Is Allister Coetzee the worst Springbok coach in history?

Harry Jones Roar Guru

By Harry Jones, Harry Jones is a Roar Guru

123 Have your say

    No Sprinboks coach has had a worse record with as many Test matches (22) as Allister Coetzee.

    No-one has shown such an ability to be blown away without any semblance of an effective adjustment to game plan or attitude during oranges.

    Nobody has allowed 114 points to be scored by an opponent in consecutive matches (the All Blacks in Durban in 2016; in Albany, this year).

    Never has a Springbok coach made more excuses, had more assistance, been given more chances (even after going winless in Europe, including in Italy).

    No South African rugby follower has ever listened to a less penitent coach after these horror losses.

    On each occasion, whether after losing to Argentina or being crushed by Ireland, Coetzee sounds bloodless, clueless, and spineless.

    Allister Coetzee South Africa Springboks Rugby Union 2016

    (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)

    He begged for a reprieve in 2017 citing a lack of time, assistance, and support; and in return, in 2017, flush with all the aid he pleaded for, gave us record defeats.

    He cannot blame the exigencies of the quota (50 per cent by 2019 of the team cannot be white), because ‘self-deportation’ of white players has spiked, and Test-quality black players are slowly increasing.

    Most importantly, he selected Andries Coetzee at fullback, Jesse Kriel at outside centre, and Ross Cronje at scrumhalf after their unsuitability to Test rugby (in Kriel’s case, at that particular position) was clearly proved (Warrick Gelant, Lukhanyo Am, Lionel Mapoe, and Rudy Paige all were worth a shot, given 0-57 and 3-38 scorelines).

    Stubbornly sticking with Elton Jantjies as his form and confidence slipped farther and farther into mediocrity, and vacillating between a kick-chase and ball-in-hand 1-3-3-1 pod attack, Coetzee never seemed to use his bench with any acumen.

    Cape Town was a player’s revolt. Dublin was Coetzee’s insistence on his “way”.

    Timing be damned. Send him home. Pay him. Trust me, there’s money to do it. Move on.

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    The Crowd Says (123)

    • November 14th 2017 @ 9:25am
      Bfc said | November 14th 2017 @ 9:25am | ! Report

      Got to be a serious contender for the “title”…

      • Roar Guru

        November 14th 2017 @ 8:38pm
        Harry Jones said | November 14th 2017 @ 8:38pm | ! Report

        Yes, and he’s working with a wealth of talent. Especially if he picked backs from abroad.

    • Roar Guru

      November 14th 2017 @ 9:36am
      John R said | November 14th 2017 @ 9:36am | ! Report

      I thought they’d manage to turn things around this year? June series all went well right?

      • Roar Guru

        November 14th 2017 @ 8:39pm
        Harry Jones said | November 14th 2017 @ 8:39pm | ! Report

        But something is wrong in the cloak room. The team sometimes surrenders. No starch. No spine.

        • Roar Guru

          November 15th 2017 @ 8:28am
          John R said | November 15th 2017 @ 8:28am | ! Report

          That’s the strangest thing, I look at their players on an individual level, and it’s like struth they’ve got a pretty good team here, and it just doesn’t gel.

          That has to be the coach.

          • November 15th 2017 @ 8:35am
            Fionn said | November 15th 2017 @ 8:35am | ! Report

            The forward pack is individually brilliant aside from the players selected out of position (PSTD at blindside flank rather than either of the du Preez brothers and Francois Louw at 8 rather than Vermuelen).

            But there is not one player in the Boks’ current backline who I think would make the Wallabies, at least not on current form. Whereas Pollard, F. Steyn and Combrinck would all very likely be able to do so.

            Agree it is primarily the coaching though. The team has no heart in defence and is bereft of ideas in attack. Players don’t play with intensity and they’re almost all individually worse than they were at SR level.

    • November 14th 2017 @ 10:04am
      Tooly said | November 14th 2017 @ 10:04am | ! Report

      We have played two draws with them so if he’s their worst what about Chekhov ?

      • Roar Guru

        November 14th 2017 @ 10:21am
        PeterK said | November 14th 2017 @ 10:21am | ! Report

        Cheika has a lot better record than AC.

        He is far better in man management and setting culture.

        He often accepts the blame for things that have gone wrong in his tactics, he never publicly slates the players for errors in games.

        He is a better selector as well even if this is his weakness.

        The wallabies have not lost to teams for the first time like Boks have under AC i.e Italy.

        Has not presided under record losses (in terms of margins) for the wallabies.

        • Roar Guru

          November 14th 2017 @ 8:40pm
          Harry Jones said | November 14th 2017 @ 8:40pm | ! Report

          Exactly, PeterK. Check has some flaws, and the WBs haven’t yet hit peak, but there’s signs of life, and fight.

    • Roar Guru

      November 14th 2017 @ 10:13am
      RobC said | November 14th 2017 @ 10:13am | ! Report

      Dear HazzzaaaAAAAAAAAAAAAaaazaaaAAaaaAaaaaaa,

      In addition, he’s the worst SH test coach ever.


      • Roar Guru

        November 14th 2017 @ 10:22am
        PeterK said | November 14th 2017 @ 10:22am | ! Report

        Out of tier 1 nations which NH coaches are worse?

        Can’t think of any since 1996.

        • November 14th 2017 @ 10:25am
          Bakkies said | November 14th 2017 @ 10:25am | ! Report

          Brian Ashton had a pretty bad record with Ireland. After a good start Pierre Berbezier had a lot of bad losing streaks.

          Matt Williams did a disgraceful job with Scotland. He threw his players under the bus in front of the press before he started.

          • Roar Guru

            November 14th 2017 @ 10:44am
            PeterK said | November 14th 2017 @ 10:44am | ! Report

            I did imply with the same number of tests as AC as a minimum i.e 22.

            Williams had 17.

            • November 14th 2017 @ 10:48am
              Bakkies said | November 14th 2017 @ 10:48am | ! Report

              17 tests too many he was that bad.

            • Roar Guru

              November 14th 2017 @ 8:42pm
              Harry Jones said | November 14th 2017 @ 8:42pm | ! Report


              Yes! Usually a poor coach doesn’t get 20+ chances!

        • Roar Guru

          November 14th 2017 @ 11:24am
          RobC said | November 14th 2017 @ 11:24am | ! Report

          dunno Pete. Probably not many oustandingly terrible as KK has been for SH

          • Roar Guru

            November 15th 2017 @ 7:18am
            Kia Kaha said | November 15th 2017 @ 7:18am | ! Report

            What did I do wrong, Rob?

            • Roar Guru

              November 15th 2017 @ 7:49am
              Machooka said | November 15th 2017 @ 7:49am | ! Report

              KK = Coetzee 🙂

            • Roar Guru

              November 15th 2017 @ 11:14am
              RobC said | November 15th 2017 @ 11:14am | ! Report

              Gday Kia! How’ve you been sir?

              KK = Koochie Koo (or coochy coo). He’s a tickler.

            • Roar Guru

              November 15th 2017 @ 11:17am
              Machooka said | November 15th 2017 @ 11:17am | ! Report

              MrRobC= QC in KL!

        • Roar Guru

          November 14th 2017 @ 10:30pm
          Wal said | November 14th 2017 @ 10:30pm | ! Report

          Andy Robinson @ 40.9% with England has exactly the same. But give Alistair time.

          A particular Steve Hansen had a 35% record over 30 tests with Wales.

      • Roar Guru

        November 14th 2017 @ 8:41pm
        Harry Jones said | November 14th 2017 @ 8:41pm | ! Report

        Thank you, Robbity.

        I feel better now!

        He did not raise our game…

        • Roar Guru

          November 15th 2017 @ 1:58am
          RobC said | November 15th 2017 @ 1:58am | ! Report

          He razed the game

    • November 14th 2017 @ 10:31am
      Rugby Tragic said | November 14th 2017 @ 10:31am | ! Report

      Commiserations to all SA rugby fans for last weekend’s surrender to a good Irish side.

      Alistair Coetzee might be a nice guy, I have no idea as never meet him. However his coaching prowess must come under pretty close examination as is his selection policies.

      I think he is challenged in his role as head coach, blaming others publicly and not accepting his own shortcomings for failures. At the end of his tenure, I have no doubt he will suggest that the quota system dictated to his selections. We all accept that maybe a good portion of talent SA has, is not available for his selections but what can explain complete form reversals from one game to the next?

      Is he the worst coach South Africa has ever had, … his record to date would seem to indicate that.

      The ANC have also shown how they have destroyed the soul of SA rugby so maybe their political agenda has been reached.

      I think for the good of SA rugby, Coutzee should resign or be sacked, he has had his moment in the sun.

      • Roar Guru

        November 14th 2017 @ 8:43pm
        Harry Jones said | November 14th 2017 @ 8:43pm | ! Report

        Yes, that probably was a “passive-aggressive” goal of some in the ANC. Others are just clueless about the fine margins in elite sport, and hoped the Boks could remain 2nd or thereabouts with less than the best…

        • Roar Guru

          November 15th 2017 @ 8:02am
          PeterK said | November 15th 2017 @ 8:02am | ! Report

          others would be clueless about rugby and have drunk the coolaid and genuinely believe that there are a lot of black players out there that are discriminated against who are actually better than the white players. Evidence from performances in games not withstanding.

          • November 15th 2017 @ 8:09am
            Fionn said | November 15th 2017 @ 8:09am | ! Report

            To be fair, Peter, there are actually a lot of black players who SHOULD be playing for the Boks right now. They’re just not being selected by Coetzee is picking useless white and black players like Dreyer, Kriel (at 12), Cronje, Rhule, Lleyds and Skosan.

            Mapimpi, Gelant, Paige, Habana and Pietersen are all better than the players currently playing in their positions for the Boks.

            • Roar Guru

              November 15th 2017 @ 8:18am
              PeterK said | November 15th 2017 @ 8:18am | ! Report

              If you picked the whole team purely on merit then it would not come close to meeting the quota number expected

              I am talking about the best white and black players.

              • Roar Guru

                November 15th 2017 @ 8:29am
                Harry Jones said | November 15th 2017 @ 8:29am | ! Report

                The real problem comes with dropping players of colour once picked, if form drops.

                Rhule had 9 missed tackles in a game!

                Yet he’s in the squad, still. One injury away from trotting back on.

                And he’s from Ghana!!!

    • November 14th 2017 @ 11:19am
      ethan said | November 14th 2017 @ 11:19am | ! Report

      It’s a really weird one. SA played two great tests at home vs Aus and NZ, yet have been spanked twice now playing away. What changes? They’ve been two different teams this year. Just when you think they are making progress, they return to the Boks of 2016.

      • Roar Guru

        November 14th 2017 @ 11:27am
        RobC said | November 14th 2017 @ 11:27am | ! Report

        imo ethan. during the latter part of TRC SB played to type (tough guy – a lazy term), esp vs WB and ABs, who’s forwards are less direct

        IRE gave it back and KK’s guys were unprepared. Very disappointing, really.

        • November 14th 2017 @ 3:09pm
          ethan said | November 14th 2017 @ 3:09pm | ! Report

          I thought the Boks played much more to type in the first test against us than the second. In the second they were spreading the ball much more than we are used to seeing.

          • Roar Guru

            November 14th 2017 @ 3:13pm
            PeterK said | November 14th 2017 @ 3:13pm | ! Report

            agree, I was surprised at altitude they ran the ball more and kicked less

            • November 14th 2017 @ 4:45pm
              Bakkies said | November 14th 2017 @ 4:45pm | ! Report

              To run the Wallabies forwards ragged. Last year’s test in SA the Wallabies played a good first half but didn’t score any points in the 2nd.

              In Perth this year it had been raining.

        • Roar Guru

          November 14th 2017 @ 10:12pm
          Harry Jones said | November 14th 2017 @ 10:12pm | ! Report


          The problem with the Boks vacillating between (1) Advantage Line Attack with 1-3-3-1 pods and (2) swing wide sweet chariot and (3) kick-but-don’t-chase is …

          Our loose forwards are dead by 55:00.

      • Roar Guru

        November 14th 2017 @ 8:50pm
        Harry Jones said | November 14th 2017 @ 8:50pm | ! Report

        Coetzee has shown extreme difficulty in motivating good performances away from home (1 win in 10). Never a good sign about a coach.

        • November 15th 2017 @ 11:03am
          ethan said | November 15th 2017 @ 11:03am | ! Report

          Yes, that one is really telling.