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Munster’s Jones turns down Rassie

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Munster skills coach Felix Jones has rejected an offer from South African director of rugby Rassie Munster to join the Springboks’ back-room staff.

Having already secured the services of former Munster coach in fitness guru Aled Walters, Erasmus has, according to the Irish Independent, reportedly been unsuccessful in recruiting another former colleague in Jones.

Erasmus’ hopes of keeping the same coaching group together that saw Munster finish top of the PRO12 log in 2016/2017 have been dashed by Jones, who comes highly-rated.

Jones is seen as a central part of Irish Rugby’s plans going forward having been recommended for the Munster head coaching position by Ireland coach Joe Schmidt, whom he helped on Ireland’s tour of Japan last June.

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Here’s how to pick a captain – Woodward

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The Springboks are expected to unveil a new coach in the coming weeks, and one of his first tasks will be to decide on a captain, presumably to lead South Africa to the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.

Allister Coetzee went with Warren Whiteley after Adriaan Strauss retired from Test rugby in the wake of the worst season in team history. And when the Lions greyhound broke down, Eben Etzebeth was promoted.

Siya Kolisi was a fan-favourite for the job in 2017 and the peerless pedigree of Malcolm Marx makes him an obvious candidate.

Duane Vermeulen has been linked with a return to the Stormers and, if Rassie Erasmus has the final say on the matter, the bruising No 8 will be on the shortlist to run Friday sessions.

While the Boks have lost their spring under Coetzee, England have rebounded spectacularly under Eddie Jones. The former Australia and Japan coach has, to the consternation of some, been unwavering in his choice of captain, abrasive hooker Dylan Hartley.

Sunday Times rugby scribe Stephen Jones has accused the England coach of “having tunnel vision”. England have won 22 of 23 Tests since 2016.

Clive Woodward, who knows a thing or two about winning, having guided England to a world title in 2003, likes the call to back Hartley, despite a track record of disciplinary issues.

“Eddie Jones was unambiguous in his backing of captain Dylan Hartley earlier this week… and rightly so,” Woodward wrote in his Daily Mail column.

“The relationship between an international coach and his captain, like any selection issue, is an art not a science. Jones and Hartley clearly works, as their record of just one defeat in two years testifies. I like Hartley as a player and a captain and I say that as one who has backed him all the way since his controversial appointment two years ago. It has worked and both Jones and Hartley should be applauded.

“Hartley is Eddie’s man, a player who has never once let him down either as a captain or as hooker.”

During his term, Woodward picked Lawrence Dallaglio and then Martin Johnson to lead England, and he did so based on the following weighted, five-point checklist:

1) 50 percent weighting: Is the player an automatic first choice who will play every minute and get into any team in the world?

2) 20%: Do I trust the player to deliver what my team will represent on and off the pitch. When I am not in the room, what will he be saying?

3) 10%: Does he have the unequivocal respect of the team in how he operates as a professional?

4) 10%: Does he have the ability to perform under pressure and make the big decisions at critical moments? Is he prepared to learn this skill? Ideally, he will also captain his club side successfully.

5) 10%: Do I enjoy his company? We do not need to be mates but we do need to have an ongoing relationship and consistent dialogue on everything to do with the team.

The Bok coach will have his own checklist, but if Woodward’s five points are applied to South Africa’s leading candidates, who comes out on top?

thanks to 

Coetzee can be sacked with no ‘golden handshake’

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According to the Sunday newspaper Rapport Coetzee will be sacked as Springbok coach even if he wins the remaining two test against Italy and Wales.

Coetzee have one of the worst record when it comes to Springbok coaches and it is believed that the record lost against Ireland a week ago was the final straw for SARU.

In his contract it is believed that he has a 65% win ratio to achieve as coach and at this stage he is far below that with 43%.

It all points to a showdown in December when SARU will review Coetzee performance and it now looks that they do not even need to give him the “Golden handshake”.

Time will tell if SARU will force this clause onto Coetzee when they do review his 2017 performances.

 

 

Coetzee unbearable, Venter unbelievable!

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Fellow Bok fans, I pity the loyal supporters who paid nearly R1000 to attend Saturday’s Test at Newlands. The coach is expecting to lose. His assistant told you to go to hell after South Africa drew with Australia, again! And you have to deal with generally obnoxious Cape All Blacks “supporters” in the stands.

Keba Mothoagae for AllOutRugby

It could turn into a messy weekend. But hey, you can’t say you didn’t see it coming!

After a 27-27 draw between the Boks and Wallabies in Bloem last Saturday, coach Allister Coetzee and assistant coach Brendan Venter went on record with some alarming statements.

“To think that this team after three months together can topple the All Blacks easily, it’s living in a fool’s paradise,” said Coetzee.

Are you kidding me! It’s tough enough getting behind a team that has, on average, lost 52-9 against the All Blacks during Coetzee’s term, but having the coach admit surrender is unbearable.

In June, I regretfully backed the coaches after the 3-0 whitewash of France. I didn’t care how poor Les Bleus were because ‘you play what’s in front of you’.

The Boks looked more than capable of a comfortable second-placed finish in the Rugby Championship, noting Argentina’s regression and Australia’s directionless state. And, after a dreadful 2016 campaign, four victories in the four nations tournament would have been a vast improvement.

The Boks got their two wins over Los Pumas, but blew two opportunities against the Wallabies. In between was the biggest loss in Bok history, an embarrassing 57-0 drubbing in the Land Of The Long White Cloud.

A loss in Cape Town, combined with a win for Australia in Mendoza, will see South Africa finish in third place.

When all of this is taken into account, the 2017 campaign is another failure – not yet as abject as last year’s, but still. And yet Coetzee has accused fans of living in a fool’s paradise for holding onto the small hope of a win this week.

Twitter-blocker-in-chief, Venter told justified sceptics to go shove it, saying that “if winning is all you see. Stop watching. Boys deserve respect, not criticism.”[sic].

Unbelievable.

It’s alright to defend yourself against critics, but to say this to people who are not apathetic to the Boks’ struggles is arrogantly ungrateful! I know Venter is refreshingly outspoken in an environment where the fear to offend is almost paralysing, but if it were up to me he’d get the sack for this.

The national team is beholden to the people, and not the other way around. We supporters are a lot more knowledgeable about the game than he thinks, and a lot of us are correct with the diagnoses of what is wrong with the team and how it can be fixed.

Venter and Coetzee’s statements are indicative of a low-expectation mentality coupled with not being held accountable by their bosses at SARU.

Can you imagine Steven Hansen or Ian Foster saying something similar? New Zealand would be in a uproar with dire consequences!

The match at Newlands is a contest between Test rugby’s greatest teams historically and statistically. At 77% and 63% respectively, the All Blacks and Springboks boast two formidable win-loss ratios that are barely comparable across all international team sports.

Unfortunately, the rivalry is dead, for now.

If anything, the Boks current malaise has made the All Blacks all the more fearful of an ignominious loss in Cape Town. And this translates to them making sure they will humiliate us at any given opportunity to underline their dominance over us.

Their ruthlessness is that absolute.

FRESH TAKE is an initiative to identify, feature and develop talented rugby writers who are not yet part of the mainstream media.

If that sounds like you, send us a sample of a story you’d like to write to info@alloutrugby.com

Springbok vs France fact sheet

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Some Springbok vs France trivia

Allister selects his first Match 23 for 2017

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In what must have felt like an eternity for many fans, Springbok coach Allister Coetzee has named his first match day squad for the this Saturday’s match against the French at Loftus

Venter with Italy till 2019

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Sport24 has reported on Tuesday that Springbok consultant Brendan Venter are still actually contracted with Italy until World Cup 2019.

This beg the question if Venter will be a long term solution for the Springboks or does SARU have something up their sleeves which they are not telling us?

Venter was Sunday announced as the Springbok defence and exit coach but it was stipulated that he will only be in a consulting capacity for the Springboks

Coetzee was dodging the issue on Venter involvement on Monday to the press and maybe this is now clear why.

Brendan is not a full time coach and it was already agreed he wasn’t going to attend Italy’s summer tour before the SARU announcement was made,” Italian rugby’s media officer Andre Cimbrico confirmed to Sport24 via email on Tuesday.

He will be back working for FIR (Italian Rugby) ahead of November’s internationals until the end of his stint, in November 2019 when the RWC ends.”

Although Italy will play against Scotland, Fiji and Australia in June, Venter will be with the Boks over that period and not with Italy.

The story going around at the moment is that Venter position will be re-assessed after the June test series against France.

The question now is…Is there maybe a bit more truth in the story that SARU is busy getting Rassie Erasmus and Jacques Nienaber back for Springboks rugby. Nienaber has proven himself as one of the best, if not the best in the world.

Springbok coaches happy with first training session

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As the extended training squad went through their paces during their first field session at the Wanderers Rugby Club in Johannesburg on Monday morning, Springbok assistant coach Franco Smith reiterated the need to put the Springboks first and praised the recent cooperation between the various Vodacom Super Rugby franchises.

The 41-man squad got together in Johannesburg on Sunday for the first of three training camps before the start of the international season. The Springboks start their 2017 season in June when they host France three times during the Castle Lager Incoming Tour.

On Sunday the 41 squad members, including five Young Guns, gathered in Johannesburg after a good weekend for South African Vodacom Super Rugby teams.

Following their flush-out session on Sunday afternoon all the players underwent medical check-ups and then attended a meeting to discuss the 2017 season.

Later on Monday afternoon, the players returned in two groups to a nearby gym, where first the forwards and then the backs continued with their strength and conditioning training. The following players did not participate in training on Monday because of injury: Uzair Cassiem, Ox Nche, Trevor Nyakane, Lood de Jager, Jaco Kriel, Rudy Paige, Rohan Janse van Rensburg, Sergeal Petersen, Damian de Allende and Jean-Luc du Plessis.

Speaking to a large media contingent after the morning training session, Smith reiterated the benefit of holding three camps before the start of the international season.

Smith was drafted into the Springbok coaching staff for the European tour last November and he was last week confirmed as the Springbok backline and attack coach, whilst continuing in his role as Toyota Cheetahs head coach.

The former Springbok backline player said: “It’s an unbelievable honour to be involved with the Springboks in this capacity, but I know that honour comes a huge responsibility.”

Regarding his dual role with the Boks and his franchise team, Smith said: “Personally, it will be an interesting challenge but it is not something that is unique because it has be done before (at Bok level) while some of the other international teams are doing the same currently.

“The fact that I will be in the frontline, coaching throughout the year, will be of benefit to me though and will no doubt help me to grow as a coach,” said Smith.

According to Smith, the benefits of the recent coaching indabas are already noticeable.

“The cooperation (between franchise and Springbok coaches) that we saw during those meetings is something that we can be proud of. As a franchise coach myself, we all know the national team comes first and we want to contribute towards the success of the Springboks,” explained Smith.

Emirates Lions players left the camp on Monday afternoon as they are due to fly to Argentina on Tuesday for their Vodacom Super Rugby fixture against the Jaguares, while the rest of the players will return to their different home provinces on Tuesday. The camp ends with a closed training session on Tuesday morning.

Coetzee stay as Springbok coach

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The Executive Council of SA Rugby on Monday reaffirmed its support for Springbok coach, Allister Coetzee, as it announced the coaching and management structure for eight national teams, involving 46 individuals.

Former Springbok Franco Smith was confirmed as a new member of the Springbok coaching team among a number of adjustments. A major new defensive coach will be confirmed once contractual details are finalised.

“Our coaching review was focused on the Springboks and we identified two areas to give Allister Coetzee additional support at the head of our most prized national asset,” said SA Rugby president, Mr Mark Alexander.

“Franco Smith will continue the work he began with the backs and attack at the end of last year while we are very excited about the new defensive coach we have identified to address matters raised during the review. We expect to be able to confirm that appointment shortly.

“I would like to apologise to our supporters for the delay in this announcement but assure them that it was necessitated not by a lack of clarity of intent, but by the need to first resolve all contractual issues. The outcomes we now have were agreed with Allister some weeks ago.”

Meanwhile, Johan Ackermann, will continue as coach of the SA ‘A’ team for the two match-tour of a French Barbarians team in June while Chean Roux, who won the Varsity Cup three times as coach of Maties, has been appointed as head coach of the Junior Springbok team, after a four-year stint with the Springboks.

Roux will be assisted by Mzwandile Stick, who will take up the role as backline coach with the Junior Springboks. Stick was also earmarked to become assistant coach of the Springbok Sevens team but he has requested to remain in 15-a-side coaching and given further opportunities in that format.

At SA Schools level, Lance Sendin (SA Schools) and Sean Erasmus (SA Schools ‘A’) continue as head coaches while Renfred Dazel (Springbok Women’s Sevens), Paul Delport and Marius Schoeman (SA Rugby Sevens Academy) will continue in their current roles.

Mr Alexander thanked Franco Smith for answering the call of the Springboks. He explained that Smith would continue as head coach of the Toyota Cheetahs in Vodacom Super Rugby (in 2017, 2018 and 2019) but be otherwise fully engaged on Springbok duty.

“Last year was an incredibly tough one for the Springboks and all of the rugby community suffered,” said Mr Alexander.

“We weighed many factors in the review process but we believe that these changes will strengthen the Springbok management hand.

“The new alignment at both a coaching and conditioning level with the franchises will also provide critical support to the national team. That process continued recently with our third coaches’ indaba and another is already scheduled for later in Vodacom Super Rugby when the coaches will come together for a third time to discuss our on-field approach. The conditioning coaches are also reconvening on the same day.

“I’d like to thank and commend all the Vodacom Super Rugby coaches once again for buying in to what we want to do and for putting Springbok needs at the forefront of their thinking.”

SA Rugby National team coaching and management staffs

Springboks

Head Coach: Allister Coetzee. Assistant Coaches: Johann van Graan, Matthew Proudfoot, Franco Smith. Team Manager: Ian Schwartz. Conditioning Coach: Warren Adams. Team Doctors: Jerome Mampane and Konrad von Hagen. Physiotherapists: Vivian Verwant and Tanu Pillay. PR Manager: Annelee Murray. Logistics Manager: JJ Fredericks. Media Manager: Rayaan Adriaanse. Defence coach: TBC.

Springbok Sevens

Head Coach: Neil Powell. Team Manager: Ashley Evert. Team Doctor: Leigh Gordon. Physiotherapist: Hugh Everson. Conditioning Coach: Allan Temple-Jones.

SA ‘A’

Head Coach: Johan Ackermann. Assistant Coaches: Abe Davids, Chumani Booi. Team Manager: Willem Oliphant. Team Doctor: TBC. Physiotherapist: Basheer Mohamed. Conditioning Coach: Andre Smith.

Junior Springboks (Under-20s)

Head Coach: Chean Roux. Assistant Coach: Mzwandile Stick. Team Doctor: Jerome Mampane. Physiotherapist: Karabo Morokane. Technical Analyst: Hayden Groepes.

Sevens Academy

Head coach: Paul Delport. Academy Manager: Marius Schoeman.

Springbok Women’s Sevens

Head Coach: Renfred Dazel. Physiotherapist: Reagan Cele. Conditioning Coach: Johno Meintjies. Logistics Manager: Michele English.

SA Schools

Head Coach: Lance Sendin. Assistant Coach: Ruan Bezuidenhout. Team Manager: Relton Hermanus. Team Doctor: Gerhard Coetzer. Physiotherapist: Kim Naidoo. Conditioning Coach: Andre Smith.

SA Schools ‘A’

Head Coach: Sean Erasmus. Assistant Coach: Mzwakhe Nkosi. Team Manager: Ofentse Moeng. Team Doctor: Gerhard Coetzer. Physiotherapist: Wernick Smit. Conditioning Coach: Ghafoer Luckan.

Coetzee can’t take Boks forward

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The decision to retain Allister Coetzee and several of his assistants would serve as a blow to the Springboks’ hopes of progress in 2017, writes JON CARDINELLI for SARugbyMag

You want to optimistic. You want to believe that all the scoreboards have been reset in the new year, and that ever Test team in the world will start again at zero.

Then you hear that plans are afoot to reward the worst Bok coach of the professional era with another season at the helm. You hear that there are few viable alternatives and that such candidates – read Rassie Erasmus – aren’t willing to wade back into the festering quagmire that is the South African rugby system.

The optimists say that the Boks couldn’t do any worse in 2017. My question to those people is this: With the retention of Coetzee and a few assistant coaches clearly out of their depth, can the Boks really expect to do better?

Will we see an improvement in results? Forget about evolution and Rugby Championship title prospects; will we see the Boks emerging from the 2017 season with their pride and aura restored?

Duane Vermeulen first broached the subject in the wake of the Boks’ humiliating 57-15 defeat to the All Blacks at Kings Park last October. Then Schalk Burger bemoaned the state of South African rugby in an interview with an English newspaper. That 57-15 scoreline was as much an indictment on the system as the limitations of the national coaching staff.

More recently, Lood de Jager said that the players will have plenty to prove in 2017. De Jager is not alone on this point. I interviewed Siya Kolisi this past week, and the flanker called on all of the players and coaches in the rugby community to work towards rebuilding South Africa’s battered reputation.

It’s the right attitude, but attitude alone won’t propel the Boks back to the top of the World Rugby rankings. There needs to be a change to the system and, as the shocking performances and results of 2016 suggest, a significant change to the national coaching staff. While SA Rugby has begun to address the former, it seems incapable of getting things right on the coaching front.

There are rumours that Brendan Venter may yet join Coetzee’s coaching staff as defence coach, and that Franco Smith is in line to replace Mzwandile Stick as mentor to the backs on a more permanent basis. Those appointments should boost the Boks’ chances of improving in three key areas of the modern game, namely defence, counter-attack, and aerial skills.

However, one has to ask how the Boks’ plan to improve their woeful kicking skills. They are also in dire need of a specialist breakdown or collisions coach. Their limp performances at the gainline in 2016 led many former players and coaches from around the world to conclude that the once feared Boks had lost their belligerent aura.

At the beginning of 2016, some predicted that the Boks would struggle. The prediction was based on the state of South African rugby, the late appointment of the coaching staff, and the limitations of Coetzee himself.

The Boks failed to meet the modest expectations, though. After losing eight games, a record that included an inaugural loss to Italy, they were marked as the worst South African side in the professional era.

In 2017, locals and foreigners alike will expect the worst from the Boks. Again, the predictions will be based on the South African system and the fact that Coetzee – who had a mediocre record at the Stormers and was statistically the worst ever coach in his first year in charge of the Boks – has been backed in the position of power.

There may be a few minor reasons to celebrate, such as a series win against France in June and perhaps the first away win of Coetzee’s tenure later in the year. But in terms of real and significant progress, the kind that will inspire hope and belief that the Boks could be more than also-rans at the next World Cup, South African rugby supporters shouldn’t hold their breath.

Coetzee survives axe and stays on as Springbok coach

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In the end SA Rugby will choose the soft option by retaining Springbok coach Allister Coetzee for the immediate future following a review process of his first year in charge, reports Times

A well-placed source confirmed to Times Media on Wednesday that Coetzee was to stay in the job – at least until after the June series against France – after weeks of reviews and speculation.

The source indicated that there was a split about whether to retain Coetzee or not. SA Rugby had not officially confirmed the outcome by the time of going to print.

How the governing body came to the conclusion that a 33 per cent winning ratio, a non-existent gameplan, poor selections, sloppy defence and a decaying team culture that led to perhaps the most embarrassing season in Bok history, were reasons to keep the coach on, remain unclear for now.

But stay on he will, although the reprieve may be short-lived if the Boks fail against France. Which just adds to the confusion.

SA Rugby will also try to shuffle the deck chairs behind the coach by beefing up the back room staff.

It appears that backline coach Mzwandile Stick will be sidelined but not necessarily sacked – as if his limited input was the reason the Boks were so poor in 2016 – with Cheetahs coach Franco Smith taking over backline duties. Stick may have been out of his depth but laying the blame at his door is scapegoating at its worst.

It appears that SA Rugby came under pressure from the sports ministry to retain Coetzee, because Times Media has reliably learnt that Rassie Erasmus had been coyly courted as time was running out to trigger his escape clause in his Munster contract.

How Coetzee will feel knowing SA Rugby were seeking alternatives is anyone’s guess, but not highly motivated or positive would be a good guess.

To add further confusion to the situation the source indicated that there would be a role for respected coach Brendan Venter to assist Coetzee.

But on Monday the Italian Rugby Federation confirmed that Venter would assist them until the 2019 World Cup. Venter did not respond to queries about his involvement.

So the Boks will stumble into a new season with the coach vowing to change things and for results to improve. And they might, but improving on a 33 per cent winning ratio shouldn’t be all that difficult.

Last year, in the immediate aftermath SA Rugby president Mark Alexander said the organisation had put a target of a 75 per cent winning ratio for the Springboks under Coetzee. Even if the Boks win all of their Tests in 2017, they would only climb to a 66 per cent winning ratio under Coetzee. And they aren’t going to win all their matches.

There was no word on whether SA Rugby have revised that number downward, but considering Coetzee has survived on his current performance, they must have. Mediocrity is the new target for SA Rugby.

 – TMG Digital

SARU not sure if Coetzee stay or go

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Since the Boks returned from their abysmal tour of Europe, where they lost all three of their Test matches, including a first defeat to Italy, speculation has been rife that SA Rugby had all but decided to persist with Coetzee as they do not have the rumoured R13 million they would need to sack him.But Alexander saida few days ago the organisation was looking at its options, one of which included continuing without Coetzee.

“We’re not sure which way we’re going, whether we’re keeping Allister or not,” said Alexander.

“We still have presentations to go through but no formal decision has been made on whether we’re going forward with him or not.

“At the end of January we’ll make an announcement on whether we’re keeping him.”

Right decision

If that sounded a little too much like Alexander pacifying a rugby public which would rather see the back of Coetzee before doing an about-turn come the end of the month, he surprised by warming to his “uncertain” task.

“We’re still looking to see if we’ve got the right people in place and, if not, where we can find them,” he said.

“We’re not sure what type of coach we want and what style we want to play. You have to remember that it’s not just one man – it’s a whole coaching team.

“There are no quick fixes, we’ve got some seriously big decisions to make.

“It’s easy to stay with Allister, [but] we need to make the right decision because whatever we do will impact our [2019] World Cup campaign, which we want to win.”

Alexander also revealed that, almost as if smelling blood in the water, coaches the world over had availed themselves of Coetzee’s job:

“A lot of names have come up, a lot of overseas coaches have thrown their hats in the ring and they’ve even got plans [about how to turn the Boks’ fortunes around].

“The agents have been busy…”

Alexander implied he and his top brass had been kept awake by trying to solve a lot of their organisation’s problems, which included their policy
on overseas-based players and their decision to increase the stake in provincial unions reserved for private investors.

“I didn’t go away for the December holidays and we’ve had five meetings this year already,” Alexander said.

“We’re taking a holistic approach and we are going to announce our policy on foreign-based players at the end of January as well, whether they bring value or not.

With regards to increasing the private stakeholding in provincial unions to up to 74%, he said SA Rugby had “attracted a lot of interest both locally and abroad.

“We’ve asked them to hold off until we’ve put the model in place but the guys want to talk now.”

He said SA Rugby had dedicated the last few weeks to a fair bit of soul-searching: “We’ve consulted widely to experts in the business of rugby both locally and abroad.

We’re questioning all the decisions we’ve made because sometimes we’re too close to the woods to see the trees.

“We need to get our strategy right and then put structures in place. We need to make rugby grow as a game and to play winning rugby.”

Skill coaching should no longer be just a buzz word

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Skills are the one aspect that most people have been complaining about lacking in South African rugby and most believe therefor it is the reason why we have been struggling in the game over the last couple of years at all levels

One thing that the modern game has shown us is that the most successful teams have the systems in place in either domestic level or at international or even both when it comes to skill development in players. With skills development comes vision and confidence which add so much more to a players ability in the game today.

England has also joined the trend  in appointing Rory Teague as a full-time skills coach after being in this role during the November series on a temporary basis. He come up through the system in England from U20 side and is a young and exciting coach. His CV shows that he has been with  Gloucester, Bristol as well as Grenoble and began coaching at Harrow School where he guided Maro Itoje from a young age, before moving to Wasps and then Saracens as an academy coach.

With rugby evolving all the time it has become very difficult to understand why unions do not invest more in skill coaching. Western Province have seen this as an aspect that needs major improvement in the union and appointed New Zealand attack and skills coach Paul Feeney.

This is seen by many as the step in the right direction for WP Rugby and that this should be part of any union in the country. The question now is why do the Springboks not have such a coach?

Last year one of the things that was identified at the Indaba was that skills are one of our problems today and if you find that most other top teams have such structures in place, then you asked yourself why not at the Springboks as well.

In the game today a head coach can only be as good as the people he surround him with and cannot juggle between roles within the team anymore like 20 years ago. The coaching team needs to be an collective effort with specialist in all departments and not just one guys trying to cover two or more aspects of the game, it simply does not work that way anymore.

SARU will make their voice heard in the next week or so on the future of the Springboks coach, the  blue print for SA Rugby and the way forward and we can only be hoping that they have it in there vision to appoint a qualified skill coach for the Springboks

 

Coetzee’s future to be decided in Jan

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The future of beleaguered Springbok coach Allister Coetzee will be revealed in January after he submitted a review of his team’s dismal 2016 season to South Africa Rugby’s Springbok Steering Committee on Tuesday, reports Super Sport

Coetzee and senior players, outgoing captain Adriaan Strauss, Pat Lambie and Tendai Mtawarira, gave their analysis of the worst year in Bok history in which the twice World Cup winners lost eight of their 12 tests.

The panel included SA Rugby’s High Performance Committee, as well as CEO Jurie Roux and president Mark Alexander, and the latter suggested there would be no snap decisions on Coetzee’s future.

“We know Springbok supporters and our partners are looking to us for instant answers and many of them may want to see heads roll,” Alexander said in a statement.

“But building winning teams is not an exact science and we want to make sure that the changes we make are the right solutions to our current problems.

“This was not a witch hunt but a proper process to interrogate where things went wrong with a focus on finding answers and ensuring that it does not happen again.”

Alexander added that the review will continue in the New Year.

“We will act upon whatever interventions are identified as being necessary by all involved,” he said. “I would expect that process to be completed before the end of January.”

There has been an outcry from fans over South Africa’s performances this year, including a first ever loss to Italy, a first home defeat by Ireland, a maiden loss in Argentina and a record 57-15 mauling by arch-rivals New Zealand.

The results have sparked a comprehensive review of the way the game is administered in the country, with SA Rugby also announcing last week that squad selection will no longer be made by committee. A single selector will work with the coach.

The choice of future Bok coaches will also be made by SA Rugby’s Executive Committee, not the heads of the various unions as happened in the past.

South Africa next play in a home three-test series against France in June.

Excellence is just a word to Coetzee

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Zelím Nel writes for Vodacom Rugby

Allister Coetzee has accelerated the Springboks’ nosedive and he has no intention of releasing his grip on the joystick.

“I can understand that fans are unhappy and they’d like me to go,” the Springbok coach told Netwerk24 on the team’s arrival in Joburg on Monday. “But I’m not someone who runs away when things are not going well.”

As was the case at the Stormers between 2012 and 2015, Coetzee has mastered the art of deflecting criticism for his direct role in the poor performances of his teams, fudging the issue with innuendos about external factors and promising a brighter future based on “learning lessons”.

Unfortunately, the affable Bok coach has proven to be a poor student of the game and it’s debatable whether he’s learnt any lessons at all.

Under Coetzee, the Stormers plummeted from a 14-2 regular season record and heavyweight contender status in 2012 to 26 wins in 48 matches over the next three seasons.

The single biggest factor in Western Province and the Stormers’ revival under Rassie Erasmus between 2008 and 2011 was the defensive systems implemented by Jacques Nienaber.

Coetzee made no apologies as he backed Nienaber’s plan to kick and defend, achieving unprecedented success in 2012. And then, as if the best season-record in Stormers history had never happened, he neglected defence in pursuit of the promise of attacking rugby in 2013 and 2014. WP were embarrassed in the 2013 Currie Cup final by a Sharks side prepped by moonlight coach Brendan Venter, and the Stormers went 16-16 during those two seasons.

Sidelined by Coetzee’s plans, Nienaber threw in the towel at the end of 2014 and followed Erasmus to SA Rugby headquarters.

Fast forward to the lead up to the announcement of Heyneke Meyer’s successor. Coetzee was presented with the option to reunite with Nienaber in a Bok management team that featured Erasmus as technical director, Johan van Graan as forwards coach, kicking coach Louis Koen, scrum coach Pieter de Villiers and Mzwandile Stick in a development role as an off-the-ball coach – tasked with training players to work hard off the ball to get into good attacking positions.

Coetzee binned this offer, sacking Nienaber, De Villiers and Koen and retreading Van Graan as an attack coach. He went into his first season as an international head coach without a kicking coach. Coetzee also turned down the opportunity to draft in Omar Mouneimne – the defence coach that constructed the Sharks’ hard-hitting wall – promoting Chean Roux into that role with zero experience, while Stick (with four months’ senior coaching experience) was designated backline coach.

Matt Proudfoot, under whom previously accurate Stormers hookers became perennial spray guns at the lineout, was appointed forwards coach.

Coetzee was ostensibly hoping that Duane Vermeulen, who had been the Stormers’ de facto defence coach in 2015, would take up the same role at the Boks. But, after one look at the Boks’ young and ill-disciplined setup, the adamantine loose forward decided he didn’t want to be part of the circus.

And what a show it was in 2016. Coetzee fielded five different centre combinations, a carousel of flyhalves  and some of the most brittle back-row combinations as South Africa suffered a first home loss to 14-man Ireland, a first away loss against Argentina, the heaviest defeats against New Zealand and Wales, and a maiden loss against Italy.

The worst season in Bok history is underlined by South Africa slipping to a new low on the world rankings which may consign them to the Pool of Death at the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.

“I put my hand up and take responsibility for what happened on the field,” said the Bok coach. Except, he didn’t and he hasn’t.

As the nightmare season was unfolding, Coetzee hinted that the players weren’t producing, that his late appointment had robbed him of crucial preparation opportunities and that South Africa’s backwards rugby structures – the same system he’d spent the past eight years coaching in – had unexpectedly tied his hands.

He has no intention of taking responsibility and bowing out and, while it’s inconceivable that the Boks could be any worse in 2017, fans and stakeholders can count on “excellence” remaining a mythical objective during three more years of mediocrity, denial and “learning lessons”, if Coetzee remains at the helm.

Jake White also battled – Coetzee

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South Africa coach Allister Coetzee arrived home on Monday from a disastrous European tour and likened his perilous position to that of a predecessor, Jake White.

In 2006, White narrowly escaped the sack after a 49-0 drubbing in Australia and one year later guided the Springboks to victory over England in the Rugby World Cup final.

White lost seven tests during the pre-World Cup season and Coetzee suffered a record eight defeats this year in 12 internationals.

Touring Europe this month, South Africa were beaten 37-21 by England, 20-18 by Italy and 27-13 by Wales.

“Every coach goes through a rough year,” the 53-year-old former Stormers Super Rugby handler told reporters at Johannesburg airport.

“I would rather take the defeats at the beginning of my tenure than experience a slump during the third year. Results can only get better from here.”

South Africa were humiliated 57-15 in Durban last month by New Zealand, a record winning margin between the arch rugby rivals.

This year, the Springboks fell to Italy for the first time, lost at home to Ireland for the first time and were defeated in Argentina for the first time.

read the full story on SuperSport website

 

Coach promises improvement, or he walks

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by Gavin Rich, get more of your local and international rugby news at Super Sport

SA Rugby president Mark Alexander has reiterated that there will be a review and that “hard decisions” will be made if necessary but Allister Coetzee is so confident that he can turn the Springbok fortunes around that if he is retained and there is no improvement next year he promises to resign his position as coach.

Coetzee made that pledge on the assumption that he is given the time to prepare the Boks that he was denied in 2016 because of his late appointment to the job. Coetzee was announced as the new Bok coach on 11 April, exactly two months to the day before his first match in charge against Ireland in Cape Town.

“I am confident that if I am given time to work with the team before the start of next season and am able to have anything in place I will be able to get it right, and if I am unable to do that and we find ourselves in the same place next year I will put up my hand, take the blame and walk,” said Coetzee.

“That is the type of person I am. (If I am given time) I am not going to make excuses. But it is also a bit unfair if you blame everything on one person. I was appointed on 11 April. I knew I would be doing the job at the end of March. We played against Ireland in June.”

Coetzee was adamant that he wants to continue in the job.

“I have a four year contract,” he said.

But Coetzee’s position will be reviewed when he meets with his bosses after the tour. It was made clear after Saturday night’s match against Wales that Coetzee might have to make a hard sell to the SA Rugby administrators after what Alexander described as a profoundly disappointing year. Alexander has outlined plans for an overhaul of SA Rugby administration.

“It has been a profoundly disappointing season in terms of results and we are acutely aware that we have failed to live up to the Springboks’ proud heritage,” said Alexander.

“We have collectively let down our supporters, our commercial partners and our broadcast partner, Supersport. I would like to apologise to all our stakeholders for the disappointments we have suffered this season. We are feeling very raw and let down and it would be easy to make knee-jerk decisions. But we must resist that.

“For instance, our playing fortunes have been declining since the outgoing tour of 2014, despite a fine fightback to win a bronze medal at the World Cup, and we must coolly and coldly analyse what have been the main factors contributing to those results before determining what remedies are at our disposal to solve them.

“We will start by speaking to the coach and other team role players for their assessment and to provide our feedback. We will have feedbacks from forthcoming indabas and we must critically review our selection policy relating to overseas based players.

“We’ve seen an unusually high number of injuries to key players this year, and we’ve lost several experienced test players to overseas clubs, both of which have had major repercussions for the Springboks. We have to find ways to manage these challenges.

“But I can assure our supporters and stakeholders that if tough decisions have to be made we will not shy away from making them.”

read the full story here

 

Fans have a say

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I have been reading a few articles mentioning fans being to harsh on the Boks and coaches, with some mentioning just how bad the advent of social media is on players and coaches alike. In a way I agree that it must be difficult to read on blogs and social media just how bad the public think the players are and it must hit home surely. We’ve seen Proudfoot come out and say they think nothing of criticism and that they meet as a group and only think of that, not what reporters and player say.

 

Some articles have even gone as far as asking if these faceless voices have ever coached or played the game themselves, suggesting that if you haven’t reached the highest level, your voice should stay silent. That is a problem for me. Rugby has always been a sport for everyone. A sport that ignites passion and excitement. A game that can drive you to tears of joy, or shouts of complaints.

 

Just the other day at the Boks vs Aussies game, a fan sitting behind me was shouting his frustration at the players on the field and another fan questioned why if he knows so much, he is not on the field. My question to this is simple, what do these people want?

 

Do they want passionless fans sitting in the stadium, politely clapping when something goes right, but staying silent when something goes wrong? Do they want fans to stay away from the stadium, not buy merchandise and generally just not give a hoot? That would be a sad day and the day professional rugby dies. Without money from fans, without fans at stadiums or watching at home and getting excited enough to share their opinions, there would be no sponsors.

 

My advice to these writers, coaches and players complaining, is grow a pair. Take the criticism with the compliments. The fans are the reason you earn big bucks, the reason blogs like this and many others exist. Until you find a model where my hard earned money is not needed for you to be paid to play, coach or write about the game I love, live with my criticism. Or live with a dying profession and find a second job.

 

 

Coetzee happy with composure of Springboks

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Springbok coach Allister Coetzee expressed his satisfaction in the composure shown by his team in their 30-23 win over Argentina in Nelspruit on Saturday. The victory in the Mbombela Stadium opened the Castle Lager Rugby Championship campaign for the Springboks on a positive note.

Allister_Coetzee_Stormers_Shaun_Roy_Gallo_Images_620_395_s_c1_top_top

The Springboks trailed the Pumas 23-13 with nine minutes to play, but scored a late try by Warren Whiteley to edge past their opponents, who will face them again in a week’s time in Salta.

“I felt a bit of deja vu after the first test match against Ireland. Luckily this time we could turn it around. So I am pleased with the result=,” said Coetzee. However, he lamented the 20 minutes before and after halftime.

“I am not pleased with the 20 minutes before halftime and the 20 there-after. We need to put together longer periods of good play. There were opportunities we did not take, like Lionel (Mapoe) not scoring. We created the pressure, but did not use the opportunities that we created and we need to improve on that,” Coetzee said.

“The decision-making on how to play territory was not quite there. We are a work in progress. I am happy that our set-phase went well and scrum time went well. The last 25 minutes were much better and more like what we want to achieve.”

Coetzee said the play in the last ten minutes was expected.

“We anticipated the impact of the bench. They were supposed to take the game away from Argentina and we are a 23-man squad. We executed very well when we came back. Resilience and resolve in the team is something we try to create in the side and they respond well to that.

“There is good respect in the team for leadership and we grow. We need a bit more killer instinct and we are looking to get that right.”

Coetzee gave Argentina great credit for their performance.

“We cannot underestimate this Argentinean side. They are world class. They played wet weather tests against France in June and they looked comfortable today in the damp conditions.”

Springbok captain, Adriaan Strauss, said the first step in beating Argentina is by not underestimating them.

“You cannot afford to underestimate the Pumas. It was a strange game for us. It was tight, the ball was slippery. Lots of turn-overs and lost possession. They were also good at the breakdown. Also the momentum shifted all the time. We have a lot to work on still.

“But we learned not to panic after the first match against Ireland. We took our time, even with nine minutes left. The guys had belief and energy, even at the late stage,” Strauss said.

Allister Coetzee the man to take Springbok rugby in new era

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With the announcement of Allister Coetzee as the new Springbok couch comes a few new names that will be supporting the former Western Province and Stormers coach.

Allister Coetzee

Picture by: Gallo Images.

 

Coetzee will be in charge of the of Springbok rugby for the next four years and everyone expect Coetzee to take SA Rugby in a new and exciting era. The task at hand will not be an easy one for Coetzee as he will have the added pressure not just to get Springbok rugby back to winning ways but also transform the team so that it is more representative of our country.

“It is a watershed moment for our game with new players developing alongside a spine of experience and it was the right time to have a new man guiding the Springboks for the foreseeable future,” said SARU President Hoskins. “Allister was the outstanding candidate in terms of his rugby credentials, his understanding of our unique South African transformation imperatives and also in the image he will present as Springbok coach. I am delighted to welcome him back into the Springbok fold.

“The Springbok coaching job is an enormous challenge but Allister has the full support of us at SA Rugby and we will be united in our efforts to continue to make Springbok rugby strong. I want to wish him well in his new job, I also want to pay tribute to Heyneke and his management team for their dedication and service to Springbok rugby the past four years.”

Coetzee does have the best credentials with what he has done and where he has come form as not just a coach but also a person that have produced a team at the Stormers who not just performed well in Super Rugby but that this team was a team where he shown that transformation should not be a problem as many people believe. He will draw on his personal involvement in 66 matches in the Springbok backroom in 2000 and between 2004 and 2007. He also has an exemplary record at Currie Cup and Vodacom Super Rugby record.

Coetzee handled the media well with the Q&A and although he seemed nervous he has come out showing that he has a plan and that he is there to make the team better and to make sure the players and his young assistant coaches are able to grow under him.

SA Rugby CEO, Jurie Roux, said that Coetzee had been recommended for the role by the SA Rugby High Performance Committee, whose recommendation had been accepted by the Executive Council and the General Council over recent weeks.

He said that Coetzee emerged as the best candidate for the role following a robust and thorough process. “Allister was the most outstanding candidate based on his excellent track record as a coach at provincial and Vodacom Super Rugby level, which makes his appointment a great one for SA Rugby,” said Roux. “He proved himself on the domestic front by winning the Currie Cup twice with DHL Western Province and leading the DHL Stormers to three SA Conference titles in the extremely tough Vodacom Super Rugby competition. And we all know of his contributions as assistant coach to the Springboks, culminating in success at the 2007 Rugby World Cup.
“We at SA Rugby are pleased with his appointment and we know we have the right person to lead us into the next and hopefully exciting phase of Springbok rugby. We’re also grateful to Kobe for allowing Allister to join us in South Africa.”

Coetzee also said although new assistant coach Mzwandile Stick is still young he has the potential to become a great coach and he will make sure that Stick learns from him as he takes him under his wing. Coetzee was the backline coach to a winning World Cup side in 2007 and he said that he can bring allot to the development of Stick to the table

Johan van Graan will assist Allister as his forward coach which brings some continuity from Meyers time at the Springboks. Van Graan is retained in his role as assistant, while Stick joins the coaching staff after a stellar playing with the Springbok Sevens, where he was the captain and also a member of the team that won the World Series title in the 2008/09 season. Last year Stick coached Eastern Province to the Provincial Under-19 title.

“These are people who are not only dedicated and passionate, but vastly experienced,” said Coetzee. “Johann, Ian, Vivian, JJ, Rayaan and Annelee have all been involved with the Springboks before and bring with them a wealth of experience, while Warren, Jerome and Tanu have all worked with other national teams before. By involving experienced people, and combined with the stellar work done already by the Rugby Department in planning for the season, we’ll hit the ground running when we first assemble.”

SA Rugby also confirmed that Coetzee will be able to call on the assistance of consultants when the need arises during his tenure.

Most supporters will look at Coetzee with some excitement and wait to see what he does with the Springboks but for now we just need to get behind our coach and support him to make Springbok rugby great again

Springbok coach announcement (Part 1)

The Springbok Team Management is:

Head coach: Allister Coetzee
Assistant coach (backline): Mzwandile Stick
Assistant coach (forwards): Johann van Graan
Team manager: Ian Schwartz
Team doctor: Dr Jerome Mampane / Dr Conrad von Hagen (Southern Kings)
Strength and Conditioning coach: Dr Warren Adams
Physiotherapist: Vivian Verwant
Physiotherapist: Tanu Pillay
Logistics manager: JJ Fredericks
Media manager: Rayaan Adriaanse
PR manager: Annelee Murray

Do we “Stick” by the new coaching trio…?

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So there will be a huge shock if Allister (seriously need to learn how to spell his name) Coetzee is not named as the new Springbok coach in a few days, writes Benedict Chanakira

Mzwandile_Stick

There has been a lot of focus on just what he didn’t do at the Stormers. His poor record in knock out games, his conservative approach to games and how he never won Super Rugby.

The reality is, South Africa has tried a Super Rugby winner and it has not actually gone to plan. The new system that needs to be implemented is the succession plan and touting a few options to take over in the near future. For his positives, what they will not mention is how he kept the Stormers as one of the best sides in South Africa during his tenure; losing a final to the Bulls and winning the conference on three occasions. He managed to keep the Cape side among the top teams.

Allister’s transformation record has to be lauded when you consider it was an aspect that was on the table.

From Hoskins’ interviews you realise transformation is bordering the main aim for the Springboks and with an expected target of 50% players of color by the 2019 Rugby World Cup it is something that needs to be approached with ferocity and guile.

His work with the Stormers was exceptional in that regard, his management skills can be lauded as one of his strengths and seldom do you coach at this level without these. It is a matter of selection, managing and implementing.

What has been a problem over the years has been the head coach appointing his own assistants, men that we can be defined as ‘yes-man’.

It is believed, SARU have decided against this and made one ‘likely appointment’ as Mzwandile Stick the former Blitzboks captain, EP Kings under 19 head coach and current Southern Kings assistant coach as the Springbok assistant.

Johann Van Graan will offer the lessons learnt from the previous 4 years, which will complete the trio. Now they must work together for the greater good.

The question on everyone’s lips will be; is Stick the right man for the job? Is he another Peter de Villiers? A man of color who is thrust into the role to appease the politicians? I will leave that to your discretion.

What I can say is this, he could add some much needed value in how to add attacking initiative, trusting players and being innovative. Dubbed by many as a highly talented young coach Stick was at the helm as EP Kings under 19 went on to win the under 19 Currie Cup in the process beating sides that arguably had more talent and resources.

What that EP side had was majority of the players that had won Craven Week the season before. Instead of being outdone, they managed to set the tournament alight. Add to the fact Stick is the only ethnic African assistant coach/coach in Super Rugby at the moment.

He is likely to be the appointment the South African hierarchy is looking at. He has managed to work with the SARU Mobile-unit in the build up to the Super Rugby season and is likely to have been given a thumbs up on his appointment by Rassie Erasmus.

Rassie Erasmus will be the main guy in this whole system, his knowledge of the players and technical know-how will be what steers this new charge. Remember Rassie and his team know all the players from the age group levels. From what I hear they have already been working on the groundwork for the Ireland series.

As for Stick? Besides under 19 successes and less than 10 games experience in Super Rugby the man offers what SARU want. Just like how Heyneke Meyer was appointed by Nick Mallet as his forwards coach at the 1999 Rugby World Cup without notable experience at Super level, despite being SWD Eagles head coach.

There is something special that he holds apart from meeting SARU requirements. It will be up to the public to judge Mzwandile on how he fares as the backline coach.

You cry transparency? You likely will not get it in any of the coaching appointments you will follow. From the sacking of Jake White as a coach after winning the World Cup to the appointment of Peter de Villiers you will realise this is all more than just about rugby. Deal with it.

Yet those tasked with the roles have not been the train smash all have expected or foreseen. Allow the results to define a coaching era. That is how it has and must always be.

I will look fondly at the impact he made in the u19 Currie Cup and hope to see something similar with what is set to be a young Springbok side that is expected to play expansive rugby with little fear of what is before them.

If he was appointed solely for his willingness to trust the players and have them take aim, why not? We can only be positive right? Aren’t we tired of being negative?

SARU GC approve Springbok coach candidate

11

saru

The new Springbok coach will be named officially at a media conference on 12 April, Mr Oregan Hoskins, president of SA Rugby, confirmed on Friday.

He made the announcement following the ratification of the coach’s appointment by rugby’s General Council – made up of the 14 member unions of SA Rugby. Ratification by the Council is the final step in the constitutional process to appoint a Springbok coach.

Mr Hoskins said that now that the final governance hurdle had been cleared the formal completion of the new coach’s contract and of that of his management team could be completed.

“We are happy to have reached this point and are particularly excited with our final choice,” said Mr Hoskins.

“Today’s ratification triggers the final part of the process. We’re looking forward to being able to confirm our choice publicly.”

Mr Hoskins said that logistical planning was well advanced for the Springbok season and that those plans had already been shared with the preferred candidate.

SA Rugby will advise media of the arrangements for the media conference in due course.

SA Rugby also announced the appointment of Peter Jooste as a Springbok selector and of the completion of the Junior Springbok (Under-20) management team. It is:

Head Coach: Dawie Theron

Assistant coach backline: Nazeem Adams

Defence coach: Joey Mongalo

Analyst: Chris Ventre

Doctor: Dr. Jerome Mampane

Physiotherapist: Anuerin Robyn

Conditioning coach: Andre Smit

Media Liaison: Zeena Isaacs 

Issued by SA Rugby Corporate Affairs

 

New Springbok coach approved

11

SARU-logoGold“April Fools Day” will get a total new meaning when the AGM will approve the selection that will be presented to them on the 1 April in Cape Town.

SA Rugby confirmed on Friday that they hoped to announce the identity of the new Springbok coach following the Annual General Meeting at the start of next month.

Oregan Hoskins, president of SA Rugby, confirmed that a preferred candidate had been identified and that the recommendation would now be considered by the General Council.

“The High Performance committee examined a list of potential coaches and identified their preferred candidate against a set of pre-determined criteria,” said Mr Hoskins.

“In broad terms we were looking for someone with a proven track record at an elite level; someone who would embrace the objectives of our Strategic Transformation Plan and someone who would understand the public demands of the job and what that entails.

“The Executive Council accepted the High Performance committee’s recommendation some time ago and the preferred candidate’s name will now be set before the General Council.”

Mr Hoskins said that the preferred candidate would not be in attendance of the Council meeting as his appointment would be dependent on their decision.

The AGM takes place on 1 April at the Southern Sun Hotel in Newlands, Cape Town. The meeting starts at 11am.