Stormers boss praises coach Coetzee
Cape Town - Stormers coach Allister Coetzee will take charge of his last South African derby on Saturday when the conference champions face the Sharks in Durban.
The Stormers have secured their place in the tournament playoffs, but Saturday will be the last time that Coetzee coaches the franchise in the league season before he jets off to Japan to take charge of the Kobe Kobelco Steelers.
At Thursday’s team announcement, Stormers CEO Rob Wagner paid tribute to Coetzee, who joined Western Province in 2008. Wagner was clear that this was not Coetzee’s official farewell, but rather a ‘thank you’ for the work done over the years.
Here’s what the Stormers CEO had to say:
"We’ve come through a five-year cycle in Super Rugby, and in that time you get to know individuals very well. This is a difficult time for all of us when you say farewell. Allister has been a remarkable individual in that he has never selected the correct team, he has never had the right game plan, he has never contracted correctly … but yet, he has an unbelievable record."
"In the five years of this cycle he has won the SA conference three times, the Bulls have won it once and the Sharks have won it once. That is a very, very, very good record."
"This unassuming man has taken everything on the chin and has never asked for pats on the back, and I don’t think I ever really recall him having lost his cool. The record that we speak about is quite remarkable."
"The other thing that he also had a large part in was the depth. Again this year we got criticised tremendously for the Vodacom Cup final, but I didn’t see any other Super Rugby franchise’s Vodacom Cup team competing in this final. It was only Western Province, yet again, largely due to his (Coetzee’s) planning and how we’ve dealt with players and rotated players."
"The other thing where he’s been absolutely marvelous is in the make-up and diversity of the Stormers team and the talent that he’s brought in."
"I can’t say how pleasant it is for me after having read at the start of the season that this team under the coaching of Allister Coetzee had no chance of reaching the quarter-finals."
"A lot of people don’t put any emphasis on winning the SA conference. Believe me, if you have played some form of rugby at a fairly high level, it is an enormous record to win that conference."
"To Allister and the guys, all the players who have been with him for five years in this cycle, I think you can be justifiably proud of your achievements … You have never asked for any accolades."
“You’ve written a very, very deep history in the lives of many men … certainly in my life … and in the rich history of Newlands Rugby Stadium.”