Allister Coetzee plays all his cards in fight with Saru

Allister Coetzee. Photo: Dirk Kotze/Gallo Images.

Allister Coetzee. Photo: Dirk Kotze/Gallo Images.

In an explosive letter, the embattled Springbok coach banks his defence on a controversial alleged conversation with Saru CEO Jurie Roux.

If embattled Springbok coach Allister Coetzee is going down, he’ll try to take South African Rugby Union (Saru) chief Jurie Roux with him.

According to various media reports, the 54-year-old sent a comprehensive, 19-page document via his legal representatives to Roux in a bid to illustrate that almost all of the problems during his tenure are due to external factors.

Coetzee has only won 11 of his 25 Tests in charge to date.

However, his biggest defence is a meeting on 18 January with Roux, where the Saru CEO is alleged to have told him that his four-year contract was being terminated when Coetzee hadn’t even had his 2017 performance review yet.

It’s understood that evaluation – which was supposed to be concluded in December already – isn’t even close to commencing because Saru can’t agree on panel members to conduct it.

“In the context of the engagements between you and I prior to the (January 18) meeting‚ it was made plain to me that the meeting would deal with the anticipated performance review and its procedures as contemplated by my employment contract,” Coetzee wrote.

“Instead‚ the meeting was used as a platform to inform me of Saru’s decision that it intends to‚ inter alia‚ terminate my contract of employment with immediate effect.”

He also alleges that Roux told him “my services will be terminated regardless of the outcome of the anticipated performance review‚ as contemplated by my employment contract.”

What’s clear though is that Coetzee probably wouldn’t be able to continue in his role with Rassie Erasmus now firmly settled in his role of director of rugby.

“Should I wish to remain in Saru’s employment‚ I will be reduced to a ceremonial coach‚ and further that Erasmus has already been employed to replace me and is already performing the duties of the Springbok Coach,” the Bok mentor wrote.

“Should I be reduced to the position of a ceremonial coach I would have to face the indignity of reporting to Rassie. The fact that a decision has been made that I will be reduced to a ceremonial coach should I resist any attempt by Saru to terminate my services does not only constitute an unfair labour practice but again infringes my right to dignity and equality.”

Coetzee also lists various reasons why he was “set up to fail” as coach such the timing of his appointment in 2016, the little input he had on assistants and value-adding staff, Saru’s policy for overseas-based players, a lack of support on transformation and logistical constraints.

“I will not allow elements in SARU to willfully destroy me and render me unemployable. I am not interested in money and that I will fight to protect my hard-earned reputation,” he wrote.

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