Coetzee defended his selection policy that makes limited use of foreign based players.
It becomes a costly excercise to rope in foreign based players‚ while those who are asked to join the Boks potentially lose income from clubs unwilling to pay them in their absence.
The coach made sure he stressed the potentially disruptive nature of bringing in players who earn a living abroad.
“You can’t in one week bring those players up to the level (of those) who have been part of the squad‚” he said.
He believes in continuity in selection and is understandably desperate to avoid a revolving door selection policy.
He was specifically asked about Jan Serfontein‚ Pat Lambie and Frans Steyn’s situation.
“They are all quality players and they are available (in terms of SA Rugby’s 30-Test criteria).
“Jan is settling in‚ in France. He’s not available. Pat hasn’t played more than four games.
“I had a chat with Frans last week. We haven’t resolved those issues with the club that will allow him to play.
“Some players have long term contracts. They need to decide whether they want to play for the Boks.
“It is the player that has to make the decision. Certain players are not certain about their futures.
” They don’t want to risk their future. This is not a clear-cut thing.
“There is Regulation 9 that allows players to play for their country.
“They have to make a decision‚ either they retire from international rugby or give up their contract and return to South Africa.
“I don’t know if there is an alternative at this point in time.”
It leaves Coetzee in a tight spot‚ especially given the fact that captain Eben Etzebeth has a fitness question mark hanging over his head.
The lock is likely to play but Coetzee doesn’t seem to have clear-cut contingencies as SA Rugby would prefer the national captain to be based in the country.
Duane Vermeulen could step into the breach as captain but he is based abroad.
“I don’t make policy‚” said Coetzee.
He could not give a clear answer about what the Bok coaching setup might look like now that Rassie Erasmus has been confirmed as the SA Rugby’s director of rugby.
Erasmus’ trusty lieutenant Jacques Nienaber will be one of the national team’s assistant coaches.
Before the tour Coetzee did not want to speculate about what his working relationship with the incoming director of rugby might be Iike.
Asked what his management team might look like should he be around next year‚ Coetzee offered a blunt: “I don’t know.”