Western Province Rugby Football Union President Thelo Wakefield has reacted to media reports from today which have suggested that DHL WP head coach Allister Coetzee’s job is under threat.
DHL WP went down to the Sharks in Saturday’s Absa Currie Cup Final at DHL Newlands, prompting speculation that coach Coetzee’s head – and that of his coaching staff – was on the chopping board.
Wakefield, however, told www.wprugby.com: “We have faith in the current coaching staff and the structures in place at Western Province Rugby.
“We, like everyone else, are disappointed with Saturday’s result. Yes, there will be a wash-up, but firing a coaching team that went through the season unbeaten, until the final, is not on the cards.
“We remain absolutely confident that our coaching and playing staff are capable and have the expertise to move this union forward.”
Aside from DHL WP going through 11 matches unbeaten during the 2013 Absa Currie Cup season, the DHL Stormers lost just one match at DHL Newlands in 2013.
WP’s youth structures are certainly in good health too, with the Under-13, Under-16 and Under-18 teams all tasting success at their respective schools weeks, whilst the Province Under-21 team lost just one game en route to capturing the Absa Provincial U21 title this season.
“In our opinion, WP Rugby remains in a good position – both on and off the field,” added Wakefield.
“This year, alone, our Vodacom Cup team made the semifinals – where they lost to a Super Rugby team (the Lions), the DHL WP Under-21 team won the Absa Provincial Under-21 title and our Absa Currie Cup team was one game away from a perfect season. Yes, our Under-19 team did not make the play-offs, but we have addressed that with a truly outstanding WP Rugby Institute intake ahead of 2014.
“The DHL WP Emerging team, formerly our Amateur team, won their regional title and just lost out in the final of the national competition, whilst up to eight amateur players – including a new talent like Tazz Fuzani – joined our professional structure this year after being identified by Jerome Paarwater and, then, being invited to train with the Currie Cup team by Allister Coetzee.
“Structure-wise we are absolutely convinced that they (our structures) are in place and delivering the necessary results – from our Under-12 Elite Squads, right through until senior level.”
Wakefield stressed that the WP Rugby Football Union and WP Rugby would continue to push hard for more trophies – and home play-off matches – in the future.
He concluded: “We will continue to look for ways to keep this union moving forward – both on and off the field.
“Nobody likes to lose, especially at home in front of our loyal DHL Newlands Faithful, but it should not take away from what was a strong season for WP Rugby across the board.
“Today, we had eight players named in the latest Springbok squad – including three new caps in Scarra Ntubeni, Frans Malherbe and Louis Schreuder – and that also shows that we are doing something right in the union.”