New challenge prompted Muir to try Bok move

2008-02-18 00:00

A FRESH challenge and a desire to help Springbok rugby — those were the factors that convinced Dick Muir to apply for the job as assistant to new national coach Peter de Villiers.

Muir confirmed Saturday’s story in Weekend Witness, which reported that he has applied for the post as assistant Springbok coach.

“I’m not happy that this all surfaced just as the Super 14 was starting. It is a sensitive issue,” he told The Witness from Cape Town where he and his Sharks assistant coach John Plumtree watched the Stormers lose to the Bulls. (The Sharks play the Stormers and the Bulls over the next two weekends).

Muir has a Sharks contract to the end of 2008, involving the Super 14 and Currie Cup competitions.

If his application for the Bok job is successful — and he was asked by De Villiers to apply — he would only have to report for national duty after the Super 14.

The Sharks gave their head coach permission to apply, which means that Plumtree — as he did last year — would take over for the Currie Cup if Muir leaves King’s Park to join De Villiers.

Muir said it is by no means certain that he has landed the post of Springbok backline coach.

“There is nothing confirmed yet, so I will have to wait and see. At the moment all I’m concerned about is the Super 14 and the Sharks.”

Muir said a change of jobs from head coach with the Sharks to assistant coach of the Springboks is “a sideways … move”.

“But it would offer fresh challenges. I would like to be involved with the Springboks and try and make a contribution there.”

The Sharks coach said that he is “very impressed” with De Villiers’s approach. “I admire his attitude to the Super 14 franchises and how he working with them. His attitude is that the Springboks belong to the franchises and are loaned to the Springboks. I think I would enjoy working with him.”

Muir said that he and Plumtree are passionate about the Sharks.

“There was a succession plan in place and I was going to leave at the end of 2008 after three years in the job anyway. That was always the plan, with John [Plumtree] taking over at the end of the cycle.

“That, I believe, would have been beneficial to the coaching careers of both of us, while continuity would be maintained in the Sharks.”

Muir also confirmed Saturday’s report that Plumtree was encouraged to apply for the post of forward coach with the Springboks, but said: “The two of us would never ever leave the Sharks high and dry.”

Brian van Zyl, the Sharks CEO, said there is no question of Plumtree leaving.

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