With his future a perennial matter of conjecture‚ Springbok coach Allister Coetzee on Monday shrugged at the latest line of inquiry.
In fact‚ he stumbled upon a humorous response when asked about rumours linking him to a move back to Japan.
"I am going to Japan. In 2019. I’m definitely going‚" he chuckled heartily in reference to the next World Cup and what he may possibly do thereafter.
"I honestly don’t know where the rumours started and I would like to know the source.
"I have a contract with SA Rugby until 2019.
"My sole job and mandate is to focus on the next Test. There will be a normal review at the end of the tour.
"After the incoming tour, there’s a review. After the Rugby Championship, there is a review. After the autumn [northern hemisphere] tour there is a review. It is a normal procedure‚" Coetzee said.
As much as he wants to take it one Test at a time‚ his future will be up for debate once the tour is over.
Finishing with a flourish can only enhance his chances.
Compared to 2016’s complete misadventure‚ the Boks have suffered just three defeats in 2017.
Lamentably‚ they also drew twice against the Wallabies.
The heavy beatings at the hands of the All Blacks and Ireland have‚ however‚ weakened Coetzee’s bargaining power.
A win over Wales‚ which will mean three straight wins in a row after the Irish humiliation‚ will be a significant feather in the coach’s cap.
He knows‚ however‚ that last weekend’s win over Italy was undervalued.
"I don’t think people realise how tough it was‚" said Coetzee about the atrocious conditions at Stadio Euganeo in Padua.
"We went up‚ against New Zealand it came down‚ went up‚ we drew against Australia‚ it went down against Ireland and now it is up again.
"From where we started and where we are, I’m really satisfied. If you look at the whole thing‚ and I like to use graphs because I was a teacher for 18 years.
"Where we started out and where we are now, it is massive improvement."