Tue Oct 25 00:02:34 SAST 2016

Transformation not a noose for new Springbok coach

The Times Editorial | 13 April, 2016 00:18

Something about Allister Coetzee's unveiling yesterday as Springbok coach suggested that perhaps SA Rugby was turning a corner.

For one, Coetzee picked Mzwandile Stick (backline coach) as one of his assistants alongside Johann van Graan. Stick has truly come through the system - from the Mighty Elephants up until his years with the Blitzbokke.

It should be a fillip for Golden Lions Under-19 head coach Joey Mongalo, who was recently appointed the Junior Springboks' defence coach too.

Coetzee spoke like a man certain about his objectives, undaunted by the gargantuan task of transforming a national team into one reflective of our demographics.

Perhaps it was because he has done it before.

At the Stormers he helped bring through now-established Super rugby stars including Scarra Ntubeni, Siya Kolisi, Juan de Jongh, Gio Aplon (now playing for Grenoble in France) and Nizaam Carr, without forgoing results.

He brought two Currie Cup trophies in 2012 and 2014, and lost the Super 14 final to the Bulls by eight points in 2010.

At least three men: Howard Mnisi, Lionel Mapoe and Oupa Mohoje, horribly overlooked by Meyer - should feel optimistic about their chances now.

Transformation, unlike with Meyer, hangs not around his neck like an ever-tightening noose. It's not a burden.

"Transformation is not an issue. This is South Africa. As national coach, I am not coming in from the outside.

"The uniqueness we have should make us stronger ... It is an exciting challenge," Coetzee said.

Meyer couldn't live up to the transformation imperatives and therefore quit.

Coetzee has to deliver by taking a Springbok team to Japan in 2019 with an equal representation of white and black players.

Let it not be a false dawn.


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