Coetzee leads pack for Boks coach
THE omens aren t good for the next Springbok coach, so hopefully he is not a superstitious man. SA Rugby will unveil their preferred candidate this Friday April 1 a date traditionally associated with pranks and hoaxes. But this is not a joke.
To compound matters for superstitious types, the candidate will become the 13th post-isolation appointment since the Springboks readmission to Test rugby in 1992. Hopefully there are no ladders to walk under or black cats crossing his path on his way to his first press conference in Johannesburg next Saturday morning.
Sunday World understands that former Stormers boss Allister Coetzee will be named as coach for one of the toughest jobs in world sport on Friday. Coetzee is coach of Japanese club team Kobe Kobelco Steelers, but will be freed from those obligations immediately.
If omens are being sought, there are some good ones for Coetzee as well. In 2004, when appointed Bok assistant coach to Jake White, the latter was appointed on Friday February 13, not a date usually associated with good luck. But under White that changed.
The Boks first assignment in 2004 was against a strong Ireland, just as it is this year, and SA won the series 2-0. Three-and-half years later they were crowned world champions in Paris.
The 2004 Ireland series also marked an overhaul in Bok rugby with a new coaching staff and a new captain in John Smit. Coetzee will face similar challenges although his time frame to prepare for the Irish is limited.
Coetzee, 52, will succeed Heyneke Meyer and also become the second black Springbok coach after Peter de Villiers held the position between 2008-2011.
Usually by this time of the year, when a new Bok coach has been appointed, he s already been in the job for a couple of months at least. The last Bok coach to be appointed so late was Rudolf Streauli, who also started work on April 1 (is that another bad omen?).
Coetzee has lost a couple of months because of the slow grinding of SA Rugby s bureaucratic machine.
The appointment of the Springbok coach has to go through many stages, the last of which is the approval of the general council. This body is made up of the 14 union presidents as well as the SA Rugby president Oregan Hoskins. The general council approves the appointment after the candidate or candidates have been shortlisted by the executive committee. It s usually a rubberstamping process and little more, but in the strange world of SA Rugby, nothing can be ruled out.
Meyer decided against reapplying for his job in December once he realised he had lost support within SA Rugby s corridors. Trying to stay on was futile, but his late decision had a knock-on effect on the timing for his successor. SA Rugby s technical committee had not had any time to scout possible replacements before the last general council meeting in early December. It meets quarterly and the next meeting is this Friday.
SA Rugby s broad criteria for the new coach were straightforward no foreigner, a man who has shown commitment to transformation, has enjoyed success at a high level and would be a positive face of the Springbok brand.
Once those boundaries had been set, theoretically Coetzee was easily the best man for the job. Now he will have to prove it in reality. TIGER Woods s long-term injuries may have been self-inflicted but he will win again although probably not a major.
I don t doubt that he ll come back to the winner s circle,” his former caddie Steve Williams said in an interview broadcast by the BBC.
But whether he comes back and wins more major championships? That s going to be a very difficult task,” added the New Zealander.
Williams was Woods s right-hand man between 1999 and 2009, carrying his bag for 13 of the American s 14 major victories and an astonishing 84 tournament wins in all. He has an incredible work ethic, when he can work hard, so I wouldn t go as far as saying he won t get back into the winner s circle because one thing he does know how to do is win,” Williams said.
The former world number one has plummeted to 467th in the rankings having not picked up a club competitively after undergoing two back operations in September and October.
Williams agreed that Woods s spate of injuries was self-inflicted by an intensive training and strengthening regime in his younger days. It s very hard to pinpoint how he s got to where he is now
When he looks back he might question some of the activities he did, some of the gym work he might have done that had all these injuries escalate.” Williams now works parttime for Adam Scott and will carry for the Australian when the season s first major, the US Masters, begins at Augusta in just over two weeks.
He also worked for other former major winners in Greg Norman and Ray Floyd, but says Woods is unique in his unbelievable desire to win
Now other guys would be happy if they had a top-five finish, a top-10 finish, some weeks even if they made the cut but the only time [Woods] enjoyed was when he won. The rest of it didn t matter. Unless you won it wasn t a satisfactory week.”
Williams and Woods do not speak since they parted company in 2009, despite the pair being once so close that they were best man at each other s weddings. And Williams caused a furore when writing in his book last year that his former boss treated him like a slave But he still recalls with pride their heyday between 1999 and 2005, when Woods won nine of his major titles.
He had this amazing drive to break Jack Nicklaus s record [of 18 major wins], which of course I bought into,” said Williams. I saw no reason to believe he wasn t going to do that. It s just a shame that it looks very difficult at this time that he s going to achieve that. I m not saying it s going to be impossible but it looks harder and harder.”
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