Former Bok lock Flip van der Merwe says it ‘hurt’ to see the manner in which the Springboks suffered a record 38-3 loss to Ireland last Saturday.
That result was the Boks’ heaviest-ever defeat to Ireland, with Van der Merwe telling Sport24 that it certainly raised more questions about the state of affairs in South African rugby.
‘The performance was pretty bad, and my dismay was not just down to the fact that we lost the Test match. A loss is natural, but whenever you put on a Springbok jersey, you should never accept defeat.
‘It was the way in which we lost that hurt me the most, as someone who has played 37 Tests for my country. The players were almost like ghosts on the field and it appeared to me as if the team simply accepted defeat last Saturday in Dublin.’
Van der Merwe added that the blame could not only lie with coach Allister Coetzee.
‘At the moment, I don’t actually think we can blame Allister Coetzee because the problems are higher than him. It almost feels as though the men in suits at SA Rugby set Coetzee up to fail.
‘With Johann van Graan departing for Munster after the French Test and Brendan Venter also taking his leave, it seems the planning wasn’t in existence. I don’t really know what is going on over there – it’s a mess.’
Van der Merwe suggested the boks needed more players of experience to begin winning consistenly again.
‘It’s been eight years since South Africa won the Tri-Nations and seven years since a local Super Rugby franchise won the trophy. Those stats tell me that it’s definitely time for us to win something again.
‘The bottom line is that we’ve got a massive lack of experience currently within South African rugby.’
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