Monday, 14 November 2016

Observations from the weekend's November Internationals

1. Scotland can play a bit, but sooner or later they’re going to have to stop patting themselves on the back for gallant defeats. The game against Australia was there to be won and ultimately they just weren’t good enough, again. Harsh? Fair.

2. I’m not sure what Wales are trying to do at the moment and, from Saturday’s performance against Argentina, neither are the players. The Welsh appear caught between Warrenball and a wider, more expansive game. Currently it’s neither one thing or the other although admittedly it was enough against the strangely subdued Pumas.

3. South Africa have all sorts of problems. England won at a canter without ever really playing that well and it seems there is a great deal of soul searching going on among Springbok fans. So much so that I received several versions of the same email yesterday from “the South African rugby community” demanding:

- the replacement of the current South African coaching group; and

- the end of “quotas” in selection on the grounds of racial discrimination.

While I can see the arguments for replacing a failing coaching team, the second demand is loaded with controversy.

Quotas were only introduced, I understand, following South African rugby’s failure over 20+ years to develop and integrate “players of colour” (horrible phrase). There are no easy answers, but I suspect that the quota system is becoming a very convenient scapegoat for the current woes of the Springbok team.

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