JOHANNESBURG – When everything went wrong for the Springboks last year, coach Allister Coetzee was to blame.
Coetzee was blamed for selecting the wrong captain in Adriaan Strauss, it was also his fault that his management was given to him by Saru but most of all, it was all Coetzee’s fault that the Springboks lost eight of the 12 Tests they played in.
Fast forward to a year after his first Test at the reins of the Bok team, which was a maiden defeat to Ireland on home soil, and Coetzee has managed to guide the team to a win against France.
Instead of his detractors and naysayers applauding “Toetie” for the brave selections and style of play the Boks employed in beating France at Loftus Versfeld, it was the players that instead got the recognition.
I agree that the players should take a lot of credit for what we saw on the field in Pretoria, but who was the man pulling the strings in the background?
It was Allister Coetzee.
This is not about being Coetzee’s praise singer, but giving credit where it is due.
It was Toetie who meticulously put together the training camps during the course of the Super Rugby season, it was Toetie who insisted on defence guru Brendan Venter joining his management team, it was Toetie who chose Warren Whiteley as his captain and the many new faces we saw do their thing at Loftus.
And it was Toetie who gave the players free reign to map out this new team culture that they wax lyrically about from that week they spent in Plettenberg Bay.