The Blue Bulls are looking for a new director of rugby and head coach, but it won’t be Jimmy Stonehouse.
The 54-year-old Pumas coach has decided to take himself out of the running for the post vacated by John Mitchell, who joined Eddie Jones’ England management team as a defence coach last month.
Stonehouse has previously stated that he would like the job, but that he hasn’t heard anything from the Pretoria franchise.
On Monday, though, he took the unusual step to announce in a press statement that he will remain at the Pumas, due to the lack of clarity from the Bulls.
“The indecision and uncertainty of the coaching structure, and the time it has taken to get to this point, played a big part in my decision,” Stonehouse said.
“I understand that the Bulls have to make the right decision regarding the new coach and therefore they are in no hurry... but if I read media reports correctly, then it appears as though things are already in place with a coach to lead the Super Rugby (team).”
Who that may be remains to be seen, with the likes of Victor Matfield, John Dobson and Deon Davids being linked to the position.
Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus was rumoured to be open to coaching the Bulls in Super Rugby next year.
He later said that he wouldn’t be in charge at Loftus, but would be available to help out as required, particularly as it would allow him to work with Boks such as Handré Pollard and RG Snyman, as well as possibly Duane Vermeulen, who is believed to be joining the Bulls for the next two years once his time at Japanese side Kubota Spears ends.
A four-man advisory committee comprising of former WP coach Alan Zondagh, outgoing chief executive Barend van Graan, head of the Blue Bulls Coaching Association Blikkies Groenewald and Erasmus will help to choose Mitchell’s replacement.
Stonehouse said that the Pumas may also be included in an expanded PRO14 competition in future. “I can’t have my bread buttered on both sides... therefore I pledge my allegiance to the Pumas and their future.”
The Pumas missed out on the Currie Cup semi-finals, ending fifth on the log, five points behind the Blue Bulls, who will face Western Province at Newlands on Saturday.@ashfakmohamed