Coetzee lays into SA Rugby in sensational letter

Allister Coetzee (Gallo)
Allister Coetzee (Gallo)

Cape Town - Springbok coach Allister Coetzee has written an explosive letter addressed to South African Rugby Union (SARU) CEO Jurie Roux in which he attacks the South African game's governing body.

According to several South African media reports, Coetzee sent a 19-page document via his legal representatives to Roux in a bid to show that almost all of the problems during his two-year tenure are due to external factors. 

Coetzee has only won 11 of his 25 Tests in charge of the two-time world champions since his appointment in 2016. 

The 54-year-old's biggest defence in the letter is his meeting with Roux on 18 January in where he alleges the SA Rugby boss informed him that his four-year contract was being terminated although Coetzee did not have his 2017 performance review yet. 

Coetzee's evaluation was supposed to be concluded in December already but it hasn't even started yet as SARU can’t agree on which panel members will 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,” he wrote in his letter. 

“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.” 

Coetzee also alleges that Roux informed him that his "services will be terminated regardless of the outcome of the anticipated performance review‚ as contemplated by my employment contract.” 

It's highly unlikely that Coetzee will continue in his role as Rassie Erasmus is now firmly entrenched in his position as SARU's 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,” Coetzee 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 numerous reasons why he was “set up to fail” as coach. This includes the timing of his appointment, the little input he had on the appointment of his assistants and value-adding staff, SARU's policy regarding overseas-based players, as well as 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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