Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber is probably glad that he has no hair on his head, because if I was him, I would have probably pulled all of them out by now, writes Dudley Carstens.
Under normal circumstances, the Springbok job is one of the toughest in South Africa. We all know it.
Now put yourself in Nienaber’s shoes. You just inherited the world’s best team, with the country’s expectation at a maximum.
You already have your doubters, with yours truly being one of those who asked questions about his credentials.
Then the pandemic struck and rugby was scrapped for a few months.
Your Rugby Championship competitors, New Zealand and Australia, have meanwhile returned to action, while you still don’t know if your guys will play enough rugby to be match fit before the start of the November competition.
Daai is nie al nie. Take a closer look at the 15 men who started the World Cup final against England last year and you’ll see they are scattered all over the world.
Starting up front, Beast Mtawarira has retired, while Bongi Mbonambi is recovering from surgery.
Locks Lood de Jager and Eben Etzebeth both play abroad, so you won’t get to test them locally, while Pieter-Steph du Toit and Siya Kolisi are also recovering from big knocks.
Among the backs, Willie le Roux’s appendix nearly burst earlier this month, while Faf de Klerk, Handre Pollard, Cheslin Kolbe, Damian de Allende and Makazole Mapimpi are all overseas. Good luck Jacques!