Cape Town - Former national team coach Jake White says current Springbok incumbent Allister Coetzee deserves credit for the turnaround in the team’s fortunes.
After a torrid 2016 season in which the Boks won only four out of 12 Tests, the team rebounded by winning their first five matches of 2017.
White expressed his thoughts on the Springboks’ efforts via a column for the All Out Rugby website.
“As the head coach in a country like ours, you’re really under the pump when you don’t do well, so when the team does perform, one has to give credit,” White wrote.
“It’s one of the toughest jobs in the world of sport, some call it a poisoned chalice, so when you’ve got five wins from five Tests, it’s massive.”
Coetzee has brought in assistant coaches Brendan Venter and Franco Smith who White believes helped in the team’s resurgence.
“Allister Coetzee copped a lot of flak when things were going downhill and, now that the team has turned around, he deserves the credit,” White continued.
“Last year, when Allister said, ‘yes, but I didn’t have time’ and, ‘I didn’t have the staff I wanted,’ people said he was making excuses. This year, he’s got what he asked for, and he’s delivered. He’s selected local players, picked the Lions stalwarts, picked a local captain, and brought in the staff he wanted and, so far everything has been spot on. When you recover from the worst Bok season with five straight wins, scoring 30 to 40 points every time - they’re doing something right!"
The Springboks’ next assignment in the Rugby Championship is against Australia in Perth on September 9 (12:00 SA time).
They currently top the tournament standings, leading the All Blacks on points difference.
READ Jake White’s full column on All Out Rugby