PRETORIA - Although there is strong speculation that Springbok coach Allister Coetzee will be axed, the former Stormers mentor says he won’t resign and is confident that he will lead the Springboks to the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
“It is not about my job, I’m contracted until 2019,” Coetzee said in the aftermath of his team’s 24-22 loss against Wales at the Principality Stadium on Saturday.
Coetzee, though, is not oblivious to the obvious, having finished the season with seven wins out of the 13 matches played, which includes two draws against Australia.
As much as the knives will be out for him upon his arrival on home soil on Monday morning, Coetzee will be relying a lot on the backing of his coaching staff and all of the players that he utilised on tour.
“They say it is called the poisoned chalice and it’s not called the poisoned chalice for nothing. It is a great challenge and a challenge I will keep on enjoying. The enjoyment comes from within the team environment and as long as those players are still playing for the coaches, I am there to be leading the team definitely.”
However, the record defeats to New Zealand and Ireland will certainly count strongly against Coetzee, as well as the fact that the Boks failed to beat any team above them in the world rankings.
While the Springboks enjoyed a three nil series whitewash over France and another win against them in Paris two weeks ago, the two victories against an out-of-sorts Argentina side and a below average Italy, the defeat to an understrength Welsh outfit won’t help Coetzee’s efforts to remain in the hot seat.
“But that is rugby (record defeats to All Blacks and Ireland), it happens. It happened to Australia and it happens to lots of teams. When you don’t get it right, then you don’t get it right on the day. This whole season the bounce of the ball really doesn’t favour us. But this is a transition phase that we are going through and for this year I am pleased with the improvement,” said Coetzee.
Coetzee is adamant that his side have made significant progress compared to the disaster of last year, where they only won four out of 12 Tests.
But by the lofty standards the Springboks set themselves and have attained in the past, Coetzee will know deep down that as much as the team showed improvement, it still was not good enough.
“I’ve got to go through a review but there has been immense progress this year in this team. We had really two bad performances this year, the 57-0 against the All Blacks and the 38-3 against Ireland but besides that we had two draws against Australia and we came close to beating New Zealand at Newlands.
“So there’s massive progress. We started out with a completely new team this year and for 13 Tests I am proud of the effort that these boys have put in and the way they work every week. I enjoy very much to work in a team environment that we have created this year and the way these players keep coming back and putting their bodies on the line gives me a lot of satisfaction,” said a defiant Coetzee.