Allister Coetzee. Picture: GALLO IMAGES
Allister Coetzee. Picture: GALLO IMAGES

Heated questions on Monday threatened to break the autumn chill as the Springboks started their preparations for Saturday’s Test against France.

A belligerent Allister Coetzee countered that the exchange between him and SA Rugby president Mark Alexander after the Springboks’ defeat against Ireland on Saturday was constructive and not heated.

It was reported in SA that the conversation occurred in the emotional aftermath of another embarrassing defeat for the Boks‚ but Coetzee‚ while not denying it happened, did not agree on the tone in which it was allegedly conducted.

"Let me put this meeting into context‚" he said. "It was actually a very productive meeting. Everyone is obviously disappointed after the game.

"We spoke about how we are going to turn it around the next week. I don’t know your source or where you get that from. Make sure with him‚ it is definitely not the case.

"We had a chat about personnel‚ the plan and just keeping him up to date about how we prepared. It was a really productive meeting."

Alexander also denied they had a heated exchange.

"There is always pressure on the coach if he doesn’t win‚" the rugby boss said.

"That’s the nature of the beast. This has been a better season for me in that I can see the growth of the team."

When asked if there was the danger of him transferring the pressure he is feeling onto his players, Coetzee was deliberately succinct.

"We just have to focus on our plan. As long as there is a plan, I can handle any pressure."

He also claimed to be in possession of a plan for when assistant coach Johan van Graan leaves for Munster on Sunday and for when consultant Brendan Venter‚ who has contractual obligations to Italian rugby‚ will reserve his input next week.

"We’ll have to share the work. I think there is a good plan on the table already‚" Coetzee said without giving details.

Coetzee believes the Boks have the ability to bounce back, saying: "We have faced this before."


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