Coetzee denies South Africa coup claims

ALLISTER COETZEE insists there is no truth in reports of a planned coup involving himself and Jake White aimed at toppling South African national coach Peter de Villiers.

The Western Province boss has seen his name come to the fore in the past 24 hours as a potential successor to his under-fire Springbok counterpart after comments by White in the media.

The World Cup-winning coach on Tuesday revealed his disgust at the way the national team had capitulated over the last 10 months and said he had made contact with the South African Rugby Union (SARU) over the possibility of replacing De Villiers.

White said he was ready to do the job on an interim basis, before handing over to his former national assistant Coetzee, who has responded by saying: “The link made to me and the Bok job is media speculation.

“There is a Springbok coach at the moment and SARU should decide who they want to take over the job and when, and they have fixed processes to deal with such things.

And he added: “At this point my focus is on the Currie Cup and guiding Western Province to success.”

Coetzee is the man White had favoured to replace him after he led South Africa to the world title in Paris three years ago.

Instead De Villiers has come in and enjoyed mixed fortunes, with the high points of his reign so far coming in 2009 when the Springboks beat the British and Irish Lions and also won the Tri Nations.

But 2010 has been a forgettable year so far with five wins mixed with five losses – two to Australia and three to New Zealand – as John Smit’s team ended the annual competition with the wooden spoon and worst ever overall display.

De Villiers’ woes were capped by the slender 41-39 defeat by the Wallabies in Bloemfontein over the weekend.

Meanwhile, SARU confirmed yesterday that all the nationally contracted players will spend the next four weeks in a conditioning programme.

It means all the senior players have been withdrawn from the local Currie Cup competition until October 6 and will only be available for the last round of group matches as well as the play-offs.

The defending champions, the Bulls, are most heavily affected with seven players – Victor Matfield , Danie Rossouw, Bakkies Botha, Wynand Olivier, Morne Steyn, Fourie du Preez and Pierre Spies – involved.

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