Springbok coach Allister Coetzee on Monday denied claims that he sent out an SOS call to SA Rugby (Saru) to bolster his coaching team.
Weekend media reports suggested that the coach‚ who is facing a flurry of criticism for his side’s poor performance in the Rugby Championship this year where they have won just one match‚ had made a plea to the country’s rugby governing body to assist by allocating additional coaching staff.
“If I have a problem with the management team‚ I’ll sort it out with the management team; and I’d sort it out with SA rugby‚” Coetzee said as he denied the allegations.
“At this point in time‚ there are no issues from my side.”
Newly appointed defence coach Chean Roux has come under fire for his role in the side that has looked shaky on defence‚ while backline coach Mzwandile Stick has borne the brunt of a critical South African media and public.
Coetzee remains confident that he and his coaching staff are working hard to ensure that the Boks return to winning ways after three consecutive defeats to Argentina‚ Australia and New Zealand.
The Boks will be hoping to bounce back on Saturday when they take on the Wallabies in a test at Loftus Versfeld.
“The mood in the camp is positive‚ and we are looking forward to this week‚” said Coetzee.
“Obviously‚ [the Rugby Championship campaign] has not gone the way we planned‚ but we have to reset our goals again. There is still a lot to play for in this competition‚ although we must give credit to New Zealand for clinching the Rugby Championship.
“As a group we still have our ambitions‚ our objectives‚ and hopefully we can start this weekend at Loftus.”
The Bok side has been bolstered by the return of flyhalf Pat Lambie and fullback Willie le Roux for their home leg of the competition which will see them take on Australia in Pretoria before facing the All Blacks in Durban next week.
Coetzee was chuffed to have his pivot‚ Lambie‚ back in the side after he was ruled out of action for three months as a result of a concussion sustained against Ireland in the mid-year incoming tour by the European side.
The coach confirmed that Lambie will be considered for selection this weekend against the Wallabies.
“It’s great to have Pat. He had a great session this morning‚” Coetzee said.
“He will be part of the plans going forward into this weekend. He will be up for selection.”
The 25-year-old is itching to return to the field in the green and gold after a “frustrating” period away from the field.
“I’m thrilled to be back and be part of the group again. I’ve missed being a part of the Springboks‚” and excited Lambie said on Monday.
“It has been quite frustrating at times‚ sitting on the sides‚ especially given how long it took to get better again. Thankfully‚ I was looked after really well off the field
“I look forward to contributing in any way that I can.”
The pivot confirmed that he was feeling his old self again after nursing the worrisome concussion back to full health.
He also added that it was likely that the concussion was triggered by migraines he had suffered since his teenage years.
“I was waking up every morning with a headache‚ sore eyes‚ no energy and really not feeling up to [doing] much‚” he explained.
“Thankfully the doctors took good care of me and after a few courses of medication‚ I’ve come right now. Everyone involved is happy and there’s no risk of me being more susceptible to concussion than there was before
“I’ve suffered from about four or five migraines a year since I was 14‚ and that is one factor I think that was one factor that played against me in suffering from a big concussion like I did.”
Coetzee will name his match-day 23 squad on Thursday.