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

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


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


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?


  1. I agree with a lot but find the whole Coetsee’s transformation record a stupid argument. My record would look bloody good at Stormers with the amount of talented players of colour they have. For the rest, I really can’t see them going wrong with picking AC.

  2. @Aldo: He did with what he had Aldo. If for example you have the Six nations this year and everyone but Eng looked poor, what do you do? You beat what you have in front of you.

  3. I wish them the best and I am confident these guys will live up to my expectations because I’ve already adjusted my expectations accordingly.


    I think you are talking nonsense re. Coetzee and transformation at the Stormers.
    If the goal is for ethnic black Africans, then surely, De Jong, Kolbe, Carr and all the rest of the dark skin guys with the obviously not ethnic African names not not count.
    That leaves from last year’s team: Kolisi, Ntubeni and Senatla. Am I missing one?
    Most other teams have been playing with 2 or 3 ethnic Africans for a long time already.

  4. BC, I see this comment as a personal triumph for me that I’m able to see past your – audacious & brazen – pun use in the title & address the issue at hand.

    Wish Stick the best & I bet he will be successful – seriously, he had Ricardo Lobasure preceding him, how can’t he one up that horror show of a performance???
    Regarding the transformation number ( that they actually seem serious about ) I hope its successful but I don’t know how it can be. It’s similar ( but a MUCH bigger ask ) to wanting a team to win through “running” rugby as opposed to just WIN.
    Think it diffuses the win focus & with the aesthetics of the players themselves – which I expect the owner of Ford Modeling Agency to see as one in the same, but a sporting endeavor?
    That said should they pull it off perhaps it will put more pressure on the NHL & NBA to do the same – just don’t hold your breath about it LOL.

  5. @Timeo: hence the bigger picture approach. In general the Stormers have had the players of color and have made use of them. He has given opportunity to all. The wider spectrum – (All SA teams have haven’t given many ethnic black players a shot). They just need to grow in number in general. Despite this AC has given more players of color opportunity. If that makes sense.

  6. @Americano: I hear AC will have his coaching staff cut by some number. Will be interesting how that will work out. The pros & cons are pretty glaring. SARU does want to change approach. Which is good.

  7. @Provincejoulekkading: Yip, one big pension pot for all his nepotistic ballies. And how did that work out for them? I agree with all the sentiment re: Allister, and I wish him well with the pressure on him personally (and his family). But of one thing I am sure: we will NEVER lose to Japan under his leadership.

  8. @Provincejoulekkading: Sport is now professional and you need as many specialist coaches as you can get. What I feel will hurt us is the breakdown coach we released to Scotland. Let SARU change. We been doing things the same way too long.

  9. @Jacques (Bunny): What I find more confusing, is this “collective” selection panel / discussion group with Super rugby coaches! Come on – if AC is the best and selected to be the Bok coach, then all responsibility starts and end with HIM – and him alone. The not-so-super coaches surely needs to clean up their own teams first, before they can “advise” a coach that is way ahead of anything they have achieved?

  10. @Bekke: No Bekke, that is the exact reason why Springbok rugby has been screwed with every coach since White…We call them “Yes Men” that is what coaches appoint one’s that just say yes and do not have the balls to stand against his decisions, like what happened with England last year.

    I for one like the new vision from SARU, that AC will be the coach and that he will be supported by SARU and the people they surround him with.

    With that we then also hope that AC will not be alone when things go south and that all of SARU will be standing up and taking it on the chin.

    Super Rugby coaches have nothing to do with Springbok coach and the people that will support AC will be Rassie and his mobi team and coaches which they identified to maybe take over from AC in due time.

    We need continuity not a one man show who thinks he know best and fuck the rest that was Meyers biggest downfall.

    I am actually excited about Bok rugby and what this team will bring to the exiting players we see come through.

    I already heard from SARU side that players will be selected on who is best player and not who is best for the team. You either perform and show you need to be there or piss off.

    Again same thing what Eddie did at England. SARU and coaches can work on players relationships but we need the best players putting that Green and Gold on every Saturday and surprise, suprise if you do that then you do not even need to look at this 50% BEE shit for 2019 WC, it will be there automatically

  11. @Benedict Chanakira:

    WP has a huge colored fanbase and more colored players on their books than any other team. Any coach working there is likely to play more colored players but none of this points to a tendency to give more black players a chance.

    Therein lies the problem. If the government is going to insist on erhnic blacks and be narrow with their definition of who counts, then AC is going to have as difficult a time as any coach.

  12. @Timeo: Hence my point. The fact that he is in such an environment, and he has those resources played to his advantage. Just like if you are a son of a Springbok. Chances of you donning those colors of being a professional player are hard. I am saying. The cards fell to his benefit. Whether he will transform to their liking is something else. At this point- whether coloureds or enough blacks. AC has managed to implement them.

  13. )@Benedict Chanakira:

    Okay. I get what you’re saying. His record looks good and while he may have benefitted from circumstances he did not make a hash of it so it may count in his favor anyways.

    That’s fair.

  14. Going by the teams sheets from the most recent SR games and judging by names I count the following ethnic Africans:

    Stormers: 4 (2 hookers, 2 loose forwards)
    Sharks: 3 (2 wings, 1 Prop)
    Kings: 4 (Wing, Scrum Half, Hooker, Prop)
    Bulls: 4 (Wing, 2 Props, Hooker)
    Cheetahs: 2 (Wing, Prop)
    Lions: 1 (Center)

    18/138 is 13%

    Apologies if I misclassified anyone. This shit is fraught with pitfalls.

  15. This oke about as good as HM in my opinion. No no better no worse. Give him the benefit of doubt if he selects the right players and plays rugby. If he takes conservative approach then he and the trio must also waai. If it’s that defence oriented nonsense we saw at WP for too long, definitely won’t last long.

  16. @cab: Or the bloody kick & pray shit that he learned from Jake and just could not enhanced! At least there will be no Slapfield, Mof Steyn, De Villiers – just praying also no Schalk.

  17. Hope not! We should have enough locks able to walk, who can replace slapfield. And at flyhalve we have Jantjes, Lambie, Goosen. I think Devilliers has retired no? And at flank we have a whole gross of players miles ahead of Schalk afkophoender.

  18. @Timeo:

    The comity & good naturedness in this exchange between BC & Timeo warrants turtle doves being let loose at a wedding or something. BC & Timeo should be a part of future Israeli/Palestinian talks….they could make it happen!

  19. @Timeo:

    Timeo, last year Senatla also featured when he was available, so he would have been a regular on the wing for the Stormers if not for sevens duty this year.

  20. @Americano:

    When we get the Nobel peace prize, we’ll join a long list of South Africans, which off course is normally a bad sign for a country,

  21. @Craven:

    There is also Sargeal Petersen and Courtnall Skosan that I’m not sure about how they would count.

    It’s a good start though. These guys are all certainly good SR quality players and several of those who are not already Boks will probably be soon. Senatla for sure.

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