In a 19 page letter addressed to SA Rugby, Allister Coetzee has stated that he was set up to fail to make way for Rassie Erasmus. He says that it was always the intention of SARU to appoint Rassie, but chose not to, because they feared being accused of racism.
Allister says that he realised that SARU appointed him as the Coloured token with the intention of sabotaging his tenure and then replacing him with Rassie. Rassie would then be positioned as the saviour of SA rugby. Allister did however state that Rassie was and is a less competent candidate for the position of Springbok coach.
During his tenure as the Cheetahs coach, Rassie had proved himself incapable of competing against international sides. At the time it was said his failure to perform at an international level was because of limited resources. However, as the coach of the vastly more resourced Stormers, he also failed to perform against international teams and it was only when Allister was appointed as the Stormers coach, that the team began to improve. During his first year after replacing Rassie, Allister’s Stormer’s jumped from 10th to 2nd place. Rassie was also part of the coaching team under the failed tenure of Heyneke Meyer. Allister was part of the coaching team under Jake White when the Springboks won the2007 Rugby World Cup.
Allister has also stated that he will not allow SARU to make him unemployable, like they did with former Springbok coach, Peter de Villiers. Since being released from his contract as coach, Coach de Villiers had been struggling to find positions within the rugby fraternity, despite his record wins against the All Blacks. In a radio interview, Coach de Villiers had said rugby unions had been told by SARU that he should not be employed. Heyneke however had found employment as an executive at a firm specialising in Rugby, is involved on projects with world rugby bodies and he is currently being considered for elite coaching positions in the UK. This is despite Heyneke having accrued record losses during his tenure as Springbok coach, and having plunged the team down the world rankings.
In the letter, it was confirmed by Allister that the abundant resources and services provided to Heyneke was taken away when he became coach. Heyneke had the power to choose his own team and players whereas Allister did not have these powers. Heyneke also had full control over the strategic direction whereas Allister only had limited strategic decision making powers. Heyneke had access to a specialist breakdown consultant, two analysts, unlimited access to psychologists, massage therapists, first class flights for all important matches and hotel rooms for each player. Coetzee did not have access to any of the privileges given to Heyneke as listed above. The Boks were generally stripped to the bone when Allister was appointed. Allister also pointed out that he was given very limited time to prepare for his first match and he has also been curtailed in preparing for subsequent matches.
Allister says that he was offered a position as a ‘ceremonial’ coach with no real duties and with Rassie as the actual head coach. He says he refuses to be insulted like this, especially given the fact that Rassie is a less competent coach. He also says that this is not about money or the position itself, but about his reputation as a coach, which he had worked hard for.
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