Next Bok coach: Mitchell and meyer top poll

2011-10-13 00:00

CAPE TOWN — If a Sport24 poll is any yardstick, the South African public is surprisingly open to the idea of an overseas-reared coach taking over the Springbok reins.

We asked readers this week, in the light of incumbent Peter de Villiers’s strong signals that he is going to quit or be replaced following the RWC 2011 quarter-final exit: “Who would you like to see coach the team at the 2015 World Cup in England?”

More than 2 500 fans responded, with the “background” guru Heyneke Meyer — a big favourite at Loftus where he is the Bulls’ coaching executive — topping the pops with 19% of support.

However Victor Matfield, one of the stalwart Springboks who is stepping down from Test rugby, said this week that Meyer “won’t apply” for the Springbok coaching position.

The Nelspruit-born coach has plenty of experience and is refreshingly “young” in coaching terms at 44.

Meyer was closely followed on 18% of support each for Rassie Erasmus at Western Province, another behind-the-scenes mentor, and the Lions head coach, John Mitchell.

New Zealander Mitchell, a former head coach of the All Blacks and of the Western Force in Australia, has steered the Lions to the top of the log after the round-robin phase of this year’s Currie Cup.

Matfield said, however, that South Africa “isn’t ready” for a foreign coach, but evidently a strong lobby in Johannesburg and elsewhere feels firmly otherwise.

Next up among Sport24 readers’ favourites are Allister Coetzee (13%), the Western Province coach trying desperately to end a trophy drought at Newlands, then Jake White (12%), the man who engineered the Boks’ 2007 World Cup success, but who is contracted to the Brumbies in Super Rugby for next season.

Then there is a drop to five percent for Australian Eddie Jones, who was at White’s side in the 2007 triumph, and four percent each for Nick Mallett, who has held the Bok post before, and ex-Saracens mastermind Brendan Venter.

There are no more than crumbs of enthusiasm for coaches John Plumtree, Chester Williams, Dick Muir, Naka Drotske, Gert Smal, Frans Ludeke and Paul Treu.

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