Coetzee vows not to quit after Italy defeat


South Africa coach Allister Coetzee has insisted that he has no plans to resign in the wake of his side's shock 20-18 defeat to Italy in Florence.

Tries from Dries van Schalkwyk and Giovanbattista Venditti helped steer the home side to their first victory over the Springboks, who surrendered a 12-10 half-time lead.

The defeat was South Africa's sixth in seven games, but, despite mounting pressure at home, Coetzee remains adamant that he should be allowed to continue in the role. 

"I believe I am the right man. I haven't lost the dressing room," he said.

"We have a good plan and the players have bought into that. There wasn't a single moment during our preparation this week where the attitudes of the players weren't right.

"Our performance against Italy was definitely not up to the Springbok standards. It's the darkest moment of my coaching career. The emotions are running high. It's an embarrassment.

"I can only congratulate Italy on their brilliant performance. Our team doesn't have enough confidence, while they are a young side who are playing without pressure. Now we have a mountain to climb. As a group we have to take full responsibility."

Coetzee's opposite number Conor O'Shea, meanwhile, claimed that his players were capable of building upon the result to develop into a major force in the game.

"I'm so happy for the players and all the fans," he said.

"For us, this is just a start, but it's a very good one. We still have much to do to change the rugby in Italy, but we have the right potential and ability to do it.

"We still have a lot to do and work to improve, but there are the conditions to make this country a great national rugby side."

Those sentiments were echoed by Italy skipper Sergio Parisse, who has endured plenty of disappointments during his 14-year international career.

"I am extremely proud to win, we have won a historic match against the Springboks," he said.

"We faced a national great, that even in a time of trouble, is a team with great ability. For years, we were close to winning big games like this, but failed to bring home the result.

"This time we kept up the concentration up minute by minute, taking home a historic victory. Now we have to enjoy this historic victory, but we must continue to work to improve ourselves yet."

Next on the agenda for the Italians is a home clash with Tonga in Padova, while South Africa head to Cardiff to take on Wales.