Toetie's festive season looks to be a bleak one

Sources say Allister Coetzee will likely be axed in the new year.

15 December 2017 - 07:31 By CRAIG RAY
Sources confirmed Coetzee met director of rugby Rassie Erasmus and will be removed from his post in due course, once all the labour law hurdles have been cleared.
Sources confirmed Coetzee met director of rugby Rassie Erasmus and will be removed from his post in due course, once all the labour law hurdles have been cleared.
Image: Lee Warren/Gallo Images

Allister Coetzee will survive the festive season as Springbok coach, but the axe is set to fall in 2018, say sources.

No formal announcement on the future of Coetzee's employment will be made this year after he underwent a review process during the week.

Officially, SA Rugby won't comment on any details surrounding the process this year and remain tight-lipped about whether Coetzee will survive after another poor season, which yielded only seven wins in 13 Tests.

Unofficially, though, it is understood the delay in making a formal announcement is due to SA Rugby wanting to fulfil every legal and moral obligation as it cuts Coetzee loose.

Sources have confirmed Coetzee met director of rugby Rassie Erasmus on Wednesday and will be removed from his post in due course, once all the labour law hurdles have been cleared.

An interim coaching setup, initially headed by Erasmus, will handle the Springboks' planning in the new year.

SA Rugby, once it has formally sacked Coetzee, might advertise the position but it's understood that after losing R23.3-million in the past financial year, the budget for a high-profile overseas coach is limited.

Erasmus and defence guru Jacques Nienaber, who both returned from a successful stint at Munster, will head up an interim coaching team. The likes of Kings coach Deon Davids (who is already on the SA Rugby payroll), scrum coach Pieter de Villiers and skills coach Mzwandile Stick are likely to be utilised.

With England in South Africa for a three-Test series next June, Bok planning cannot be left in limbo and despite many other tasks on his plate, restoring the Springboks to something resembling a world-class team will be Erasmus's main priority next year.

The Boks under Coetzee have won 11 of 25 Tests, or 44% of their matches while they have racked up a series of unwanted firsts from a record 57-0 loss against the All Blacks to a first ever loss to Italy over the past two years.

In 2017, despite having the management group of his choosing, planning sessions, more time with players, a pre-season camp in Plettenberg Bay and fitter players, the Boks' performances ranged from acceptable to dismal.

Only beating France, who have never been at such a low ebb in the pro era, Argentina, who have won only six of their last 25 Tests since the 2015 World Cup and Italy, who have won one of 12 Tests since beating the Boks in 2016, does not bring the Boks up to par.

When Coetzee took over, the Boks were ranked third in the world, and now they are sixth.

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