Sacking BOK Coach Coetzee would be like putting an elastoplast on an amputation.

It is as simple as this. If the South African Rugby Union was listed on the stock exchange, the Board of Directors would be fired. The investors would have looked at the plunging stock, the disappearing dividends, and heads would roll.

There is no sentiment in business. Not when there is cold cash involved and expectant investors.

Are we taking it too far in saying that the Springboks are far more than sport and a business and that the Saru Board should fall on its sword?

Of course not. And when we are talking about a brand as internationally famous as the Springboks, the economic impact of a brand in free-fall becomes more complicated.

There are the direct stakeholders, the title sponsors and a whole bunch of supporting financial contributors that have their name attached to the Boks but, perhaps even more importantly, there is the countless multitude of “silent investors” that are the supporters.

The folk who buy (and burn!) the supporters jerseys and pay large sums to watch their team in stadiums around the world.

Springbok matches are watched by South Africans in virtually every city in the world. I have found a pub to watch a Springbok match in Bangkok and New York, others will have found a live screening in a startling array of arenas across the globe.

The Boks are big business. Those green and gold jerseys surface all around the world when the Boks play.

But what if more immediate supporters, those in South Africa, just stopped going to watch the Boks get humiliated …. again?

It is not debatable that the Boks are at their lowest ever ebb. Yes, they have lost a number of matches in a season before, such as in 1965 when there were seven losses and just one win (which was against the All Blacks) but that has been against top class opposition.

This year, the scale of the losses has been horrible, and how on earth can a Springbok team possibly lose to a very poor Italy team?

The easy target is Allister Coetzee and yes, he has been proved terribly out of his depth, but I feel sympathy for him and my sentiment is that the buck should stop with the Board that appointed him in the first place.

Allister was never going to be a success. And especially with the backroom staff that he was (mostly) given. I have nothing against Mzwandile Stick but how can he come from absolutely nowhere to coach the backline of the Boks? We know that it is because the coaching staff of Heyneke Meyer was seen to be too white.

Why on earth not continue with Ricardo Loubscher, one of Heyneke Meyer’s assistants who had spent four years with the Boks and is highly regarded? He would have been a merit appointment and offered continuity.

This is just one point among many that critics could make.

The bottom line is do not blame Coetzee for the blunders he has made this season, blame those who appointed him.

The stakeholders should be targeting the South African Rugby Union, not the hapless Coetzee. He did not appoint himself and he is surely doing his best.

But he was set up to fail by an amateurish Saru Board who did no forward planning – have they ever given that the Bok coaching staff changes entirely every post-World Cup year? – and appointed Coetzee almost by default. The suspicion is that nobody else could be found to take the job and the lateness of Coetzee’s appointment this year confirms that Saru were squirming ever since the end of the 2015 World Cup when they made it untenable for Meyer to continue.

Meyer did not want to leave. Yes he lost to Japan but in the end the Boks came third at the World Cup and almost beat the All Blacks in the semi-finals (18-20).

What would be soothing for the army of Springbok supporters worldwide (who can only voice their dissatisfaction on social media) is if the financial muscle that sponsors the Boks got together and read the Riot Act to the real culprits that are sinking South African rugby.

Sacking Coetzee, with no change among the green-blazered denizens of the Saru boardroom, would be like putting an elastoplast on an amputation.

BY Mike Greenaway



We could say the following in euphemisms, with kid gloves, if you like, but what the heck let us just say it like it really is: Springbok coach Allister Coeztee (AC ) must be fired by the South African Union the moment this Springbok team concludes an utterly miserable year that could conceivably have included with a loss to Italy (don’t joke), and then an almost certain loss to Wales in the tour finale in Cardiff.

It really is as bad and as serious as that. Rugby critics and luminaries have been saying this since June. Coetzee and his coaching staff are out of their depth and the issue is that the team gets worse each week, not better. This is quite possibly the worst ever Springbok coaching staff in 120 years of Test rugby in this country.

caption AC with OTC at Heart ( the short bloke in the middle ) with ran from 9-10am on Sat Morning

Coetzee heads a side that does not know how it is expected to play. Some of Coetzee’s selections are simply nonsensical, and the reality is that after 10 Tests in charge Coetzee simply CANNOT continue as captain of a ship that is going backwards.

There is no discernible game plan with an eye on the future. It is about picking a team each week that will do damage limitations.

A loose trio against England at the weekend comprising Willem Alberts, Pieter-Steph du Toit and Warren Whiteley? To be fair, that was about trying stop the England pack from bullying the Boks at the breakdown. But where was an openside flank to slow down the England ball and win turnovers for the Boks? Yes, there injuries in the position but heck this is about winning Test matches and I would have flown in Heinrich Brussow from Outer Mongolia (or wherever the heck he is …).

Coetzee must go now! There are still three years to the Word Cup in Japan. That is enough time for a coach like Johan Ackermann to come in and straighten out the mess, identify a game plan, pick appropriate players, and get the Boks on track.

The England victory over the Boks illustrates the point about how quickly a coach can make n impact. Less than a year ago they were the laughing stock of their country. They had had a very nice man in Stuart Lancaster as coach but he could not instil a hard edge in the England team and they failed to make the last eight of their own World Cup. England was a joke.
Less than a year later, England have won 11 games in a row under a feisty, fiery bomb-waiting-to-go-off Australian in Eddie Jones.

There is no more Mr Nice Guy. He picked as his first captain a hooker that had been regularly in the judiciary dock for dirty play, including biting. His point was that England would no longer back down from anybody. England are unbeaten under Jones and have climbed to No 2 on the world rankings

The Springboks, under the smiling Toetie, have fallen apart since losing by two points to the All Blacks in the 2015 World Cup semi-finals and well beating Argentina to the bronze medal (all under coach Heyneke Meyer).

In 2016 the Boks have lost six out of 10 Tests and conceded a staggering 31 tries.

How can this be? It is a disgrace that the Boks have conceded 31 tries in 2016. Well coached ….????!!!!

I am sick of hearing about the shock losses to Japan, Argentina and Ireland, as well as the whippings by the All Blacks in Christchurch and Durban.

Let me put this to you. If you were the Italy rugby team, and you obviously had seen the form of the Boks in 2016, would you not be licking your slips and slapping yourself together for a giant-slaying act? Would you not be seeing this match in Florence on Saturday as your World Cup final?

In over a 100 years, no Italian player has ever truly believed his team had a chance of beating the almighty Springboks. Quite right. Well I can tell you that every single Italian player will be believe that on Saturday in Florence they have a concrete chance of at last beating one of the game’s great giants.

Again, how can it come to this? How can it be possible that Italy will truly believe they can beat the Springboks, and if you are a Bok fan and are not worried … well you should be.

It is as simple as this. Allister Coetzee and his coaching staff are close to useless. They must be fired en masse asap so that the new staff have a full three years to coach the Boks back to glory.

by Mike Greenaway

Critical Thoughts on Allister Coetzee

In this post-World Cup year, the Springboks once and for all need to tackle a brave new world of attacking rugby and I am not certain that Allister Coetzee is the right man for the task.

I think Allister is an incredibly experienced and competent coach (21 years now with the whistle after 22 years as aplayer), and in 2008, I could not understand why he was not the successor to Jake White.

Coetzee had spent eight years as Jake’s assistant on the way to winning the 2007 World Cup and when for reasons best know to the governing body at the time, Jake was persona non grata, it made so much sense to give the reins to Allister.

There would have been a seamless transition from White to Coetzee. But apparently this made too much sense, and we thus had Peter de Villiers trust on us. Instead of Coetzee, the man nick-named Toetie, we got De Villiers, a maverick who liked to talk about tutus in never-dull press conferences that had media men queuing for front row seats.

We should also remember that Heyneke Meyer was chomping at the bit for the Springbok job in 2008, only to join Coetzee on the list of also-rans. The choice of De Villiers over Coetzee and Meyer is quite possibly the Eighth Wonder of the World.

So Coetzee lost out, De Villiers did incredibly well, results-wise, thanks to the most experienced squad of players in Springbok rugby history led by supremely wise men in John Smit, Victor Matfield and Fourie du Preez.

Then Meyer finally got his chance, and the workaholic former Bulls man must lie awake at night and ponder how close he came to cracking it once and for all for the Springboks.

Midway through Meyer’s tenure, the Boks began playing some of their finest rugby ever. Meyer was determined to add floursishing attack to resolute defence, and he was getting there. Who will forget those epic games at Ellis Park between the Boks and the All Blacks, where the only difference between the sides in the end was the superior fitness of the Kiwis.

If only Meyer had stuck to those guns. But he had two problems. Firstly he had gun to his head in that South African rugby is results driven and, secondly, he knew he would be judged on the World Cup.

If I might digress for a minute. Compare this to what is going on at the Golden Lions in Johannesburg. Johan Ackerman has been given a mandate to fix the Lions and to do whatever it takes over as long a period as it takes. And he has passed this freedom on to the players. Don’t worry about results, just attack, attack and attack. Play with passion and the results will eventually take care of themselves.

If only Meyer had had the same passport of freedom. He had the Boks on the path to becoming the best team in the world, indeed capable of beating the All Blacks at their own game, but then regressed to square one when the pressure to get results got too much. Nobody can blame Meyer. If only he had been told to continue playing positively into the 2015 World Cup with a view to winning the trophy in Japan in 2019.

So can Allister pick up where the Boks left off when in their attack phase under Heyneke? Heck does anybody recall the fantastic tries the Boks scored a few months before the England World Cup in Brisbane and Johannesburg? Possibly, but we all recall the Boks going back to medieval rugby in the tournament after losing to Japan, grinding out victories based on the kick-and-chase game.

My problem with Allister is that he could get the Stormers and Western Province to play an attacking game. He did extremely well to get the Stormers to a certain level, one where their defence was the best in Super Rugby for a number of seasons and their set pieces immaculate. But they could not score tries. For three years or so the Stormers plateau-ed out, unable to take the step up to mix it in the Super Rugby play-offs. They just did not have the attacking game to win the tournament.

So what will change when Coetzee takes over at the Boks on Tuesday?

by MIKE Greenaway

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