Columnists 1.12.2017 04:30 pm

Cheap political points a no-go for new Springbok coach

Deon Davids doesn't deserve to be thrown to the wolves. (Photo by Michael Sheehan/Gallo Images)

Deon Davids doesn't deserve to be thrown to the wolves. (Photo by Michael Sheehan/Gallo Images)

With Allister Coetzee reportedly in the firing line, Kings coach Deon Davids has emerged as his replacement. That would be unfair on him.

Let’s believe for a few moments that Allister Coetzee has indeed been fired as Springbok coach.

The rumours on his successor naturally swirls.

This week, there was a report that Kings coach Deon Davids is being favoured by new Saru director of rugby Rassie Erasmus as the man to take over.

It looks a good appointment on various fronts.

Davids is a keen thinker of the game and seems to possesses the balanced view so crucial for the top-level.

We also shouldn’t beat around the bush regarding the political stakes.

Having yet another non-white national coach looks good.

It helps soothe over the PR “disaster” – according to some transformation advocates – of the Super Rugby franchises all having white coaches.

Yet with two years to go before the 2019 World Cup, the Springboks really can’t afford to take a gamble on Davids.

They need to be 100% sure he can improve on Coetzee’s uninspired reign.

What local rugby decision-makers seem to forget though is that we have a poor habit of promoting certain coaches far too quickly.

And Davids could become a victim if the rumours are true.

This is not a question mark over his ability as a coach, merely a concern that local rugby won’t eventually be getting the best out of him.

Davids has been coaching the Kings for two years.

2016’s Super Rugby campaign was predictably depressing as the Eastern Province Rugby Union’s liquidation and the rushed nature of recruitment and preparation bit the team badly.

This year’s showing was rightfully promising as Davids imposed himself well on a gutsy group of players.

However, the spine moved on to greener pastures after the tournament and now he’s had to rebuild AGAIN in the Pro14.

Davids has never been given a solid platform to work from and the fact that he can get the best out of a mediocre group of players is a feather in his cap.

But sometimes it’s actually easier to achieve success from a lower base.

Can Davids suddenly handle a Springbok squad?

It would be far fairer on him to be given a chance at a bigger union as an audition surely.

We’ve already seen it with Johan Ackermann, whose move to Gloucester has dispelled some doubts already that he was in the shadow of Swys de Bruin.

That’s the way to do it.

Heinz Schenk: Online Sports Editor.

Heinz Schenk: Online Sports Editor.

 

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