Coetzee says ‘sayonara’ to Stormers
Cape Town - Allister Coetzee
has officially said 'sayonara' after six years as Stormers head coach and eight years in
total at Western Province Rugby.
The 52-year-old will leave for Japan next
Sunday as he embarks on a new phase in his decorated coaching career with
Japanese club, Kobe Kobelco Steelers.
Under his watch the Stormers have played in
one Super Rugby final (2010), finished top of the overall log (2012) and
collected three South African conference titles.
There has also been success at Currie Cup
level, with victories in 2012 and 2014, along with runners-up medals in 2010
and 2013, while some good young players have become Test Springboks under
Think of Frans Malherbe, Eben Etzebeth,
Siya Kolisi, Nizaam Carr, Duane Vermeulen, Damian de Allende and Juan de Jongh,
with the likes of Scarra Ntubeni, Steven Kitshoff, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Seabelo
Senatla, Kobus van Wyk and Cheslin Kolbe - to name just a few - the next breed
of Bok hopefuls.
“I don’t think one can be defined by losing
a knockout match. To me, it’s what your management and players think about you
and how they play/work for you with a common goal in mind,” Coetzee told the
Stormers’ official website on Wednesday.
“I was invited to a team meeting with just
the players on Tuesday and it was humbling to have guys like Duane Vermeulen
and Schalk Burger thank me for my work here... to have Eben Etzebeth give me his
Springbok jersey… then you know you’ve done a good job - to me, that defines
you; to build relationships and to see how guys have grown as people and
leaders on the field.
“Someone like Schalk and I have done 11
years together, with the Boks and here at Province, having had players like
that play for me means a lot and it’s something I will take with me.”
Coetzee conceded that there had been some
tough times along the way, but added: “You can’t please everyone, but I’d like
to think I’ve left a mark here in what is a diverse and special union and rugby
region with an amazing support base, in The Faithful, all of whom have added to
the special times my family and I have had in Cape Town.
“Most importantly, I would like to thank my
players and my management - I was lucky that they always played for me; I never
lost the changeroom, I’ve made some lasting relationships and I will never
Looking ahead, to the next few years in
Japan, Coetzee admitted to being excited at the next phase in his career but
added that he would be back.
“It will be challenging and a bit of a
culture shock for me, but I’m excited and looking forward to it,” said the outgoing
Stormers coach, who also worked with the Springboks between 2004 and 2007.
“This doesn’t mean it’s the end of me in
South Africa… it certainly doesn’t mean that I won’t be coming back.”