Welcome Allister Coetzee – A few days ago, the South African Rugby Union announced Allister Coetzee has been named as head coach of the Springboks for the next four years. He replaces Heyneke Meyer who was in office since 4 years and led South Africa to the semi-finals of the last Rugby World Cup. Rugby Africa took the opportunity to interview the SARU :
(Rugby Africa) – SARU announced the appointment of Allister Coetzee, why him ?
(SA Rugby spokesman) The appointment of Allister was actually a very easy choice. He was the most successful candidate and we believe he has the right credentials and understanding of the important role to be successful as Springbok coach. He was an outstanding player in his own right in the era before rugby unity in our country, and he has earned his coaching credentials during his time as assistant coach to the World Cup winning Springboks (2007), a successful spell at DHL Western Province where he won the Currie Cup twice and as a successful coach for the DHL Stormers, where he won the SA Conference of the Vodacom Super Rugby competition on three occasions. He also coached in Japan.
– Have you discussed clear objectives ? What do you expect from him ?
The main objective of the coach is to win Test matches ! We expect the coach to, through the performances of team, ensure the Springboks continue to be a world-class rugby team.
– What did you learn from the last Rugby World Cup ? What mistakes are you determined not to see repeated ?
You learn from every match and from every mistake. We did everything we could to prepare the team as best as possible for the RWC. In the end we came very close to beat New Zealand at the RWC. Rugby is a game of constant improvement and that will always be our aim going forward.
– What would you like to improve, to set up ?
There are many areas where we can improve, as the new coach said, decision making and physical conditioning of players are two of these. Player welfare in general is a top priority for all teams and we will continue to strive for improve in these two areas.
– Once the Olympics are over, will you redeploy the 7s players ? France did it with Virimi Vakatawa, are you ready to do it with Cecil Afrika or some other emblematic players ?
This depends on the desire of the players themselves. The majority of our Springbok Sevens players have chosen to make sevens rugby their career and they have been very successful. Others, such as Cheslin Kolbe and Ryno Benjamin, choose to play in both formats, and it works for them.
– How do you manage the question of transformation ?
We have a comprehensive, approach to transform rugby in our country. This process is driven by the Strategic Transformation Plan, which looks at the transformation of all aspects of rugby in South Africa – from player and skills development to referees and the transformation the holistic administration of the game.
Photo credit : SARU