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'I am signed until 2019' - Coetzee says he won't go

By Jack Davies
Springboks coach Allister Coetzee

Allister Coetzee has passionately defended his record as South Africa head coach following reports Saturday’s 24-22 defeat to Wales would be his last match at the helm, claiming his side are “on the up”.

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The Springboks trailed 21-3 shortly before half-time in Cardiff but mounted an epic fightback that almost earned them the win.

But Coetzee’s tenure – which started after the 2015 Rugby World Cup – has been blighted by a number of humiliating defeats, including to Ireland earlier in the tour, and reports surfaced in the build-up to Saturday’s match that Coetzee’s days in the job could be numbered.

However, Coetzee seemed intent on seeing out his contract after watching his side narrowly miss out on a comeback victory.

“I am signed until 2019, that is what my contract is saying,” he told a news conference.

“The team has really grown and there is a lot of improvement, and it’s a really healthy team environment.

“Last year we didn’t win a game on tour and [this year] we’ve won two, so there’s progress.

“What needs to change? We need to cut out the individual errors. That is one massive thing.

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“This is a young, young side. And already they’ve dominated tonight at the set-piece.

“We conceded three penalties tonight, one crucial one. But it shows how this team has grown over the years.

“And when a team only concedes three penalties, what more do you want to change?

“I think what needs to change is we need to get the result. I suppose if you look at outcomes only, you are missing the plot completely, because you have to create opportunity for development.

“If you want to look for superstars to come and win every Test match, then you are living in a fool’s paradise.

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“You’ve got to give players opportunities to grow and to develop. You cannot expect to build Rome in one day.”

Reflecting on 2016, when the Springboks won only four of 12 Test matches, Coetzee added: “Last year was a fiasco. Definitely a fiasco. So we started from scratch this year. That’s how I regard it: year one.

“We started with a new team and I’ve now got the best players in South Africa playing here.

“These players are much better conditioned than last year. So with a little bit of collaboration there’s already progress and I’m positive about that.

“If you’re going to continue to look at the negatives, then you’ll get what you’re looking for. You can write what you want to write about that.

“But this side is definitely on the up.”

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William 2 hours ago
All Blacks vs England takeaways: Richie Who? Time for Cortez

Correct analysis of Perofeta’s bungling of the try opportunity Ben. Never ‘fixed’ Steward as he came across in defence and passed too early. Steward didn’t have to break his stride and simply moved on to pressure Telea. Never scanned the easier option of passing to the two supporting players on the inside. Beauden Barrett showed how it is done when he put Telea in for his try. Another point from the game is that the rush defence is hard to maintain as the number of phases increases. From scrums the defensive line only contains backs who all have roughly the same pace. Once forwards are involved, the defence has players with variable speeds often leading to a jagged line. It also tends to lose pace overall giving the attack more time and space. Beauden Barrett’s break to set up Telea’s try came because Baxter went in to tackle McKenzie and Steward went out to cover Telea. Barrett has a massive hole to run through, then commits Steward by passing as late as possible and Telea scores untouched. Another comment I would make is that Ben Earl is a good player and generally an excellent defender but he made three significant misses in the series, two of which led to All Black tries. Got stepped by Perofeta in Dunedin for Savea’s try, missed McKenzie in Auckland leading to what should have been a certain try being set up by Perofeta and was one of the tacklers who couldn’t stop Savea in the leadup to Telea’s first try. Perhaps he should contact Owen Farrell to pick up a few tips from ‘tackle school’.

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