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Allister Coetzee's future in jeopardy

By RugbyPass
South Africa rugby coach Allister Coetzee

As Rassie Erasmus took up his new Director of Rugby role with South Africa yesterday there was mounting speculation that current head coach Allister Coetzee would not be involved with the team in the new year.

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Reports emerging from South Africa on Sunday stated that with a performance clause in his contract, Coetzee must maintain a winning ratio of 65%. However, despite picking up a win over France at the weekend, marking Coetzee’s 10th win in 23 tests, it gives the coach only a 43% win record.

According to Sunday newspaper Rapport, should he fail to reach these targets by the time a review of his performance is due in December then South Africa Rugby would have the power to remove him without a so-called ‘golden handshake’.

The mountain for the head coach becomes even harder to climb due to the fact that if South Africa were able to win the remaining matches of their European tour, against Italy on Saturday and Wales the following week, it would not be enough to raise the ratio above 48%.

The pressure continued to pile up for Coetzee after he was again forced to defend his selection policy of overseas-based players this weekend. Speaking to Times Live in South Africa he said, “you can’t in one week bring those players up to the level of those who have been part of the squad.”

When asked about Jan Serfontein‚ Pat Lambie and Frans Steyn, in particular, he was quick to point out that it is often difficult to get clubs to release players and suggested that players think about their international futures when signing for a club.

“I had a chat with Frans last week. We haven’t resolved those issues with the club that will allow him to play. Some players have long-term contracts. They need to decide whether they want to play for the Boks.

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“They have to make a decision‚ either they retire from international rugby or give up their contract and return to South Africa. I don’t know if there is an alternative at this point in time.”

Many felt the writing was on the wall for Coetzee’s future earlier this year when rumours swirled and finally confirmation was made that Erasmus would be departing Munster and taking over as Director of Rugby with Jacques Neinaber also taking up a position in the union.

In his role, Erasmus will be in charge of the development of players, referees and coaches adding to speculation that there may be no place for the current head coach.

Earlier this month the Springboks fell to a record 38-3 defeat to Ireland in Dublin and it is believed to have been the final blow for Coetzee’s tenure.

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During Coetzee’s time at the helm of the Springboks, he has seen his side make history for all the wrong reasons and not just the recent loss to Ireland. Other records broken by his side include their first ever defeat to Italy. A very first loss to Ireland on home soil and also the largest margin of defeat against the All Blacks with a 57-0 loss in September.

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