Meyer likely to be new Bok coach

2012-01-23 00:00

THE soap opera will drag on until the announcement is made on Friday but the weekend whispers are that Bulls rugby boss Heyneke Meyer is now favoured to take over as the new Springbok coach.

Gert Smal, the Irish forward coach, was initially tipped to succeed Peter de Villiers as Bok coach, but it is believed that he has now chosen to stay on in Dublin and informed the SA Rugby Union of his decision on Friday.

Smal is not only contracted to Ireland until after the Six Nations ends in March, but he has personal reasons for wanting to stay on in Dublin where his children are happily settled in schools.

With Stormers coach Allister Coetzee, no doubt reading the writing on the wall, also ruling himself out of contention; Meyer has emerged as the most obvious candidate.

Meyer is under contract to the Blue Bulls, but is understood that they have agreed to release him early. He and Jurie Roux, CEO of Saru, reportedly met in Pretoria on Saturday to finalise terms of his contract as Bok coach.

The recently retired Springbok lock Victor Matfield described the 44-year-old Meyer as the best rugby coach he had played under and he would be a popular choice.

He was heavily favoured to take over from Jake White after the 2007 Rugby World Cup and it was a massive surprise when Saru opted for De Villiers instead.

Meyer took the Bulls to four Currie Cup titles (between 2002 and 2006) and the Super Rugby competition in 2007.

He quit the Bulls job after failing to win the Bok appointment, but in 2008 he was appointed head coach at Leicester.

He returned to South Africa in 2009 for personal reasons and then rejoined the Blue Bulls in an executive coaching position.

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