CAPE TOWN – Another badly-kept secret in Allister Coetzee’s rugby coaching career was that he was going to return to Japanese rugby, and that was confirmed on Friday when Canon Eagles announced that he is their new head coach.
After leaving the Stormers at the end of the 2015 Super Rugby season – having been at Newlands since 2008 – Coetzee joined Kobe Kobelco Steelers before being made Springbok coach in April 2016.
It was his dream job, but it soon turned into a nightmare for the former Saru captain and scrumhalf as his Bok side won just four Tests in his first year.
Things improved somewhat in 2017 with seven victories, but heavy defeats to the All Blacks and Ireland, as well as a failure to beat Australia, saw Coetzee and SA Rugby come to an agreement to let him go this past January.
But now he has returned to the Far East.
“It is very exciting feeling to return to Japan. The last Japanese work I was able to enjoy the Japanese culture, Japanese culture was very challenging,” Coetzee said on the Canon Eagles website. “It is a great honour to be a member of Canon Eagles, with the vision of becoming one of the top teams in Japan’s top league.
“I would like to add my own new value to the advanced and professional environment that Canon Eagles has. I am looking forward to challenging new goals with everyone in the team.”