Opinion: Springboks coach Allister Coetzee living in 'fool's paradise' after terrible two year tenure

Coetzee expects to see out his contract with South African rugby until 2019.
Coetzee expects to see out his contract with South African rugby until 2019. Photo credit: Getty

OPINION: Whether it be Australia's Michael Cheika, England's Eddie Jones or Wales' Warren Gatland, it's incredibly easy to poke fun at some of the international coaches going at the moment.

Especially when New Zealand has a seemingly bottomless pit of quality rugby gurus, any one of them more than ready to take the helm of the All Blacks should coach Steve Hansen depart.

But I call all three, and raise a one Allister Coetzee, who trumps them all in absolute delusion.

Despite what's been another atrocious year in charge, where they were spanked by the All Blacks and Ireland, it's not the results that have me seriously worried about the future of South African rugby with this man in charge. 

Coetzee quite simply lives in a fantasy land, and his complete lack of awareness around what is transpiring should be alarming to every Springboks supporter.

His latest blemish on what has actually been a respectable career as a rugby mentor prior to his appointment of the national side comes in the form of a 24-22 loss to Wales on Sunday.

It means South Africa won just seven games from a possible 13 tests this season, and brings Coetzee's overall winning record to just 44 percent during his two-year tenure in charge.

Coetzee however labelled the undisputable disappointing season as a 'good year', and blasted reporters at the post-match presser for suggesting anything otherwise.

"If you look at outcomes only, then you're missing the plot completely," he said.

That's not to mention his infamous remarks about his side living in "fool's paradise" if they thought they could beat the All Blacks, or his more recent comment following their win over Italy, where he labelled them a better side than the one they embarrassingly lost to just a year ago.

But despite all that, my biggest gripe comes in the form of an admittedly tough predicament facing any Springboks coach, and that is 'transformation'.

The Springboks suffered their biggest ever defeat to the All Blacks in 2017, going down 57-0 in Albany.
The Springboks suffered their biggest ever defeat to the All Blacks in 2017, going down 57-0 in Albany. Photo credit: Getty

South African rugby has made it clear that the squad going to the World Cup in 2019 is to be made up of 50 percent players of colour.

It's a mandate that would be tough for anybody to have to deal with, but not one that can be made as an excuse for the failure he's brought.

While Lukhanyo Am and Warrick Gelant set Super Rugby alight this season, they've hardly got a look-in, making their much-awaited debuts a lot later than they should have.

Instead, Coetzee persists with the underperforming Jesse Kriel and Andries Coetzee, with the likes of Bongi Mbonambi and Rudy Paige included in numerous Springboks squads, but seeing very little game-time.

He may have one hand tied behind the back with the enforced limitations in selecting his squad, but Coetzee has done an incredibly poor job of picking the best of the so-called 'quota' players.

For someone who was lauded for his transformational efforts during his tenure with the Stormers, who were consistently best of any South African Super Rugby side in that department, it's honestly quite surprising he's been as poor as he has at 'transforming' the national side.

It seems very unlikely Coetzee sees in the New Year as Springboks coach, but with South African rugby, you just never know, with even past controversial coach Peter de Villiers reportedly touted to make a return.

But for the future of the Springboks and the once great rival of the All Blacks, Coetzee needs to receive his walking papers if they're any chance of being great again.

Reece Labuschagne is a sports reporter for Newshub.