Cape Town - Former Springbok squad member Thando Manana fears Springbok coach Allister Coetzee’s job will get more complicated once Rassie Erasmus takes up his new role as SA Rugby’s director of rugby.
Erasmus, who left South Africa last year to take up a position at Munster in Ireland, will return to oversee South African rugby’s eight national teams and participation and management of 20 competitions as well as the development of players, coaches and referees.
Manana, who played three matches on the Springboks’ 2000 end-of-year tour to Europe and Argentina, told Sport24 in an exclusive interview that he was not sure whether the relationship between Coetzee and Erasmus would bear fruit.
“I certainly feel that you can’t have two bulls in one 'kraal'. While SA Rugby announced at the end of June that Erasmus will return from Munster as the director of rugby, there are whispers that Erasmus covets the Springbok head coaching position,” Manana said.
“Erasmus and Coetzee previously worked together during their time at Western Province and the Stormers, but it’s a relationship that I would say, in all honesty, could turn out to be a disaster owing to how their relationship took another turn. I believe Allister was not kept abreast with developments regarding Rassie’s return to SARU and it’s an open secret that Allister wasn’t SA Rugby’s preferred candidate for the heading coaching post”.
Manana said he held Coetzee in high regard.
“He has had to endure a lot in his lifetime, broke down barriers and became a World Cup-winner. We go back a long way - he was my teacher at primary school and we first had a student-teacher and then a player-coach relationship. With Rassie’s return to SA Rugby, I believe Allister’s character will be heavily tested and it will be telling to see if the latter can stand his ground.
“The year-end tour to the northern hemisphere provides Allister with an opportunity to show that he is really onto something. Rassie is a person who knows what he wants and I think he will be sitting waiting for a call to say that he must take charge of the reins should Allister crumble under pressure”.