Coetzee denies SOS

Allister Coetzee won’t consult coaches outside of the existing team and has denied that his staff is in need of extra technical assistance, reports JON CARDINELLI in Johannesburg.

Coetzee’s Boks have lost four of their seven Tests to date. Many questions have been raised about the quality of the players and coaches in the wake of the defeats to Ireland, Argentina, Australia and New Zealand.

While there are many contributing factors to the decline, the inexperience of the coaching staff is chief among them. Recently, a media report claimed that Coetzee has already asked SA Rugby for help in this regard. It was alleged that the Bok coach plans to use several coaching specialists for the two home Tests against Australia and New Zealand.

Kicking coach Louis Koen was in attendance at the Bok training session in Johannesburg on Monday morning. It’s hoped that Koen will provide the Boks with a boost ahead of important clashes where accurate tactical kicking will be paramount. The Boks are also looking to break a three-game losing streak.

However, as Coetzee moved to clarify at a press conference on Monday, that is the only addition to the coaching staff that will be made at this stage.

Coetzee could be making use of great South African rugby brains like Brendan Venter and Nick Mallett. He could be consulting with 2007 World Cup winning coach Jake White, a coach he worked with between 2004 and 2007.

But, at this stage, Coetzee appears determined to stick with the same coaching formula.

‘What SOS have I sent?’ Coetzee said, in reference to the media report. ‘That’s something you guys [the media] have created. I don’t read the papers, so I don’t know what you’re talking about.

‘I’m happy with what we’ve got right here at the moment in terms of coaches. If I had a problem with my coaches I would let them know and I would let SA Rugby know.’

Coetzee conceded that the Boks have been poor in areas such as tactical kicking and defence. To reiterate, the Boks have not made use of Koen’s kicking expertise in the Rugby Championship until now. Chean Roux is still learning the ropes as a defence coach at this level.

‘Those are the two areas in which we haven’t been good enough,’ the Bok coach said. ‘The kicking execution is something that has been a problem throughout the year.

‘Unfortunately, an ineffective kicking game can put your defence under massive stress. We saw that happen the last time we played Australia, when there were so many kicks on [Wallabies fullback] Israel Folau. That has to be far better on Saturday at Loftus Versfeld’.

Photo: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images

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