Former Stormers head coach Allister Coetzee was named new Springbok coach in Cape Town today, and experts agree that he was the best man for the job.
“No one is as qualified for the job as Coetzee,” Stephen Nell, Cape Town rugby columnist said.
“He’s achieved more than any of the franchise coaches – that’s if you’re looking at the Stormers, Lions, Bulls . . .”
Coetzee was one of the two senior assistant coaches, tending the backline, when the Boks brought home the World Cup in 2007 under the helm of Jake White.
“He’s a really good manager of people. He understands different cultures of people. He can speak Afrikaans, English and Xhosa and I think he’ll command a lot of respect,” Nell says.
He thinks the new Bok coach will help to rally the nation at large behind rugby. “He’ll make rugby more accessible.”
“As head coach Heyneke Meyer technically had a better track record. But then you can motivate that Allister was part of the management of the Bok team that won the World Cup,” Nell argued.
“Peter de Villiers wasn’t even a head coach at provincial level, neither was Jake White. Jake’s best qualification was that he coached the under-21s when they won the World Cup.
Legendary rugby writer Louis de Villiers, who’s a freelancer in Cape Town these days, gave a spirited response to the appointment. “Anyone other appointee would have made me quite the hell in. Allister deserves it.”
“He’s a guy who can work with people.”
De Villiers believes his ability to identify and develop young players will play a big role in the future of SA rugby.
“No one distrusts him. He’s never lied or lost his cool. He doesn’t come with an agenda,” De Villiers says.
Dawie Snyman, a backline legend and former Western Province coach, has no preference for Bok coach. “It doesn’t matter to me. It’s important that we win. We have to get away from the kind of excuses that are made for why we’re not getting results.”
“Allister must take the country’s people along with him. That’s what the Bok coach has to do.”
“I’m a rugby person and (Danie) Craven raised me with the idea that SA will also be tops. It’s about winning, and nothing else.”
“The Bok team wasn’t good enough (under Meyer). They’re ordinary people who have to work hard and they must win.”
Jan Boland Coetzee, a 1970s Bok legend who won South Africans hearts wearing the No 6 jersey, also contributed his piece.
“A coach is really a public relations officer. He must keep everyone happy. You have to keep your sights set on 2019. Allister is the ideal candidate to identify the best guyes. But he can’t do it on his own. ”
“Allister really need the wisdom of Solomon,” Boland Coetzee says.
“If you like a challenge and you can manage, the position of Bok coach is one the most exciting in the world. Very few can pull it off!”
“I think he’s experienced enough.” Boland Coetzee is also a fan of Lions head coach Johan Ackermann and would’ve liked to see him as Bok coach, but he complimented Coetzee on his flair for managing people.
To come to fruition in this thorny post Coetzee will need skill, discipline, flair and luck, Boland Coetzee says..
The new Bok coach received praise for his experience from many quarters. “Allister thought he could score a try diving but then he realised you have to put the ball down,” Boland Coetzee quipped. “He’s gone through all the trial phases.”
He only hopes that Coetzee will be supported by a good team, Boland Coetzee says. “Each guy in the team comes from a particular discipline and Allister’s job is to make all of it sing.”
“One man can change the world for just one person. Fifteen players on the field can change it for the coach, and that’s what counts.”
Cobus Claassen, rugby writer of Beeld in Pretoria, agrees that Allister is the obvious choice as coach.
“Allister has a long history in rugby . . . He works well with people. He’s proved in the past that he’s committed to transformation,” Claasen says.