JJ Harmse

Good luck to Div's successor

2011-10-08 09:47
Sport24 columnist JJ Harmse (File)
JJ Harmse

The crazy time for a couple of international rugby coaches is fast approaching with the Rugby World Cup almost over for all but four teams.

As it tends to go in international rugby, most coaches are appointed for four years with those years normally between World Cups.

The end of their World Cup campaigns, be they successful or not, will also see the end of the road for the likes of Graham Henry, Peter de Villiers, Nick Mallett, John Kirwan and Marc Lievremont, with the latter’s successor already being named.

Henry is not interested in continuing the job he held for eight years and our own beloved coach said he has had enough.

Not sure which of the two SANZAR coaches succession debate will be the fiercest, but it will be a brave man to take up either of the positions.

The Welsh Rugby Union has already told other countries not to approach Warren Gatland and it is not too difficult to see that that was actually directed at New Zealand, where local reports suggested the Hamilton-born Kiwi as having the inside lane in replacing Henry.

It is highly unlikely that the NZRU will appoint a foreigner to coach the All Blacks and there is no chance that SA Rugby will appoint someone from abroad.

Or let me rather say, someone that is not a South African, as Gert Smal (Ireland) and Brenden Venter (Saracens) are local coaches currently involved with foreign teams.

Both their names will certainly be in the mix when it comes to succeeding De Villiers and it will be interesting to see who does apply for the job when it is advertised.

Venter was very successful with Saracens and helped the club to Premiership glory within a couple of years after taking over and Smal is highly regarded for his work as Ireland’s forwards coach.

Mallett will be a candidate, but after his rather disastrous time as director of coaching at Western Province, it is doubtful if the former Bok coach will be approached.

It might rather be his successors at Western Province, Rassie Erasmus and Allister Coetzee who could be the front-runners for the poisoned chalice.

Coetzee and Smal of course were part of the 2007 group and Erasmus is currently with the Boks in New Zealand where his tactical input has improved the side.

There are of course also the current assistants, Dick Muir and Gary Gold, who will also fancy their chances and if continuity is of importance to the selection panel, they might just be in the running for the job.

With a bunch of senior players retiring or moving abroad after the tournament, there will be an argument for a new coach and new blood in the team as well.

I have not mentioned Jake White, as it is very unlikely that the 2007 World Cup-winning coach has made any new friends in SA Rugby and the Brumbies coach will probably have very little support from officials.

Heyneke Meyer, Frans Ludeke and Dawie Theron will have their supporters for the position and to those who want to dismiss Theron should note that both White and De Villiers were age group coaches first before getting the national job.

It is hard to see anyone else joining the queue for the job or did I leave out an obvious candidate? Whoever it will be, I can only say, good luck!

Read JJ every Sunday in Rapport.

Disclaimer: Sport24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on Sport24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Sport24.

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