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Victor Matfield

Victor Matfield

Those thinking Springbok lock Victor Matfield will retire for the 2nd time may well be disappointed – it seems the legendary Springbok lock is set for another swansong at English club Bath.

The 38-year old Rugby World Cup winning lock should actually retire from playing after the Rugby World Cup and is contracted to take up a coaching position with the Vodacom Bulls next season, but it seems this may not be the case as he seeks a final payday before turning to coaching.

There have been rumours that since the axing of Frans Ludeke as Bulls coach – the Super Rugby franchise has not found a replacement – that Matfield may not be keen to go into coaching just yet, especially as Ludeke’s proposal to move to Director of coaching with Matfield and Fourie du Preez taking over the coaching reigns, was rejected with the Bulls bad run of results earlier this year.

According to sources close to the Bulls, Matfield was also told that the Bulls would not stand in his way if he decided he didn’t want to take up the coaching contract after the Rugby World Cup.

With this in mind, the news that Bath may want to sign him on a short term deal – a season in England to cap off a long and illustrious career – may well suit the Springbok captain very well, especially with the Pound very strong against the Rand at the moment.

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Coaching 101South African rugby is heading towards a coaching crisis and needs to be addressed as soon as possible, various experts have warned this week.

Former Bulls coach Chris Buitendach added his voice to the growing wave of concern over the state and depth of quality coaching in the country.

“It is a huge concern. 20 Years back we had a coaching conference and I said if we are not proactive in the training of coaches we won’t have quality coaches left,” Buitendach said at the launch of an international coaching conference in Pretoria on Friday.

“The biggest problem we have in South Africa is we don’t have a pathway where we identify coaches like we do with players.”

Buitendach said the country had a wealth of players but there were few coaches that could boast with a ‘CV of success’ while there was no formal plan to bring coaches through the ranks.

“At the moment we are in trouble, we have Franco Smith and Johan Ackermann, who else?” he asked.

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Nick Mallett

Nick Mallett

Former Springbok coach Nick Mallett has highlighted the difference between local coaches compared to their New Zealand counterparts.

Mallett was speaking in the SuperSport studio on Saturday night following a dismal weekend for South African teams in Super Rugby.

All 4 teams competing lost, with the Vodacom Bulls going down to the Blues in Auckland (23 / 18), the Cell C Sharks losing to the Waratahs in Sydney (33 / 18), the Emirates Lions undone by the Brumbies in Johannesburg (30 / 20) and the Toyota Cheetahs thumped by the Highlanders in Bloemfontein (45 / 24).

Mallett said: “At halftime we heard Naka (Drotske, Cheetahs coach) say it’s back to basics. So for the 1st 10 minutes of the 2nd half we saw driving mauls and up-and-unders. And it was strange that they were kicking up-and-unders on Patrick Osborne because he’s a very big guy.

“The coaching that you get in New Zealand is very different from what you get here. At practice they will put players into situations that they’ll face in game. They will play attack against defence. The attack is faced with varying types of defence – a press defence, a shift defence, a slow defence, a staggered defence, a tight defence or a wide defence. And they get the attack to choose the right option in relation to the defence they’re confronted with.

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Nick MallettNick Mallett, who will take charge of the World XV against the Springboks in June, has ruled out a return to coaching full-time.

Mallett, 57, was earlier this week confirmed as coach of the team to face the Springboks at Newlands on 7 June.

He did, however, state that he was not interested in getting a coaching role on a full-time basis.

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Coaches should know everything, right? And shouldn’t the players do what the coach wants without question? No, I disagree. I think that the players should know more than the coach and that they should be making the decisions. Here’s why……

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This weekend that was I went to a coaching course with a group of players. The course was generally speaking very informative. We rotated through different stations doing basic handling, rucking, tackling and kicking drills with lots of feedback to players and coaches.

At the end we played a game (10 players on each side) called touch and ruck. It is a really nice way to enforce some basic skills at the young age groups. Players learn about maintaining the offside line, to go up in a line on defence and on attack, to touch with both hands (essential to learn that you need to punch through with the arms when you tackle), to rip and place and to clean-out at the rucks.

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A while back I wrote an article on martial arts in rugby (see here). The focus of that article was more on the tactical side of things; strategic approaches in martial arts which can also be used (and are as a matter of fact) in other sports like rugby.

An interesting development in New Zealand rugby over the last two years has been the increasing use of martial arts techniques and training methods in rugby. One of my colleagues was heavily involved with the Manawatu Turbos last year playing under Dave Rennie. Rennie of course is now coaching the Chiefs and one can clearly see some of these techniques now being used by the Chiefs. According to my colleague, Rennie has acquired the services of a martial arts expert in Hamilton who is now working with the Chiefs.

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With all the criticism Peter de Villiers and his coaching staff have received following the Tri-Nations tour I came across a very different view from a blogger called David.  His assessment is unique to say the least and he does not muck around with niceties so be warned, this puppy is explosive! I recommend a PG16 rating for this one. Continue reading


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