Cape Town - SA Rugby president Mark Alexander says former Springbok coach Allister Coetzee’s claim that he was set up to fail as national coach is “complete nonsense”.
READ: Mark Alexander stays in SA Rugby hot seat
Shortly before his dismissal as Springbok coach in February, Coetzee hit out at his employers in a letter addressed to SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux.
Coetzee sent a 19-page document via his legal representatives to Roux in a bid to show that almost all of the problems during his two-year tenure were due to external factors.
He hit out at SA Rugby’s decision to appoint Rassie Erasmus as director of rugby by saying the latter was “less competent” than himself.
Coetzee also said SA Rugby did not equip him with the necessary resources to adequately perform his tasks.
With the exception of forwards coach Matt Proudfoot, Coetzee also said SA Rugby forced him to work with a team of assistants that were decided for him.
Coetzee, who won only 11 of 25 Tests in charge, was relieved of his duties soon afterwards.
In an interview with Netwerk24, Alexander denied Coetzee’s claims, saying he was given the chance to change his management team before the Springboks’ game against New Zealand in Christchurch in 2016 - a game the All Blacks won 41-13.
“In Christchurch before the Test against the All Blacks I told him he could change his whole management team. We told him we wanted him to succeed and equip him with the necessary tools to do so,” Alexander said.
Alexander added that Erasmus and defence guru Jacques Nienaber were available for the Boks on their year-end tour in 2017.
That followed the departures of Brendan Venter as defence and exits consultant and assistant coach Johann van Graan.
“Before the Test against Wales in Cardiff I told Allister via a WhatsApp message that we could get additional coaches to assist him. He said he didn’t need more coaches and that it would disturb the team dynamics. Rassie and Jacques were in Britain at that time.”
Alexander continued by saying SA Rugby gave Coetzee all the help he needed and that Venter, Proudfoot and backline coach Franco Smith were on Coetzee’s wish-list.
“With all due respect, I just don’t think Allister was the right person for the job,” Alexander continued.
Under the guidance of Coetzee, the Springboks endured a torrid two years, with several unwanted records being set which include:
- First ever defeat to Ireland in South Africa - in 2016
- Biggest defeat to Ireland - 38-3 in 2017
- First ever away defeat to Argentina
- First ever defeat to Italy
- Worst ever year in Springbok history - 4 wins from 12 Tests in 2016
- Most points ever conceded against New Zealand (57) in both 2016 and 2017
- Biggest margin of defeat in Springbok history - against New Zealand in 2017 (57-0)