IT WOULD almost be a shame if Johan Ackermann were to crack the nod as one of the assistant coaches of the Springboks this year.
His Lions are slowly emerging as the top South African team after their heroic win over the Chiefs on Friday.
What made this win so special was the way the Lions matched the New Zealanders with intensity and flair.
To add to this, they also travelled all the way from Japan to New Zealand to narrowly win in Hamilton.
Ackermann’s side is now still unbeaten since the start of the Currie Cup last year. And while he is undoubtedly the best coach in South Africa at the moment, I say let him continue to build at the Lions.
If Allister Coetzee is going to get the Springbok job, you don’t want to limit Ackermann to assistant coach.
It would be better for South African rugby if he can build an empire at the Lions – the stronger our domestic game is, the better it will be for our national team. Besides, Coetzee and Matt Proudfoot usually go together and it might upset the head coach’s plans if Ackers were to be included in the mix.
Still, Ackermann shouldn’t see this as a diss.
What he has built at the Lions over the past few years has been nothing short of great. Flyhalf Elton Jantjies must be the frontrunner for the Bok No.10 jersey, but it’s the service of klein mannetjie Faf de Klerk on his inside that simply can’t be ignored anymore.
If the new Bok coach opts for combinations, he would be wise to keep the Warren Whiteley, De Klerk and Jantjies combo.
The Stormers, too, have been impressive under Robbie Fleck. As it stands, though, Fleck is still interim coach of the Cape franchise.
This has to change.
From the evidence in the first two rounds of Super Rugby, Fleck has shown a lot of promise as a head coach.
But while it’s still early days, he can no doubt only improve and has served his apprenticeship under Coetzee to now be the main Mackie. It is an exciting time in SA rugby and it looks like we have caught up with the overseas teams.
Healthy domestic rugby makes for good rugby at the top.
And if we don’t tinker too much with our coaching staff at Super Rugby level and allow them some trial and error, the Boks will be better for it.
So the sooner the guys at South African Rugby Union announce the new national coach, the better.
Just leave Ackers at the Lions, it can only benefit all involved in SA Rugby.
That doesn’t mean you can’t rope him in as an advisor though…