RE: How important is the RWC
August 01, 2012, 07:50:41
Lets put it bluntly - there are four major sports tournaments in the World, namely -
1. Olympic Games
2. Soccer World Cup
3. Rugby World Cup
4. Cricket World Cup
For the latter sports codes - winning the World Cup is equivalent to win most gold medals in th Olympic Games. Incidentally we are now ahead of England and Australia on the Olympics medal table. Lets hope for another 3 gold medals.
Jake White had the right idea about the importance of the Rugby World Cup. You build up a team to win the RWC - bugger what happened in between. You may lose most other series - but if you win the World Cup - you have it made. Since 1991 virtually throughout the period New Zealand was the number 1 ranked country in rugby in the world - yet the first time they won the World Cup was only in 2011. How many Super series and test series they won in between? I would say at least 80% - yet they only won the WC once.
There is no way in which the RWC can be under-estimated. That is the ultimate in the code of sport of rugby. That is why I say - start building a team to win the RWC in 2015 - forget about what happens in between. Throughout the years there was a tendency of WC winners not to change players - especially if and when they win test series subsequently. They keep on playing the same players to have them available for the next WC. That practice - namely to keep on playing the players past their prime - has never worked and no team has ever won the WC twice in succession.
As a rule of thumb - after you won the WC - all players over the age of 28 should be replaced as soon as possible after the relevant WC. Forwards can go with a stretch and play top rugby until the age of 31 - backs probably not past 30. There are rare exceptions to that rule - but those are few and far between.
Based on that scenario - the following players should be replaced asap due to the age factor:-
Jean De Villiers, Habana, Bekker, Jannie Du Plessis, the Beast
The other issue is obviously player competency. Here we have the following urgently requiring replacement:-
Morne Steyn and Spies.
Other replacments may be required due to injury of declining coimpetence - as well as emergence of stronger candidates. However, the key of a good coach is to identify the best polayers for the next WC and drop those not meeting the requirements.
Based on the above we have to replace at least 7 of the Springbok team over the next two years - the process should start sooner rather than later.