Sport / Rugby

Heinz Schenk
2 minute read
26 Jan 2017
1:50 pm

Saru dither on Allister Coetzee as they try to keep Mbalula happy

Heinz Schenk

The embattled Springbok coach will know his fate next week but is apparently safe due to political considerations.

Allister Coetzee will at least be waving to the rugby public still till end June. Photo: Stu Foster/Getty Images.

Allister Coetzee will have to wait another week to find out whether he’s still the Springbok coach.

The South African Rugby Union (Saru) on Thursday confirmed the outcome of the embattled mentor’s performance review would be announced “towards the end of next week”.

Also read: Nick Mallett: Only luck should save Bok coach Allister Coetzee

The Springboks sunk to unprecedented lows in 2016 as they lost a shocking eight of their 12 Tests, suffering record defeats at the hands of the All Blacks and Wales.

Mark Alexander, president of Saru, said all relevant stakeholders had been consulted and that various decisions have been made.

“We have reviewed all aspects of 2016’s performance,” he said.

“We have spoken to the players as well as the coach and critically reviewed the season. We have decided on a number of actions to make what we believe will be significant changes and will announce those as soon as possible.”

Yet those actions apparently doesn’t include Coetzee being sacked.

It’s now well-known that Saru doesn’t possess the financial means to terminate his contract early as that would cost the local governing body in the region of R13 million.

Instead, Coetzee might be granted the freedom to pick his own support staff.

Saru controversially “forced” certain assistant on him following his appointment in April last year.

The federation, however, didn’t comment on reports that Coetzee’s future depends on how the Boks perform in June’s three-Test series against France.

Political pressure is also very much a reality with Saru wary of terminating the services of a non-white coach after one year in charge.

Saru needs Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula’s blessing to bid for 2023’s World Cup tournament.

They have been conditionally allowed to go on with this process despite the Ministry issuing a ban on them hosting international tournaments due to them not fulfilling their transformation targets.

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