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Springboks paying price for 'power' obsession

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    31 Aug 2016     Getty Images

The Springboks suffered their first loss in Argentina at the weekend and criticism has started to roll ahead of the side's tour to Australia and New Zealand for the next two games.

Andre Markgraff, who coached in 1996, and Carel du Plessis, who followed Markgraff a year later, both said Coetzee was not responsible for the situation he had inherited.

Markgraff told Netwerk24, "It's 2016 and we still don't have uniformity among our Super Rugby franchises, we can't decide how many teams should play in the Currie Cup competition and then we also have a shortage of experienced coaches.

"What we're seeing now at the Springboks is simply the end product of it all. It won't help criticising the Bok coach, because South African rugby has a string of problems."

Du Plessis said South African rugby was paying the price for taking too long to move away from its obsession with power.

"We neglected our skills and while our decision-making is already better, it's not close to that of the All Blacks.

"We're not bothering other teams' defences because for too long we depended on instructions on muscle mass. It will take time to again empower our players. Unfortunately, time is not a luxury for a Springbok coach," he said.

And first five-eighths Morne Steyn, who took the field as a substitute in the Argentine loss and who missed two penalty goals and a dropped goal, says the South African media and rugby public are over-critical.

Upon returning to South Africa Steyn said: "I'll now probably be the worst flyhalf in the world. In South Africa you just cannot win with the media and the rugby public.

"That's one thing I don't miss when I'm playing in France. [Here] the one week you can be the best, then suddenly you're the worst there is the following week.

"I'll probably now hear that I'm too old and have to hang up my boots. As a player you just have to listen to the right people and not let the unnecessary negative criticism bother you."

Steyn said as it was developing into a new era in the South African game the young players selected should be given the chance to establish themselves.

Meanwhile, the selectors have recalled utility back Francois Houggard for the Australasian tour. He was a member of the Springbok Sevens team in Rio de Janiero but a knee injury meant he wasn't considered for the Argentine Tests.

First five-eighths Elton Jantjies, who left the field in Argentina with a deep bruise to his thigh, has also been named to tour although whether he will play the opening game against Australia is still to be decided.

Wing Lwazi Mvovo has also been included to replace the injured Ruan Combrinck.