Meyer appointed South Africa coach

Fri, 27 Jan 10:24:00 2012

Former Leicester coach Heyneke Meyer, who built the Bulls team that provided the foundation of the Springbok squad for the last eight years, has been named as the new South Africa national coach.

Heyneke Meyer, coach of South Africa's Bulls Super 12 rugby union team, speaks at news conference in Sydney. Heyneke Meyer (L), coach of South Africa's Bulls Super 12 rugby union team, speaks at a news conference in Sydney May 18, 2005 - 0

The 44-year-old Meyer, who steered the Bulls to four Currie Cup titles between 2002 and 2006 and their first Super 14 crown in 2007, was appointed on a four-year contract.

"It's truly humbling but also a huge honour and responsibility because the Springboks carry the hopes and dreams of the whole country," Meyer said at a news conference.

"I want to get the support of everyone behind the team and to do that I have to pick the best possible team. I don't want to make promises I can't keep. It would be easy to promise the world, but I need to plan very thoroughly."

Meyer succeeds the controversial Peter de Villiers, who won a single Tri-Nations title and beat the British and Irish Lions in 2009 before guiding the Springboks to the quarter-finals of last year's World Cup in New Zealand.

Meyer had initially been the favourite to succeed Jake White in 2008 when De Villiers was appointed, and he subsequently quit rugby before joining Leicester in June 2008.

The qualified sports psychologist has been named by lock Victor Matfield, the most-capped Springbok, as the best coach he has worked under.

The South African Rugby Union had head-hunted Meyer, chief executive Jurie Roux said.

"This process started on June 9 last year and the timeline was set to today. We decided to head-hunt the Springbok coach because we knew exactly what we required. Our mandate was simple - to get the best coach to make the Springboks a winning team," he said.

Meyer said his first task would be to appoint his back-up staff, in consultation with Roux.

"It's very important that we have the best people involved and a lot of them are in contract - if they aren't it means that they're probably not good enough. So there will have to be a lot of negotiation. The national coach shouldn't have an ego and it would be arrogant for me just to rely on my own resources."

Meyer, who said it was too early to name a captain in the wake of John Smit's retirement, begins his job against England, who travel to South Africa in June for three Tests.

"We have a very tough start against England but I'm up for the challenge and we have brilliant players," he said. "There are only two types of rugby I know - winning rugby and losing rugby - and I prefer the first one."

Reuters

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