Coet­zee ready for sack af­ter Boks’ hor­ror year

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

South Africa coach Al­lis­ter Coet­zee ac­cepted the sack was a real pos­si­bil­ity af­ter over­see­ing a woe­ful 2016 for the Spring­boks. But he in­sisted he alone was not re­spon­si­ble for a des­per­ate run of re­sults that cul­mi­nated with Satur­day’s 2713 de­feat by Wales in Cardiff.

It was South Africa’s eighth Test loss of 2016 — the most they had ever suf­fered in a cal­en­dar year-with the sea­son yield­ing just four wins from 12 full in­ter­na­tion­als.

On the way they suf­fered their heav­i­est home de­feat of all time, go­ing down 57-15 to world cham­pi­ons New Zealand in Dur­ban in Oc­to­ber, while last week’s 20-18 re­verse in Florence was their first loss to Italy. Although Coet­zee was ap­pointed on a four-year con­tract af­ter suc­ceed­ing Heyneke Meyer fol­low­ing last year’s World Cup, it is hard to see how he will re­main in post for much longer.

“I don’t fear any­thing, to be hon­est,” said Coet­zee. “Col­lec­tively, we’ve got to un­der­stand that it’s not just one per­son that can take re­spon­si­bil­ity for that. “If I’m solely held re­spon­si­ble for that, then I will walk away.” For­mer Spring­boks coach Nick Mal­lett said bet­ter na­tional coaches than Coet­zee had been fired.

“I feel dread­fully sorry for Al­lis­ter be­cause he is a de­cent guy, but bet­ter Spring­boks coaches than him have been fired,” said Mal­lett, an in­flu­en­tial and re­spected TV an­a­lyst.

Mean­while out­go­ing Spring­bok cap­tain Adri­aan Strauss promised he would be “ruth­less with the truth”. The hooker, who had al­ready an­nounced his in­ter­na­tional re­tire­ment, bowed out of Test rugby against Wales.

“I’m not here for a ‘pity party’, I am re­spon­si­ble,” Strauss told re­porters.

“I did ev­ery­thing I could this year,” added Strauss, thrust into the lead­er­ship af­ter the re­tire­ments of Jean de Vil­liers, Fourie du Preez and Vic­tor Mat­field fol­low­ing a 2015 World Cup where the Spring­boks came third. “I made a lot of mis­takes, I knew I would. But in ev­ery sit­u­a­tion I put the Spring­boks first and re­ally gave it my all.”

Min­utes af­ter the fi­nal whis­tle, SA Rugby pres­i­dent Mark Alexan­der an­nounced plans for a wide-rang­ing re­view, where the “num­ber one pri­or­ity is a turn­around strat­egy for the Spring­bok team”.

The 65-times capped Strauss re­sponded by say­ing: “I will be ruth­less with the truth... When I get my op­por­tu­nity at the right places I will make hon­est con­tri­bu­tions.”

Coet­zee, pay­ing trib­ute to Strauss, said: “The big thing for me is that there wouldn’t have been any other cap­tain cur­rently play­ing in South Africa that could have han­dled the pres­sure he has han­dled.”—


PARIS: France’s cen­tre Wes­ley Fo­fana (2nd R) is tack­led by New Zealand’s winger Ju­lian Savea (C) dur­ing the rugby union Test match be­tween France and New Zealand on Satur­day, at the Stade de France in Saint-De­nis, near Paris.

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