Cape Town - Former national team coach Jake White says he feels sorry for under-fire Springbok coach Allister Coetzee.
Since starting his tenure this year, Coetzee has seen his side suffer their third loss in six matches after going down 23-17 to the Wallabies in Brisbane last Saturday.
It followed a 26-24 reverse to Argentina in Salta last month, while the Boks' 30-23 opening Rugby Championship win over Los Pumas in Nelspruit was also less than spectacular.
Earlier in the season, the Boks scraped home 2-1 in a three-Test series against an injury-depleted Ireland.
White, who currently coaches French Top 14 side Montpellier, has sympathy for Coetzee.
In an interview with Vodacom Rugby, White says Coetzee is doomed whatever decision he makes.
“I feel sorry for him. He is damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t,” said White. “If the Boks don’t play too much rugby then he’s told they’re being conservative. But then if they play too much and turn the ball over, then they’re told they need to kick the ball away and not play in their own half. I feel sorry for him, I can speak from having been in the job, he’s on a hiding to nothing...
“I think what has to change is that it can’t just be a job that is a free-for-all for anyone to criticise or have their view. It’s tough enough without having people from the outside interfering or having an influence.”
According to White, Coetzee job is unique compared to other coaches in world rugby.
“The (Springbok coaching) job wasn’t opened up for applications. They gave the job to Allister. Then they gave him his coaching staff without asking him to pick who he wanted. There’s no other job he’s competing against that is the same. When (Wallabies coach) Michael Cheika wants (assistant coach Stephen) Larkham, he gets him. When the All Blacks want Ian Foster, they get him, or if they want to bring in a kicking consultant that they want, they bring the guy in. You’re talking about professional sport here... Everyone is asking what is wrong in South African rugby, but you have to look at how the whole thing started...” continued White.
Coetzee was White’s assistant when he coached the Springboks between 2004 and 2007.
White’s tenure ended with the Boks winning the 2007 World Cup in France.
Listen to the full interview