Coetzee says his goodbyes to WP and Stormers

Allister Coetzee

Allister Coetzee

Allister Coetzee has officially said ‘sayonara’ after six years as Stormers head coach and eight years in total at Western Province Rugby.

The 52-year-old will leave for Japan next Sunday as he embarks on a new phase in his decorated coaching career with Japanese club, Kobe Kobelco Steelers.

Under his watch the Stormers have played in one Super Rugby final (2010), finished top of the overall log (2012) and collected three South African conference titles.

There has also been success at Currie Cup level, with victories in 2012 and 2014, along with runners-up medals in 2010 and 2013, while some good young players have become Test Springboks under Coetzee’s tutelage.

Think of Frans Malherbe, Eben Etzebeth, Siya Kolisi, Nizaam Carr, Duane Vermeulen, Damian de Allende and Juan de Jongh, with the likes of Scarra Ntubeni, Steven Kitshoff, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Seabelo Senatla, Kobus van Wyk and Cheslin Kolbe – to name just a few – the next breed of Bok hopefuls.

“I don’t think one can be defined by losing a knockout match. To me, it’s what your management and players think about you and how they play/work for you with a common goal in mind,” Coetzee told the Stormers’ official website on Wednesday.

“I was invited to a team meeting with just the players on Tuesday and it was humbling to have guys like Duane Vermeulen and Schalk Burger thank me for my work here… to have Eben Etzebeth give me his Springbok jersey… then you know you’ve done a good job – to me, that defines you; to build relationships and to see how guys have grown as people and leaders on the field.

“Someone like Schalk and I have done 11 years together, with the Boks and here at Province, having had players like that play for me means a lot and it’s something I will take with me.”

Coetzee conceded that there had been some tough times along the way, but added: “You can’t please everyone, but I’d like to think I’ve left a mark here in what is a diverse and special union and rugby region with an amazing support base, in The Faithful, all of whom have added to the special times my family and I have had in Cape Town.

“Most importantly, I would like to thank my players and my management – I was lucky that they always played for me; I never lost the changeroom, I’ve made some lasting relationships and I will never forget that.”

Looking ahead, to the next few years in Japan, Coetzee admitted to being excited at the next phase in his career but added that he would be back.

“It will be challenging and a bit of a culture shock for me, but I’m excited and looking forward to it,” said the outgoing Stormers coach, who also worked with the Springboks between 2004 and 2007.

“This doesn’t mean it’s the end of me in South Africa… it certainly doesn’t mean that I won’t be coming back.”

KINGS U19 AND U21 TEAMS TO PLAY FRIENDLIES

EP Kings U-21

EP Kings U-21

The EP Kings U19 and U21 squads will continue their preparations for the forthcoming Currie Cup season when they take on their South Western District counterparts in Plettenberg Bay on Wednesday (June 24).

The matches will take place at 2pm and 3.30pm at Piesang Valley in Plett.

The two teams open their Currie Cup campaigns on July 11 when they play against their Free State counterparts in Bloemfontein.

The squads  to play South Western Districts are:

U19 (15-1): Peter Mabhutana, Avelo Dubase, Jeremy Ward (captain), Michael Brink, Athenkosi Mayinje, Garrick Mattheus, James Hall, Junior Pokomela, Lusanda Badiyana, SF Nieuwoudt, Wihan Coetzer, Robert Lyons, Roche van Zyl, Masikane Mazwi, Xandre Vos.

Reserves (16-23): Thango Balekile, Kuhle Mokhoabane, Keegan Branford, Stefan Janse van Vuuren, Hayden Tharratt, Sibusiso Ngcokavane, Dominik Uytenbogaardt, Jaque Oosthuizen

U21 (15-1): Lindelwe Zungu, Mihlali Nchukana, Yamkela Nyalambisa, Somila Jho, Rameez Nel, Simon Bolze, Franswa Ueckermann, Kevin Kaba (captain), Henry Brown, CJ Velleman, Jan Uys, Gerrit Huisamen, Stefan van Schalkwyk, JP Jamieson, David Murray

Reserves (16-23): Arno Lotter, Erwin Slabbert, Matthew Moore, Riemerd Spreeth, Qhama Mvimbi, Sibusiso Ngcokavane, MC Venter, Malcolm Jaer.

EP KINGS SIGNINGS FOR CURRIE CUP

Lizo 2

The EP Kings have announced the signing of a further two players to bolster their squad for the forthcoming Currie Cup campaign in centre JP du Plessis and prop Basil Short.

This follows last week’s announcement of a loan agreement with the Blue Bulls for Jacques Engelbrecht to join the squad for the Currie Cup season, as well as the signing until 2016 of young prop Maks van Dyk.

Du Plessis and Short, who took part in a training session yesterday, will link up with the Kings pending confirmation of a medical clearance.

The 24-year-old Du Plessis, who attended Paul Roos Gymnasium in Stellenbosch, played for the WP Craven Week and SA Schools teams in 2010 before heading for Sydney where he linked up with rugby league side the Sydney Roosters. He later returned to rugby union, signing for Melbourne Rebels and making his debut in Super Rugby against the Hurricanes.

He then played for the Stormers, Montpellier in France and the Cheetahs. When playing in France, Montpellier coach Fabian Galthie lined Du Plessis up to qualiy for the French national team before a knee injury scuppered those plans.

Du Plessis returned to South Africa to play for the Cheetahs and will be keen to make an impact at his preferred position of outside centre for the Kings.

The 24-year-old Short, who attended Standerton High School, joins the Kings from the Blue Bulls after making his first-class debut in the Vodacom Cup in 2012.

He represented the Bulls U21 side which won the provincial championship in 2011 and 2012, and also claimed a winner’s medal with Tuks in the Varsity Cup tournament from 2012 to 2014.

Meanwhile, the Kings also announced on Monday that experienced prop CJ van der Linde would be leaving the union at the end of June to take up a contract with Montpellier.

The 34-year-old former Springbok played 75 tests for South Africa from 2002-2012 and looks set to wind up his career with a spell in French club rugby.

Van der Linde joined the EP Kings in 2014 after representing the Cheetahs, the Lions and the Stormers in Super Rugby and the Currie Cup competition. He also spent several seasons overseas with Irish club Leinster, as well as London Irish.

Acknowledging that Van der Linde’s experience had helped the team, EP Kings chief executive officer Charl Crous said they wished him well for the future.

“He brought a lot of experience to the EP Kings and helped to mentor our younger forwards during his time here,” Crous said. “A clause in his contract allows him to explore foreign offers and we wish him all the best for the remainder of his career.”