Coetzee ready, available to become Bok coach


Coetzee, who coaches Japanese club Kobe Steelers after leaving the Stormers in 2015, said in an interview with internet-based radio station Ballz Visual Radio that it would be “massive” to be the national team coach.

The 52-year-old former Saru scrumhalf and captain has worked with the Springboks before from 2004 to 2007 as the backline coach alongside Jake White. They took the Boks all the way to the Rugby World Cup title in France in 2007, and now Coetzee is missing the challenge of the highest level of the game.

The South African Rugby Union has created uncertainty in the national rugby landscape as they have still not filled the head coach position following Meyer’s resignation in early December, although indications were that his contract would not have been renewed anyway after the Boks lost the World Cup semi-final to New Zealand in the UK last October.


Saru have had other problems to deal with since then, with top of the agenda being the spat between president Oregan Hoskins and CEO Jurie Roux, after allegations of financial mismanagement were levelled against Roux during his time as a senior director at Stellenbosch University before he started working for Saru, following a damning audit report by KPMG.

This has led to Hoskins calling for Roux to be suspended until the matter is sorted out in the courts, but the CEO has been supported by the rest of the Saru Executive Council and provincial presidents, who are believed to want to get rid of Hoskins.

That has put the appointment of the Bok coach on the backburner, as Roux had initially been tasked to identify the ideal candidate and make a recommendation to the all-powerful Saru General Council, the body which appoints the coach.

Now Saru have a high performance committee who have taken charge of the process, but an appointment is not expected until April 1 at the earliest, when the next Saru General Council meeting takes place.

The indecision and in-fighting has also resulted in Rassie Erasmus - who was seen as the favourite to become the Bok coach - apparently rule himself out of the running, according to media reports this week.

But Coetzee - who is on back home on holiday in Cape Town - is willing and able. Asked if it was too late in his career to get the Bok post after he missed out when also in the running in 2008 and 2012, Coetzee said on Tuesday: “Definitely not, not at all. I’ve never said that. And I know there’s been a lot in the media about this, and the only people that can decide and appoint will be the South African Rugby Union.

“But from my side, it is still one of my dreams to do that. That’s why I decided as a player, had that and it wasn’t to be. And into coaching, because the passion is still there for the game. For any coach I suppose, it would be the pinnacle of his career.

“For me, nothing has changed. To be able to represent your country, it’s massive, it’s massive. And especially if it’s Springbok rugby. I’ve had a bit of a taste of it, and I’m still growing as a person and I’m overseas, growing tremendously and working with other international players from New Zealand and Japanese internationals. So, definitely, it’s still one of the objectives in my career.”

Coetzee also gave his thoughts on the South African teams in the opening round of Super Rugby at the weekend, and said that the halfback combinations were crucial to the victorious SA sides - Stormers, Lions and Sharks.

“The key for me are the game managers here. If you look at the Bulls, that’s why they battled - at 10, the halfback combination weren’t good. On the day, both Paige and Brummer didn’t do a lot wrong, but didn’t really manage the game,” Coetzee said.

“The Stormers had the very experienced Jano Vermaak, who did really well. And the young Robert du Preez was up there. And I think that is what we will be back at national level this year. We have to look at our game managers - nines and 10s - and 12s maybe and see how effective they have been in the competition.

“The Lions have Faf de Klerk and Elton Jantjies, and it wasn’t an easy game against the Sunwolves, once you’ve looked at the way they had to travel. It is not easy to travel to Japan. It is not easy preparing there and playing at that stadium, difficult conditions.

“So they’ve really done well and got their bonus point, and that is what you have to look at. A team that no one could analyse, no footage, so it was quite a challenge.

“The Sharks, with Joe Pietersen’s experience at 10, and (Cobus) Reinach not too bad - the game managers again for me really did well.

“That’s why those three teams stood out for me - because their halfback combinations and 12s were about the best in their games, with the pack of forwards having dominance. The Stormers had total dominance.

“The Bulls have a bit of a mental (block) against the Stormers, having lost in the Currie Cup and Super Rugby in the last couple of years.”

The Cheetahs ran the Jaguares close in Bloemfontein, leading 24-3 at one stage. But the Argentine side was loaded with Test players, and that quality shone through as they hit back to win 34-33.

“The Cheetahs showed a lot of promise, but what I love about the Jaguares is that they got their house in order and international players playing. They have support from the Argentina Rugby Union, and did well in the Rugby Championship and the World Cup, and now in Super Rugby,” Coetzee said.

“It’s all exciting, but it’s early days. It’s about consistent performance, not just one good one. That’s how the confidence grows in the players and new coaching staff.”

African News Agency

Original source: Coetzee ready, available to become Bok coach