It would seem Springbok fans don’t allow too much margin for error when it comes to rugby.
Are Springbok fans putting too much pressure on rugby players to perform at 150%, week in and week out.
Referring to the inclusions of Zane Kirchner and Ruan Pienaar in the match this weekend where the Sprinboks will be taking on the Wallabies.
Both these inclusions were met with criticism from both the media and the fans. Specially regarding the inclusion of Ruan Pienaar who has been lacking form for some time now. Are fans however adding to the pressure felt by Pienaar to perform having the likes of Vermaak and Van Zyl breathing down his neck.
The same happened not long ago with Morné Steyn, where he also found himself having a dip in form, all it took was one bad game and both the fans and media wanted him removed from the Springboks and Bulls alike. A player who on many previous occasions kicked the Springboks and Bulls to victory.
The same happened when Bryan Habana moved to the Stormers. He was not scoring nearly as much as he had scored when playing at the Bulls and the fans hammered on this and wanted him benched. He currently holds the record for most tries by a Springbok player ever. He however had one season where he did not do what fans expected from him and was bombarded by criticism.
Percy Montgomery suffered the same fate, in his earlier career and he was written off by fans because of his hair and poor performance under the high ball. But afterwards all fans were in jubilation when he kicked the Springboks to victory in the 2007 Rugby World Cup. He also went on to break a couple of Springbok records.
The same fate struck Jake White on tour to Australia in 2006 when the Springboks lost 49 – 0 to the Wallabies. This performance earned him the nickname JOKE WHITE or JAKE THE SNAKE, after he had won the Tri-Nation in 2004 and at this stage had a 71% win ratio as a Springbok coach.
Then came Peter de Villiers, also suffering at the hands of the fans. Earning the nickname SNORRIE early on as coach of the Springboks. He was compared from the word go to Jake White and was criticized for playing his first season with Jake White’s team. Under his reigns the Springboks got kicked out of the 2011 Rugby World Cup due to controversial refereeing. At the end of his 4 year contract his winning ratio was 62% compared to Jake White’s 67%.
Elton Jantjies was believed by many fans to be the next big thing in SA rugby. All it took for this to end was a poor start for the Stormers in this year’s Super Rugby. Now most fans do not even want to see him near a rugby ball.
Do we as Springbok fans not allow margin for error and do we place players on pedestals and as soon as they do not dance to our tune, we rip the pedestal from underneath them and put the next player up there with the same high standards. Are we, the fans, setting these players up for failure?