Schalk and Jean see Swys departure as a ‘challenge and chance’ for Boks
Springbok attack coach quits due to ‘personal and medical’ reasons, leaving a crucial gap in the Boks’ support staff a little more than a month before the start of Rugby World Cup
Two former Springbok captains‚ Jean de Villiers and Schalk Burger‚ say the resignation of Springbok attack coach Swys de Bruin will affect the team.
De Bruin‚ 59‚ stepped down from his role on Wednesday‚ citing “personal and medical reasons” for his departure.
Earlier on 2019, De Bruin left the Lions’ Super Rugby Australasian tour for the same reasons and later confirmed he had been struggling with “anxiety issues’’.
His departure leaves a crucial gap in the Boks’ coaching roster a little more than a month before the start of Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan.
“Swys’s departure will have an effect on the team‚” said De Villiers‚ who played 109 Tests and captained the Boks 37 times.
“Hopefully the team’s structures are good enough and have been put in place that they can continue with Swys’s work in the interim.
“I noticed that Swys wasn’t with the team in Salta [where the Boks beat Argentina 46-13] last weekend so they have already coped without him in a small way.
“It is a big setback for the team‚ but sometimes you have to use setbacks to your advantage. It creates an opportunity for the team and for individuals to step up‚ take responsibility and get through it.
“It’s just a blip though. It’s not like the team will suddenly be down and out. We’re not sure who will replace Swys,” De Villiers said.
Burger‚ who led the Boks once in his 86 Tests‚ drew parallels with the successful 2007 Springboks.
“This does give [coach] Rassie Erasmus a chance to bring in someone else‚” he said.
“In 2007 Rassie was with the squad as a technical coach and he did a lot of our preparation work before RWC 2007 with the squad split into two groups.
“Before the World Cup Rassie left the squad, and [then coach] Jake White brought in Eddie Jones to replace him just weeks before the tournament.
“Eddie made a marked difference to our attacking play. It was a masterstroke by Jake because Eddie was a breath of fresh air so close to the World Cup.
“So I see this as an opportunity to bring in someone fresh.
“It might be good for the squad because a RWC campaign is the only time in the modern game where a team is forced together for almost five months.
“That is a the biggest challenge a squad faces‚ so some freshness might be a good thing,” Burger said.
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