Coetzee: Life after Sadie, JJ
Cape Town - Western Province coach Allister Coetzee says they "tried hard" to keep the services of star duo, JJ Engelbrecht and Johan Sadie, but nevertheless insists they have enough talent to be optimistic about the future.
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Province ended another season without a trophy when they lost their Currie Cup semi-final against the Golden Lions in Johannesburg over the weekend. The Capetonians last won the Currie Cup way back in 2001.
“We understand fully the pain of the faithful out there, maybe even more so. The players and management are equally if not more hungry for silverware and there was lot of disappointment and introspection in the camp," Coetzee told the WP Rugby website.
But Coetzee insists a lot of positives could be taken out of the season, despite the departure of two of their brightest young backline stars in Engelbrecht and Sadie.
"I have not changed my mind on the value that this season will have into the future. The names of JJ and Sadie are bandied about in argument pointing to the failure of WP to develop and retain its youngsters and provide quality depth into the future.
"The reality is however somewhat different. Those players' contracts came to an end and we tried hard to keep them. That said, there are fantastic structures in place at all levels and a big group of talented youngsters coming through the ranks.
"This season 16 U21 players received significant game time in the senior competition, with the bulk of them having signed with WP for the future," said Coetzee.
The coach believes the experienced gained in the Currie Cup season will stand the youngsters in good stead in the future, especially with the 2012 Super Rugby season looming.
"It would have been easy to buy old experienced players for the Currie Cup season. We took the opposite route as a stated pre-season goal to continue the development of our youngsters to ensure depth for Super Rugby. Whilst it may be of little immediate consolation, that investment is a great one and will be of enormous value next season and into the future," said Coetzee.