It’s highly unlikely that Allister Coetzee is still facing the axe as Springbok coach after the early series win over France.
Yet even if he still did, the 54-year-old mentor insists he has nothing to prove anyway.
“I don’t have critics,” Coetzee said on Monday with a small smirk on his face.
“There’s only one party’s approval I strive for and that’s The Almighty. I’ve signed a four-year contract with the South African Rugby Union (Saru). Any head coach of an international side knows what he’s letting himself in for. You are judged on certain things.”
Reports of Coetzee being fired should the current series have gone sour had already surfaced by the end of last year.
However, the upward trajectory of the Springboks’ results in 2017 makes that seem like nothing more than a vicious rumour.
Instead, team management can now focus on building a proper head of steam over the next two years before the 2019 World Cup.
“The thing I’m really pleased about is that the memory of 2o16 is now dead and buried,” said Coetzee.
“We’ve moved on. It’s just great to see what’s happening now. We’re not here to prove anything to anyone. All we want is the comfort that our hard work is paying off. Yes, mistakes were made. But we now know there’s scope for those mistakes to be set right.”
The Springboks’ more balanced and composed play to date in the series against the French definitely suggests better coaching and clearer thought.
But Coetzee is reluctant to take credit for the turnaround.
“We’ve got a great team environment going here, a fantastic leadership group headed by a great captain,” he said.
“Everyone’s bought into the plan and it’s looking good. Last year in Durban (after the Springboks lost 15-57 to the All Blacks) we were booed off the field. Less than a year later, they’ve cheered for us. The credit must go to the players for unselfishly buying into this vision.”
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