Meyer ‘a cert’ for Bok coach
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After Gert Smal said no to the Springbok coaching job at the weekend due to family commitments, Heyneke Meyer will now be unveiled as the new Bok boss on Friday, a top-level source within the South African Rugby Union has told the Cape Times.
Saru chief executive Jurie Roux met with Meyer in Pretoria on Saturday, where the Bulls director of rugby agreed to take over from Peter de Villiers. He is expected to sign a two-year contract later this week.
Current Ireland forwards coach Smal was Saru’s “first choice”, according to the source, and his decision to turn down the Bok job has left the national body “very disappointed”.
The main obstacle for the organisation in trying to secure his signature was the fact that his two children, a son and daughter, are settled in school in Dublin, Ireland. The Cape Times understands that Smal didn’t want to disrupt their schooling by uprooting them and bringing them back to South Africa.
Another problem was that Smal signed an 18-month extension to his Irish contract last year, which will only expire in June 2013.
Meyer, of course, has an outstanding record as coach of the Blue Bulls in the Currie Cup and the Bulls in Super Rugby, having won four Currie Cups (one shared) and a Super 14 title. He was also the favourite to take over from Jake White in 2008, but was pipped by De Villiers in a Saru president’s council vote.
Such dramas are not expected this time around, when the now-general council of Saru meets on Friday to ratify the recommendation of the executive committee, which will meet on Thursday to endorse Meyer as its candidate. Meyer is expected to be released from his Bulls director post.
Saru has tried to convince Smal to replace De Villiers for several weeks now, once it had changed its initial stance that Stormers coach Allister Coetzee was the best man for the job.
Smal’s success in winning two Currie Cups with WP in 2000 and 2001, guiding the Stormers to a Super 12 semi-final in 2004, his exemplary transformation record with the Cape Union and then his experience as the Bok and Ireland forwards coach since 2004 made him Saru’s preferred candidate.
A lack of trophies in the Newlands cabinet under Coetzee’s watch in the last two years was the main reason for the change in thinking among the Saru hierarchy, despite the Stormers and Western Province reaching Super Rugby and Currie Cup finals in 2010 and semi-finals in 2011.
The make-up of Meyer’s Springbok management team will hopefully be finalised this week, with Saru hoping to include Rassie Erasmus as a technical adviser, Paul Treu as an assistant coach and Jacques Nienaber as defence coach.
But those possible appointments will still be discussed with current Bulls director of rugby Meyer, as he may want to bring in his own support staff.
The Boks play their first Test of 2012 against England on June 9 in Durban. - Cape Times