South African rugby seems to be headed in the right direction… now all we need to do is keep focused and stay on the path leading up to the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
June was a pretty damn good month for South African rugby! The Springboks beat England twice and drew the final test to claim the three-match series 2-0 and in the process extended their unbeaten run of matches against England to 10 matches.
It’s been a job well done considering the time new coach Heyneke Meyer has had to prepare the team and the multitude of injuries that he’s had to endure. The Boks will feel a lot more settled and with a series win over the English in the bag, head into the Castle Championship with a spring in their step.
The South African under-20 side have bounced back from their shock opening defeat to Ireland and gone on to win the IRB Junior World Championship in the Western Cape in fairly convincing fashion, beating the “old foe” New Zealander in the final to lift the trophy for the first time after a four-year dominance by the Baby Blacks.
Coach Dawie Theron has lauded the Baby Boks by predicting a special era in South African rugby. Players like the IRB Junior of the Year Jan Serfontein, Steven Kitshoff and William Small Smith among others are definitely players to keep an eye on in the near future.
It all bodes well for rugby in the country, yes we should celebrate their achievements and praise their efforts, but we should also be mindful that developing the game remains the number-one priority. There needs to be consistency in the quality of players that come through the ranks and this is a must if South Africa is to continue as a powerhouse in world rugby. Youngsters need to be groomed and nurtured, their nutrition needs to be monitored, their mental toughness fine-tuned and their education in rugby specialised.
The talent pool in South Africa is deep, but it’s now up to administrators, teachers, parents and family to help develop that rich talent and turn them into world beaters like in 1995 and in 2007. The skills and talent are there, we just need to give guidance and make sure the best players develop into the best the world has to offer.