No honeymoon for new springbok coach


Allister Coetzee, the new Springboks coach, is a battle-hardened veteran who knows better what it is like to endure unbearable pressure from both fans and the team’s directors. Under his tutelage, the unfancied Stormers side had been transformed into a formidable Super Rugby Side that often punched above its weight and outwitted highly esteemed opponents. Undeniably, his track record was impeccable.

But international rugby, coaching the Springboks in particular, is a different kind of a kettle from Provincial Rugby. Mentoring a team of a nation whose people always look at what would be considered trivial matters in Western countries through racial lens, Coetzee’s task is even more monumental than New Zealander, Eddie Jones, the England Rugby Team coach faces.

And so, Coetzee won’t only be judged at how successful his charges perform, but also how racially diverse they are (to borrow a cliché popular in BEE circles “how representative of the country’s demographics the team is”.

Evidently, Coetzee will have to maintain that delicate balance between transforming the composition of the Springboks, on the one hand, and ensuring that it is successful.

He has one massive mission ahead of him. Given the impatience of the South African armchair fan, he won’t have time for a honey moon, they expect success to come “now now” not latter.

Coetzee’s first assignment as Bok coach will be a three-Test series against Ireland in June, starting with a Test in Cape Town (June 11), before matches in Johannesburg (June 18) and Port Elizabeth (June 25).

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