IN what is apparently not an April Fool’s joke, SA Rugby will announce the new Springbok coach on April 1 following a meeting of the general council on that date, with the issue of Springbok coach top of the agenda.
Yesterday the national governing body released a statement confirming that they have identified a successor to Heyneke Meyer and it is now a case of the council ratifying the choice.
It will almost certainly be Allister Coetzee, the assistant to Jake White between 2004 and 2007, the year the Boks won the Rugby World Cup in Paris. Coetzee was overlooked for the job in 2008, with Peter de Villiers a controversial choice. Coetzee went on to coach the Stormers until last year when he was pretty much given the elbow after failing to add an attacking edge to a Stormers side that ultimately stagnated in Super Rugby under his coaching.
Coetzee, now coaching in Japan, has said that he is available and hungry to coach the Boks.
(Pic -Coetzee with OTC team on Heart 104.9fm every Sat 9-10am}
But it is possible, but unlikely, that Coetzee might have been pipped by outsider Rassie Erasmus, the former Springbok flank, Cheetahs coach, and current Saru High Performance manager.
Nothing is ever clear when Erasmus is concerned and there have been conflicting reports in the media about his availability for the job. At one stage it seemed fait accompli that Erasmus would at least be caretaker coach of the Boks for the June series against touring Ireland, only for him to then say he was unavailable. But then last week Rapport newspaper quoted a Saru source as saying Erasmus had already started planning for Ireland …
Whether it is Coetzee or Erasmus, SA Rugby has made their choice.
“The high performance committee examined a list of potential coaches and identified their preferred candidate against a set of pre-determined criteria,” SA Rugby president Oregan Hoskins commented,” probably in response to growing media criticism that SA Rugby is vacillating on vital issues.
Indeed, South African rugby has been besmirched with controversy this year, notably the alleged tussle between Hoskins and his CEO, Jurie Roux.
“In broad terms we were looking for someone with a proven track record at an elite level, someone who would embrace the objectives of our strategic transformation plan, and someone who would understand the public demands of the job and what that entails,” SA Rugby said.
And that just about precludes Erasmus, who has just two years as coach of the Cheetahs in his coaching CV.
“The executive council accepted the high performance committee’s recommendation some time ago and the preferred candidate’s name will now be set before the general council.”
by Mike Greenaway
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