Meyer’s able lieutenants …

In 2002 Heyneke Meyer’s Bulls became the first Super Rugby team to lose all it’s matches in a season, conceding 500 points and a total of 76 tries. Meyer was sworn at and spat on by Bulls supporters at Loftus Versveld, and was summarily fired as the Bulls Super Rugby coach.

In 2007, having been re-installed as the Bulls Super Rugby coach a few years earlier, his team last their first two games of the season (Sharks in Durban and Force at Loftus) … They went on to become the first SA team to win 3 matches on tour, beat the Reds 92-3 in their final league game to get a home semi, and crowned the year by becoming the first SA side to take home the Super Rugby trophy …

“I have never coached to impress other people or to prove them wrong. The success achieved by the Bulls makes me humble and grateful, because I know from personal experience how it feels to be down and reviled by everyone”

“Any trophy is an inanimate thing. It’s not the cup that’s important. I would rather remember that day for the privilege of having been able to make a difference in each of the player’s lives. They enriched my life immeasurably, and I can only hope I did the same for them.”

Said Meyer after the 2007 Super Rugby win …

The kind of guy you want coaching the Springboks? Damn straight! And unless the blazer brigade that is the SARU Council (who just need to ratify the decision made by Jurie Roux and SARU) conspire to cock it up again, this is the man who will take charge of the national side from Friday the 27th of January … Thankfully!

Eight years ago he was asked to recuse himself from the shortlist and Jake White got the job. He should have got the job four years ago, and had in fact had been told that it was indeed his, but that scourge of South African sport, internal politics, got the better of the process in the metres before the finish line, and Peter de Villiers got the job.

Meyer was a broken man … He quit rugby and accepted a position at a sports supplement company. But like a fire left to it’s own devices overnight, the embers remained warm, and in June 2008 Meyer took a fan to those embers and accepted an appointment Head Coach at the Leicester Tigers. He was back …

After the debacle that was the last four years, South African rugby is crying out for a forward thinking tactician. A student of the game who implements plans put in place based on the need to deliver results. Victor Matfield calls him the best coach he has ever played under. Anton Leonard, so long the man directing the action on the field, had this to say about Meyer: “He always acted and thought imaginatively and was never scared to take a chance. He listened when we talked, but led by example in every sense

I think this man has earned his keep, and as such, understands the honour and responsibility that comes with the position. I just hope he is prepared for the political shit-storm and back stabbing that comes with the job …

So who will he pick as his able lieutenants? Now such a key part of any coaching structure, it is said that one of the reasons Meyer won the race is because SARU liked his ideas re said lieutenants …

These are the names Meyer has lined up:

1. John McFarland:
English-born former London Irish head coach who has been with Meyer and the Blue Bulls for the last 10 years. Highly rated as a defense, McFarland is set to work as a kicking coach at the Boks.

2. Jacques Nienaber:
The Stormers defence coach responsible for making the Cape side the best defensive unit in the 2010 and 2011 seasons. Called in as a consultant to the Boks for the World Cup, he will be in charge of defence.

3. Rassie Erasmus:
An astute analyst of the game who has had enough of the petty politics at WP. He will be a full-time Technical Director/Analyst on Meyer’s panel.

4. Basil Carzis:
Has been part of the Bulls three successful Super Rugby campaigns, and is Meyer’s choice as the fitness and conditioning expert.

5. Paul Treu:
Has developed into one of the best attacking masterminds in the abbreviated version of the game. Treu’s visionary dedication earns him an option as the Bok backline coach.

6. Pieter Rossouw:
Former WP and Stormers stalwart, named “Slaptjips” given his lazy running style. Has been the man running the Bulls backline. Said to be Meyer’s 1st choice as backline coach.

It looks like Meyer will take the forwards himself, perhaps calling in a scrum and lineout consultant when needed …

As is to be expected, the CEO’s of the respective Super Rugby franchises are spitting the dummy about losing so much brain power so close to the Super15. This might see Pieter Rossouw lose out to Treu as the backline coach, and it might see Neinaber only join the Bok coaching team after the Super15. I am also told that despite Allister Coetzee having said that he has not been asked to join Meyer as an assistant coach, is name is still not completely out the mix. But I cannot see the Stormers releasing all of Erasmus, Neinaber and Coetzee …

All in all, I see these as exciting times for Springbok rugby …

And even though Meyer has a proven track record with regard to spotting young talent , developing said players, and bringing them into the Bulls system at an appropriate time, I would still follow the All Black lead and offer the new Bok coach a two year contract. I am well and truly over this “Judge me on my World Cup results” crap. The Boks are a national treasure that need to be delivering results to an adoring public on a regular basis, not just every four years. We have more than enough talent and depth to do so …

What the Boks need - A trophy!


  1. I am really looking forward to see what this man can do with the Boks.

    There is no doubt that we need a man with the calibre that Heyneke Meyer offers.

    I completely agree that we need to stop this “Judge me on my World Cup results” mentatlity. We need to dominate throughout the year, particularly at the end of this year, as I have heard that the IRB set the rankings/pools for the next World Cup depending on your standings then.

  2. Hi Tank, I am glad about Basil Carzis – according to Matfield he is the best fitness guy around. Why will he appoint McFarland as kicking coach (while he is a defence coach) and Nienaber as defence coach: 2 coaches to do the defence ? Is McFarland qualified to be a kicking coach ?
    I feel that “Slaptjips” can add real value to the team’s backline (opposed to Dick Muir, whom I think was more interested in making money on different platforms:Investec Academy, Lions and the Boks). I’m sure that Paul Treu will add something new – he has developed into an excellent coach (albeit in a different environment) with some “out of the box” thinking.
    Rassie will add invaluable experience to the technical side of the game, but who will coach the forwards?

    1. Yep I am also a little confused re using both McFarland and Neinaber …. Obviously rates them both … Hope they do not clash … Prob wont see them both on final panel, this more of a wishlist …. No faith in Bulls kicking coach Vlok Cilliers? End of the road for Monty though …

      I reckon he will use Matfield and Balie Swart as forward consultants … But that is pure speculation. Have not heard that anywhere …

  3. What about using Gert Smal as forwards coach? Since it seems he won’t be the head-coach, although being in the run for it, surely the Boks can use him as forwards coach and then at least will have a proven coach in that position. Or is that too much to ask from SARU? I doubt Meyer and Smal will object as they are both “rugby-men”…

  4. Balie Swart or Gert Smal would be great forward consultants but this all seems a bit too good. Seems he is also taking most of the Bulls/WP coaching staff along with him.

  5. South Africa has so many great individual coaches, from gert to balie, rassie, meyer, os, paul, pieter, john, helgaard,naka, alan, alister, and the list goes on, POLITICS is our issue, not talent nor coaches…

    Let the coach choose the team, players on merit

    Let the government look after their departments
    Let the media look after their paper
    Let the coaches look after the players and the results
    Let the players look after themselves

    then everybody will focus on what should happen, and not on what should not be happening

    We play rugby to win, to to get the right % in areas of the game

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