Coetzee staying as Erasmus hired says South African Rugby

by AFP

South Africa coach Allister Coetzee will not be replaced, the national rugby body insisted Friday after announcing that Johan "Rassie" Erasmus had been appointed director of rugby.

The contract of former Springbok loose forward Erasmus with Irish province Munster expires on December 31 and he will then return to South Africa.

Coetzee masterminded a 3-0 Test series whitewash of France this month after being in charge of a disastrous 2016 season in which South Africa lost eight of 12 Tests.

It was a record number of calendar-year defeats suffered by a country that have been world champions twice and triggered persistent public and media calls for the coach to be sacked.

"Allister has done a great job to turn the Springboks around this season," South Africa Rugby (SAR) chief executive Jurie Roux said in a statement.

"I can categorically put to rest any idea that he is being replaced as Springbok coach.

"We will do everything in our power to support him for the Rugby Championship and everything that lies beyond that."
Erasmus will oversee the running of eight national teams, the management of 20 competitions and the development of players, coaches and referees.

South African defence specialist Jacques Nienaber, who has been assisting Erasmus at Munster, is also returning home to work as a SAR high performance coach.

Erasmus won 36 caps between 1997 and 2001, scoring seven tries, and has earned a reputation for innovation as a coach with provincial teams and SAR.

Meanwhile, Northern Bulls full-back Warrick Gelant scored three tries Friday in a shock 30-17 Super Rugby victory over fellow South African side Coastal Sharks at Kings Park stadium in Durban.

It was the first away win this season for the Pretoria-based Bulls and the first home loss for the Sharks, who have already secured a quarter-finals place.
Bulls, playing only for pride as they cannot make the knockout stage, dominated possession in their best performance of the year and led 17-10 at half-time.

While Gelant deservedly won the man-of-the-match award, centre Jan Serfontein also starred following three excellent Test performances for South Africa against France this month.

Sharks rested Springboks prop Tendai "The Beast" Mtawarira and loose forward Jean-Luc du Preez after a 3-0 whitewash of Les Bleus and the gamble backfired.

Statistics sure to concern Sharks coach Robert du Prezz before a possible last-eight clash with Canterbury Crusaders in New Zealand include 17 handling errors and 21 missed tackles against the Bulls.
Warrick Gelant"We wore our hearts on our sleeves," said Bulls skipper and hooker Adriaan Strauss after the three-time champions ended a run of six consecutive away losses this season.

"There were mistakes from us, but they resulted from over-eagerness more than anything else. Our younger players did extremely well and showed passion."

Sharks skipper and loose forward Philip van der Walt said: "We committed too many handling errors and could not retain possession long enough to threaten the Bulls.

"The team battled to get over the advantage line and perhaps there was an element of rustiness after the month-long break for the Test series.

"We need to take a long, hard look at ourselves and come back with a bang when we host Golden Lions in two weeks."

Bulls opened the scoring on eight minutes with a gift-wrapped try as loose forward Nic de Jager dotted down after snatching a ball thrown too far at a line-out by the Sharks.

Another forward, Sharks prop Thomas "The Tank" du Toit equalised by barging over from close range and full-back Curwin Bosch converted for a 7-5 lead.

When Bulls dispossessed Sharks fly-half Garth April in midfield it set in motion a move that ended with Gelant scoring and fly-half Tian Schoeman converting.

A Bosch penalty cut the deficit to two points before Gelant struck again after being sent clear by Serfontein to complete the first-half scoring.

Schoeman slotted a penalty five minutes into the second half when Sharks winger Sibusiso Nkosi was sin-binned for a dangerous tackle.

Despite being a man short, Sharks trimmed the gap to three points when a powerful surge by Du Toit led to Bosch scoring a try and kicking the conversion.

Bulls got back on top and Gelant completed his hat-trick with Serfontein again the provider. Schoeman kicked the conversion and a penalty.


Sharks 17

Tries: Thomas du Toit, Curwin Bosch

Cons: Bosch (2).

Pens: Bosch.

Bulls 30

Tries Nic de Jager, Warrick Gelant (3)

Cons: Tian Schoeman (2).

Pens: Schoeman (2)