CAPE TOWN – It seems as if Springbok coach Allister Coetzee isn’t going down without a fight – in the form of an explosive letter aimed at SA Rugby and addressed to Saru CEO Jurie Roux.
In the letter – which is in the possession of Independent Media – Coetzee mentions a number of reasons that he feels contributed to the Springboks’ troubled last two seasons in which they managed to win only 11 out of 25 matches.
However, in the letter, Coetzee refuses to take the blame, and also claims that he never had a performance clause in writing, and that SA Rugby want to reduce his role to a “ceremonial” coach.
Coetzee and Roux met on January 18, where he was told his contract would be terminated.
“At this meeting‚ you (Roux) represented the South African Rugby Union (SARU) and I was represented by Mr Piet Heymans of Sport Employees Unite‚ although I was also personally present in the meeting‚” Coetzee wrote in his letter.
“In the context of the engagements between you and I prior to the aforesaid meeting‚ it was made plain to me that the meeting would deal with the anticipated performance review and its procedures, as contemplated by my employment contract.
“Instead‚ the meeting was used as a platform to inform me of SARU’s decision that it intends to‚ inter alia‚ terminate my contract of employment with immediate effect.
“You further informed me that a further aspect of the decision is that my services will be terminated regardless of the outcome of the anticipated performance review‚ as contemplated by my employment contract.
“And‚ should I wish to remain in SARU’s employment‚ I will be reduced to a ceremonial coach‚ and further that Johan Erasmus (‘Rassie’) has already been employed to replace me and is already performing the duties of the Springbok Coach.
“Should I be reduced to the position of a ceremonial coach, I would have to face the indignity of reporting to Rassie.”
Coetzee also claimed that Saru made a “deliberate attempt to undermine” him right from the start.
“I was the most successful Super Rugby Coach at the time of my appointment and was requested to return to Springbok rugby from Japan because my country needed me‚” Coetzee said.
“My treatment since my return suggested that elements in SARU embarked on a deliberate attempt to undermine me from the word go and to create the public impression of incompetence on my part whilst wilfully obstructing my efforts to be successful.
“I will not allow elements in SARU to wilfully destroy me and render me unemployable as was done to Peter De Villiers.”