Coetzee: SOS a figment of media imagination

Tue, 27 Sep 2016 10:31
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REACTION: Springbok coach Allister Coetzee said reports of a 'secret SOS' for additional coaching staff is just a figment of the media's imagination.

Coetzee dismissed the suggestion that he is not happy with the support staff.

The Bok coach was asked about weekend media reports that he had 'secretly' sent a request to the South African Rugby Union for additional coaching staff, because the national team is on a steady decline under the current crop.

The report claimed Coetzee had planned to use 'coaching specialists' for the Rugby Championship home Tests against Australia (in Pretoria this coming Saturday) and New Zealand (in Durban a week later).

"I am not sure about the SOS [messages]," Coetzee told a media briefing at the team's training base in Johannesburg.

"You guys [the media] are creative," he said, adding: "You raise issues and now you want me to answer on those issues."

Coetzee also dismissed the suggestion that there is a strained relationship between him and his backroom staff - which include the inexperienced duo of Mzwandile Stick (attack) and Chean Roux (defence).

"If I had a problem with the management team I would sort it out and I would sort it out with SA Rugby - at this point in time, there are no issues from my side -

"I'm happy with what we've got right here at the moment in terms of coaches," Coetzee said.

"If I had a problem with my coaches I would let them know and I would let SA Rugby know."

Kicking coach Louis Koen has this week joined up with the Boks, but Coetzee dismissed the notion that this is the result of a 'secret SOS'.

"Louis has always been part of this team," Coetzee said, when asked about Koen's arrival.

"He was at the South African Rugby Union mobile unit, where he moved into a full-time job," he said of a man who was the Bok kicking coach for four years during the Heyneke Meyer era.

"He has always been part of us," the coach said, adding: "During the early part [of our Rugby Championship campaign] in Nelspruit and when we were overseas [in Australasia] he was involved in organising Under-18 and Under-16 tournaments."

Coetzee said it is good to have Koen back in the fold, adding that the players will benefit from his experience.

The coach added that tactical kicking execution hasn't been good and that is an area that urgently needs attention.

"Ineffective kicking puts our defence under stress.

"It is not that the players don't understand our strategy, it is just a lack of execution."

He admitted that the team's defensive structures also require some hard work, following three successive defeats - including leaking six tries in their last outing, a 13-41 loss to the All Blacks.

"Those are the two areas [defence and tactical kicking] we have to improve on and improve massively.

"Our defence, against New Zealand, we were a bit tight.

"What happens is we had too many numbers at the breakdown. We all kept looking at the breakdown and then lost numbers [on defence]. Then we were also tight and that compounded the problem."

Coetzee said it is all "a work in progress" and these structures will improve.

"There are bits and pieces getting better," the Bok mentor said, adding: "Also, the kick-chase is not good enough.

"I am sure [defence coach] Chean [Roux] has put in some good analysis on it.

"I am confident we will get it right - there is definitely more clarity in terms of the roles and responsibilities."

By Josh Isaacson

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