Former Stormers Coach Allister Coetzee is New Springbok Coach FeaturedWritten by Ryan Swano
Allister Coetzee has been named as head coach of the Springboks for the next four years, ushering in an exciting new era for rugby in South Africa, said Mr Oregan Hoskins, president of SA Rugby.
The 52-year-old former Springbok assistant coach succeeds Heyneke Meyer at a time when a number of veterans of the 2007 Rugby World Cup triumph have gone into retirement, including three of last year’s four captains.
“Allister’s appointment marks the changing of the guard at the top of Springbok rugby and is an exciting new departure for SA Rugby,” said Mr Hoskins.
“It is a watershed moment for our game with new players developing alongside a spine of experience and it was the right time to have a new man guiding the Springboks for the foreseeable future.
“Allister was the outstanding candidate in terms of his rugby credentials, his understanding of our unique South African transformation imperatives and also in the image he will present as Springbok coach. I am delighted to welcome him back into the Springbok fold.
“The Springbok coaching job is an enormous challenge but Allister has the full support of us at SA Rugby and we will be united in our efforts to continue to make Springbok rugby strong. I want to wish him well in his new job, I also want to pay tribute to Heyneke and his management team for their dedication and service to Springbok rugby the past four years.”
Coetzee is arguably the most experienced man to be given the Springbok head coach’s job. He will draw on his personal involvement in 66 matches in the Springbok backroom in 2000 and between 2004 and 2007. He also has an exemplary record at Currie Cup and Vodacom Super Rugby record.
Coetzee said he was extremely honoured and humbled to coach the Springboks.
“This job comes with a huge amount of responsibility because our passionate fans rightfully demand the best from the Springboks at all times,” said Coetzee.
“Rugby ignites so much passion in our country. The team inspires all our people and every young rugby player in our country aspires to be a Springbok one day. I know full well that coaching the Springboks requires a lot of dedication, patience and hard work. I am very excited and grateful for this opportunity.”
SA Rugby CEO, Jurie Roux, said that Coetzee had been recommended for the role by the SA Rugby High Performance Committee, whose recommendation had been accepted by the Executive Council and the General Council over recent weeks.
He said that Coetzee emerged as the best candidate for the role following a robust and thorough process. “Allister was the most outstanding candidate based on his excellent track record as a coach at provincial and Vodacom Super Rugby level, which makes his appointment a great one for SA Rugby,” said Roux.
“He proved himself on the domestic front by winning the Currie Cup twice with DHL Western Province and leading the DHL Stormers to three SA Conference titles in the extremely tough Vodacom Super Rugby competition. And we all know of his contributions as assistant coach to the Springboks, culminating in success at the 2007 Rugby World Cup.
“We at SA Rugby are pleased with his appointment and we know we have the right person to lead us into the next and hopefully exciting phase of Springbok rugby. We’re also grateful to Kobe for allowing Allister to join us in South Africa.”
Coetzee had already been involved in a number of planning sessions with SA Rugby staff said Roux. His first official engagement as a coach will be the opening Test of the year against Ireland in Cape Town on Saturday, 11 June.
Allister Coetzee Fact File
Allister Coetzee has been involved with rugby since 1974, first as a player and then later as a team manager, assistant coach and head coach.
Coetzee was born on 23 May 1963 in Grahamstown. He was an outstanding scrumhalf in the period before rugby unification in South Africa, and captained the SARU national team, as they were called back in the days, between 1988 and 1991 following his debut in 1985.
He was selected for the Junior Springboks in 1992 and played in the Currie Cup for Eastern Province between 1992 and 1996, as well as in the 1994 Super 10 competition for the Eastern Cape team.
The former teacher retired from the game in 1996. Coetzee then ventured into coaching and was immediately appointed as an assistant coach for EP in 1996. Two years later he was appointed as team manager for the Cell C Sharks’ Vodacom Super Rugby side, where he also became an assistant coach in 2000.
Coetzee coached the Emerging Springboks in 1998, a Vodacom All-Stars team in 1999 and the South African Under-23 and South Africa ‘A’ sides in 2000, when he was also one of the Springbok assistant coaches to Harry Viljoen.
He then became head coach of Eastern Province in 2001, the first black head coach of a provincial rugby side in South Africa. He remained head coach for the EP side until he resigned in July 2003.
Coetzee was appointed as assistant coach to the Springboks in early 2004, where he formed a successful coaching trio with Jake White and Gert Smal until the end of 2007, capping off four memorable years with the winning of the 2007 Rugby World Cup in France.
In 2005, he was also appointed assistant coach for the Cats for the 2006 Super 14 season, a position he held for only one season.
Coetzee joined Western Province in 2008 after he accepted an offer to become backline coach of the DHL Stormers. He also took over as head coach of Western Province in the Currie Cup later in 2008 and was elevated to head coach of the DHL Stormers prior to the start of the 2010 Vodacom Super Rugby season.
Coetzee led the DHL Stormers to three South African Conference titles during his tenure as DHL Stormers head coach, and he was also successful in his role as coach of DHL Western Province, where he won the Currie Cup twice, in 2012 and 2014.
He remained with the DHL Stormers until the end of the 2015 Vodacom Super Rugby season, when he moved to Japan to take over as head coach of the Kobe Steelers.
Profile – Allister Coetzee
1989-1991: Represented and captained SARU prior to unification
1992: Junior Springbok
1992-1996: Played Currie Cup rugby for Eastern Province
1994: Played in the Super 10 for Eastern Province
1998-2000: Cell C Sharks assistant coach to Ian McIntosh and Hugh Reece-Edwards in Vodacom Super Rugby
2000: Springbok assistant coach to Harry Viljoen
2000: SA “A” and SA Under-23 head coach
2001-03: Eastern Province head coach (37 matches)
2006: Cats assistant coach to Frans Ludeke in Vodacom Super Rugby
2004-07: Springbok assistant coach to Jake White
2008: DHL Stormers assistant coach
2008-15: DHL Western Province head coach (108 matches)
2010-15: DHL Stormers head coach (98 matches)
2010: Named South Africa’s Coach of the Year
2015-16: Kobe Steelers head coach in Japan
2016: Springbok head coach
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