Springbok head coach Allister Coetzee has hit back at the South African Rugby Union with an explosive letter addressed to CEO Jurie Roux, according to reports.
In the letter - which is in the possession of TimesLive - Coetzee refused to take any responsibility for the Springbok's poor performance - 11 wins in 25 matches since he had taken the reins in 2016.
Instead, the coach indentified SARU's constant meddling as the root of the disappointing year.
According to the letter, Coetzee claims that he never had a performance clause in writing.
It also states that during Coetzee's meeting with SA Rugby CEO Roux on January 18 he was informed that his current contract would be terminated. However, if he chooses to continue working for SA Rugby he will be forced to take up the role as the ‘ceremonial’ Bok coach with Rassie Erasmus actually in charge of the team.
A conclusion that does not sit very well with the 54-year-old.
"At this meeting‚ you [Roux] represented the South African Rugby Union (SARU) and I was represented by Piet Heymans of Sport Employees Unite‚ although I was also personally present in the meeting‚” Coetzee’s wrote in his letter.
"In the context of the engagements between you and I prior to the aforesaid meeting‚ it was made plain to me that the meeting would deal with the anticipated performance review and its procedures as contemplated by my employment contract.
"Instead‚ the meeting was used as a platform to inform me of SARU’s decision that it intends to‚ inter alia‚ terminate my contract of employment with immediate effect.
"You informed me that the decision was taken by Mark Alexander (President of SARU)‚ Francois Davids (Deputy President) and James Stoffberg (Vice President) and mandated you as the CEO of SARU to inform me of the decision.
"You further informed me that a further aspect of the decision is that my services will be terminated regardless of the outcome of the anticipated performance review‚ as contemplated by my employment contract.
"And‚ should I wish to remain in SARU’s employment‚ I will be reduced to a ceremonial coach‚ and further that Johan Erasmus ‘Rassie’ has already been employed to replace me and is already performing the duties of the Springbok Coach. Should I be reduced to the position of a ceremonial coach I would have to face the indignity of reporting to Rassie.
"The fact that a decision has been made that I will be reduced to a ceremonial coach should I resist any attempt by SARU to terminate my services does not only constitute an unfair labour practice but again infringes my right to dignity and equality,"
Though still not officially sacked, Coetzee concluded his letter with a plethora of complaints as to the circumstances surrounding his tenure, indicating he was set up to fail as Boks coach.
The 54-year-old also accused SARU of destroying the career of one of his predecessors, Peter De Villiers.
"I was the most successful Super Rugby Coach at the time of my appointment and was requested to return to Springbok rugby from Japan because my country needed me‚" Coetzee said.
"My treatment since my return suggested that elements in SARU embarked on a deliberate attempt to undermine me from the word go and to create the public impression of incompetence on my part whilst wilfully obstructing my efforts to be successful,"
"I will not allow elements in SARU to wilfully destroy me and render me unemployable as was done to Peter De Villiers,"
According to the TimesLive, the letter's authenticity was confirmed by SA Rugby, however, they would not comment on the content.