• Coetzee’s Bok role in doubt

    Allister Coetzee says he will ‘definitely’ be returning to coach the Kobe Kobelco Steelers in Japan next season.

    Coetzee has been widely touted as the favourite to take over the Bok top job since Heyneke Meyer stepped down in December, but after what is believed to have been an unofficial approach from Saru, a presiding sentiment has emerged that suggests Coetzee may no longer be a shoo-in.

    All Saru has been willing to confirm is that an intensive process of identifying the best candidate is underway, with CEO Jurie Roux believed to be driving the recruitment process before a recommendation is put forward. Any appointment would need to be ratified at the next general council meeting in March.

    However, after this past weekend’s Japanese Top League third-place play-off, which saw the Steelers suffer a defeat to Yamaha Jubilo, Coetzee gave an assurance that he would continue to coach in Japan. The former long-serving Stormers coach still has two years left on his contract at the Steelers.

    A reporter in Japan confirmed to SARugbymag.co.za that Coetzee said he would ‘definitely’ be coming back to the Steelers when quizzed about his future.

    As it stands, assistant coach Johann van Graan appears to be the only member of the former Bok coaching staff who will retain his position in the new coaching set-up, but it remains unclear as to what say the new Bok coach would have in appointing his other assistants.

    Should Coetzee be moving out of the running, increasingly signs seem to indicate that Rassie Erasmus could be a strong contender for a frontline role.

    Photo: Shaun Roy/Gallo Images

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    Craig Lewis