Cape Town - Heyneke Meyer has advised the South African Rugby Union (SARU) that he no
longer wished to be considered as a candidate to coach the Springboks.
communicated his desire to stand aside to SARU following a recent meeting with Oregan Hoskins, SARU president, and the CEO, Jurie Roux.
Meyer said he had decided to stand aside as coach, a decision he
considers to be in the best interests of South African rugby, following recent
Meyer took over a Springbok team that was fourth in the world rankings at
the conclusion of the 2011 Rugby World Cup and lifted them to second (to New
Zealand) by the end of his first season in charge.
That position was maintained in 2013 and 2014 with a combined winning
ratio of 77% which included a record-breaking win over Australia in Brisbane
(38-12), a Rugby Championship record victory over Argentina in
Soweto (73-13) and the first away win over France in 16 years, as well as two
unbeaten end-of-year tours.
In all, Meyer coached the team to 34 victories and two draws in 50
matches. During his tenure, the Springboks recorded a 66.7% winning record in
Tests and scored 143 Test tries - second only to New Zealand in that time.
“I have always put the Springboks first in my time as coach and since
returning from England I have realised that as much as I believe I still have a
lot to offer, the time has come for change,” said Meyer.
“My integrity has always been very important and I feel I can leave with
my head held high. I’ve always maintained that my only motivation was to serve
my country and to do what was best for the Springboks.
“I have greatly enjoyed my time as Springbok coach - although it has been
highly pressured at times and especially tough on my family, and I would like
to thank them for their unwavering support in the last four years.
“I have put my heart and soul into the job and did my very best. I
believe that, overall, I leave the team with much to look forward to in 2016,
with new structures in place to ensure the Springboks will remain competitive
on the world stage.
“The number of young players that have been blooded over the past four
seasons, who chose to remain in South Africa, leave the team in a great position
to move on in the next few years. I would like to wish the next coach all the
success in this wonderful position.
“The Springboks are a special team and carrying the hopes of a nation is
a huge responsibility and great privilege. I realised that yet again with all
the support I received from ordinary South Africans, both at the World Cup and
upon our return to the country. Thank you to the countless faithful, positive
and passionate supporters that have made my job as coach a joy.
“To everyone at SARU and for the hard work and commitment of my
management and support team, I will be forever thankful. And finally to the
players - you are ultimately the reason why I coach and you’ve enriched my life
in the last four years.”
Hoskins thanked Meyer for his services to South African rugby.
“We have reached a natural watershed in many ways with a significant
number of senior players either retiring or moving overseas as well as the fact
that our Strategic Transformation Plan is now in full swing,” said Hoskins.
“Heyneke gave his all for the Springboks and it was a great pleasure to
work with such a passionate South African. There were many highlights during
his time as coach and those are the moments we will remember.
“He also set very high standards of behaviour for himself, his management
team and his players and he was and is a credit to South African rugby. I’m
sure all my colleagues join me in wishing him the very best of luck in whatever
coaching path his career now takes him.”
SARU said that the search for a successor would begin immediately. The
CEO will present the process of recruitment as per the recommendation of the
High Performance Committee for approval to the Executive Council on Wednesday,
after which it will be shared with the provincial unions at the General Council
meeting two days later.
Media are advised that an announcement on any appointment would be made
only once the process had been completed. SARU personnel would make no comment
on the matter until that time.
SARU’s General Council was set to meet on December 11 to discuss Meyer’s future as coach, but that meeting will now be to find a suitable replacement for Meyer.
Former Stormers coach Allister Coetzee has been widely tipped as the man to take over.
Meyer coached the Boks between 2012 and 2015.