Johannesburg - In spite of coaching the Springboks to eight defeats in 12 matches this season, Allister Coetzee is likely to survive a review process with his bosses, but his management team might not be so lucky.
The idea is that by keeping Coetzee in his position the Boks will at least not start from zero in 2017.
But it is understood that the South African Rugby Union (Saru) realise they erred on many fronts in his appointment, among them forcing certain individuals onto Coetzee, among them then vastly experienced Johan van Graan and equally inexperienced Mzwandile Stick.
And, that by the end of the season, last week when they faced up to Wales, it served no purpose to have Matt Proudfoot alongside Van Graan as forwards coach and the likes of Franco Smith, JP Ferreira (both of whom joined as consultants for the European tour) and Louis Koen (as kicking coach) joining Stick in voicing their opinions and ideas among the backs.
Also, it didn’t help the Boks or Coetzee that the side had three different defence coaches this season, that a kicking specialist (Koen) only joined the squad for November’s tour and that there is no longer a breakdown specialist part of the management team.
It has been learned that at the season review, scheduled for 10 days’ time, Coetzee will be told he, and no-one else, must decide who he wants to be part of his management team for next year.
Smith, who guided the Cheetahs to Currie Cup glory this season, could well be one of those men.
It is understood the players on the recent tour of the UK and Italy enjoyed his presence and respected his advice and knowledge, but that other members of the coaching team have ”lost” the players.
The big question the bosses leading the review process have to ask themselves about the current state of the team, the management staff and the players, is the following: Why have the players and coaches not gelled and do the players actually believe the current coaching staff can turn things around in 2017?
Also, the Boks will be led by a new captain next year, an appointment that will only be made around June before the team’s next assignment, but it will be a crucial appointment nonetheless.
Adriaan Strauss’ days as skipper are over, but the obvious choice to take over the leadership of the team, Duane Vermeulen, is contracted to Toulon in France and according to Saru’s selection policy, no overseas-based player is allowed to captain the Boks.
Vermeulen then is ruled out of the equation.
Don’t expect to see many ”foreigners” in the green and gold next year.
That leaves a choice between Warren Whiteley, Handre Pollard and possibly Pat Lambie.
But what Coetzee will have to get right is that whoever he picks has to be the undisputed first choice man for the position.
And therein lies the problem.
If Vermeulen is picked as a player, then Whiteley becomes the second choice, and who between Pollard and Lambie will start at No 10 and be first choice (and then there’s also Elton Jantjies).
The Cheetahs’ Francois Venter, who apparently impressed immensely on tour, is also an option, but he too has yet to establish himself as a first choice player. The same goes for other leaders in the group, like Frans Malherbe and Oupa Mohoje.
Saru are hoping to have the review process done and dusted by the turn of the year so as to ensure that whoever is in charge next year has at least six months to put plans in place to get the Boks back on track. If new appointments are to be made, they’ll happen within weeks of the review process ending.