Rugby Championship

Boks: Meyer to pull clear of Coetzee?

2016-10-10 18:09
Allister Coetzee (Gallo Images)

Cape Town – Beleaguered coach Allister Coetzee will require a 100 percent record on the Springbok end-of-year tour if he is to look reasonably competitive against predecessor Heyneke Meyer at the completion of his first season in charge.

Should Coetzee manage to mastermind victories - many would consider that unlikely, given depressing events at Kings Park on Saturday - over each of England, Italy and Wales away in November, he would at least be able to boast seven wins out of 12 Tests in the calendar year.

That is exactly what Meyer managed in his maiden campaign in 2012, aided by the gradual progress evidenced on the annual European pilgrimage when his side clean-swept the roster: they beat Ireland 16-12, Scotland 21-10 and England 16-15.

But even if the incumbent does manage a much-needed “full house” next month, he would statistically trail Meyer as the former coach also bagged two draws during 2012 - against England (14-14) in a dead-rubber Test at Port Elizabeth after they’d already wrapped up the series, and Argentina in Mendoza during the inaugural Castle Rugby Championship (16-16).

Meyer lost just three Tests of his first dozen: both clashes with New Zealand (though they were considerably closer than this year’s two thrashings) and the away fixture against Australia in Perth.

Under Coetzee’s tutelage, South Africa have already surrendered five matches of nine.

Meyer was much-maligned for a cruel perception, during much of his four-year tenure, that he advocated largely stampkar rugby, but his teams - often marked by dominating, physical packs - also increasingly developed a penchant for some sparklingly-manufactured tries until he retreated into his shell towards the tail-end of his era last year.

Already, if you compare the first nine matches in charge for both coaches (featuring one bilateral three-Test series during the June window and a full Rugby Championship), he has an edge in the “tries for” column of 19 to Coetzee’s 15.

But it is in concession of tries where the current coaching regime is really being exposed right now - Coetzee’s teams have leaked 27 already, as opposed to Meyer’s 15.

Nor can you say that Meyer enjoyed an easier June series than Coetzee did in his very earliest baptism: the England side that the Boks beat 2-0 with one stalemate had been runners-up in the 2012 Six Nations, whereas the Ireland outfit pipped 2-1 not too long ago were third in the 2016 version and also arrived considerably short of key players.

Here are reminders of the first nine Tests for both Coetzee and Meyer:

Coetzee 2016 (W4 L5):

Lost to Ireland 26-20, Cape Town

Beat Ireland 32-26, Johannesburg

Beat Ireland 19-13, Port Elizabeth

Beat Argentina 30-23, Nelspruit

Lost to Argentina 26-24, Salta

Lost to Australia 23-17, Brisbane

Lost to New Zealand 41-13, Christchurch

Beat Australia 18-13, Pretoria

Lost to New Zealand 57-15, Durban

Meyer 2012 (W4 D2 L3):

Beat England 22-17, Durban

Beat England 36-27, Johannesburg

Drew 14-14 with England, Port Elizabeth

Beat Argentina 27-6, Cape Town

Drew 16-16 with Argentina, Mendoza

Lost to Australia 26-19, Perth

Lost to New Zealand 21-11, Dunedin

Beat Australia 31-8, Pretoria

Lost to New Zealand 32-16, Soweto

*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing


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