Coetzee embraces transformation

Allister Coetzee (Gallo Images)
Allister Coetzee (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - New Springbok coach Allister Coetzee will embrace the challenge he faces of further transforming the national team.

Coetzee was speaking in Johannesburg on Tuesday after being confirmed as the new national coach. He replaces Heyneke Meyer on a four-year deal that will see him coach the Boks until after the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

Coetzee has a tough task at hand, not only to get the Boks back to the top of the world game, but also to transform the team in time for the next World Cup.

SA Rugby has it as its goal to see 50% of the Springbok team made up of black players by 2019.

Coetzee though does not see this challenge as a burden.

“It (transformation) is not an issue for me. This is South Africa, a national coach needs to understand that you’re living in South Africa,” said Coetzee.

“I cannot come with the mentality that I’m from somewhere else. It is unique and I think that uniqueness must actually make us stronger.”

Coetzee noted that he successfully transformed the Stormers when they were the top South African team in Super Rugby.

“At the Stormers, I was faced with the same challenge. And it’s an exciting challenge. I selected players and they performed and they were merit-based selections.

"And they really performed well. So much so, that when I left we were still the Currie Cup champions and we won the (Super Rugby) conference with a well-transformed side.

“So I really see it as a positive and something that all South Africans can support and be proud of their team.”

According to Coetzee, a selected player must know exactly where he fits into the system.

“I think what one should realise is that we’ve got to make sure that - across the colour spectrum - when a player is selected for South Africa, he must understand where he fits into the plan and why he is selected.

“He must understand that this is what he brings to the team because this is where it fits into the philosophy and the plan."

Coetzee's first assignment as Bok coach will be a three-Test series against Ireland in June, starting with a Test in Cape Town (June 11), before matches in Johannesburg (June 18) and Port Elizabeth (June 25).

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