It has been a shocker of a year for the coach and his players and there is only one way to fix it. Coetzee and his management team have to go.
I’ve always found it extremely sad and disappointing when a coach fails after landing his dream job. But, as I said last week, sometimes coaches and players just don’t gel and I believe that is the case now with the Boks under Coetzee. It’s no-one’s fault, but South Africa cannot continue with Coetzee in charge.
There are plenty of issues that need addressing in South African rugby and there have been issues that have played their part in the demise of the Boks - like Adriaan Strauss announcing he is quitting, that many of Coetzee’s back-room staff were forced on him, a long injury list - but there can be no excuse for losing to Italy. None.
The Boks have simply not shown any progress since going down to Ireland in the first Test of the season in June. In fact, they’ve probably regressed.
There is no discernible gameplan, the players have no clue what to do when they have the ball and there is a total lack of confidence in their play.
Yes, the players must accept some of the responsibility, but who are the men behind the scenes who are supposed to be coaching them, motivating them, giving them confidence and backing them to play their games?
The buck stops with the coach. That’s it.
If Coetzee doesn’t resign after this week’s Test against Wales then the South African Rugby Union (Saru) must ask themselves if they can afford to continue with him in charge. How long will they give the current set-up to correct the wrongs of 2016, for how long will they be happy to continue without a proper full-time team sponsor and for how long will they be able to keep some of the better players in South Africa? These are the questions Saru must ask themselves if the Boks continue to struggle against teams such as Italy, Argentina and Ireland.
The Springbok brand is at stake here. It is a brand that should evoke strength, courage, perfection, power and success. It is none of these things now.
There is no reason the Boks should have lost to Italy. It’s not as if it was a severely weakened Bok side; many of the starters on Saturday (and in recent weeks and months) had years of Test experience behind them with others considered good enough to be talked about as possible captains next year. Others, like the locks, were deemed the best in the business a year ago, while others who got a rare chance to start, should have brought energy and zest to the team.
The Boks under Coetzee are a lost cause and it’s time to start afresh in 2017. Peter de Villiers wasn’t given a second chance after losing (controversially) to Australia in the quarter-finals of the 2011 World Cup and Heyneke Meyer, too, didn’t survive losing to Japan last year. It’s the nature of being an international coach - results matter and Coetzee hasn’t delivered.
Original source: Coetzee is damaging the Springbok brand