Captain Kolisi backs besieged Allister Coetzee
Springbok flank Siya Kolisi backed beleaguered coach Allister Coetzee in the aftermath of the team’s latest defeat against Wales.
Kolisi‚ who unexpectedly became the first black player to captain the Springboks in a Test after Eben Etzebeth failed to return to the field at the Principality Stadium‚ spoke passionately about the coach while seated next to him on Saturday.
"We have a great coach. It was a tough year last year. We play in a country where rugby means a lot. From last year to this year he has bitten the bullet for us‚" he said.
"Every time we win it is all about the players in the articles. It’s about us and how amazing we are. As soon as something bad happens then the coach isn’t good enough to coach.
"From where we came from last year he has done a great job. I don’t think it was an easy road for him. I’m not making any excuses. I just think it was tough for us as players to adapt to everything. He stood by us."
Loosehead Steven Kitshoff believes continuity will only stand the Boks in good stead leading up to the World Cup.
"It was a positive tour. There is a big brotherhood developing between the players. It is unfortunate we couldn’t end it on a high," he said.
"If we stick to our processes and keep working as a team we will develop into something great. If this team sticks together over the next two years it will be absolutely brilliant come World Cup time‚" said Kitshoff.
Coetzee believes losing coaching expertise during the tour did not help. Before the Test against Italy, Johann van Graan left for Munster and Brendan Venter could not involve himself because of his commitment to the Italian Rugby Federation.
"It is not conducive to lose coaches during a tour. It has a massive impact," said Coetzee.
"Since last year‚ there has been uncertainty. Look at how long Warren Gatland has been in his job‚ Rob Howley as well and Shaun Edwards. Joe Schmidt [Ireland’s coach] was going to be fired after the World Cup but they kept him and they started winning."