One of the major shortcomings of the Boks in a terrible 2016 has been in selection, where coach Allister Coetzee has picked players out of position, stuck with some who were in poor form, and brought back others who weren’t quite ready from injury.
Francois Hougaard played at wing, Pieter-Steph du Toit at blindside flank and Johan Goosen at fullback at stages, the likes of captain Adriaan Strauss, Damian de Allende and Francois Louw retained their spots despite uninspiring displays, and Pat Lambie and Ruan Combrinck were picked virtually from the cold after lengthy injuries.
A number of in-form players from the start of the season, such as Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Rohan Janse van Rensburg and Uzair Cassiem were ignored.
At the moment, it’s only Coetzee and sole selector Peter Jooste who pick the team. But that could change after SA Rugby’s General Council changed their constitution following a meeting on Friday in which they made a number of other important moves to try and make the organisation more efficient.
Chief executive Jurie Roux said there is now an overall selection convenor for all national teams in the form of Jooste, who would be able to bring in other selectors. “There was a very defined selection committee. We have said there is a selection convenor, and the very next part of the paragraph in the constitution says that convenor will be able to appoint and set up different selection committees in the different areas – be that from under-13 all the way up,” Roux said.
“But we could not act against our constitution. So we had to remove that very specific component around the Springboks. We will have it across the board – a convenor, and then we have the ability to appoint selection committees to each and every team underneath that. Peter Jooste is the convenor at the moment. He can (appoint other, additional selectors), but it has to come through the Executive Council.”
SA Rugby president Mark Alexander, though, emphasised the fact that the Bok coach called the shots. “The coach has a performance agreement, and part of it is that he has the final say. You can’t let somebody else have a say and then you are held accountable. He is accountable and he will have the final say,” he said.
But considering the problems this season, appointing two or three additional selectors could provide Coetzee (if he continues as Bok coach in 2017) and Jooste with fresh perspectives on some players.
Coetzee stated recently following the defeat to Wales that he perhaps should’ve picked more of the in-form Lions and other new players against Ireland in June instead of sticking with many of the old guard.
Having those extra eyes and ears may just open up his mind next season.
Original source: Extra Bok selectors can open up coach’s mind