(Port Elizabeth) – Newly capped South African rugby coach Allister “Toetie” Coetzee has inspired Port Elizabeth businesses at a breakfast in the city recently.
The humble new South African rugby coach, who was appointed earlier this year, spoke about the joys and challenges of his job to the group of business leaders who attended the event, hosted by the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber in partnership with Lynn Williams Media and Communications at Running Waters in Kragga Kamma.
“It is a massive honour to be the coach. South Africans are very passionate about rugby. We loved playing in Port Elizabeth and we were happy and positive about the game,” Coetzee said.
While there are many “couch critics” on a Monday morning following a big international weekend game with different opinions, Coetzee said often in the game of rugby it is just “inches and margins” that determine a win.
He believes it is the strong team culture that made his team defend so well against the Irish attack on Saturday during the last few tense minutes of the game at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.
“If we weren’t a team and didn’t have a team culture, we would not have survived those last few minutes of the game. Our team culture is about resilience, sacrifice, respect, discipline – all the basics we were taught at school – and our players have to buy into these values,” Coetzee said.
On the issue of transformation in South African sport, Coetzee said transformation was something that had to be addressed, but in a responsible manner. “Transformation is not about the number of players on the field, it starts in the heart of the people first. I would love the country to move away from just numbers. The way we think sometimes is a stumbling block,” Coetzee said.
While South Africa is currently ranked as the third best team in the world in rugby, Coetzee believes that his team can be the best in the world. “Rugby keeps me on my knees… Our vision is to be the best, better than before – off and on the field,” Coetzee said.