Rugby

South African Head Coach Slams "Indignity" Of Working With Rassie Erasmus In Ferocious Letter

South African Head Coach Slams "Indignity" Of Working With Rassie Erasmus In Ferocious Letter

In few countries do sport and politics mix as readily as in South Africa, and their rugby team is, presently, a mess.

The reason Munster first snaffled the services of Rassie Erasmus was as a result of the sport's politicking. Transformation - the inclusion of black players - was high on the agenda in South African rugby when Erasmus was vying for the job before it was given to Allister Coetzee. As South African rugby journalist Craig Ray told Balls in 2016, "the rugby committee probably thought Coetzee, as a coloured guy, was a good fit at this stage in South Africa's history, rather than another White Afrikaan in Rassie Erasmus".

Coetzee, in spite of a decent track record with the Stomers, proved to be a disastrous appointment. Under his tutelage in 2016, the 'Boks fell to a record defeat to the All Blacks and then lost to Italy for the first time.

Things didn't get a whole lot better in 2017, which featured a 57-0 loss to New Zealand and wins over only Italy and Argentina. In total, he won 11 of 27 matches in charge.

Erasmus has returned as Director of Rugby now, but the South African Rugby Union have decided not to sack Coetzee immediately. They did, however, inform him on January 18th that he was no longer wanted and would be replaced by Erasmus.

Therefore, Coetzee has decided to go down swinging with an amazingly irate letter to the Union CEO, Jurie Roux.

In the letter, Coetzee turned up at a meeting which he assumed was a performance review, as he was still under contract. Instead, Coetzee was told that Erasmus would take over as Director of Rugby. He didn't take this well, citing the "indignity" of reporting to Erasmus.

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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.

He went on to explain how he found the whole episode "reprehensible".

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.

In any event‚ SARU is contractually obliged to exercise utmost good faith towards me. The fact that a decision has been made that I will be reduced to a ceremonial coach should I resist any attempt by SARU to terminate my services does not only constitute an unfair labour practice but again infringes my right to dignity and equality.

Coetzee was unwilling to accept any blame for his miserable spell in charge.

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.

I will not allow elements in SARU to wilfully destroy me and render me unemployable as was done to Peter De Villiers.

I am not interested in money and that I will fight to protect my hard-earned reputation which is in the process of being deliberately soiled publicly by elements within SARU.

The full letter is well worth a read.

[Timeslive]

See Also: Watch: Peter Stringer Pays Emotional Tribute To Anthony Foley

Gavin Cooney
Article written by
Changed the spelling of his name upon pressure from Michael Owen.

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