Front Row Grunt

Rugby … with cauliflower ears

Introducing … Heyneke Meyer

It’s a mere 4 sleeps before SARU announce the poor bugger set to take over from Peter de Villiers as Bok coach … I say “Poor bugger” because while it has to be seen as an honour and a privilege to coach one of the best rugby sides in the world, it also strips you naked and puts you in a glass house in full view of the ravenous SA public, protected only by a blazer brigade more concerned about their political futures than the state of Springbok rugby …

It’s not a job for sissies as they say in the classics …

And as said in my last post, there has been PLENTY of speculation as to who will get the position … Gert Smal and Heyneke Meyer were the last men standing, though, and both remained bound to their contracts with their existing unions …

But … That has now changed … Meyer has met with SARU CEO Jurie Roux to finalise his coaching contract, no doubt influenced a little by the Blue Bulls being a little more aware and accepting of the needs of the national body.

So the current Bulls Director of Rugby will indeed eventually (given that he missed out last time to De Villiers) be swopping the light blue blazer for a green one on Friday …

A little more on our new Bok coach Heyneke Meyer then …

Full name: Heyneke Meyer
Born: October 6, 1967
Major teams coached: SWD, Blue Bulls, Bulls, Leicester Tigers

Meyer obtained a BA (PT) with Psychology and Geography, BA Hons in Geography as well as a HED at Tukkies University, with his alma mater announcing him as their Laureate winner 2007.

Meyer coached a variety of smaller clubs before joining the Eagles as assistant coach in 1997. The following year he was promoted to head coach and took the team to seventh place in the Currie Cup and to the semi finals in the following year.

He was appointed as assistant coach of the Springboks during the 1999 World Cup, and in 2000 Meyer joined the Bulls as head coach. In 2002 he became head coach of the Blue Bulls and coached them to 4 Currie Cup titles in between 2002 and 2006. In 2007, the team became the first South African team to win the Super 14.

In February 2008, after Peter De Villiers was announced as successor to Jake White as Springbok coach, Meyer quit rugby and accepted a senior position at a sports supplement company.

In June 2008 Meyer was appointed Head Coach at Leicester Tigers succeeding Marcelo Loffreda. In January 2009 he took compassionate leave from his Tigers post to attend to family matters in South Africa , and Meyer then tendered his resignation from the Tigers on January 28, 2009.

He recently moved into a new position at the Bulls – that of ‘Executive: Rugby’ and has been seen at several Tukkies Varsity Cup, Blue Bulls Vodacom Cup, Currie Cup and Super Rugby matches.

The most decorated rugby coach in the country, Heyneke Meyer has achieved success at all levels of the game, and has a proven track record of identifying and producing world-class players.

Victor Matfield wrote in his autobiography that Meyer was the best coach he had ever played under. Some of the players who grew into world beaters under Meyer’s watchful eye include Bok stalwarts Fourie du Preez, Bakkies Botha, Danie Rossouw and Bryan Habana.

Meyer’s key strength, according to those that have worked with him, lies in his knowledge of sports psychology, with his team talks now being written into rugby folklore by players writing their biographies.

He is a coach who ensures he is surrounded by specialists in every aspect of the game, and seemingly not intimidated by their knowledge and input.

He has an ability to lay down plans and stick to them, even if that means a lack of short term success. Should that happen at an international level, though, how forgiving will his bosses and the SA public be?

Boks and Heyneke Meyer

The Boks and Heyneke Meyer

Victor Matfield asked Heyneke Meyer to hand out the jerseys for his 100th Test. Here he is with the Boks after handing out said jerseys …. A premonition?

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Author: Tank

Ex WP prop with a fair amount of experience in all things media ...

5 Comments

  1. MY prayers have been answered!!

  2. You forgot to mention that Heyneke got fired the first time with the Bulls to be replaced by Rudi Joubert. The Bulls then sacked Joubert and brought back Meyer.

  3. Now are we SURE this is SARFU’s final answer – or is there still more stuffing around waiting in the wings…?

  4. Well at least if it is true we will have one astute rugby brain in the setup. I really did not like any of the three stooges we had for the last four years. Gary Gold just never seemed to get our forward pack to perform consistently (perhaps not his fault, but considering it’s a traditional strength of ours I’ll have to say it could only be his fault).

    Dick Muir didn’t seem to bring any innovation to the backline and I am not sure whether this is because of the influence the stalwarts had on Peter de Villiers and as a result his assistants or whether he just lacks the nous.

    Peter de Villiers himself, well, the players liked him, the government likes him but he didn’t have the character to stamp his authority.

    I hope someone other (perhaps Rassie Erasmus) is also appointed as a behind-the-scenes analyst of the game as I do not think Heyneke Meyer is someone that experiments too much. He has strong structural values and sees them through even if they do not bring immediate results, but perhaps there’s just a little someone to help a little every now and then. The game has asked for a little more than bash-it-up rugby.