Ludeke, Coetzee turn down Div
Johannesburg - The disharmony between Springbok coach Peter de Villiers and his assistants Dick Muir and Gary Gold has reached a crescendo with De Villiers seemingly in a desperate search for new assistants before the Springboks embark on their end-of-year Grand Slam tour.
According to Vata Ngobeni of The Star, even though the South African Rugby Union stated in their press release after De Villiers’s review meeting with his employers this week that the current Springbok management would stay intact for the European tour, it has emerged that De Villiers had gone on a frantic search over the weekend with Bulls coach Frans Ludeke and Western Province coach Allister Coetzee being his main targets.
When asked whether the Springbok coaches’ jobs were safe after Monday’s performance appraisal in Johannesburg, SARU president Oregan Hoskins simply said: “I’m not going to answer that, sorry.”
The absence of a ‘yes’ in his answer points to a number of changes in the offing for the Bok management team before the team head off on their Grand Slam tour in November.
De Villiers had hoped that Ludeke would take over the reigns from Gold as forwards coach while Coetzee would replace Muir as backline coach.
De Villiers contacted the pair over the weekend asking them if they were willing to work alongside him until next year’s Rugby World Cup in New Zealand with Coetzee then taking over as head coach after the tournament.
The problem for De Villiers, though, is that he was unable to guarantee Coetzee and Ludeke jobs post-World Cup and that would have been a major deterrent for both coaches, whose jobs are secured by contracts with their respective unions for the next three years.
However, De Villiers’s flirtations with Ludeke and Coetzee fell flat as both coaches declined to vacate their current positions for one-year contracts that could see them jobless after next year’s spectacle in New Zealand.
“I cannot comment on that. It is a privilege and honour for anyone to be involved with the national team, especially as a South African, but I have a contract with the Bulls until 2013. I can’t say anything more than that,” was Ludeke’s response.
De Villiers and SARU had tried to lure Bulls director of rugby Heyneke Meyer, Stormers director of rugby Rassie Erasmus and former All Blacks and newly-appointed Lions coach John Mitchell as advisors to De Villiers. All three declined.
Meanwhile, the name of Western Province director of coaching Rassie Erasmus has also been mentioned in informed circles as a candidate for the position of SA Under-20 coach, which could be linked to that of a technical director at SARU, but he told Sport24 that he had not applied.
“I’m contracted with WP until 2012. I have not applied,” said Erasmus.