Bok coach may only be appointed in April

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A story in Sunday Afrikaans newspaper Rapport stated that SARU CEO Jurie Roux would hand-pick the coach and that the post would not be advertised.

Roux and the SARU Executive Council (Exco) would make a recommendation to the SARU General Council - which comprises the 14 provinces - and that body will make the final decision on the replacement for Heyneke Meyer, who resigned late last year.

A SARU spokesman told ANA (African News Agency) on Monday that Roux was not available to talk about the process involved in appointing the next Bok coach “until the deed is done” and a new mentor is in charge.

SARU were initially expected to announce the new coach in early December following a dismal 2015 in which they lost to Argentina and Japan, came last in the Rugby Championship and crashed out of the Rugby World Cup at the semi-final stage, where they lost 20-18 to the All Blacks.

Former Stormers coach Allister Coetzee is the front-runner to take over from Meyer, with other possibilities including Lions boss Johan Ackermann and ex-Sharks curator John Plumtree. Coetzee is currently in charge of Japanese club Kobe Steelers, while Plumtree is the forwards coach of the Hurricanes in New Zealand.

But a dark horse could be former All Blacks coach Wayne Smith, who has left the New Zealand national team after they won their third World Cup title in the UK last October.

SARU president Oregan Hoskins said at a press conference in Cape Town in December that a foreigner would be considered. “A foreigner is an option. We shouldn’t rule out anyone. We want best for South Africa, so we have to consider all the possibilities. There were 13 foreign coaches in charge at the 2015 Rugby World Cup, that’s the way things are going in rugby,” he said at the time.

The last two coaches - Meyer and Peter de Villiers - were both appointed in January 2012 and 2008 respectively, and the delay in identifying the next Bok boss will see the new coach having just two months to plan and prepare before the first Test of the year against Ireland at Newlands on June 11.

Part of the reason for the slow process is the fact that the next SARU General Council meeting is only scheduled for April 1, and only the General Council can make a final decision on the Bok coach. A special General Council meeting can be called if necessary.

It is believed within SARU circles that their rugby department, headed by former Stormers and Cheetahs coach Rassie Erasmus, will have done most of the planning for the Boks ahead of the international season.

Bok player camp dates will have to be earmarked during the Super Rugby season, as the squad for the Ireland series are set to only come together on the Sunday in Cape Town before the Newlands Test the following Saturday.

Top of the criteria for the new coach will be transformation after a PR disaster at the World Cup saw scrumhalf Rudy Paige come on to the field for Ruan Pienaar for just the last three minutes in the third/fourth-place playoff against Argentina. Earlier in the season, specialist flank Siya Kolisi was also overlooked for a lock in Pieter-Steph du Toit.

Hoskins was adamant that any candidate will need to adhere and commit to SARU’s target of having 50 percent black representation by the 2019 World Cup. “For the next four years up to the Rugby World Cup transformation will be key for us. We signed an agreement with Sascoc and the government. Since Peter de Villiers became Bok coach, it has been Saru’s policy that the leadership doesn’t interfere in team selection. But we might have to look at that,” Hoskins said.

“It’s very difficult to have Saru interfering in team selection. If Saru policy is not implemented, then we would address that discreetly and find solutions. Anybody applying to be the Bok coach needs to know transformation is at the top of the agenda - otherwise don’t apply.”

African News Agency

Original source: Bok coach may only be appointed in April

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