Bulls coach John Mitchell says a South African side will not win Super Rugby until they drastically improve the quality of their squads.
Mitchell, talking after naming an injury-hit side to take on the Jaguares, has had mixed results in his first season as head coach, with memorable wins against the Sharks and Hurricanes coming among defeats to the Sunwolves and 14-man Brumbies.
However, with rumours circulating of the Bulls interest in Ox Nche, Cyle Brink and Springbok No 8 Duane Vermeulen, Mitchell did not hesitate to point out what he sees as a problem in the South African rugby landscape.
‘We’re guessing and thumb-sucking to think that our sides can win a tournament of this magnitude, especially with the amount of games that need to be played,’ Mitchell said. ‘To rely on just a few world-class and Super Rugby-quality players is a joke.
‘We, as South African teams, simply don’t have squads that are of Super Rugby quality in its entirety. Only when we start creating squads of Super Rugby quality overall will a South African team win the tournament.
‘We’re creating a culture where we are putting young men in match situations they’re simply not ready for,’ said Mitchell, who has included young props Simphiwe Matanzima and Mornay Smit on the bench against the Jaguares. ‘It’s a reality and it talks on the scoreboard.
‘It’s all about changing your model and focusing on quality instead of quantity,’ Mitchell added. ‘It’s about having a focus on your flagship team in the club and that when you do invest in juniors, you try to get a return on investment. That forces you to be more accurate with your recruitment and create the type of competitive team that keeps players together for a few years.
‘We’re in advanced negotiations to bring in world-class players. Not stock-standard Currie Cup players.’
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