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Eddie Jones Led Japan to Victory and will Soon Coach the Stormers, but What Does that Mean? – Gavin Rich

Gavin Rich has written an article for SuperSport in which he reflects on the impact that Eddie Jones – the coach responsible for South Africa’s recent defeat by Japan in the 2015 Rugby World Cup – will have when he becomes the new Stormers coach.

Politically IncorrectMitch: The Real StoryThe Poisoned Chalice


The author of The Poisoned Chalice and co-author of the autobiographies of John Mitchell (Mitch: The Real Story) and Peter de Villiers (Politically Incorrect: The Autobiography) writes: “Rugby players play a rough game but yet they are a sensitive bunch away from the field.”

Rich wonders how Jones will approach the Stormers and whether or not he will be able to make “hard unemotional decisions”.

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Seeing all the interviews with Jones that followed the Brighton game got me thinking. How is he going to treat Stormers veterans such as Jean de Villiers, should he decide to play on, when he takes over the reins in the Cape? Is Jones going to be sensitive and pay deference to De Villiers on the basis that he has been a Stormer for so long, or is he going to make the hard unemotional decision that South Africa coaches are perhaps incapable of?

The Japanese targeted De Villiers in Brighton, and the Bok captain made it worse by exhorting his fellow players to follow a game plan that was completely contrary to what the coach had asked for. You just have to read what Heyneke Meyer said during the build-up week, and how much it differed from what was carried out on the field in Brighton, to realise that the coach was ignored.

Last month, Rich wrote an article about the contradictions in Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer’s speeches and said that the World Cup pressure is enough to make any coach “batty”. He analysed Meyer’s decisions and said that “the transformation drive is falling short”.

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If you listen to him closely there are enough contradictions in what Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer says in press conferences to suggest an element of panic in some of his thinking.

Indeed, I do sometimes wonder if the past few weeks have seen the manifestation in Meyer of “Mad Coaches Disease”, the strange affliction that causes Bok coaches to become different people to who they were when they started off in the job and to forget some of the core imperatives of their coaching philosophy.

While it might be considered strange, we should stop short of calling it unexplained. The pressure of being Bok coach, and the contradicting demands of different lobby groups, make it a job that could drive anyone batty.

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