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Meyer: SARU to tread water?

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Still a few weeks away until SARU will reveal what there pan with Meyer and the Springboks will be, speculations are getting stronger on a one or two year extension to Meyers contract. This seems more likely with no real answer on who to replace Meyer if SARU do decide to not extend Meyers contract.

Rob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer looks at a few options that SARU may look at….

Heyneke Meyer getting an awkward, one-year reprieve looks like one of the options SARU’s general council will chew on when they meet to determine the embattled Springbok coach’s fate on December 10-11.Weekend newspaper reports suggest that in the absence of a credible array of alternative candidates for the post, the national body may opt to effectively tread water by giving him a further – fifth – calendar year in charge.

If that occurs, it seems a counter-productive development, only leaving the Bok set-up in a state of flux and Meyer on tenterhooks every time he takes charge of a Test match in 2016.

South African rugby is hampered by either inexperience or instability as far as the head coaching portfolios at their Super Rugby franchises are concerned, and the picture looks little brighter at Springbok level.

Many critics, supporters and former Boks have only cranked up resistance to Meyer in the weeks following both the World Cup and generally stuttering 2015 by the men in green and gold: although they ended the RWC with nominal “bronze medal”, the Boks also ended the year firmly curtailed to third on the world rankings by imperious New Zealand and losing World Cup finalists Australia.

The rather obvious retreat into old, cautious methods of play at the tail end of their RWC campaign only further irked people wishing for a pronounced, brave change in thinking and approach.

It appears the rationale behind Meyer earning a decidedly short-term extension is that it may allow potential replacements a little further down the line to free themselves of current contractual obligations.

But that hardly seems a guarantee of a sudden, high-quality flood of CVs in a year’s time, and would only leave the Boks in collective limbo for another 12 months.

In fairness, Meyer has shown in prior seasons a sometimes under-applauded willingness to evolve the Springbok game-plan – at one stage both his try strike-rate and win percentage were swelling nicely – but he chose an inconvenient, decisive year in 2015 for his choppiest at the helm yet.

The rock-bottom Castle Rugby Championship campaign and RWC-opening fiasco at the hands of Japan seemed to unnerve him enormously, and the Boks gradually lapsed into predictable, formulaic and monotonous ways as the premier tournament ran its course.

Especially given that the side may well be in a necessarily transitional mode from a staffing point of view – Jean de Villiers and Victor Matfield have already retired from internationals and other Boks may follow soon – handing Meyer a one-year “stay of execution” (unless he somehow sparks them back to life in a major way) suggests indecision, dilly-dallying and a knee-jerk reluctance to truly move on.

For several months, Meyer has only limped nervously from one match to another, given the mounting pressure on him from a results point of view, and it is difficult to imagine that phenomenon changing in 2016 if he is, indeed, allowed to soldier on for a particularly restricted period.

The first challenge is not the easiest one, either — a three-Test visit in the June window by present Six Nations champions Ireland.

If it is decided that Meyer warrants another stint (or that the general council feel we are “lumped with him” because there are no genuinely compelling alternatives) it seems only fair that he get at least the next half-cycle — ie, two years — to the 2019 World Cup in Japan.

That appears the minimum acceptable period for him to bed down any required new faces in the team and meaningfully reshape his rather stalled – some would say outmoded — template.

Warts and all, you cannot accuse Meyer of a lack of industry or passion for his job, and he has also demonstrated in the past with the Bulls that difficult years at the helm can be followed by hugely rewarding ones.

A one-year renewal of his Bok terms? That would only make him – and us – nervous wrecks during 2016 … not to mention the team perhaps no closer to hauling in either of their great SANZAR rivals in the global pecking order.

The general council should not delay making a tough decision, either way.

They must either show Meyer a more appropriate, assuring vote of confidence, or ask him to step down.

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58 COMMENTS

  1. 1 year is right and extremely charitable, not 2 or 4. No other cosch has had 5 years in charge.

    Meyer is already a nervous wreck and so are the players and supporters under him. If he can’t deliver a positive gameplan and mindset in 2016, he’ll never do it when the pressure turns on again in 2019 and will revert to type like 2015.

    I don’t know know where this idea of no other options come from. Of course there are no options if meyer is given an extension, but if the post is advertised there will always be options.

  2. A 1 year extension is simply stupid……HM must just go, the Afrikaans Press blaming Heyneke for the brand damage which contributed to the loss of the 2 Sponsors….2 rumours doing the round….one that Mallet has now expressed an interest….and 2…. that HM has not got enough Union votes to secure any sort of term and that A Coetsee is being touted as successor…

  3. @cab: No other option…

    With the fact that SARU will not look at an overseas coach and the fact that the only options people have mentioned had there change already and in some way or another been as bad as Meyer and that include Nick debacle of the WC 99 with Bobby and Gary.

    Change need to be for more than just putting another fool at the most difficult job in World Rugby.

    I am all for letting Meyer go but then we need to have a plan, not this hope that it will change with time and a new man.

    I would identify the new coach now and make sure he is with Meyer or whoever they put in that job so that he can not just learn but grow with the team to take over.

    We need proper assistants for the head coach and this is something I believe SARU must pick not the coach.

  4. @cab:

    Cab is dead on. He’s a nervous wreck. Can you imagine the 1-2 yrs he’d be on contract the sort of selections & game plans he’d muster?
    It would be siege type stuff & not forward looking to building towards dominating all comers in 2016 & beyond.

    SARU will not extend – they can’t & they get it.
    This is just drama being tossed out there I believe out of respect for Meyer because he really is a good heartful guy ( despite his tenure at ZeeBulls he doesn’t seemed tainted by evil).

  5. @grant:

    Grant I would prefer Mallet.
    He was just before my time watching SA on tv……so why the endorsement?
    He has spoken HIGHLY of the Messerschmitt-Willie Leroux on MANY occasions such as:
    ‘He is our best creative player; whenever he had the ball he created mayhem and in the first half we got four tries from it. Le Roux’s handling was absolutely brilliant, his straight running, his ability to use that little chip. His control under the high ball, which used to be a weakness, has become a real strength for him. He provides the spark to our backline. Not only does he score tries but he creates so many opportunities for the players around him.”

  6. 1 year extension is the worst possible idea.

    If you want to extend give him 2 years with new assistants (picked on rugby knowledge and the value they can add and not because Heyneke feels they are good guys and will turn into diamonds under pressure or some other silly Heyneke reasoning).

  7. @Americano: I do not understand the idea that if you are great with talking the talk in a studio why it gives you the right as a great coach.

    As far as I understand it from the little I know of coaching, it is something a person develop in and not by sitting in a studio on a Saturday and telling other teams and coaching how the game should be played. That is the easy way…if you want to be counted in as a credible coach then put your arsh on the field and coach with all that goes with that…winning, losing, media and fans that is on your case week in and week out.

    I respect only coaches that not just make nice noises on camera but also can take the heat and proof it on the field as well.

    For my national team I want someone who has been doing just that and not a fossil that has been voicing his opinion for the past 4 years in a studio.

    If that is the credentials then Ruggaworld can nominate a few from our members

  8. Yes, one year wont work. Either a new coach or give Heyneke another 4. But definitely with new assistants.

  9. @Jacques (Bunny):

    Bunny,
    I dunno. Grant mentioned AC & Mallet so I prefer Mallet because the AC/WP passed on Willie & marooned him to Griquas or wherever when he was from those parts & coulda been a Stormer SunKing.

    But Mallet did do well with the Stade team & I think that perhaps the seeing different teams & styles every week it may give greater perspective than being a coach – & he certainly was a coach.

    What would be my qualm with him? I believe he is cursed with the disorder that NZ players/teams are inherently better – for whatever reason- than SA teams. If that’s true/still the case with him – its a non-starter because he will make decisions regarding NZ matchups from a place of “we’re not good enough” & thats a death knell full stop,

  10. @Americano: When last did Nick coached?

    AC? Really? He is even worst than Meyer if you listen what people say why Meyer must go.

    Every year we had to listen to how the whole SA went on on how useless Stormers are and cannot score tries, why would AC change that with Bokke if he could not even do that with Stromers?

    AC is a dinosaur that needs to be submitted to the Jeffersonian Institute as one of the subject to be studied by anthropologist.

    We need real coaches not wannabes

  11. @Jacques (Bunny): Perhaps….I am not an AC fan either, although his Stormers bear most other SA teams on a regular basis and he was with White as an Assistant when Boks won WC,,,,,but I agree he does play a terrible brand of rugby at times, although nothing plummeted to the depths of the Boks at WC 2015….BUT…BUT….BUT…..the sponsors are apparently endorsing AC….this is just what I am hearing….As for Mallet….in my opinion…..light years ahead of Heyneke and AC…..would be my choice by a country mile….just again my opinion of course

  12. Yawnnnnnn…

    To suggest sponsors have dropped due to HM is freaking laughable… to suggest that those same sponsors are endorsing another coach and they would come back is even more laughable!

    The world cup ABSA cycle is over… and banks are currently operating at cyclic lows… particularly in Africa… no brainer… they did one better this RWC from the last…

    BMW was never a ‘major’ sponsor so that’s not ground-breaking neither…

    Ho-hum…

    Agreed on 2 years… not 1… though…

    FFS half the RSA Super Rugby sides cannot even find a world class coach nor assistants…

  13. The minute Mark Keohane said he must go it made me realize he must stay…
    Keohane is like a barometer of what not to do in rugby… so if he says Meyer must go then it actually means Meyer must stay.

  14. Get rid of him.
    The mere fact that we entertain an idiot who’s
    leadership led to historical losses to Japan and Argentina
    is an insult to the springbok emblem.
    Never mind a win against the AB.
    Untill then the public should like its sponsors
    refuse to spend a cent.

  15. @Jacques (Bunny):

    If SARU won’t look at other coached then they are also fools. Mitchell lives in SA and plumtree spent many years in SA.

    What we don’t want is yet another South afrucan ciach who plays conservative kak and then makes excuses that SA players are not skillful or athletic or hairy enough. Complete Kak. Give mitchell 1y and we’ll be klapping the ABs no questions asked and no exudes. There won’t be any ‘semior players’ and reputations will just be slashed but the results will be there.

  16. @bryce_in_oz: never said that Absa or BMW wanted to come back…they dont…saying that prospective sponsors dont want HM…especially given his wiping his arse on transformation….yawn all you like….thats whats happening .

  17. @cab: Hi Cab….heard Mitchell to get a 4 year gig with Stoormers….he was in CT yesterday thrashing out a deal….although bRYCE in oz may find this yawning ….
    I agree about Plumtree….if Mitchell off to Stormers Plumtree or Mallet would be my choices….for what its worth….Bryce I hope I am not boring you with this….

  18. @cab: Hi Cab….heard Mitchell to get a 4 year gig with Stormers….he was in CT yesterday thrashing out a deal….although bRYCE in oz may find this yawning ….
    I agree about Plumtree….if Mitchell off to Stormers Plumtree or Mallet would be my choices….for what its worth….Bryce I hope I am not boring you with this….

  19. I don’t think plum is an option
    and Mitchell is a poor mans mallet.
    Mallet is the only SA coach worth a shot.
    His way.
    No half measures.
    Entertaining AC and Ackerman is like putting a plaster
    on a sucking chest wound.
    South African rugby’s fatcats must be forced
    by its SPENDING public to spend THEIR money
    THEIR way.
    Was mallet wrong about his outspoken criticism years ago?
    No.
    Was he wrong in dropping Gary for Bobby ?No.
    Bobby was on fire .
    Was he wrong for the Way he dropped Gary.Yes.
    Henri Honibal almost quit not because Gary got dropped
    But in the manner it was done.
    Am I pr pared to sacrifice springbok rugby over the
    Mishandling of one player ?
    No.
    Get Nick Mallet.
    Get him now and stop wasting time and money.

  20. @Duiwel: Clearly we have a different perspective on Mallet..

    Has not coach for years, debacles, Bobby was injured by the way not even fully fit, Gaffie Dave blame game…he took Carel’s hard work and run with that players as did PDV in 2008…

  21. @grant

    ‘Prospective’ sponsors are now selecting rugby union top 3 test team coaches?

    Now I truly have heard everything… sweet bejeezus!

  22. @grant:

    I agreed on Mitchell being the only logical (and let’s face it realistic) choice for the Stormers (in RSA)…

    On PLumtree ‘Mr 10 man rugby’ at the Sharks being a Bok coach and Meyer and ‘transformation’…yaaaaaawwwwnnnn!

    Heyneke and SARU must clean out some of the dead wood like Laubscher et al and bring in some world class ‘realists’ like Todd Louden (one of Australia’s most successful coaches and available with some coercion) for his progressiveness/analysis , someone to fix the shoddy tight-loose play and to fix terrible tactical kicking…

    And I’m sure common sense will prevail… and not the wining of mug-punters nor ‘prospective’ sponsors from the ‘business’ world…

  23. @grant:

    Oh don’t take my tact or lack of like that… lol… I simply disagree with you on a few points… it’s like the good old days…
    give_rose

  24. 17 consecutive wins.
    1st coach to win French cup ever in a year.
    Arguably laid the foundation of Italian rugby.
    Winner.
    Yes bunny we have a different perspective,
    you accept defeat readily.
    I think it’s called”rolling over “.

  25. @grant: that would work! He comes in with world class assistants!! Otherwise really not the best option!! For me that is

  26. @Duiwel:

    He is also the cunt who played a debut 9 and 10 in the same game away from home against New Zealand and only the FIRST SA coach EVER to lose a test to 0 against New Zealand… or the twat who selected an openside flank as a scrumhalf for Italy…

    Fokkit jy sien ook net wat jy wil raak…

  27. @Jacques (Bunny): Dont get me wrong but I am not an AC fan. What I do believe in is the fact that ONLY in SA do we fire and hire every four . Its a trend so we can keep doing it. We put in a coach and do the same forever. We like to change coaches but not policies.

  28. @grant: Well after four weeks of discussing this I still need to be convince that there is someone else out there?

    Nick not an option and SARU not going for overseas coach there are nobody else…Ackers need another two to three years, not his time yet.

    AC is a klip….

    Only person in SA I would take is Rassie but that will never happen or maybe Oom Gert…

  29. @grant: lost some respect for Venter after his attack on The Snake, he seemed to be close to all that is controversy.

    He did well with Shaaks two years ago but seemed to have taken Nikck as idol and talk rather than coach these day.

    His business seems to be also more important these day

    I think we are in bigger shit than we relise and we are in for some bad times

  30. Bringing AC is regressive to say the least!

    Haha sometimes I think Springbok fans get everything they deserve!

  31. AC over Heynee, Duiwel and Cab happy. Yeah you go you good thing. Just fire Heyneke, anyone can do better than him, he is an idiot and the land of the blind, one eye is king. Bring him back to the Bulls as DOR, we will be the force we once was. We are blind, Heyneke is one eye, long live the king.

    Yes Bruce, SA fans get exactly what they dEserve, 2 years or 4 years from now, fire AC, same shit different day.

  32. Former Stormers coach Allister Coetzee has emerged as the strong favourite to replace the under-fire Heyneke Meyer as Springbok coach.

    The South African Rugby Union (Saru) will make a decision on Meyer’s future next month and a top source within the organisation said yesterday that it was a “fait accompli” that Meyer will not have his contract renewed.

    “It is becoming more and more difficult to see him staying on in the job,” the source told the Cape Times.

    “But we will have to be careful and make sure that we go through the process. We will need to take our time in finding a suitable candidate and not rush through things.”

    Other well-placed rugby sources have told the Cape Times it is a “done deal” that Coetzee, who is coaching the Kobelco Steelers in Japan, will take over the Bok job.

    Coetzee’s Japan contract apparently has a similar exit clause to that which allowed Eddie Jones to accept the England coaching position less than two weeks into his job as the new Stormers coach.

    Counting heavily in Coetzee’s favour is the fact that he has the best transformation record of any South African coach. Meyer has been heavily criticised for not giving black players enough opportunities.

    Coetzee was also an assistant coach to the World Cup-winning Springbok team in 2007.

    The Springboks suffered shock defeats to Argentina and Japan this year and there has also been a strong groundswell of opinion against Meyer.

    The recent exodus of Springbok sponsors was apparently the final straw for many of the SA Rugby decision-makers who will be voting on the coaching issue next month.

    It was revealed at the weekend that jersey sponsor Absa was not going to renew its contract with the Boks, with the slow pace of transformation being cited as one of the reasons.

    BMW has also decided not to renew its Springbok sponsorship.

    Saru could allow Coetzee to see out the season in Japan, which should end in February, before taking up his role as Springbok coach.

  33. Big business drives pro sport….Bryce in Oz, you may be a little naive , but to think that awful WC squad selection, coming last in RC, being beaten in Durban by Argies. losses to Japan, selection of Kriel over Mvovo at wing, PSDT at flank and leaving Kolisi on bench, 3 minute cameos to RPaige etc go unnoticed then you are sadly misguided. M Steyn over Elton another glaring snub……HM had far too much power and treated the bok s as his own little playtoy……he dug the hole deeper and deeper….the minute Cosatu got involved his days were numbered….Find out what drove the Absa decision….the truth is there bucks need to go hand in hand with target markets….you not a dumb oke….you got some savvy…..follow the dots …or better still…follow the money. BMW see it the same way….The Deputy President of SARU Mark Alexander says the loss of the sponsors was a huge wake up call…I suggest we all catch a wake up….whether we like it or not…

  34. I don’t think AC will be any worse than meyer so it doesn’t phase me in the slightest who comes or goes. I suspect the results and style will be similarly conservative.

    Now if you said mitchell was coaching the Boks then we in with a shout fir changing all these outdated dom modes of thought and play.

    You welcome to have meyer back at Bulls – think that is exactly where he belongs. Everyone is happy.

  35. @Aldo: Go kill the fatted calf…the prodigal son is all yours…..if i was Oom Nollis I would be nervous….very nervous…

  36. AC is even worse than HM.
    His stormers got poesklapped left right and center.
    But he will put the right amount of colour
    in the national squad.
    Great.
    Maybe absa and bmw got the heads up on the call.
    This will finally-after Meyers debacle-put the springboks even further behind.
    As for where Meyer coaches-who gives a shit.
    Banzai and good riddance .

  37. What we need is a rugby revolution.
    The public abstain all forms of spending for one year.
    Totally.
    No playing ,no watching,no paying.
    That will stop the whole fucking gravy train.

  38. Oom D-jy is reg,
    N kadet loot het my lank terug gesê: boetie dis oor wanneer jy gewen het.
    Simple.

  39. Grant I will go slaughter the fattened calf the minute they confirm Meyer as being fired and the Bulls confirm him as DOR. I’ll start a petition myself to get him as For at the Bulls. Classes, you and the public that wants Heyneke out can have Coetsee at the Boks, I’ll give him my full support as I don’t think he was as far of the mark as some people say at the Stormers and we can hopefully get Meyer back at the Bulls to assist our inexperienced team next year. Win win to me. Just don’t cry when we beat all comers again.

    I don’t think Nollis is worried, in fact I think he is ecstatic at the prospect of having the most successful superrugby coach in SA , to draw inspiration from. Maybe superrugby is Meyer’s ceiling, maybe the Boks could’ve been a force under him in future, don’t know, but I for one will welcome him back at the Bulls.

  40. @Aldo: He would relish that! Infact, so much is open to that DOR – new SR coach. Some behind the scenes work has been done Aldo. Hehe

  41. @grant:

    You say big business drives sport then mention COSATU…

    Well let me rephrase that for you… “South African backwards politics drives business and sport in South Africa with dismal consequences!”

    That is NOT how it works in the real world…

    Here goes the perpetual circle again…

    Meyer took the best available squad to the RWC give or take a few of the usual whines from provincial mug punter supporters.

    Meyer has a better Rugby World Cup record than his predecessor.

    Meyer has a better win percentage record than the last 3 Bok coaches spanning 14 yrs.

    Meyer capped and included in his extended squad more players of colour than any other Bok coach in the history of the professional era.

    Naive is thinking that Argentina (now three seasons out of their amateur era) and ranked 5th in the world are easy-beats.

    Naive is thinking that a Springbok coach should be responsible for the transformation failures of the government (not even his Super coaches).

    Naive is thinking that Alister Coetzee is the champion of transformation considering he is coaching in the ‘Cape Province’! Naive is thinking he’d accomplish the same ‘numbers’ in Bloemfontein/Durban/Johannesburg or Pretoria with their demographics!

    If AC is in fact elected, down to SARU and the councils and not down to political pandering, then so be it… his man-management (not coaching) deserves some mention… but if he’s elected and he isn’t given shit hot assistants… Boks are in for a world of hurt!

    And I’m not talking about a once in generation, one-off aberration like a loss to Japan trying to play ‘fan-boy’ rugby without the skills to do so…

  42. @bryce_in_oz: Argentiana …in Durbs….
    I was there…..HM is despised all over except Pretoria….let the looney go home in peace….SA rugby cant afford his presence….

  43. If Alistar Cootze is to be the new coach –
    I am going to have to set about getting his name right.

    I love Robby Fleck so much ( he’d be a good interview-get BC just sayin’ )
    I don’t care how much of a Fukishima the Stormers backline was – I want him involved if only to lug around water & oranges for the squad.

    Now for the killshot…..buckle up…..
    How much of the negativity surrounding AC while with Stormers……really wasn’t his fault? Think about it.
    Why?
    Because I believe a significant percentage of AC’s Stormer tenure was sabotaged….
    By Jean DeVilliers. Yep. He’s the Rasputin of SA rugby. I bet if you watched that guy walk down the produce aisle at the grocery – the merchandise would spoil in his wake.
    Free of that malevolent influence – I think AC can thrive.

  44. Just read the Argus article online…filled with the usual misconceptions about transformation etc….I guess I’m no surprised, the media in general are as crooked as our politicians…

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