Springboks

Coetzee: De Villiers comments 'not ideal'

2017-04-04 13:21
Allister Coetzee (Gallo)

Cape Town - Springbok coach Allister Coetzee says the time for taking stabs at each other is over and that South Africans must come together in support of the national side in 2017. 

Coetzee, in his first year as Bok coach, lost eight of his 12 Tests in charge. 

That led to calls for his sacking from almost all corners, but SA Rugby took the decision to back their man and he must now deliver improved performances and results, starting with three Tests against the French in June. 

Former Bok captain Jean de Villiers went on record last week as saying that there was a lot wrong structurally with SA Rugby, and that the Bok jersey had ultimately lost some of its meaning as a result. 

It was an uncharacteristic statement from the 109-Test veteran, who has been vocal on his support for the Boks and has encouraged rugby lovers to get behind their team throughout this tough period. 

Coetzee, currently in Stellenbosch where a three-day Bok training camp will come to an end on Tuesday, was asked to speak about those De Villiers comments.

"It's maybe not ideal at this point in time," he acknowledged.

"But I've worked with Jean for a very long time and I think Jean is inside the camp rather than outside.

"As a group we are going on a good camp where we'll have a brainstorm of what is expected to be Springbok and what legacy you want to leave as a Springbok. It would be great for those guys to share their experience and the knowledge that they have."

Coetzee wants to see South Africans rally together and give the national side another chance in 2017. 2016, he says, is a thing of the past. 

"I just want us to move away in South Africa from where we just take out the daggers and rip each other apart," he said.

"Let's get together and see what is best for Springbok rugby. We've started with the franchises and there is great collaboration with the indabas and that's the way going forward.

"I don't see why we can't get it right. I maintain we've got good players, we've got good coaches in the country and we all love the Springbok. We must make sure that we all contribute positively to this season of Springbok rugby.

"Last year is dead and buried now. We've moved on and we have to turn it around."

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