‘Heart and soul of this team,’ SaberCats’ top scorer Davy Coetzer chasing championship

Mar 5, 2024 | Uncategorized

By Aaron Wilson

Davy Coetzer stayed a step or two ahead of pursuit all season, regularly finding angles for tries and kicks.
As much as opponents tried to contain him, they were unable to stop Coetzer from emerging as a constant scoring threat.
The SaberCats’ star fly-half finished second among all Major League Rugby players in scoring with 135 points last year and was third in successful goal kicks with 43 overall despite missing three matches with a knee injury.
“I love being back, and we’ve got a very strong team,” Coetzer said. “I’m very excited to get back to playing and, hopefully, win the shield this year.”
Now, Coetzer, 25, is back for his third season with the SaberCats after the Port Elizabeth, South Africa native signed a new contract this offseason. He’s aiming for much more than statistics this season. He’s chasing a championship.
“Culture is something we talk about a lot with our team, and the main thing is for us is to get along and you need to have a good culture from start to finish,” Coetzer said. “In the season, it gets tough. That’s when some guys get frustrated. Culture keeps us grinding and supporting each other and everyone having a common goal of winning the whole thing.”
“I think the big thing is we lost a few key guys, older guys that retired, but we have a good squad. We have such a good squad that it’s easier to rotate our players. We have motivated guys. The strength of the team is giving certain guys one-on-ones and playing to the strength of the team. I think the signings we made are great signings, not just good players, but very good people that add to the culture.”
How Coetzer emerged as the second-ranked scorer in Major League Rugby is a story steeped in dedication and skill.
Before Coetzer had his most prolific season yet for the SaberCats, he focused significantly on self-improvement and all facets of his game.
“It’s always good to focus on improvement and there’s still a lot to be made,” Coetzer said. “I have goals as far as kicking percentage. It gives you a little boost in confidence. A lot of hard work went into this offseason, hopefully getting over 80 percent kicking percentage. That’s one of the things we’re constantly working on. Hopefully, this season I’ll be way more accurate.”
Coetzer played 10,125 minutes in 14 starts last season one year after scoring 83 points on 28 conversions, three tries and four penalty goals.
A former water polo and rugby player at Selborne College who has played for the Junior Springboks, Coetzer’s offseason commitment is centered on making physical improvements. That should pay dividends this season.
“Yeah, especially fitness and speed-wise, we’ve put in a lot of work with our strength and conditioning coach Jon Hood,” Coetzer said. “We’ve been working for months on conditioning and speed and strength. We’re coming into the season feeling very good physically.”
When Coetzer reviewed his performances from last season, he kept coming back to one feeling. He wasn’t satisfied.
Coetzer was tough on himself in his personal scouting report, analyzing everything from his footwork, conditioning and fundamentals.
The results speak volumes.
“He had an awesome season,” SaberCats coach Pote Human said. “He worked really hard in the offseason. The way he plays is just phenomenal. He’s the heart and soul of this team.”
The 5-foot-10, 190-pounder has made strides in his game in his third season with the SaberCats.
“He’s a little warrior,” SaberCats director Heyneke Meyer said. “He’s played better and better.”
Coetzer played in the World Rugby Under 20 championship and also played with the Western Province squads. He then played for the Blue Bulls’ South African rugby championship team and the University of Pretoria Tuks in varsity cup competition before joining the SaberCats.
Coetzer has speed, skills and confidence working in his favor.
“He’s amazing, one of the best I’ve played with,” Gerrie Labuschagne’ said. “He’s an amazing person, amazing player. And he’s going to keep on growing.”
And Coetzer is a prime candidate for honors.
His focus is on team goals, not individual distinction.
“I’m not really worried about that stuff,” Coetzer said. “It’s about how we achieve our goals as a team. If we achieve our goals as a team, then we can talk about individual stuff. I’m proud of what I’ve done. I just want to keep making the boys proud.”
A fan of the NFL and NBA, including the Texans, Coetzer spends his spare time playing pickle ball and golf.
Another favorite pastime for the SaberCats: going to local coffee shops.

“Me and the boys, we enjoy our coffee,” Coetzer said. “We like the variety of real coffee houses.”

Over the past three years, Coetzer and his teammates have built a bond with the SaberCats’ diehard fans.
“I love the fans,” he said. “We’ve got a very good relationship with them. The way we get to interact with them and the support they show us, that drives us to the shield. The Houston community is a big influence in what we play for and we get to know them at a deeper level.”