Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer faces a tough decision in the midfield whether or not to keep his captain Jean de Villiers.
It has emerged that during Saturday’s defeat at the hands of Japan in Brighton, senior players ignored instructions from the coaching box on how to play and followed their own lead, leading to the biggest upset in Rugby World Cup history.
De Villiers, as captain, has to take the blame for this, and aligned with his form, has left his coach boxed into a corner, with no easy way out.
While players following their own lead isn’t new in the game, the Bok coach already said after the game on Saturday night that he had told the players to use the rolling maul – a feature that led to two of the tries – more and to counter attack more rather than kick the ball back to the Japanese.
But instead of controlling the pace, and forcing Japan to play to their tune, the players on the field decided to ignore their coach’s instructions and try and play a running game that never really came off, with their discipline letting them down and keeping Japan in the game.
The team had a long video session on Monday where harsh words were spoken, and which ran more than an hour over time, as Meyer laid down the law to the players in the simplest of terms – either they make it right or they head home.