Allister Coetzee has been involved with rugby since 1974, first as a player and then later as a team manager, assistant coach and head coach. Coetzee was born on 23 May 1963 in Grahamstown. He was an outstanding scrumhalf in the period before rugby unification in South Africa, and captained the SARU national team, as they were called back in the days, between 1988 and 1991 following his debut in 1985.
He was selected for the Junior Springboks in 1992 and played in the Currie Cup for Eastern Province between 1992 and 1996, as well as in the 1994 Super 10 competition for the Eastern Cape team. The former teacher retired from the game in 1996. Coetzee then ventured into coaching and was immediately appointed as an assistant coach for EP in 1996.
Two years later he was appointed as team manager for the Sharks’ Super Rugby side, where he also became an assistant coach in 2000. Coetzee coached the Emerging Springboks in 1998, an All-Stars team in 1999 and the South African Under-23 and South Africa ‘A’ sides in 2000, when he was also one of the Springbok assistant coaches to Harry Viljoen. He then became head coach of Eastern Province in 2001, the first black head coach of a provincial rugby side in South Africa.
He remained head coach for the EP side until he resigned in July 2003. Coetzee was appointed as assistant coach to the Springboks in early 2004, where he formed a successful coaching trio with Jake White and Gert Smal until the end of 2007, capping off four memorable years with the winning of the 2007 Rugby World Cup in France. In 2005, he was also appointed assistant coach for the Cats for the 2006 Super 14 season, a position he held for only one season.
Coetzee joined Western Province in 2008 after he accepted an offer to become back line coach of the Stormers. He also took over as head coach of Western Province in the Currie Cup later in 2008 and was elevated to head coach of the Stormers prior to the start of the 2010 Super Rugby season. Coetzee led the Stormers to three South African Conference titles during his tenure as Stormers head coach, and he was also successful in his role as coach of Western Province, where he won the Currie Cup twice, in 2012 and 2014.
He remained with the Stormers until the end of the 2015 Super Rugby season, when he moved to Japan to take over as head coach of the Kobe Steelers.
Profile – Allister Coetzee
1989-1991: Represented and captained SARU prior to unification
1992: Junior Springbok
1992-1996: Played Currie Cup rugby for Eastern Province
1994: Played in the Super 10 for Eastern Province
1998-2000: Sharks assistant coach to Ian McIntosh and Hugh Reece-Edwards in Super Rugby
2000: Springbok assistant coach to Harry Viljoen
2000: SA “A” and SA Under-23 head coach
2001-03: Eastern Province head coach (37 matches)
2006: Cats assistant coach to Frans Ludeke in Super Rugby
2004-07: Springbok assistant coach to Jake White
2008: Stormers assistant coach
2008-15: Western Province head coach (108 matches)
2010-15: Stormers head coach (98 matches)
2010: Named South Africa’s Coach of the Year
2015-16: Kobe Steelers head coach in Japan
2016: Springbok head coach
Photo credit: Gallo Images