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Allister Coetzee (born (1963-05-23)23 May 1963 in Grahamstown) is a South African rugby union coach and former player, current in charge of Japanese Top League side Canon Eagles. He served as the head coach of the South African national team from April 2016 to February 2018.

Allister Coetzee
Date of birth (1963-05-23) 23 May 1963 (age 54)
Place of birth Grahamstown, South Africa
School Mary Waters Secondary School
University Dower College
Notable relative(s) Kevin Luiters (nephew)
Rugby union career
Position(s) Scrum-half
Current team South Africa
Senior career
Years Team Apps (Points)
1985–1991 SARU ()
1992–1996 Eastern Province ()
Teams coached
Years Team
1996–1997 Eastern Province
1998 Emerging Springboks
1999 Vodacom All-Stars
2000 Sharks
2000 South Africa U23
2000 South Africa
2000 South Africa 'A'
2001–2003 Mighty Elephants
2004–2007 South Africa
2005–2006 Cats
(backline coach)
2008–2009 Stormers
(backline coach)
2008–2015 Western Province
2010–2015 Stormers
2015–2016 Kobelco Steelers
2016–2018 South Africa
2018–present Canon Eagles



Coetzee is the uncle of Kevin Luiters, a scrum-half with the Eastern Province Kings.[1]

Playing careerEdit

Coetzee has been involved with rugby since 1974 – he spent 22 years as a player before retiring at the age of 33 in 1996.[2]

Prior to the unification of different rugby union governing bodies in South Africa, he represented SARU, playing as a scrum-half, between 1985 and 1991 and was captain of their side between 1988 and 1991.[3] He was a Junior Springbok in 1992 and played Currie Cup rugby for Eastern Province between 1992 and 1996. He was selected for their squad that competed in the 1994 Super 10 Rugby, though his side failed to secure a single win in the competition.

During his playing career, he was also a teacher at Gelvan Park Primary School in Port Elizabeth, where he worked for fifteen years.[3] He played as a scrum-half and retired at the end of 1996.[4]

Coaching careerEdit

Immediately after retiring, Coetzee joined the coaching team at his former club as an assistant, however, his side finished bottom of the 1997 Currie Cup table.[3][5] In 1998, he was appointed team manager at Super 12 side the Sharks, where he later became an assistant coach in 2000.[3][6] However, after the Sharks finished bottom of the table, the coaching team, who had only been in place for a year, was sacked by the club.[7]

In 1998 he earned his first Union appointed coaching role when he coached the Emerging Springboks and a Vodacom All-Stars team in 1999. In 2000 he took a South African Under-23 team, sometimes known as South Africa Amateurs, to the 2000 Africa Cup, competing against the national senior sides of Namibia and Zimbabwe. He convincingly lead the side to top of the South Pool with 4 from 4 wins, to earn the right to compete in the final later in the year. However, Coetzee was later called up to the South African senior side's coaching team by Harry Viljoen for their end of year tour, and missed the final against Morocco - Ian Hattingh led the team as Coetzee's replacement.[8] Under Viljoen, South Africa won 3 from 4 wins on their end of year tour, while Coetzee lead South Africa 'A' in their mid-weeks matches while on tour.[3][9][10]

In 2001, he became head coach of the Mighty Elephants, becoming the first coloured head coach of a provincial side.[3][11][12] He remained head coach in Port Elizabeth until he resigned in July 2003, haven failed to improve the side in either the Currie Cup or Bankfin Cup.[13] He became a selector for the national team at the end of 2003 season, after Rudolf Straeuli stood down after being knocked-out at the quarter-finals of the 2003 Rugby World Cup.[14]

Jake White was appointed as Straeuli's replacement, and appointed Allister as assistant and backline coach in 2004, where he remained until 2007.[15] He was on the coaching staff of the side that won the 2007 Rugby World Cup.

In 2005, he took up a dual-coaching role when he was appointed backline coach for the Cats ahead of the 2006 Super 14 season.[16]

Following the end of Jake White's tenure at the Springboks, Coetzee was one of the four main candidates to take over as head coach.[17] However, after losing out to Peter de Villiers, he accepted an offer to become backline coach of the Stormers.[18][19] He also took over as head coach of Western Province later in 2008, following Gary Gold's decision to become an assistant coach with the Springboks.[20] In his second year in charge of Western Province, the side returned to the knock out stage for the first time in 3 years, however was defeated by the Blue Bulls 21–19.

Following a poor 2009 Super 14 season, Coetzee was appointed head coach of the Stormers for the 2010 Super 14 season.[21] In just his first season in charge, the Stormers jumped from their 10th-place finish in 2009 to second in the 2010. This was the first time since the 2004 Super 12 season that the Stormers had made the knock out phase of the tournament, and after defeating the New South Wales Waratahs 25–6 in the Semi-finals, this side became the first Stormers to make the final. However they were later beaten by the Bulls 25–17. He also led Western Province to their first Currie Cup final since 2001, finished second behind the Sharks, being beaten 30–10 in the final.

In 2011 and 2012, the Stormers finished as the top South African team during the 2011 and 2012 Super Rugby season's, but was knocked out by the Crusaders, 29–10, in the semi-final in 2011 and the Sharks, 26–19, at the same stage in 2012. In 2013, the Stormers narrowly missed out on the knock out stage, finishing in 7th place on the overall table, but returned to that stage in 2015. However, this time, they were knocked out in the qualifiers round, by the Brumbies 39–19. This was Coetzee's last game in charge of the Cape Town franchise, announcing in early 2015 he would be stepping down from his role at the Stormers and Western Province at the end of the season.[22] He left the side with a 65.5% win rate, 61 wins from 93.[23]

During his time at Western Province, he led the side to four consecutive Currie Cup finals between 2012 and 2015, winning the title in 2012 and 2014.

In October 2015, he joined his Japan based side Kobelco Steelers, where Coetzee led his new side to victory of the Pre-season competition. In his first and only season at the club, Kobelco Steelers finished second in their pool during the 2015–16 Top League. He guided them to the semi-finals, with victory over Kintetsu Liners 42–10 in the quarter-finals, but was defeated by the eventual champions Panasonic Wild Knights by the same scoreline in the semi's.

Head coach of South AfricaEdit

On 12 April 2016, he was appointed as the head coach of the South African national team.[24] His first game in charge was a first ever home defeat to Ireland, 26–20, during the two sides 3-test series. This defeat came despite South Africa being 1-man up for close to 60 minutes of the game, when Ireland's CJ Stander was red-carded.[25] However, the series was all level after the second test, when South Africa came from behind at half time, 19–3, to win 32–26, and with a third test victory, 19–13, Coetzee led the Sprinboks to a narrow 2–1 series win.

In his first Rugby Championship, he led the team to a third-place finish, 5 points clear of bottom-placed Argentina. He guided his side to a 30–23 win over the Pumas, before losing to Argentina 26–24 for the first time. The Springboks then went on to back-to-back losses to Australia, 23–17, and New Zealand, 41–13, before gaining their second win in the Championship against Australia 18–10 in Pretoria. In the final round of the Championship, New Zealand defeated South Africa 57–15 in Durban, a record win for the All Blacks on South African soil. Following that loss, the SARU organised a debrief between the Springboks coaching staff and all the Super Rugby franchise' managements. It was later revealed that Coetzee had recruited specialist coaches ahead of their 2016 end-of-year tour, including a skills, defence and kicking coach. During their end-of-year tour, Coetzee led the Springboks to a win less tour for the first time since their 2002 tour. They did however draw against the Barbarians 31–all in an uncapped match, before going on to lose to England for the first time in 10 years, 37–21. They later lost to Italy for the first time, 20–18, and a record loss to Wales 27–13, saw South Africa drop to equal worst World Ranking of 6th.

In February 2017, the South African Rugby Union reviewed the Sprigboks 2016 campaign and the performances of the head coach Allister Coetzee. His job was deemed under threat due to the poor season, however the SARU backed Coetzee and it was announced that he will remain as the Springboks coach.[26] Coetzee brought in new coaches around him to form a new coaching staff and management in a bid to have a more successful season.[27] His first campaign under the new management was a three-test series against France. Eight uncapped players were named in the series squad, with five of them gaining their first cap in the opening test - four in the run-on XV. The first test was won convincingly 37–14, which was backed up by a 37–15 in the second test to seal the series. The final test was played at Ellis Park Stadium in Johannesburg, a venue in which South Africa has never beaten France in four attempts. However this time, South Africa saw out the victory, winning 35–15 to win the series 3–0. South Africa started the 2017 Rugby Championship promising with back-to-back wins over Argentina, 37–15 (home) and 41–23 (away). The third saw South Africa draw with Australia, for the first time since 2001, 23–23. The result was repeated in the reverse fixture three weeks later, when it ended 27–27. In the fourth round, South Africa suffered their largest defeat in 111 years, losing to the All Blacks in Albany 57–0, surpassing the previous worst defeat against England 53–3 in 2002. They turned this defeat around, and put in a better performance in against the All Blacks in South Africa, narrowly losing the game 25–24 in Cape Town. Despite a promising end to the Springboks's Rugby Championship campaign, South Africa went on to have a record defeat to Ireland, losing 38–3, before going onto narrowly defeating France 18–17. Their only other victory during their European tour was a 35–6 win over Italy, before going to on to lose for the second year running to Wales, 24–22.

On 2 February 2018, he was sacked by the South African Rugby Union following a run of poor results across his two year tenure.[28]

International matches as Head CoachEdit

Note: World Rankings Column shows the World Ranking South Africa was placed at on the following Monday after each of their matches

Record by CountryEdit

Opponent Played Won Drew Lost Win % For Against
  Argentina 4 3 0 1 075.00 132 87
  Australia 4 1 2 1 025.00 85 83
  England 1 0 0 1 000.00 21 37
  France 4 4 0 0 100.00 127 58
  Ireland 4 2 0 2 050.00 74 103
  Italy 2 1 0 1 050.00 53 26
  New Zealand 4 0 0 4 000.00 52 180
  Wales 2 0 0 2 000.00 35 51
TOTAL 25 11 2 12 044.00 571 625

Other honoursEdit

South Africa (as assistant coach)

South Africa U23

Mighty Elephants

Stormers (as head coach)

Western Province


  1. ^ "Kevin wil nes oom Allister se span maak" (in Afrikaans). Netwerk24. 22 August 2014. Retrieved 22 August 2014. 
  2. ^ "Management Profile – Allister Coetzee". SuperSport. Retrieved 27 November 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f "OP se nuwe breier kom lang pad met rugby". Media24. Die Burger. 12 October 2000. Retrieved 27 November 2013. 
  4. ^ "OP rugby dalk nog twee kwyt". Media24 (in Afrikaans). Die Burger. 26 November 1996. Retrieved 27 November 2013. 
  5. ^ "Oorsese hulp vir OP is al op pad". Media24 (in Afrikaans). Die Burger. 18 April 1997. Retrieved 27 November 2013. 
  6. ^ "OP benut bron van breiers". Media24 (in Afrikaans). Die Burger. 22 January 1999. Retrieved 27 November 2013. 
  7. ^ "Reece-Edwards sacked by Sharks". ESPN Scrum. 16 May 2000. Retrieved 28 July 2016. 
  8. ^ "Baby Boks prepare for opener". News24 Archive. 27 November 2000. Retrieved 28 July 2016. 
  9. ^ "Markgraaff se aanstelling baie halfhartig ontvang". Media24 (in Afrikaans). Die Burger. 23 October 2000. Retrieved 27 November 2013. 
  10. ^ "Slot se besering terugslag vir o.23's". Media24 (in Afrikaans). Die Burger. 30 May 2000. Retrieved 27 November 2013. 
  11. ^ "OP rugby kan geskiedenis maak met nuwe afrigter". Media24. Die Burger. 4 October 2000. Retrieved 27 November 2013. 
  12. ^ "Coetzee en Sauls kan in CB afrig". Media24 (in Afrikaans). Die Burger. 4 October 2000. Retrieved 27 November 2013. 
  13. ^ "Terugslae tref rugby in O-Kaap". Media24 (in Afrikaans). Die Burger. 21 July 2003. Retrieved 27 November 2013. 
  14. ^ "Mallett: Naam verskyn nêrens op kortlys". Media24 (in Afrikaans). Die Burger. 11 December 2003. Retrieved 27 November 2013. 
  15. ^ "Jake se twee adjudante in afrigtingspan aangestel". Media24 (in Afrikaans). Die Burger. 17 February 2004. Retrieved 27 November 2013. 
  16. ^ "Coetzee gaan Cats help brei". Media24. Die Burger. 30 September 2005. Retrieved 27 November 2013. 
  17. ^ "White laat deur vir SA oop". Media24 (in Afrikaans). Die Burger. 3 December 2007. Retrieved 27 November 2013. 
  18. ^ "De Villiers: Ek is die Bok-afrigter". Media24 (in Afrikaans). Die Burger. 10 January 1998. Retrieved 27 November 2013. 
  19. ^ "Coetzee help Stormers". Media24 (in Afrikaans). Die Burger. 12 December 2007. Retrieved 27 November 2013. 
  20. ^ "Generaal de Waal op pad Kaap toe". Media24 (in Afrikaans). Die Burger. 21 May 2008. Retrieved 27 November 2013. 
  21. ^ "Stormers kry nuwe afrigter". Media24 (in Afrikaans). Die Burger. 18 November 2009. Retrieved 27 November 2013. 
  22. ^ "Coetzee to leave WP Rugby at the end of 2015" (Press release). Stormers. 3 February 2015. Retrieved 3 February 2015. 
  23. ^ "Games played by Stormers". Retrieved 2015-12-31. 
  24. ^ "Allister Coetzee appointed as new Springbok coach". South African Rugby Union. 12 April 2016. Archived from the original on 31 May 2016. Retrieved 31 May 2016. 
  25. ^ "ESPN: The Worldwide Leader in Sports". Retrieved 3 February 2018. 
  26. ^ "Allister Coetzee remains as Springboks coach". Retrieved 3 February 2018. 
  27. ^ Coetzee remains Springbok coach
  28. ^ "SA Rugby - Official Home of the Springboks". Retrieved 3 February 2018. 

External linksEdit

Sporting positions
Preceded by
 Heyneke Meyer
South Africa National Rugby Union Coach
Succeeded by