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Last Updated: Thursday, 25 September, 2003, 08:14 GMT 09:14 UK
De Beer supports Straeuli
Rudolf Straeuli
Straeuli (above) needs time to adjust, says de Beer
South Africa coach Rudolf Straeuli has been tipped to return his country to their former glory by ex-Springbok Jannie de Beer.

The Springboks have slipped to fifth in the current world rankings after a lacklustre Tri-Nations campaign, which included just one win over Australia and was marred by on-field fracas in a later defeat to the Wallabies.

The side, which won the World Cup at its first attempt in 1995, is now only fancied by bookmakers at 28-1 for the tournament.

De Beer agreed they had no realistic chance of winning the World Cup.

But he told the BBC Sport website: "People have got to give Rudolf Straeuli more time to prove himself. Even if South Africa were to lose 10 games in a row I'd hold onto him.

"The Springboks need stability. A coach has certain ideas about how to play the game but, if he realises it is not effective, he needs to put a system in place to make it better.

"I believe Rudolf is capable of doing that."

SPRINGBOKS UNDER STRAEULI
8/6/02: bt Wales 34-19
15/6/02: bt Wales 19-8
29/6/02: bt Argentina 49-29
6/7/02: bt Samoa 60-18
20/7/02: lost to NZ 41-20
27/7/02: lost to Aus 38-27
10/8/02: lost to NZ 30-23
17/8/02: bt Australia 33-31
9/11/02: lost to France 30-10
16/11/02: lost to Sco 21-6
23/11/02: lost to Eng 53-3
7/6/03: bt Scotland 29-25
14/6/03: bt Scotland 28-19
28/6/03: bt Argentina 26-25
12/7/03: bt Australia 26-22
19/7/03: lost to NZ 52-16
2/8/03: lost to Australia 29-9
9/8/03: lost to NZ 19-11
Total wins: nine
Total defeats: nine
Points for/against: 429/509

De Beer argues South African rugby authorities need to follow their English counterparts to show what can be achieved with patience.

When Clive Woodward took over as England coach in September 1997, he recorded three defeats and two draws in his opening five games.

Despite criticism in the press, Woodward held onto his job and has guided his side to number one in the world rankings.

De Beer added: "Clive Woodward had a pretty bad run when he started off. The papers wanted to crucify him.

"The papers are the same in South Africa to Straeuli. People need patience and even if it takes five years, so be it. It's done the trick for England."

Straeuli was criticised in the media globally after South Africa's 29-9 defeat to Australia, for the Springboks' strong-arm tactics.

Australia number eight Toutai Kefu was stretchered off the field after a shocking late and high tackle from Robbie Kempson.

It came just nine months after the Springboks were castigated for their violent play against England at Twickenham.

But de Beer defended his countrymen, saying, "South Africa are not a dirty side. This is just management getting overexcited.

"I don't agree with biting or pinching eyes but rugby is a confrontational game and it's the very essence of why we play it.

"The thing is that sometimes decisions go against players and they lose it.

"When you snap, you do the wrong thing and you are treated suitably for it. But South Africa are no different to England or Australia for example. They're no angels either."



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