Coetzee commits to Cape franchise

Allister Coetzee has turned down an offer to join the new Springbok management team and will continue as head coach of the Stormers until the end of 2015.

New Bok coach Heyneke Meyer has been attempting to recruit top coaches for the past month. Coetzee admitted on Monday that he had been approached by Meyer to join the Bok coaching ranks, and that he had turned Meyer down.

‘It was never an easy decision,’ said Coetzee. ‘I have been in talks with Heyneke, but I decided that my job is not done at the Stormers. There is still a lot we want to achieve at this union.’

Coetzee served as backline coach under Jake White between 2004 and 2007 before joining the Stormers’ set-up in 2008. While he started as a backline mentor at the Cape franchise, he was handed the WP coaching job for the 2008 Currie Cup and later graduated to head coach of the Stormers in 2010.

He has said on many occasions that the Stormers are close to claiming that elusive silverware, and that this is a strong reason for continuing at the helm. Since Coetzee has been head coach, the Stormers have finished second (after losing to the Bulls in the 2010 final) and lost in the 2011 semi-finals (although they did win the South African conference).

‘I would have love to worked with Heyneke and contributed to the country’s success,’ he said, ‘but this is where I want to be [at the Stormers]. I’ve been there before as an assistant coach and it would have been easy for me to accept the job again, but I don’t want to take the easy way out [and leave the Cape side].’

Coetzee will continue at the Stormers and Western Province until the end of 2015, and his assistant coaches Robbie Fleck and Matt Proudfoot have been offered the same deal. Defence coach Jacques Nienaber and WP Vodacom Cup coach John Dobson have contract offers set to expire at the same time.

‘We were all eager to reaffirm our commitment to WP and hopefully this puts the matter to bed,’ said Coetzee.

At present, Coetzee is handling former director of coaching Rassie Erasmus’s responsibilities as well as the Stormers head coaching duties. He will continue in this vein, although a high-performance manager will be appointed to help him manage that workload.

While Coetzee will still be head coach, he will also be responsible for contracting players. The high-performance manager will act as a second-in-command to Coetzee, who described the position as one that would ‘streamline contracting procedures as well as handle all player and admin affairs so that the coaches and athletes have freedom to focus solely on the game.’

By Jon Cardinelli