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Congratulations Heyneke Meyer

27 January 2012, 15:11

Congratulations Heyneke Meyer. It’s been an open secret for some time now that he will be named Bok coach today. The former Bulls mentor has a coaching CV that very few people in World Rugby can compete with, Aussie coach Robbie Deans is the only name that comes to mind.

He has all the credentials needed for the job. He’s experienced, great at putting structures in place, brilliant at spotting talent and let’s not forget his player management.

Meyer was unlucky not to get the Bok job in 2008 but four years on SARU has finally decided to give him a chance at international level.

His dream to be Springbok coach might have come true but Meyer must be careful that it doesn’t turn into a nightmare. At the Bulls he was given free-rain to make the Bulls a force in World Rugby. He could sign and select the players he wanted, Appoint his own management team and put the necessary structures in place to achieve that objective.

Things will be very different with the Springboks. He will have to deal with the “rugby experts” on the Presidents council of SA Rugby. Remember how SARU dumped Zola Yeye as team manager on Jake White?  While issues like transformation, and getting the non Bulls players to buy into his system will be another challenge for the 2007 Super 14 winning coach.

But his first major task will be to identify a captain to lead the Springboks for the next four years. It’s going to be a tough one for Meyer and whoever he goes with, there is bound to be some criticism.

If you look at the five SA Super Rugby captains then the Lions and Sharks duo of Josh Strauss and Keegan Daniel immediately falls out of the running. 

Players that could lead however are…

Juan Smith

He’s experienced and respected by his fellow players. He has captained an average Cheetahs team to average results in Super Rugby but could well lead the Springboks with distinction if given the opportunity. On the down side he is on the wrong side of thirty and has lost some of the pace a power that made him one of the stand out players at the 2007 World Cup. If Meyer wants to avoid the situation PDV had with John Smit then Smith is not such a good option.

Schalk Burger

The Stormers Captain has to be favourite for the Bok Captaincy. Under his leadership the Stormers has become a real contender in Super Rugby, taking them t their first final in 2010 and winning the SA conference last year. He is still young enough to play another four years and could well take the Springboks to the 2015 World Cup in England. What counts against him is that he is not a Bulls player and Meyer is likely to go with a player who he is familiar with.

Pierre Spies.

Heyneke Meyer turned Pierre Spies from an SA Schools wing into one of the most lethal loose forwards in world rugby. He has always rated his leadership abilities and it doesn’t take a rocket scientists to figure out that as Director of Rugby at the Bulls, Meyer played a big part in awarding Spies the Super 15for 2012. A lot will determine on how cope’s as captain this year. The Bulls with be without the likes of Bakkies Botha, Danie Rousouw, Victor Matfiled and Fourie Du Preez and if Spies can take the Bulls class of 2012 and make them a force in the Super 15 then he will surely be named Bok Captain later this year.

Luke Watson

Remember him? The prodigal son of SA Rugby is currently playing for the EP Kings in the Eastern Cape and with the announcement that they have been awarded a spot in the Super 15 for 2013, Watson will again be on a stage to compete with some of the best rugby players in the world. Watson is a natural leader and has captained almost every side he has played in (The Sharks and the Springboks the only exceptions). Unlike Jake White and Pieter De Villiers, Meyer does not have a history with Watson this could make him a prospect for the vacant Bok captaincy. The question is has SA Rugby has forgotten about derogatory remarks he made about Springbok rugby and is Meyer is willing to appoint such a controversial character as his Captain?

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