Former Springbok coach Peter de Villiers has urged SARU to become “trendsetters” by finding a solution for the amount of matches being played in a season.
De Villiers suggested that while most coaches, players and sport scientists are in agreement that players are being asked to play too much rugby, no national governing body has stepped forward to tackle the issue.
In true De Villiers fashion, the former Bok boss encouraged SARU to stand up for the wellbeing of players and set a precedent for other governing bodies to follow.
“If we can get some rugby gurus to sit down to work it out and say to ourselves ‘where are we taking the game and where can we now be leaders for everyone else to follow,’” De Villiers told Ballz Radio.
“We had the GPS system that we used that the Boks isn’t using anymore. I know a guy like [Professor] Tim Noakes worries about it, the fact that we don’t use it anymore.
“We need to say ‘let’s be trendsetters, let the world follow us,’ and we write a blueprint for professional rugby,” he said.
De Villiers feels players are exhausted more by training than actual game time and said the negative impact player burnout has was apparent in the Springboks this season.
“At the moment [the Springboks] are bleeding because the players are exhausted,” said De Villiers.
“We need to get to the place where [administrators] understand that more [rugby] isn’t always better,” De Villiers said.
De Villiers said the Springboks’ 31-8 victory over the Wallabies was his personal highlight of the season and a crucial result for the team, who won seven of their 12 Tests in 2012.
“That was a brilliant moment in our lives this year because we didn’t have it easy. To get a moment like that is always good for the team, the country and for the spirit out there. It made all of us feel like we can again and it brought a lot of energy from it,” he said.
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