The state of South African rugby is currently under scrutiny, where the politics behind selections has been the major talking point.
Until recently many players have stayed silent on the issue, but it seems after the recent results some are starting to stand up and voice their opinion.
Duane Vermeulen, the talismanic Bok No 8, is one of these people. In all tests played in 2016, South Africa have only won four out of nine games played, losing ay home to Ireland and away to Argentina for the first time.
Vermeulen‚ who is available for selection for the SA squad for their European tour in November now that he is fully fit‚ has commented saying he cannot commit to returning to SA because of the way rugby is currently being run.
“I want to be part of the Boks but the way things are going now I can’t see a positive outcome‚” Vermeulen told TMG from France.
“We need an intervention and I can’t sit silently on the side and say nothing anymore.
“I feel it’s always the coaches that have their say in a team environment and as a player there is no time to focus and to talk about issues in SA Rugby. We tend to only focus on the game itself. I feel the need to speak up as a player‚ for the players.
“I still want to play‚ be a part of the best players in the country and represent the Boks with all I have. But at the moment I can’t see why players would commit 100%. That’s a huge problem. Where did everything go wrong?
“It was ugly watching the game on Saturday.
“We [SA] were a powerhouse in world rugby and I feel it is my duty to also make a stand and say something on the record about the situation.
“I don’t know how much respect there is for players anymore.
“I feel for them and it’s partially our fault because we stay silent. But it also starts at the top and we need clear and decisive leadership.” Vermeulen backs the idea of the coach’s indaba‚ which will happen later this month‚ but believes it has to be taken seriously and has to serve as the beginning of setting out a blueprint for all South African rugby to follow – otherwise it’s a futile exercise.
“I believe that this coaching indaba is the best thing we can do right now‚” Vermeulen said.
“But I know from experience that the arrogance of some coaches in SA might be a problem because I don’t believe they will share all they have. “At this meeting everyone must say what they want to say‚ but in the end we have to reach a common goal about how we as South Africans want to play the game.
“Hopefully from this we will find a style that South Africans will play from junior levels all the way through to the Springboks.
“Every detail from set pieces‚ attack and defence must be defined and set out in a plan and everyone must play the same. In that way we will improve our skills and ability.
“By doing that we will improve our coaching structures and give coaches a pathway to higher honours as well.
“It also helps develop coaches in SA so we don’t have to look overseas. “If coaches don’t adhere to the agreement and principles that are set out then they should either be fined or sacked. That should be the message from SA Rugby.
“It all starts at the top. And that is chaos at the moment.
“By the top‚ I also mean the Sports Ministry. “The sports minister has to help SA Rugby work towards and better plan for the future of the Boks.
“We always hear the minister is there to support us‚ but I want to see him as part of the solution.
“This won’t be an easy task and some people might deviate from the blueprint‚ but those that stay and see it through might be able to turn the ship around.”