South African media give brutal assessment of Springboks coach

by AFP

A mass-circulation South African  newspaper says Springboks coach Allister Coetzee is facing the sack after a shambolic season.

Third at the 2015 Rugby World Cup, South Africa have lost seven of 11 Tests this year, with the 20-18 defeat by Italy in Florence this weekend the most humiliating.

"He (coach Allister Coetzee) needed a win (against Italy) to keep the wolves from the door," wrote Craig Ray in the Sunday Times.

"His time is up and all that remains is for Wales to read the last rites in  Cardiff next Saturday."

The Test against the Welsh concludes a three-international tour for the Springboks, which began with a 37-21 defeat by England in London last weekend.

Coetzee called the defeat in Florence "the darkest moment of my coaching  career. Definitely the toughest."

He took charge this year after Heyneke Meyer opted not to seek a renewal of his four-year contract.

Meyer had faced public and media criticism for "pre-historic"  kick-and-chase tactics and largely ignoring black stars in race-sensitive South Africa.

Recently appointed South African Rugby boss Mark Alexander has promised a review of a crisis-littered season that started with a first home defeat to  Ireland.

"It has not been good enough," admitted Alexander, who succeeded Oregan Hoskins last month and has an in-tray full of problems, topped by the  embattled national team.

Before jetting to Europe, South Africa lost to New Zealand (home and away), Ireland (home), Argentina (away) and Australia (away).

The Springboks won the last Rugby World Cup they hosted, in 2007. Photo: Getty ImagesThey achieved narrow home victories over Ireland (twice), Argentina and  Australia.

The 57-15 mauling by the All Blacks in Durban last month was the heaviest home loss suffered by a country that has twice been crowned world champions.

Alexander refused to blame Coetzee, who made the Western Stormers the most successful South African Super Rugby side during six seasons in charge before  working in Japan.  

"It would be easy to lay the blame at one door or another and look for scapegoats, but it would also be an oversimplification.- Mark Alexander

"At the end of the season we will undertake a full review and (consider) what interventions may be needed to turn things around.

"It is our job to do as much as possible to make sure we are not in a similar position in 12 months' time."

 But the Sunday Times criticised Coetzee, saying "he has been unable to stem  the flow of pathetic results that have relegated the Springboks to a tier-two  nation".  

Italy reigned victorious against South Africa. Photo: Getty Images"Coetzee will point to numerous structural failings in South African rugby  as the reason for the downfall, but it does not wash.

 "There is disagreement on tactics among the coaching staff -- the defence  has been shambolic all season and the attack impotent.

 "Coetzee lamented that there have been three defence coaches, but he was in  charge and should have identified that area as the most important building  block.

 "The coach has picked players who do not appear to have the right fortitude to cope with the high pressure of Test rugby." 


2002 in London, England 53 over South Africa 3

A nightmare match for South Africa, who had a player red-carded after only 10 minutes, and skipper Corne Krige knocked out a team-mate when attempting to punch an opponent. 

2006 in Brisbane, Australia 49 South Africa 0

Calls for coach Jake White to quit reached a crescendo after this humiliating reverse. One year later, South Africa beat England 15-6 in Paris to win the 2007 Rugby World Cup.

2015 in Brighton, England, Japan 34 South Africa 32

Just when embattled coach Heyneke Meyer thought his tenure could not become any more tortuous, it did. The Springboks recovered from the greatest Rugby World Cup shock to reach the semi-finals. 

2016 in Durban, 
South Africa 15 New Zealand 57

The All Blacks toyed with clueless opponents, scoring nine unanswered tries. Had it not been for a swirling wind affecting goal-kicker Beauden Barrett, the winning margin would have been even wider. 

2016 in Florence, Italy 20 South Africa 18

An Italian team with a clever coach in Irishman Conor O'Shea, an inspirational skipper in Sergio Parisse and a team that performed the basics competently mocked international rankings that placed them 13th, nine positions below South Africa.