Johannesburg - National rugby coach Allister Coetzee has defied calls to quit after the worst year in Springbok history, saying on Monday he was determined to fix the problem and see out his contract.
“I've been appointed to 2019 and I want to make sure that when I leave I do so with a firm, concrete, tangible blueprint in place for how the Springboks must be run,” he told reporters in Johannesburg as the team returned home after a dismal tour of Europe.
Having lost to England, Italy and Wales, South Africa slipped to sixth in the World Rugby rankings.
It meant they finished with eight defeats in 12 Tests this year for the worst return in 125 years of Bok rugby.
“Sometimes things have got to go as low as they can before they can go upwards again,” said Coetzee.
“This now is a massive opportunity for SA Rugby to not only plaster over the cracks, but to clean it up.
“We've got six months until we get back together again and need to spend that time wisely, planning for how we're going to get back to the top,” he added.
Coetzee, appointed in April, was heavily criticised after South Africa lost 27-13 to Wales in Cardiff to end a dreadful tour, which included a first ever defeat by Italy.
“I feel dreadfully sorry for Allister because he is a decent guy but better Springbok coaches than him have been fired,” said Nick Mallett, one of his predecessors and the country's foremost rugby analyst on television.
In 2017, the Springboks will host France for three Tests in June before playing in the Rugby Championship from August-October, before ending the year again on tour in Britain.