Some key discussions and decisions will take place when SA Rugby’s executive and general councils meet at the end of this week, writes CRAIG LEWIS.
At a time when Allister Coetzee’s job hangs in the balance following another disappointing season, it’s worth keeping in mind the constitutional changes that were made towards the end of last year.
On that occasion, it was confirmed that the responsibility for the appointment of the Springbok coach would be moved from the general to the executive council.
Previously, all 14 provincial presidents had the power to vote on whether to keep the Bok coach or not, but SA Rugby has moved to ‘streamline and speed up decision-making’ by re-shaping elements of the constitution.
As part of the changes, there was an increase in the make-up of the independent and player representation on the executive council to five independents, with six elected members.
The exco is now set to meet Thursday, and the general council will then sit down on Friday. Although the general council has the ability to ratify appointments, it has no power with regards to the coach beyond that.
Last year, Coetzee also came under serious pressure after returning a shocking 33% win record, but ultimately held on to his job after an extensive review process.
However, it took until 27 February before SA Rugby finally reaffirmed its support for Coetzee, while suggesting the appointment of assistant coaches Franco Smith and Brendan Venter would strengthen the Bok management.
Although the Springboks did manage to secure seven wins this season, they still suffered historic heaviest-ever losses to both the All Blacks and Ireland, while they have ended the year in sixth place in the world rankings once again.
That translates to a 44% win-ratio over Coetzee’s two-year tenure, which sits well below the 65% mandate that has reportedly been linked to the coach’s contract.
It now remains to be seen whether SA Rugby’s leadership has the conviction to replace Coetzee, with the rumour mill having moved into overdrive in recent weeks.
Besides a perception that new SA Rugby director of rugby Rassie Erasmus is set to fulfil more of a hands-on role than initially stated upon his appointment, it’s also been speculated that Kings coach Deon Davids could be elevated into the Springbok setup.
An expectant South African rugby public will now hope for answers sooner rather than later.
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