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Allister Coetzee’s fruitless reign in charge of Springboks ends

(Photo: Getty Images)

By Adam Ellis

South Africa will have a new coach take them to the Japan World Cup after Allister Coetzee was sacked after two years in charge.

A tumultuous reign reached new lows in the past two months as frictions between Coetzee and the SARU over the appointment of Rassie Erasmus fuelled rumours of a divide in relations.

In an explosive 19-page letter sent to the SARU by Coetzee’s legal team in January, the Springboks coach claimed he had been ‘set up to fail’ by the governing body who tried ‘to create a public impression of incompetence’.

It was announced last June Erasmus would leave his role as Munster director of rugby in December to take over a newly-created job of the same title with the Springboks, acting as Coetzee’s senior. Yet Coetzee would be in charge in line with his contract for the 2019 Japan World Cup.

On Coetzee’s departure, a SARU statement said: “SA Rugby had reached an agreement with Allister Coetzee to part ways with immediate effect.

“The Rugby Department of SA Rugby will manage the responsibilities of the Bok coach until the coaching and management group for 2018 is confirmed later this month.”

SARU chief executive Jurie Roux commented: “First and foremost we had to assess what is in the best interests of the Springboks. We’d like to thank Allister for his passion and dedication to the Springbok cause and wish him every success in his next role.”

The unwanted firsts of losing to Ireland on home soil, losing to Italy and an ugly defeat to Argentina did little to heap loyalty behind Coetzee’s position. But in leaving the Springboks the 54-year-old was magnanimous.

“I have always held Springbok rugby dear to my heart and will continue to do so and for that reason I think now is the time the team and me strike out in new directions. I wish Springbok rugby every success in the future – as I have always done,” Coetzee said.

 

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