FOCUSED: Allister Coetzee
Springbok coach Allister Coetzee says 2016 is dead and buried and doesn’t want to think about it anymore.

Instead, he is convinced that they have put the right structures into place that will make sure that 2017 is a much better year for the national team and its supporters.

Forget about the four wins out of 12, instead Coetzee says: “There is a massive difference from last year.

“I don’t want to go back into last year because that is dead and buried.

“But I had to make sure we will be better off in terms of our management team and I’m happy with the team that we have.

“I’m also happy that we negotiated [three] training camps [during the Super Rugby season], so compared to last year it is a completely different process.

“That’s why I can be a bit more excited about where we are taking the team.

“Last year I also didn’t know where I sat with the overseas players, but now know how many will be in the squad.

“There is better unity in the team and greater understanding of what it means to be a Springbok.”

The only way, though, for coach Coetzee to ensure that fans can put 2016 behind them is by getting positive results on the pitch.

And that mission starts at Loftus Versfeld where they will host France this Saturday for the first of three Tests this month.

While the French finished third in this year’s Six Nations tournament with three wins from their five matches, Coetzee knows they can’t afford to underestimate captain Guilhem Guirado and Les Bleus.

He adds: “One thing about the French, if you don’t respect them you can find yourself punished.

“They have been the most improved side in the Six Nations.

“Hopefully, we can get a good start because that’s what this team needs, just a bit of confidence.”

Meanwhile, Bok captain Warren Whiteley missed yesterday’s press conference to be at his wife’s side while giving birth.