Coetzee still on Bok coaching radar
NEWS: The South African Rugby Union may have been dragging their feet, but indications are that Allister Coetzee will remain as Springbok coach.
Media speculation about Coetzee's future has been rife and - depending on which grapevine you believe - he is either going to see out his four-year contract, stay on till after the June series against France or be fired immediately.
However, it has been confirmed that Coetzee - under fire after a record number of defeats in 2016 - attended the third "coaches and conditioning indaba" in Johannesburg on Wednesday.
According to a media statement, the 'Springbok coaching staff' and local franchise coaches met in Kempton Park to discuss and finalise a coaching blueprint for South Africa.
Enquiries to SARU confirmed that Coetzee was part of the 'Springbok coaching staff' that attended.
SARU have repeatedly delayed an announcement on the Bok coaching position.
Almost two weeks ago SARU President Mark Alexander confirmed that "all the work around the coach review process" had been concluded.
However, the SARU said they could not make any comment on the process until all the "contractual negotiations" had been completed.
With Coetzee still attending these coaching indabas, it must be assumed he is going to stay on.
If he was to be fired, he would not attend such meetings, as they are designed to assist the national team.
Coetzee and his backroom staff were joined by coaches from the six Super Rugby franchises, Alexander, Francois Davids (Deputy President) and James Stoffberg (vice-president) at the one-day indaba.
Wednesday's gathering was a resumption of the coaches' indaba first held in Cape Town in December last year and the original indaba in Cape Town in October - with the main aim of designing a new direction for Springbok rugby and to address on-field performance by South African teams.
The draft version of the SA rugby blueprint was presented at the meeting following the two previous coaches' gatherings.
According to some of the outcomes of Wednesday's meeting, the identification and implementation of key fundamentals will be done at franchise and Springbok level and the blueprint will now be shared with all national teams and local franchises.
According to the media release, there is also a much clearer understanding on the resting and playing time of Springboks, while a national conditioning strategy will be finalised within the next two weeks.
With Super Rugby about to kick off and South Africans keen to see their local teams in action against the best of New Zealand, Australia, Argentina and Japan, Alexander described the draft blueprint as a huge milestone for South African rugby.
"We now have the guiding principles of a much-needed blueprint for South African rugby and the draft is the result of excellent collaboration between the local franchise coaches and the Springbok coaching staff," said Alexander.
"Cooperation and collective action are key for the implementation and success of this blueprint.
"We are not expecting all our teams to play exactly the same game, but it will be good to see our Super Rugby teams use similar fundamentals when it comes to the basics of the game, and from there use their own unique style in their game-plans.
"South African Rugby can only prosper if our unions and coaches collaborate with one another in the implementation of our collective plan. This blueprint plan does not dictate your provincial or franchise game-plan, but it is a necessary strategic framework for our rugby.
"It is my firm belief that the coming together of local coaching experts and their sharing of knowledge, added to their desire to improve our game, will put the Springboks in a better position in terms of preparation for their June series against France and the rest of the international season.
"Some of the important topics discussed during the three indabas included lessons learnt from the last few seasons, player contracting, player retention and succession planning as well as the development and retention of local coaches."