Springbok coach Allister Coetzee on Tuesday named a 31-man squad for a three-Test series against France in June.
Warren Whiteley was named as the 58th Springbok captain and will get his first opportunity to lead the team when a much-changed squad, which includes eight uncapped players, gets together for the series at a training camp in Plettenberg Bay next week.
The national selectors also recalled six experienced players to the squad. They are Rugby World Cup winner Frans Steyn, Jan Serfontein, Francois Hougaard, Duane Vermeulen, Coenie Oosthuizen and Chiliboy Ralepelle. They have more than 200 Test caps of experience between them.
The curtain has come down on the Autumn Internationals and there can now be little doubt that the gap has closed between the north and south. However, the prevailing question is: Have the Northern Hemisphere teams strengthened or have the Southern sides weakened?
In my book, it’s a 60:40 split. Forty per cent is owing to much better cohesion from Northern Hemisphere teams and continuity in terms of selection under the guidance of astute coaches. However, 60 per cent is due to the fact that Southern Hemisphere rugby has waned. Harsh questions have to be asked around competition structures in the south, as well as eligibility of foreign-based players.
Allister Coetzee has named a new-look Springbok squad, including 9 uncapped players, for the Castle Lager Incoming Series against Ireland, featuring 3 Tests in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth.
The uncapped players who have forced their way into the Springbok squad are Garth April (Cell C Sharks – flyhalf), Ruan Combrinck (Emirates Lions – wing), Faf de Klerk (Emirates Lions – scrumhalf), Nic Groom (DHL Stormers – scrumhalf), Steven Kitshoff (Overseas-based – prop), Jaco Kriel (Emirates Lions – flank), Bongi Mbonambi (DHL Stormers – hooker), Sikhumbuzo Notshe (DHL Stormers – flank) and Scarra Ntubeni (DHL Stormers – hooker).
Coetzee picked 17 forwards and 14 backs to report for duty on Sunday afternoon for the start of a 2-week long preparation camp in Stellenbosch and Cape Town. The squad will gather in Stellenbosch for the 1st week, before they break for 2 days and then reassemble on Sunday 5 June in Cape Town.
Former DHL Stormers and DHL Western Province coach Allister Coetzee has been named as head coach of the Springboks for the next 4 years, ushering in an exciting new era for rugby in South Africa.
The 52-year-old former Springbok assistant coach succeeds Heyneke Meyer at a time when a number of veterans of the 2007 Rugby World Cup triumph have gone into retirement, including 3 of last year’s 4 captains.
“Allister’s appointment marks the changing of the guard at the top of Springbok rugby and is an exciting new departure for SA Rugby,” said Mr Oregan Hoskins, president of SA Rugby.
“It is a watershed moment for our game with new players developing alongside a spine of experience and it was the right time to have a new man guiding the Springboks for the foreseeable future.
“Allister was the outstanding candidate in terms of his rugby credentials, his understanding of our unique South African transformation imperatives and also in the image he will present as Springbok coach. I am delighted to welcome him back into the Springbok fold.
“The Springbok coaching job is an enormous challenge but Allister has the full support of us at SA Rugby and we will be united in our efforts to continue to make Springbok rugby strong. I want to wish him well in his new job, I also want to pay tribute to Heyneke and his management team for their dedication and service to Springbok rugby the past 4 years.”
If international coaches were judged on passion for their country rather than results, Heyneke Meyer would rank alongside anyone in rugby union’s history. Never has a badge been gripped so tightly at anthem time. The 48-year-old lived each game as if his life depended on it. When the Springboks won it was all worthwhile; when they lost it was painful to behold.
Sadly, it was those gut-twisting defeats that Meyer could ultimately not escape. Not unlike Stuart Lancaster with England, he will be remembered as an extraordinarily decent man who could not quite generate sufficient on-field success. To be the coach of a Springbok team beaten by Japan at a World Cup is hardly a recipe for securing a shiny new four-year contract.
And so Meyer has stepped off the stressful, unpredictable Bok wagon before he was pushed. On his better days – and South Africa won 67% of their games under his stewardship – the Boks were well-motivated, grimly physical, defensively impressive and tricky to beat. On the debit side he persisted with senior players who were visibly past their best and South Africa’s attacking game was seldom as dangerous as their leading rivals.
Allister Coetzee looks set to be named the new Springbok coach in December.
It has reliably been learnt that Heyneke Meyer has lost the support of the majority of South Africa’s provincial unions and will be replaced at the General Council meeting of the South African Rugby Union on 11 December.
SARU has already postponed their General Council meeting by a week, to 11 December. It will be preceeded by a meeting of the Executive Council on 9 December.
Current team manager Ian Schwartz, who is employed as a permanent staff member of SARU, has apparently flown to Japan to speak to former Springbok Assistant Coach and DHL Stormers Head Coach, Allister Coetzee, to take over the national team.
Coetzee has an exit clause in his contract with Kobelco Steelers – the club he coaches in the Japanese Top League.
The positons of the Springbok coaching and management team for the 2016 season and beyond will be reviewed by the Executive Council (Exco) of the South African Rugby Union (SARU), SARU announced on Monday.
Jurie Roux, the chief executive officer of SARU, said that the contracts of all of the national team’s coaching, medical and logistical staff expire at the end of the year.
“The Executive Council (Exco) has the power to appoint management and coaching staff with the exception of the position of the Springbok coach, which is ultimately decided by the General Council of SARU,” said Roux.
“That body meets on 4 December when the positon of the Springbok coach for 2016 will be on the agenda. Once all affected individuals have been notified of any decisions a public announcement will be made, which is not expected before 5 December.
“We realise the great public interest in the subject and this is easily one of the most important decisions we take as an organisation. Supporters will understand therefore that we have many factors to consider before any announcements can be made. Those deliberations cannot take place in public out of respect for individuals and our governance structures.”
Media are advised that SARU will make no further comment on the process until any announcements have been made.
Outgoing DHL Stormers coach Allister Coetzee has given the franchise advice on where they can look to strengthen their squad for next season.
The 52-year-old is set to leave for Japan as he embarks on a new phase in his coaching career with Japanese club, Kobe Kobelco Steelers.
The Stormers won this year’s South African conference in Super Rugby, but were knocked out in the qualifiers against the Brumbies at Newlands.
Coetzee said they need add a few new recruits in order to be successful in 2016.
It may come in the form of another franchise gig, but there are a number of critics who feel that Allister Coetzee’s return to South Africa will be as Springbok coach.
Coetzee jets off to Japan on 5 July where he will take charge of the Kobe Kobelco Steelers, but he has not ruled out a move back to South Africa at a later stage, saying that he was “far from done” with his coaching career.
Current Bok coach Heyneke Meyer is out of contract at the end of the year after completing what would have been four full international season, and whether or not he gets another 4 years will be largely determined by how the men in green and gold go at this year’s World Cup.
Coetzee said on Tuesday that the opportunity to coach his country was something that he had always thought about.
“I would love to do it,” Coetzee said.
DHL Stormers head coach Allister Coetzee has revealed the DHL Stormers line-up for Saturday’s Super Rugby Qualifier against the Brumbies at DHL Newlands (kick-off 17:05 SA Time), with Juan de Jongh assuming the leadership reins once again.
There appears to be an outside chance that Springbok Sevens flyer Seabelo Senatla may feature for the DHL Stormers in the closing stages of Vodacom Super Rugby.
The Blitzbokke finish off their 2014 / 2015 campaign in London later this week and Stormers coach Allister Coetzee says that he will investigate the option of having the speedy winger available for the last games of the round robin phase.
Senatla will have to play a couple of games to be eligible for the Finals Series that starts late in June, with the Stormers in a 3-way fight at the moment with the Vodacom Bulls and Emirates Lions to get that far.
The product of Welkom was a revelation on the wing for Western Province in last year’s ABSA Currie Cup and with the Stormers struggling to score tries this season – they have just one 4-try bonus point from their 12 matches so far – it would make sense for Coetzee to look at Senatla.
The DHL Stormers are keeping their build-up to Saturday’s massive Vodacom Super Rugby derby against the Vodacom Bulls under wraps, with no open training sessions or press conferences scheduled until the team announcement on Thursday, but there shouldn’t be any secret to what the biggest selection dilemma will be this week.
To put it simply, coach Allister Coetzee needs to find a way to fit 4 inform Springbok loose-forwards into a winning loose trio. Up until the match against the Western Force, not all the loose-forwards were firing, as Nizaam Carr wasn’t repeating the excellent form that earned him a national call-up last year.
However, against the Western Force the No 8 hit his straps and regained his old confidence, delivering a busy and energetic performance that should have taken him close to the man of the match award. The Stormers were unlucky not to score a try off one particularly impressive run from Carr.
The problem for Coetzee, if you could call it that, is that skipper Duane Vermeulen has now completed his rest period that started when he travelled home at the halfway point of the 4 match overseas tour, meaning that he effectively missed 3 games in all as he was also rested for the 1st. Vermeulen should return to the back of the scrum for the Newlands clash, which will mean that Carr will have to be accommodated elsewhere.
An elated DHL Stormers coach Allister Coetzee heaped the praise on his coaching team and all the players in the aftermath of their excellent 32 / 18 Vodacom Super Rugby win over the defending champion Waratahs earlier today.
The DHL Stormers overturned a 13 / 15 half-time deficit to record their 1st tour win of 2015 against the reigning champs – also scoring 4 tries in the process in Sydney.
DHL Stormers coach Allister Coetzee was disappointed with his team’s showing against the Highlanders, but he still believes they have what it takes to play winning rugby on their 2015 Vodacom Super Rugby tour.
The DHL Stormers went down 21 / 39 to the Highlanders in Dunedin earlier today and were unable to give flanker Schalk Burger the win they all craved in his 100th game for the Cape-based franchise.
“I am very disappointed,” Coetzee told www.iamastormer.com on Saturday evening (NZ time), “this wasn’t what we wanted for Schalk in his 100th match and it certainly wasn’t what we wanted in our 1st tour match.
Regular captain and No 8 Duane Vermeulen is the only member of the DHL Stormers touring squad that will not be available for selection for Saturday’s opening game of the 4 day trip against the Highlanders at Dunedin’s Forsyth Barr Stadium.
Stormers coach Allister Coetzee has reported to the Cape rugby media via telephone conference hook-up that the squad has settled down well on the South Island in New Zealand – they are actually in the resort town of Queenstown currently – and that every player in the 27 man squad is fully fit and ready to play.
That means that Louis Schreuder, who was concussed against the Chiefs in the last match, has passed his cognitive tests, while big lock Eben Etzebeth and the inform blindside flank Michael Rhodes have both recovered from the injuries that have kept them out of the last few Stormers games.
The DHL Stormers have announced a 27-man touring squad for their upcoming trip to Australasia, which will see them take on the Highlanders, the Hurricanes, the Waratahs and the Western Force on their 2015 Vodacom Super Rugby away trip.
Captain Duane Vermeulen will lead a squad with no selection surprises and a playing group which includes hooker Bongi Mbonambi, prop Oli Kebble, lock Eben Etzebeth, flank Mike Rhodes and wing Johnny Kotze – all of whom did not play against the Chiefs at the weekend.
The only player unavailable because of injury is hard-working flanker Rynhardt Elstadt (broken leg – suffered against the Blues in Round 2), with DHL Stormers coach Allister Coetzee rightfully rewarding those players who have served the team so well thus far in 2015.
The injury list for the DHL Stormers is growing following the addition of 3 more players after the hard won victory over the Lions at Ellis Park on Saturday.
Locks Jurie Van Vuuren, Ruan Botha and Flank Michael Rhodes all picked up injuries and will be assessed in the coming days.
The Stormers have no major injury concerns in their camp this week, as they get set to host the Blues at Newlands on Saturday (17:05 SA Time).
The men from the Cape opened their 2015 Super Rugby campaign with a memorable 29 / 17 win over the Bulls in Pretoria and they could be boosted this week by the return of forwards Frans Malherbe and Siya Kolisi and wing Kobus van Wyk.
The trio missed the trip to Pretoria, but more will be known about their participation in Round 2 when the team is announced on Thursday, just before lunch-time.
Johnny Kotze, who was a stand-out player for last season’s Western Province Under 21 side, is the major surprise in the Stormers team to play the Bulls in the opening round of the 2015 Super Rugby competition at Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria, on Saturday evening.
The Johannesburg-born Kotze, who was schooled at Bishops in Cape Town, was given the nod after right wing Kobus van Wyk was omitted from Saturday’s match-day squad. Van Wyk, who had returned from a calf injury, enjoyed very little game time in the pre-season warm-up matches and it was felt that he needed more time to reach the desired level of match readiness.
“Kotze has all the core skills that is required of a wing,” said Stormers coach Allister Coetzee, at Thursday’s team announcement in Bellville. “He was one of the stars in last season’s (WP) Under 21 team. He’s been in our system and he brings characteristics that are very pleasing.
Springbok inside centre Damian de Allende will line up in the No 12 jersey for the DHL Stormers, as the men from the Cape open their 2015 Vodacom Super Rugby campaign against the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday (19:10 SA Time).
De Allende is one of 3 Springboks in the DHL Stormers’ starting 15, whilst fit-again loose forward Nizaam Carr has been named on the bench to take the squad tally of Springboks to 4.
In all, there are 6 DHL Stormers debutants in the matchday squad, 3 in the starting 15 and 3 on the bench, with wings Johnny Kotze and Dillyn Leyds and tighthead prop Vincent Koch the new faces in the run-on side.
The new faces on the bench are hooker Bongi Mbonambi – who, of course, has Super Rugby experience with the Bulls – tighthead prop Wilco Louw and outside back Huw Jones.
Long-serving DHL Stormers and DHL Western Province coach Allister Coetzee has chosen not to extend his contract at Western Province Rugby and will, instead, take up an opportunity abroad at the end of this year.
Coetzee, 51, will join Japanese club, Kobe Steel Kobelco Steelers, having decided to put pen to paper this week.
“I have always said that I would make an announcement once I had made a decision about my future and my decision has now been made and communicated properly,” said Coetzee on the official DHL Stormers website.
A potential crisis looms for a Stormers management that will be starting the Vodacom Super Rugby season without the defensive guru, Jacques Nienaber, that masterminded their team strength over the past seven years and with the knowledge that the head coach will be leaving at the end of the competition.
Japanese based sources have confirmed that the stories linking Allister Coetzee with the Japanese club Kobe Kobelco Steelers are more than just speculation and an expression of interest – the two time Currie Cup winning coach has made a firm commitment to replace Gary Gold as Kobe coach and will link up with his new club once the Super Rugby season is over in July.
Coetzee comes off contract this year. Among other things, he is understood to have been put out by the recruitment of former Bok and Kenya Sevens coach Paul Treu as a Stormers assistant coach without the management being consulted, and has informed the Stormers hierarchy and his fellow management of his decision.
DHL Stormers coach Allister Coetzee has announced a powerful line-up for Friday night’s friendly clash against the Cheetahs at DHL Newlands (Kick-Off 19:00 SA Time).
As expected, Springbok lock Eben Etzebeth will start in his first match of 2015, his first appearance in a DHL Stormers jersey since 2013, whilst talented youngster Huw Jones gets a run at inside centre – his first start for the DHL Stormers – after Damian de Allende was ruled out with a slight quadriceps tear.
“It’s a slight tear, so we could’ve pushed Damian if, say, we were playing in a final,” said Coetzee on the www.iamastormer.com website. “It’s not serious, but we didn’t want to risk him at this stage of our pre-season preparations.”
Demetri Catrakilis, after missing last weekend’s trip to George with a stomach ailment, will start at flyhalf, whilst ABSA Currie Cup-winning lock Jean Kleyn has been named amongst the replacements after recovering from a knee (meniscus) injury which delayed his start to his team’s pre-season programme.
The first playing squad of the Stormers has been named already for the first Stormers warm-up match against SWD and it certainly looks like Scarra Ntubeni will have first pick at hooker, but Bongi bonambi, the imported hooker from the Bulls will not go away, he’ll battle for the starting spot all season and Scarra Ntubeni will have to be at his best… and stay injury free, to keep the pecking order in his favour.
Allister Coetzee is faced with a delicate balancing act, considering who he has available and who are carrying niggles and injuries.
Stormers and Western Province coach Allister Coetzee is in high demand to coach in the Japanese league, according to reports.
Coetzee, who still has one year left on his contract with WP, is believed to be a strong candidate to replace Gary Gold as coach of the Kobe Kobelco Steelers in Japan. Gold is set to leave the Steelers to take up the role of Sharks Director of Rugby.
Meanwhile, WP’s Vodacom Cup and Under 21 coach, John Dobson, is also believed to be on the wish list of the EP Kings, while there is also interest in Dobson’s backline coach, Dawie Snyman.
Gert Smal, WP’s Director of Rugby, said they would like to keep all current coaches at the union for the next three years and are busy with negotiations.
Western Province beat the Blue Bulls in both league games this season, and that is why coach Allister Coetzee says that his team won’t be changing their attacking gameplan for a more conservative one in Saturday’s Currie Cup semi-final at Newlands.
In fact, since Coetzee took over the WP Currie Cup team in 2008, they have lost only once to the Blue Bulls at Newlands, although it was a big one – the 2009 semi-final, when Morné Steyn slotted a late penalty for a 21-19 win.
Former DHL Western Province captain Anton van Zyl is set for a shock return to the team after an absence of four years as the Absa Currie Cup log leaders seek a way to protect their stocks ahead of the play-off phase of the competition.
Van Zyl, known as Worms by his friends, finished off a stint with Stade de Francais a few months ago and is back living in Cape Town. He last played for WP in the 2010 Currie Cup final, and last played for the Stormers in the 2011 season.
He attended a Province training session on Tuesday as the Cape side prepares for the clash with the Cell C Sharks this weekend, and according to WP sources, is in the reckoning to play in the game.
DHL WP, the 2012 Absa Currie Cup winners and 2013 finalists, will take on the Steval Pumas at the Mbombela Stadium with vice-captain Pat Cilliers back at tighthead prop and Brok Harris moving down to the bench.
Scrumhalf Nic Groom and utility back Michael van der Spuy will join Harris on the bench this week, with coach Coetzee once again reverting to a more traditional four / three split (forwards / backs) amongst his replacements.
Western Province will need to ‘change their attitude’ or face more Currie Cup heartache in the coming weeks.
This is the view of WP coach Allister Coetzee, following his team’s first defeat of the season – when they went down 33-35 to the Golden Lions in Johannesburg last Saturday.
Province, who conceded just eight tries in the first five weeks of the revamped Currie Cup competition, leaked five five-pointers against the Lions at Ellis Park.
Western Province made it five from five in the Currie Cup with a convincing 49-14 win over the Eastern Province Kings at Newlands on Friday night.
The hosts, the only remaining unbeaten team in the Currie Cup, picked up their third bonus point win of the season in the process as they racked up seven tries whilst conceding just two, reports WP’s official website.
Skipper Juan de Jongh opened his team’s tally in the 11th minute when he snapped up a loose EP Kings pass, that after kickers Scott van Breda (Kings) and Demetri Catrakilis (WP) missed goal kicks inside the first ten minutes.
DHL Western Province coach Allister Coetzee has made four changes to his starting team for Friday night’s ABSA Currie Cup clash with the EP Kings at Newlands.
Only one of those changes is enforced, with wing Seabelo Senatla ruled out because of the ankle injury sustained against the Vodacom Blue Bulls last weekend. Coetzee said earlier in the week that Senatla would be out for a minimum of two weeks, but it seems likely now that he will be out for three or four. Continue reading
Speedster Seabelo Senatla will almost certainly miss Friday night’s home Absa Currie Cup clash with the EP Kings at Newlands, but the DHL Western Province brains-trust will be holding thumbs that his absence from the game won’t be for long.
The Springbok Sevens star will have the ankle that he twisted during his match winning performance for WP against the Vodacom Blue Bulls at Loftus this past weekend assessed on Monday.
He said after the match that the ankle didn’t feel bad, and he was apparently walking comfortably on Sunday, but WP coach Allister Coetzee has listed him as a doubtful starter for Friday night’s game.
Opening a three-point gap atop the Currie Cup log, after a tightly contested 23-18 victory over a much-improved Blue Bulls side at Loftus Versfeld gave Western Province coach Allister Coetzee a lot to smile about.
“We are very happy with the win, we were up against a desperate Bulls side and they showed the way they came out tonight and they really came at us,” Coetzee said.
“It is a massive win for us, to come out here at altitude to beat the Bulls with a relatively young side and it is the first time that they’ve lost at Loftus this year.”
Western Province will never disrespect or underestimate any Blue Bulls team, no matter how much their rivals from the north are struggling.
The table-topping WP outfit travel to Pretoria on Saturday for the biggest domestic derby, when they face a Bulls team fresh off their first win of the season.
After having suffer heavy defeats in back-to-back outings in the opening rounds, the Bulls showed some improvement in their 30-25 win over the Eastern Province Kings last week.
Centre Michael van der Spuy is the only injury worry for Western Province coach Allister Coetzee, ahead of Saturday’s away meeting against the Blue Bulls in Pretoria.
Van der Spuy has a tight hamstring, following the weekend’s 27-14 win over the Golden Lions, and did not train on Monday.
Should Van der Spuy be ruled out of action, Jaco Taute (on the bench last week) and Pat Howard (who came off the bench in Round One) would come into the selection equation an centre.