Front Row Grunt

Rugby … with cauliflower ears


How about these 2 crazy options?

Heyneke Meyer seems set be in charge of the Boks for the next 4 years, but Tank Lanning, writing in his Sport24 column, has two very left field options for SARU to consider.

Tank Lanning

Sure the SARU General Council have to ratify it on the 4th of December, but we can take at as fait accompli that Heyneke Meyer will be in charge of the Boks for the next 4 years.

The conspiracy theory suggests that Meyer was promised 8 years from the get go to make up for his non appointment in 2007 when Peter de Villiers came in from left field to appease the government who wanted a black coach.

The reality, though, is that there is no one else in the country right now who is ready to take over.

Johann Ackermann might be showing South Africa the way with regard to how we should be playing our rugby, but most would agree that he is not quite ready for the top job. This while all the other SA franchises are also scratching around for coaches right now.

Which, unlike our player pipeline, speaks to our poor coaching pipeline. A problem I have addressed in this column before, and one I sincerely hope SARU are now addressing.

Two left field options SARU could consider though:

1 – Doing a deal with the WPRU that would see Eddie Jones appointed as the Bok coach, and the Stormers job given to rising coaching star, John Dobson. I really like this option, but SARU are probably too proud to appoint a foreign coach as they would see it as a failure of our current systems.

2 – Appoint a strong non-coaching manager (like Ian Schwartz) into a more senior role to run the show operationally and let the mobi unit headed up by Rassie Erasmus (with the likes of Chean Roux, Pieter de Villiers, Louis Koen and Jacques Nienaber as his lieutenants) actually coach the team. It’s not as far-fetched as it first might seem. Think Clive Woodward and his team of merry advisors, specialists and consultants.

It’s highly unlikely that either of these two options will be given more than a second or two’s consideration, so we are left with a coaching appointment made not because he is the best man for the job, but because there is nothing better on offer.

Succession planning at it’s very best … Not!

Who needs a succession plan when you have already appointed the man for 8 years, though? Perhaps there is something to that conspiracy theory!

That said, the Boks did beat the USA 64-0, their biggest loss ever. They smashed Scotland, a team who were a controversial penalty away from beating finalists Australia. And they came within 2 points of beating eventual winners, the All Blacks, a team many are calling the best ever!

Quite simply, all is not lost.

That the Boks were booed by their fans while beating Argentina, whose fans were spotted dancing and singing in the stands, speaks to the fact that Meyer really has “Lost” the SA fans.

His obsession with winning might not necessarily be in sync with Supporters, who now seem ready to accept a loss or two in the name of progress. As World Cup semi-finalists, that no South African was nominated for player, coach or team of the year, and rightfully so, speaks to our lack of evolution, and that has to change.

De Villiers started the player power malarkey, and it has again thrived in the Meyer era. His so called attempts at transformation have been nothing short of embarrassing. We now have him for another four years by default, but it cannot be a case of rewind and press play.

Graham Henry was given a shot at redemption in 2007 and he came through for New Zealand. Meyer, rightly or wrongly, now has that same opportunity.

Author: Tank

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

One Comment

  1. Heyneke Meyer has been a terrible coach. The way South Africa played in the World Cup was horrible. We have players who can, except the coach chooses the gameplan. I have seen him blame the players for a lack of fitness and a lack of skills…. Lack of fitness and lack of skills are a direct reflection on the coach. You didn’t see New Zealanders on the park who lacked skills or fitness! In fact Heyneke has nothing to complain about. ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. He got the players he wanted. He got the coaching staff he wanted. He got everything he wanted, yet he failed to deliver.

    Maybe it’s cause God is against “us”? He was quick to thank the Lord when we won, but he was curiously silent when we lost.

    I don’t doubt Heyneke Meyer’s “passion” and his will to win. They’re part of the problem. Winning is so important, that the way we do it is less so. Low risk = low reward. Look at how we played after the loss to Japan. We totally crawled into a shell.

    The idea of rewarding 3rd in the World Cup with four more years is rather ridiculous. If in 4 years time we come 3rd will we extend his contract again? I’m with Divan Serfontein and Wynand Claasen. Heyneke must go.

    The way Rudi Paige has been treated by this coach is reason enough for him to be asked to step aside. What was the point in taking this player all the way to England?

    Perhaps you could let us in on why you believe it is a fait accompli? Everyone is saying this, but there hasn’t even been a review of the World Cup yet and the powers that be are running the line that it is going to happen in December.