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No PDV return - how the new Springbok coaching ticket is actually shaping up

By Alex Shaw
Eben Etzebeth /Getty

The rumour mill surrounding Alistair Coetzee’s future as the head coach of the Springboks whirred back into action yesterday, as his side lost their final match of the November series, falling 24-22 to an under-strength Wales in Cardiff.

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Coetzee has seemingly been on a hot seat as coach of the national side ever since his appointment in 2016, but the recent hiring of Rassie Erasmus, as well as a 38-3 humbling at the hands of Ireland in Dublin, have both poured further fuel on the fire.

Several reports in South Africa over the weekend have linked Peter de Villiers with a sensational return to the national team, but RugbyPass understands this to be a misunderstanding by those sources, with the Boks actually hunting Pieter de Villiers to be their new scrum coach.

He is not the only coaching change believed to be planned by the South African Rugby Union (SARU), either, with Jacques Nienaber, who SARU lured away from Munster along with Erasmus, lined up as defence coach and Western Province’s Dawie Snyman shortlisted for an attack/backs coach role.

Perhaps the most interesting addition, however, could be that of Deon Davids, the current head coach of the Southern Kings.

The Kings may have failed to set Super Rugby and the Guinness PRO14 alight, but Erasmus is believed to be a big admirer of Davids and played an important role in his hiring at the Kings in 2016.

Davids operated with limited resources in his two Super Rugby seasons with the Port Elizabeth-based side and has had to build an almost completely new squad for the current PRO14 campaign. It is believed that this has done nothing to diminish the regard that Erasmus holds him in.

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As RugbyPass understands it, Davids would take charge of the forwards and be given the title of head coach, but with Erasmus in overall charge of the new-look coaching staff, in a working relationship that would be similar to that of the director of rugby and head coach dynamic that many club sides employ.

With shortlists drawn up and conversations seemingly at an advanced stage with prospective new coaches, Coetzee’s job security looks perilous to say the least, but the former Stormers coach is still committed to the role.

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Shaylen 6 hours ago
Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma

These guys will be utility players Nick it cannot be helped because coaches cannot help themselves. Rassie looks at players like these and sees the ability to cover multiple positions without losing much. It allows the 6-2 or 7-1. He wont change his coaching style or strategy for one player. At provincial level players like these are indispensable. If there is an injury to your starting 12 but your back up 12 is a bit iffy then a coach is going to go with the back up 10 who is gold and who can play a good 12. Damian Willemse for the Springboks is an obvious case, for the Stormers its the same. Dobson plays him at 12 or 15, with Gelant in the team he plays 12 but if Gelant goes down he doesnt go for his back up 15, he just puts Willemse there. With Frawley its the same at international and provincial level. He just slots in wherever. Frans Steyn made a career out of it. He was much maligned though as a youngster as he never fully developed into any role. He then went to Japan and France to decide for himself what kind of player he was, put on muscle and retained his big boot, ran over players and booted the ball long and came back into the Springboks after about 3 years away and was then certain about how he wanted to play the game no matter what position. Coaches cannot help themselves because they only want what is best for their teams and that means putting your most talented players on even if it means you cause them some discomfort. Sometimes players need to decide how they want to play the game and then adapt that to every position and let the coach decide how they want to use them.

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