Coetzee and Co failing to step up


Sure Coetzee has no say or control in a number of matters that are dogging South African rugby - like the hundreds of players earning their money overseas, the fact the unions have the biggest say in the administration of the game in our country and the very long injury list. But still, there are enough good players for the Boks to be performing far better than they are.

This year’s Test season has been a disaster, but for the above-mentioned reasons, Coetzee and his coaching team have largely been spared the kind of criticism that was levelled at other national coaches in the past. But at what stage does the South African Rugby Union step in and say: “Enough, no more. Thank you coach, but goodbye.”

The thing is, it is the head coach and not the assistants who must take the blame for the poor efforts. Yes, it is a collective effort, but in any sport it is the man at the top, the person in charge, where the buck stops. Look at football, the likes of Jose Mourinho, Pep Guardiola and David Moyes might be managers, with coaches around them, but they are the men who take the credit and the blame for their team’s performances; no one else. They are 'the man in charge'.

It is the same in rugby. Also let’s not forget that in most instances it is the coach’s decision who he surrounds himself with. It is also the head coach who makes the final selections and in the case of Coetzee his selections have at times been baffling, at other times awful.

Sure there are plenty of possible first choice players not available for this current tour because of injury or because they play for overseas clubs, But the majority of the tourists are good players who’ve performed well for their Super Rugby teams or overseas-based clubs, so much so that those foreign clubs are prepared to pay those players handsomely for their services. They’re quality rugby players even if they might not be Coetzee’s first choice men.

The fact is Coetzee and his coaching team just aren’t gelling with the players and getting value out of them. It is no one’s fault; it happens sometimes. Just like certain players don’t cut it at the highest level, so too, sometimes coaches don’t either.

Again, look at football coach Moyes; an outstanding coach for Everton and considered the very best man to take over Manchester United from Alex Ferguson. He didn’t last a year. It happens, but that does not mean the coach or coaches are bad or inferior.

In 10 Tests this year the Boks have shown no progress whatsoever. The style of rugby has been poor and the selections worse. Perhaps Coetzee and Co are just not the right fit. It happens.

The Star

Original source: Coetzee and Co failing to step up