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The South African Rugby Union (Saru) could spring a massive surprise next week and retain incumbent Springbok coach Peter de Villiers as a caretaker coach for the upcoming three-test series against England.

Brenden Nel –

This is one of the options being mulled as the deadline to appoint the new Bok coach fast approaches, with all three of the contenders on the shortlist currently under contract at other Rugby Unions.

According to top sources close to the process, this is more than just a possibility at the moment. Saru have previously indicated that they are aiming for January 27 as the date to ratify the appointment of the coach, after receiving the recommendation a day earlier. But if the right candidate cannot be secured by this date, this proposed option has been put forward as an alternative, to ensure the Springboks get the right coach for the future.

While Saru Chief Executive Jurie Roux has been hard at work in head-hunting the new coach, the contractual commitments that three of the four short-listed candidates have has made it difficult to snare the right candidate before next week’s deadline.

It has now emerged that Saru are considering an option to ask De Villiers to stay on for six months so that his successor can be successfully signed on. This would mean he would prepare the Bok team for the England series in June, before handing over the reins to his successor for the Castle Rugby Championship in September.

“This is the most important decision we have to make as Saru and appointing the best man for the job is critical,” Roux said in December, underlining the importance in getting the right candidate. “The skills and qualities required by a Springbok coach are confined to only a small number of potential candidates.”

De Villiers has said more than once that he is willing to stay on to mentor his successor, and has publicly indicated that a proper handover would be necessary to ensure the succession process is handled as it should be.


The three week tour by England is looming large as it comes in the middle of the Vodacom Super Rugby tournament, and starts a week after local players play in two massive derbies in the competition. While the Boks will run out against England on June 9, the previous weekend sees the Sharks taking on the Cheetahs while the Stormers face the Bulls. A day later the Bok coach will start his preparations for the England games.

While Saru have made no public acknowledgements, Stormers coach Allister Coetzee, Bulls Director of coaching Heyneke Meyer and Ireland assistant coach Gert Smal are rumoured to be on the shortlist, with De Villiers completing the quartet as the incumbent.

However while Smal is said to be the front runner, his contractual obligations to Ireland, where he recently signed a three year extension to his contract, have made things difficult in negotiations. Coupled with the fact that his son finishes school in Ireland in June, it has made Smal a difficult proposition as coach.

Meyer was only appointed in his position last year and while he was prevented by a political decision from getting the job in 2007, his track record and motivational capabilities are beyond question. The Bulls, however, would not be keen to part with him as he has just begun rebuilding the Bulls franchise with head coach Frans Ludeke after the exodus of Springbok players after the World Cup.

The Stormers sit with the same conundrum with Allister Coetzee. After Rassie Erasmus’s resignation last week, the Stormers coach is unlikely to find favour with his own Board of Directors if SA Rugby does come knocking.

The scenario to keep De Villiers on for another six months has found some favour especially as it would allow Smal to complete the Six Nations tournament with Ireland while the Bulls and Stormers may be more accepting if they knew they had their assets available for the Super Rugby competition.

Smal and Coetzee were assistant coaches to Jake White when he won the World Cup in 2007, with Smal also boasting two Currie Cup titles to his name. Meyer, assistant coach to Nick Mallett in the World-record equalling run of 17 unbeaten wins, built the Bulls empire in the last decade with a Super 14 win in 2007 and four Currie Cup titles in-between.

Saru have stuck to their pledge not to comment on the appointment, with GM: Communications Andy Colquhoun confirming only “that Peter de Villiers is on the shortlist”.

18 Responses to Div could still spoil the party

  • 1

    Even the circus is fast becoming a circus now. How long have Saru known that Divvy’s tenure was coming to an end at the end of the World Cup?Just out of interest, I wonder who drew up the employment contract with Divvy, because I don’t think he/she showed it to the rest of Saru. Thus the reason they are in the position they are now. I think NOT. They have had so much time to look at, discuss, approach, groom, etc. a new coach. It wasn’t a sudden departure as in England, so why, why are we in this position.

    Rumour has it – so it seems from sources close to SARU, according to some ‘top’ journo’s – that Smal is the top runner for the position. But we were told on good authority, i.e. the Irish themselves, that he had recently signed a new contract and was sticking to it, for the duration of the 6 nations at least. Perhaps Colquhoun, at this point, should given a press release, if this was the case. He/Saru didn’t, bring on rumour two. He is still front runner, but his children are firmly ensconced in schools over there. Rumour three. Still front runner, but now Smal isn’t happy with the remuneration package, and process has stalled slightly. Rumour four, and where we are today. Smal’s eldest child is in his last year at school and doesn’t finish till July – could this be the reason for Divvy being retained?

    Second in line is Meyer, but, appointed to the Bulls last year, blah, blah, blah, plus the fact that he was snubbed before, and wasn’t very happy with that, so why he would change his mind about Saru and the coaching role now I am not so sure. Also in my book, being such an astute thinker and strategist, if the next rumour about Rassie taking the role of Director of Coaching or whatever they call it, would Meyer be happy with that? I fear not.

    Then we have AC, who, as stated above is needed more than ever by the Drizzelers now that everyone else has walked out, but is also under contract.

    So we’re left with Divvy. But I ask again, why wasn’t the process started months ago.It is despicable that we are in this position now.

  • 2

    Now I am worried

  • 3

    Allister Coetzee definitely not in the running. He says, and I quote,

    [I am] definitely not involved or in the run for the Bok job… and I’m sure whoever gets the job would be a good candidate,” Coetzee said.

    He did, however, acknowledge that he would not turn the opportunity down if it arrives in future.

    “Every coach aspires to get involved at national level. I’ve been involved there, [but] if it’s not your time, it’s not your time,” he said.

  • 4

    Ja swaer.. you’re telling me SARU did not know ALL of this kakkas in November already.

    Seems like they were waiting for the last minute again…

  • 5

    EWN now says Divvy was contacted on Monday and told his contract will not be renewed! Eish, eish, eish, I just don’t know. Its all down to Meyer now who his kept quiet thus far. Will he, or won’t he?

  • 6

    5 @ Just For Kicks:
    Spoke to Heyneke myself at the Bulls end of year function at Leriba Lodge here towards the end of November or early December.

    His words were that he was’nt interested, due to the kakkas and politicking at SARU.

    What has changed in the meantime, I ask you.

    That said, I would bite my bottom lip hard and shut the hell up (I think) if Snormonster had to go on for a while to put the ducks in a row properly for Heyneke to take over after the Bleekbeen Tour in June.

    … but damn man, that would give him very little time to prepare well after that for the Expanded “Tri-Nations” (The Castle Rugby Championship)…

  • 7

    6@ grootblousmile:What a mess!!!

  • 8

    7 @ Just For Kicks:
    I don’t call it a mess, I call it a FOKKEN GROOT GEMORS !

  • 9

    I wish someone could put those dooses disguised as administrators at Saru and WPRU out of their misery. Fok weet, my bloed kook nou al behoorlik.

  • 10

    Another day, another circus.

  • 11

    New Bok coach will be Dick Muir. He is the only one not talking.

  • 12

    @ Lion4ever:I’m gunning for Alan Solomons, he’s not talking either, and no ones seen him for 6 months – he hasn’t passed away has he? I don’t think that would necessarily be a problem though.

  • 13

    12 @ Just For Kicks:
    Alan Solomons is the coach of the EP Kings, is’nt he?

  • 14

    13@ grootblousmile:Who are the EP Kings again, the name rings a bell? Yes he is/was/will be/maybe, actually, who knows. He is also DOR.

  • 15

    I see on the site that may not be named, starts with a K, states that Smal will be announced as the Bok coach next week. That in spite of his commitments. The thlot pickens

  • 16

    I see that P Divvy is still the official registered coach on the Southern Spears site. Either they haven’t updated it since 13th May 2006, or they are hoping!!!!!!!

  • 17

    Hahahaha you are all wrong………………it must be Straulie, hehehehe
    he is also very quiet

  • 18

    Divvie or Rudolph? Not a pleasant thought


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