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I shouldn't be blamed entirely for South Africa's awful year - Allister Coetzee

Published 21/11/2016

Coach Allister Coetzee insists he should not take all the blame for South Africa's awful run of results
Coach Allister Coetzee insists he should not take all the blame for South Africa's awful run of results

South Africa coach Allister Coetzee insists he should not be blamed entirely for the Springboks' disastrous year.

The Springboks complete a dreadful 2016 against Wales in Cardiff on Saturday with Coetzee's future in some doubt.

South Africa have lost seven of their 11 Tests this year - including a record 57-15 defeat to New Zealand and a first-ever home loss to Ireland - and on Saturday were beaten by Italy for the first time in 13 attempts.

In the wake of that 20-18 defeat in Florence, SA Rugby president Mark Alexander appeared to cast doubt over Coetzee's future by releasing a statement questioning results and performances.

Alexander also promised an end-of-season review after coming up against a Wales side who have been holding their own inquest after squeezing past Japan 33-30 on Saturday.

But Coetzee, speaking at a press conference in Cardiff on Monday, said: "It's been a tough year and I can take responsibility for a lot of things. But I only got started in April and there are challenges in South African rugby that are unique to us.

"There's no excuse for the poor performance, but there are discussions happening and it is looking really positive.

"This is a great opportunity to address the problems and clean out the wounds. We need to diagnose and treat the symptoms of it.

"In the 21 years since our World Cup win in 1995 we've only had four good years, and if we continue what we've been doing you're not going to see any different result.

"We've got this chance to make South African rugby come first and become aligned. There has to be a South African way of playing and that is starting to come around.

"There's a lot of dark clouds, but the silver lining is there I believe."

The 53-year-old Coetzee has extensive coaching experience in South Africa at both Western Province and the Stormers.

Coetzee led Super rugby's Stormers for five years until 2015 before succeeding Heyneke Meyer as Springboks coach.

"We are low in confidence and we'll try our best to try and fix the problems," Coetzee said.

"Saturday was dreadful and no-one can be happy with that result.

"We are in a bit of a hole at the moment and the buck stops with me.

"It is my responsibility to get the team out of that hole."

Asked about his own future after the Wales game, Coetzee replied: "I have signed a four-year contract and I'll do my best to make sure we perform this weekend.

"Whatever happens, happens. But I've got a four-year deal and we want to end this tour on a good note.

"I can promise you this weekend is going to be a physical battle decided by small margins.

"South Africa and Wales are two very passionate rugby countries and nationals coaches have a massive responsibility on their shoulders.

"I don't know about the (criticism of the) Welsh, but I do know they are a quality Test side."

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