a coach, he is very astute,” Le Roux said.

“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.”

African News Agency

Original source: Boks are ripe for the taking, says Hennie Le Roux