Stormers coach Allister Coetzee is set to leave the Cape Town-based franchise, at the end of the season, to further his career in Japan.
According to Supersport,sources in Japan have confirmed that Coetzee has made a commitment to the Kobe Kobelco Steelers to take over the coaching reins from Gary Gold when the Super Rugby season ends in July.
Coetzee is in the final year of his current contract with the Stormers. It is understood that he made his decision to head to Japan after he and the team’s management were not consulted by the Stormers hierarchy regarding the recruitment of former Springbok and Kenya Sevens coach Paul Treu as an assistant coach.
Other reasons which reportedly hastened his decision, were the continued political interference from Western Province administrators and the power he lost when Gert Smal was appointed above him as director of rugby.
Coetzee guided the Stormers to the Super Rugby Final in 2010 – where they lost to the Bulls – and also won two Currie Cup titles as Western Province’s head coach.
The 51-year-old is viewed as a candidate to replace Heyneke Meyer as South Africa’s coach if the Springboks perform poorly at the World Cup in England later this year.
It is understood though that Coetzee has been assured by South African rugby administration that his ambitions to coach the Boks won’t be affected by him coaching in Japan.
He will have a get-out clause in his contract, similar to the one which released Gold to become the Sharks’ director of rugby in 2014.