Super Rugby

Bulls president: Why Matfield said no to head coaching job

Victor Matfield (Gallo Images)
Victor Matfield (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Blue Bulls president Willem Strauss has shed more light on Springbok lock Victor Matfield’s decision to withdraw from the race to become Bulls head coach.

The Bulls on Tuesday confirmed the appointment of Pote Human as head coach of both their Super Rugby and Currie Cup teams for 2019.

Matfield was believed to be the preferred candidate to replace John Mitchell as head coach but pulled out at the last minute. Human and Southern Kings coach Deon Davids were the other candidates on a three-man shortlist.

While addressing reporters at Loftus Versfeld on Tuesday, Strauss said Matfield had informed him that the high-risk coaching environment led him to the decision to stay in his current role as a SuperSport pundit.

"It is difficult because he is not here to answer. What he informed me is that what it comes down to is the insecurity of being a coach. You can ask why he went through the whole process, but it is tough to be a coach. It is a high-risk environment, we all know that.

"But if I can summarise, it comes down to that. Maybe when he looked at the high-risk situation, maybe he thought he is better off where he is now in terms of security and for his family. But it was a personal decision he took."

Strauss insisted that Human had always been part of their plans and they would begin negotiations regarding extending his deal beyond 2019.

"Pote was always going to be part of the structures. Although it is a huge surprise, it is not that big of a surprise that he is still part of the setup.

"We did not give him a one-year contract. He is still on a contract until the end of next year. It was not like he was given a one-year extension. We appointed him yesterday, so give us a bit of time to get it started.”

The Bulls, meanwhile, also confirmed the appointment of Alan Zondagh as director of rugby on a three-year deal.

ALSO READ: Bulls must build on what Mitchell started - Zondagh

Zondagh is a vastly experienced rugby coach. He served as director of coaching at Western Province between 1980 and 1988, before moving into a head coach and director of coaching role at Eastern Province between 1989 and 1991.

He was head coach at Western Province between 1994 and 1996, before moving to England where he coached London Scottish between 1998 and 1999. The following year, he moved over to Saracens serving as their director of rugby.

He later fulfilled the same role at Boland and in recent years has run the Rugby Performance Centre (RPC) in Riebeek West in the Western Cape.

"Alan is a rugby visionary, and with his international experience he will add immensely to the future growth of this brand. He will also serve as a mentor to our coaches and management, and I believe that they will gain a lot from having a guy of his calibre around," Strauss added.

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