Rob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer
Heyneke tops Boks coach poll
Cape Town – Heyneke Meyer would be the Springbok “rescue remedy” most desired by the rugby public should under-fire coach Peter de Villiers get the chop.
That, at least, is the way Sport24 readers are leaning after a poll this week which had attracted almost 6 000 respondents on the site by Friday.
We asked: “If current Springbok coach Peter de Villiers were to be fired, who would you like to see take over?”
It was a hypothetical exercise, of course, because his SARU bosses have pledged their “full support” for De Villiers for the time being, despite the winless overseas leg of the Vodacom Tri-Nations.
But the results were fascinating all the same, with the 42-year-old Meyer clearly a people’s favourite should the job suddenly become available.
He had gathered 33 percent of the spoils from a 10-strong list of candidates we offered, which also included fellow-South Africans Jake White, Allister Coetzee, Rassie Erasmus, Frans Ludeke, Dick Muir, Gary Gold and Naka Drotske plus the New Zealanders John Plumtree and John Mitchell, both presently coaching on these shores.
Meyer currently has a fairly behind-the-scenes roll at Loftus, where he is the Blue Bulls’ Executive: Rugby Coaching, after having more actively coached the franchise for some seven years between 2000 and 2007.
But the man hailing from the Lowveld has also earned respect elsewhere around the country, having cut his teeth with the SWD Eagles and also assisted the Stormers during the Alan Solomons era.
Meyer has also coached Leicester Tigers in the English Premiership.
Next up for approval in the poll, and not far behind (31 percent) is 2007 World Cup-winning mastermind White, who recently made known his keenness for the job again after the 2011 event in New Zealand.
There is also fairly decent support for the Western Province coach Allister Coetzee, running at 17 percent. He has, of course, been a Bok assistant coach previously.
Then there is a drop to nine percent for Erasmus, five percent for the Bulls’ Super 14-winning coach Ludeke and more paltry numbers for the likes of Muir, Mitchell, Drotske, Gold and Plumtree.