Rassie -Another Sporting Documentary
His upbringing is key in how he thinks as others who influenced his life saw what he offered and helped him and now he does the same with his players. Coaching rugby is personal for Rassie and why he is so good.
This weekend I watched the latest sporting documentary about the South African Rugby boss as he is no longer the "coach" yet he is still in charge on and off the field. I do think he is a genius when it comes to tactical plans as no one really knows what is going to happen next. In other words with his team you have to expect the unexpected.
From the tv series "Chasing The Sun" which films 18 months out from the last World Cup and how Rassie planned their success.
When he took over the reigns of South African Rugby 18 months before the last World Cup South Africa was ranked a lowly 7th in the World. Rankings mean literally nothing however as games are won on the field and not on paper. He told the team when they were losing most of their games not to worry as they would win the 2019 World Cup and things would improve. Not many people know or realise Rassie was being treated for cancer during that 18 month period and was even having Chemo during the tournament. Quite remarkable when you consider this as he was facing a bigger challenge personally yet we would never know about it.
When we look at how teams are coached and the tactics they use we can see the team take on the personality of the coach. South Africa up until Rassie's taking over was a team that had no real direction as there was no real plan A or plan B.
After watching England play South Africa yesterday I would be worried if I was an international team coach. The tactics are changing from what every other team is doing. South Africa bought in the box kicking game 4 years ago which played to their strengths of playing a physical game. The team has evolved however and thankfully only showed a glimpse of where the team is heading.
If you understand what Rassie is capable of then you will understand what I am trying to say. When he was playing for South Africa back in the 90's he started something the game had never seen before. As a player he started studying the strengths and weaknesses of players around the world by watching hours and hours of video footage. He studied referees and knew what and how each referee would react in various situations. Nic Mallett was the coach at the time and he was blown away at the info they were gathering and how their tactics changed. The coach was being coached and influenced by a player who helped the team go on a winning run of 17 games in a row.
The difference from the last World Cup is the make up of the team and what they are doing with the ball. One has to remember that they are missing about half their team due to injury and those players are still going to return before the next World Cup.
The forwards are still the same with raw power and the aim is to dominate their opposition whereas the backline has changed. The ball runners they have and elusive side steps is the new weapon being cultivated. The team has at least 6 players now with speed along with ball and running skills that will leave opposition clawing at thin air. The next World Cup is not going to be a boring affair as other teams will be playing the box kick game feeding the runners that South Africa now has.
Rassie is not stupid as he knows what to expect from the other teams and do not read anything into the results from the last 6 months. The master plan is to win the next World Cup and the team is well on the way to achieving this. England and Wales are a shambles, New Zealand and Australia are struggling leaving Ireland and France as the real contenders. This is no problem even though South Africa lost narrowly to both of them recently. With so many key players missing plus you never show your hand one year out from a World Cup.
One has to understand the mindset of a coach who doesn't think like other coaches and why he is the hottest rugby brains around. He was the guy who used DJ lights on top of a stadium to inform the players on the field what the next moves were through the colors being flashed from the stadium roof top.
The team learn their moves through technology by using a computer game with the player all having a remote control to control themselves playing all at the same time. This is how the game plan has evolved as they know what to do when various teams do their moves as they know them off by heart and where every team player has to be. If you can find this documentary I highly recommend anyone who loves tactics to watch it as it is quite an eye opener.
One instance of what the rest of the world is up against is when he too over Munster Rugby Club in Ireland he never left the club until the early hours of the morning until he knew what and how he was going to improve the team. Those tactics and training methods are still used today by the coaches as they have formed the foundations of the club.
Watch it if you can as I am sure it will be available within the coming months on SKY, Cyberflix,Cinema etc.
If I was in charge of England I would leave Eddie Jones in charge until the World Cup and sign up Rassie to take over afterwards. The man is a genius on finding the best game plan for the players he has or he develops new skills creating a new game plan adapted to the players he has at his disposal. This is what coaching should be all about as what are you doing otherwise as you are never evolving and improving.