Allister Coetzee doesn't want to be 'ceremonial' Springbok coach

Springbok coach Allister Coetzee. Kim Ludbrook, EPA

Embattled Springbok coach Allister Coetzee says SA Rugby 'will not destroy him' and leave him 'unemployable as was done to Peter de Villiers' as his battle to keep his job intensified with a strongly worded email to SA Rugby chief executive Jurie Roux.

The contents of a leaked letter sent from Coetzee to Roux via his lawyers was published on the TimesLive's website on Saturday. SA Rugby confirmed the authenticity of the letter.

According to the letter, Roux told Coetzee during a meeting on 18 January that that he would be fired as Bok coach following only 11 wins in 25 matches over the last two years in charge of the national team.

However, the Coetzee hit back with a stinging email, saying he was set up to fail following his appointment in March 2015.

"I was the most successful Super Rugby Coach at the time of my appointment and was requested to return to Springbok rugby from Japan because my country needed me," Coetzee said in the letter.

"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."

Coetzee went on to say that he is being sidelined like former Bok coach Peter de Villiers, who strangely hasn't been able to secure a top job in South African rugby despite winning the Tri-Nations in 2009 by beating the All Blacks three times and overcoming the British and Irish Lions 2-1 in the same year.

De Villiers, who is currently being linked to the Zimbabwe national team, said in a radio interview in January 2017 that SA Rugby had paid the Boland Rugby Union not to employ him.

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

"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."

Coetzee also revealed that SA Rugby had dealt with him in bad faith, as they haven't done his performance review for 2017. He doesn't want to be a 'ceremonial' coach of the Boks, while new director of rugby Rassie Erasmus runs the team going into the 2019 World Cup in Japan.

"In the context of the engagements between you and I prior to the aforesaid meeting‚ it was made plain to me that the meeting would deal with the anticipated performance review and its procedures as contemplated by my employment contract," Coetzee wrote.

"Instead‚ the meeting was used as a platform to inform me of SARU's decision that it intends to‚ inter alia‚ terminate my contract of employment with immediate effect.

"You further informed me that a further aspect of the decision is that my services will be terminated regardless of the outcome of the anticipated performance review‚ as contemplated by my employment contract.

"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.

'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."