The Rugby Coach Dilemma

Heyneke Meyer

With many South Africans hoping for an international coach to take over the reins, there is always a very strong drive to keep it local.

If the rumours are true the best possible local setup looks promising. Rassie Erasmus is set to become the South African Rugby Union’s (SARU) new full-time technical adviser, and Heyneke Meyer being tipped to take the head coach’s role.

It’s a double loss for the Stormers with Erasmus poaching defence coach Jacques Nienaber.

The other rumored candidate for head coach was Ireland’s forwards mastermind, Gert Small. It seems that Meyer’s appointment is a done deal, as Smal is still under contract with Ireland. Most would agree this is one area where the Boks could use some international attention, possibly an Aussie or a Kiwi backline coach. One just needs to have a look at what Carlos Spencer has done with the Lions backline.

With countless player stocks and no competition from other sport codes, it seems all the Springboks need is good leadership and out of the box thinking. SARU’s gamble with Peter de Villiers was a failure and had he not had the luxury of an experienced senior players group, it might have been far more embarrassing.

The right thing to do now is get the right men for the job, revolutionise and get the Boks up to speed, something this (possible) coaching setup is capable of.

Nienaber has shown with the Stormers that he had the best defence in Super Rugby last season and is a good choice for defence coach. The others have good résumé and have achieved a lot in their careers – Rassie with the low budget Cheetahs and Meyer with the Bulls, while both had advisory roles at international level.

With John Smit, Victor Matfield and Fourie Du Preez all retiring from international rugby, the national side has lost a huge amount of experience. With Smit and Matfield being the two most capped players in our history, they leave a very obvious void. It’s not all doom and gloom for the Green & Gold, as the likes of Schalk Burger, Juan Smith, Bismarck Du Plesis, Jaque Fourie, Jean De Villiers, Frans Steyn, Bryan Habana and JP Pietersen have all been around for ages and have won the World Cup. These players should make up the core of the national side, making the new coach’s transition a lot easier.

There’s no doubt that Meyer should have been appointed head coach four years ago. His credentials are second to none and his no-nonsense approach to getting the job done will suit the Boks perfectly. The pairing of Meyer and Erasmus is any fans dream and I for one am very optimistic about the future.

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