South Africa head coach Allister Coetzee has launched an incredible attack against the South African Rugby Union in a scathing letter addressed to CEO Jurie Roux.
Coetzee, who has been in charge of the Springboks since 2016, has claimed he was informed at a meeting on January 18 that his contract would be terminated in order to make way for Rassie Erasmus to take the hot seat in his place.
Former Munster coach Erasmus left the province in order to take up a role as director of rugby for South Africa and was officially employed to work alongside Coetzee.
Well, Coetzee, who as of now is still officially the ‘Boks head coach, has revealed his disgust at the manner in which he is being pushed aside for Erasmus to take charge.
The 54-year-old was under the illusion that he was attending a performance appraisal meeting when he was hit with the surprise news of his contract termination.
After winning just eleven of the 25 matches he has overseen as head coach since his appointment, Coetzee pointed the blame for poor on-field performance elsewhere. He and his legal representatives penned the following in the explosive letter which was obtained by Times Live.
“You informed me that the decision (to terminate Coetzee’s contract) was taken by Mark Alexander (President of SARU)‚ Francois Davids (Deputy President) and James Stoffberg (Vice President) and mandated you as the CEO of SARU to inform me of the decision.
“You further informed me that a further aspect of the decision is that my services will be terminated regardless of the outcome of the anticipated performance review‚ as contemplated by my employment contract.
“And‚ should I wish to remain in SARU’s employment‚ I will be reduced to a ceremonial coach‚ and further that Johan Erasmus (‘Rassie’) has already been employed to replace me and is already performing the duties of the Springbok Coach. Should I be reduced to the position of a ceremonial coach I would have to face the indignity of reporting to Rassie.
“I also find it deeply reprehensible that‚ notwithstanding the fact that I have at all relevant times displayed the utmost good faith towards SARU‚ SARU has not‚ as a minimum‚ returned the favour,” he wrote.
The South African native then continued to slam the manner in which the SA Rugby Union has treated him from the very beginning of his tenure, going down swinging with his closing of the letter.
“I was the most successful Super Rugby Coach at the time of my appointment and was requested to return to Springbok rugby from Japan because my country needed me‚” Coetzee said.
“My treatment since my return suggested that elements in SARU embarked on a deliberate attempt to undermine me from the word go and to create the public impression of incompetence on my part whilst wilfully obstructing my efforts to be successful.”
Coetzee’s letter is sure to cause a stir in South Africa. For now, a spokesman for the South African Rugby Union has given this simple response:
“As a matter of principle SA Rugby does not publicly comment on employer-employee matters.”
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