Van Graan to be Bok pack coach

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And the backline coach will also be South African, but it won’t be Stormers coach Robbie Fleck or Lions backline guru Swys de Bruin.

Saru said in a statement on Thursday that they will only name the next Springbok coach and his management team on April 12.

But Independent Media understands that there is still a possibility his identity will be revealed at the Saru AGM on Friday.

Saru said on Thursday that if the “preferred candidate” – which the organisation said on March 11 had been recommended by the high-performance committee and had been “accepted” by the Executive Council – is ratified by the all-powerful General Council, the coach will only be named at a media conference on April 12.

This was due to the fact that a contract first had to be sorted out with the new coach and the decisions around his support staff finalised.

But it is the General Council who will have to discuss the matter and ratify the candidate at Friday’s AGM, which is open to the media.

Independent Media understands that the possible delay with the naming of the coach is around Coetzee’s contractual obligations with his current employers, the Kobe Steelers club side in Japan.

While Coetzee does have a “get-out” clause in his contract to become the Bok coach, a well-placed source has told Independent Media that the former Stormers boss “doesn’t want to just walk away” from Kobe.

“There is a get-out clause, but Saru are following procedures with the club. He (Coetzee) doesn’t just want to walk away immediately like that. That is part of the reason Saru want to only name him on April 12,” the source said.

“They have been negotiating for his release over the past few weeks, and while it will definitely not be a problem (to get him released), there are a few other issues that need to be sorted out with the contract before Saru can announce who the new coach is. The rest of the management team is also being finalised at the moment.”

And Independent Media understands that Van Graan, who was the forwards and attack coach under Heyneke Meyer, will be the forwards coach alongside Coetzee. Van Graan was given a contract extension after last year’s Rugby World Cup, and has been working with Saru’s general manager of rugby Rassie Erasmus and the rest of the Mobi-Unit to plan the season ahead, with Ireland visiting in June for a three-Test series.

But if Van Graan takes charge of the pack, it is likely to mean that Matt Proudfoot won’t make the cut. It is well known that Coetzee would prefer to have his wingman from the Stormers and Kobe with him at the Boks, but it is ultimately up to Saru to decide who gets the post.

The backline coaching job will be an interesting appointment, and Independent Media believes there could be a surprise choice to spark the Springboks’ lacklustre attack. The source has said it will be a South African, which rules out possible overseas candidates such as Carlos Spencer, while Fleck is set to remain as the Stormers head coach.

De Bruin also concluded a two-year contract extension with the Lions earlier this week and will continue to work with Johan Ackermann.

The backline coach under Meyer, former Bok fullback Ricardo Loubscher, will definitely not be staying on.

Two left-field Bok backline coaching candidates mentioned in recent media reports include ex-Bok wing Chester Williams and former Blitzboks Sevens star Mzwandile Stick, who is currently the Southern Kings’ backline coach.

Other possible candidates may include former Bulls backline coach Pieter Rossouw, who worked with Namibia in that capacity at last year’s World Cup, and perhaps Paul Treu, who was in charge of the Bok Sevens team for many years, but is currently the Stormers’ defence coach.

Erasmus will continue in his position as Saru’s GM: Rugby, while the rest of the Mobi-Unit such as renowned defence coach Jacques Nienaber, Chean Roux – the Bok technical analyst under Meyer – and kicking coach Louis Koen may be involved in some capacity under Coetzee.

ashfak.mohamed@inl.co.za

@IndyCapeSport - Independent Media

Original source: Van Graan to be Bok pack coach

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