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Ex-Boks don't do enough for rugby

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Sportal.co.nz     13 Apr 2014     Getty Images

The former Springbok flanker said South African rugby was being left behind because its players did not give back to the game when they retired in the way that New Zealand and Australian players do.

"In other countries, it is part of the culture that former players go back to their clubs, or schools, and pass on the knowledge that got them to the top.

"Too many of our former players say, 'Thanks, I am done with the game, and am off to start my business now with the money I made out of it [rugby]," he told South Africa's Sunday Independent.

While players insisted they had a great passion for the game, the depth of that passion was measured by how much they gave back to the game, he said.

There was also fault in the way South African rugby was structured with teams picked on size at young ages.

"Our skills set in primary schools is pathetic compared to kids in New Zealand. I went to a coaching clinic for juniors recently, and you could see our teams are still being picked according to size.

"The No.8 is the biggest, the scrumhalf can pass the ball best, and the flyhalf can kick it the furthest. Everyone else is there to make up the numbers, and that gets transferred into our senior schools rugby. We need to move with the times," he said.

MacDonald also felt rugby union was moving closer to rugby league. This placed greater emphasis on skills ahead of size.

"We've moved into territory we've never been in before. The laws of the game around the ruck mean teams are not committing big numbers there anymore. Players are numbering up in the line, and it effectively becomes a one-on-one contest.

"That is why players like Sonny Bill Williams and Israel Folau look comfortable when they make the transition from league to union. Their all round skills, especially one on one, are far more complete, and they are very hard to stop.

"They can step you, create space for their outside runners, and their handling ability also allows them to still make the pass in the tackle. That is very hard to stop, but it is also something we need to add to our game," he said.