Rugby | Politics can’t dictate rugby in SA – Eloff

Cape Town – Former Lions coach Eugene ‘Loffie’ Eloff has
called on South African rugby bosses to not allow political interference in the

Eloff, who also coached the South African under-19 team to
world championship victories in 2003 and 2005, will soon head off to America to
coach the Austin Huns Rugby Club.

Eloff spoke to Netwerk24 following the Springboks’ shock
loss to Ireland at Newlands over the weekend.

It was Ireland’s first ever win over South Africa on these
shores and what made the feat even more remarkable was that they did so my
playing the majority of the match with 14 men after CJ Stander was red carded
in the 22nd minute.

Eloff felt new coach Allister Coetzee got his selections

“Before the first Test, Allister had to choose between
players who he was familiar with and form players. He picked the players he
trusted and the result of this risk was a loss. Some of them were clearly not
conditioned for Test rugby.

“Had he picked players on form, you could have said that the
defeat was growing pains at the start of a new era. But all is not lost. I
believe there will be changes and improvements.”

Eloff’s new team, The Huns, are based in Austin, Texas and
will from September compete in the new professional league established in the
United States.

“I’m really excited by this new challenge, I really
like to be at the beginning of a new adventure,” Eloff told the club’s official

“USA has the potential to become one of the most successful
rugby nations, and having the opportunity to bring my knowledge here will be
fantastic. I’m looking forward to working with the Huns Management, and all of
the Austin Huns volunteer coaches to help them grow the club and sport.”

Eloff though had a parting message for local rugby bosses.

“If you want to be competitive at Test level, you have to
make decisions based on merit,” he told Netwerk24.

“If you allow political influences to dictate who you pick
or appoint, you have to accept that you won’t be the best.

“I want to see strong leadership in South African rugby to
stand up for what is right.”

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