Just how the revised Super Rugby format will go down with the South African rugby public is unclear, but we won’t have to wait long to find out.
The new-look tournament gets underway in less than a month, with the Blues and the Highlanders kicking things off in Auckland on Friday 26 February 2016.
From a South African perspective, the road ahead looks a tough one and if local bookmakers are to be believed there is no standout side from within these borders that looks set to challenge for the title.
Outside of the tournament changes, the majority of the South African franchises have also undergone major alterations with only 2wo sides – the Cell C Sharks and Emirates Lions – heading into 2016 with the same coaches that did the business in 2015.
The Southern Kings, obviously, were not a part of the 2015 competition but they also have a new man at the helm.
Here, we look at the 6 men tasked with bringing success to their respective franchises:
Former Springbok backline coach Ricardo Loubscher is set to pursue his career further overseas this season.
Loubscher, who served as the Springbok backline coach between 2012 and 2015, ended his association with the South African Rugby Union when his contract expired at the end of last year.
Since then there has been no communication on any future possible plans for him from SARU’s side and without any coaching alternative currently at his disposal, Loubscher has been forced to look outside South Africa for employment.
New head coach Eddie Jones has begun overhauling his England backroom team by getting rid of Mike Catt, Andy Farrell and Graham Rowntree.
The trio worked under former boss Stuart Lancaster, who was relieved of his duties last month following a disappointing home World Cup campaign.
“We felt it was the right time to make changes,” said Australian Jones, 55.
“They are all experienced guys and have contributed greatly to this England team over recent years.”
He added: “I know everyone is appreciative of their hard work and commitment.”
Jones, who has previously worked with South Africa, and been head coach of Australia and Japan, became England’s first foreign head coach when he agreed a four-year deal in November.
He succeeded Lancaster after hosts England failed to progress beyond the pool stages of the World Cup, and will take charge of his first match on 6 February, when England play Scotland in the Six Nations.
Edinburgh head coach Alan Solomons has signed an extension to his contract, keeping him at the club until June 2017.
The capital club started the 2015 / 2016 season strongly in the Guinness Pro12 with 4 consecutive wins and recently recorded back-to-back victories against French opposition in the European Challenge Cup.
Scottish Rugby Chief Executive Mark Dodson said: “Alan is successfully building on the improved performances achieved by Edinburgh Rugby last season, which saw them reach the European Challenge Cup Final and secure the 1872 Cup.
“The club has made a positive start to the new season and we wanted to ensure Alan was able to continue to develop the vision he started in 2013. We are therefore very pleased he has committed to Edinburgh through to 2017.”
South Africa’s provincial rugby unions are reportedly at loggerheads over whether Heyneke Meyer should remain as Springbok coach.
Meyer’s position has been a hot talking point in recent weeks after the Springboks’ failure to win the Rugby World Cup in England.
Initial media reports indicated that Meyer would remain in his position until the next Rugby World Cup in 2019, but more recently it was reported that he could face the axe.
Meyer’s fate will be decided at a SARU general council meeting in Cape Town on 11 December.
The 29 members of SARU’s general council consist of the 14 provincial union Presidents and CEOs, as well as SARU president Oregan Hoskins.
John Mitchell appears the firm favourite to become the DHL Stormers head coach, after meeting with Western Province rugby bosses on Tuesday.
According to reports, Mitchell was in the Mother City to discuss details of what is believed to be a 4-year deal with the Western Province Rugby Football Union (WPRFU) and the Stormers.
The former All Blacks, Western Force and Golden Lions coach earlier this year turned down a job offer from the DHL Stormers.
In June, Mitchell said: “An approach was made to me and there were negotiations, but unfortunately Gert Smal is only contracted as Western Province Director of Rugby for another 2 years, so there were no guarantees for me beyond that period.
“Had I been offered a 4-year deal, it would have been different. But I have travelled around the world a lot to pursue my career as a coach and didn’t want to uproot my family again for the promise of just 2 years. I didn’t want to commute either, as I believe you have to be fully immersed in a culture to be effective as a coach.”
Allister Coetzee looks set to be named the new Springbok coach in December.
It has reliably been learnt that Heyneke Meyer has lost the support of the majority of South Africa’s provincial unions and will be replaced at the General Council meeting of the South African Rugby Union on 11 December.
SARU has already postponed their General Council meeting by a week, to 11 December. It will be preceeded by a meeting of the Executive Council on 9 December.
Current team manager Ian Schwartz, who is employed as a permanent staff member of SARU, has apparently flown to Japan to speak to former Springbok Assistant Coach and DHL Stormers Head Coach, Allister Coetzee, to take over the national team.
Coetzee has an exit clause in his contract with Kobelco Steelers – the club he coaches in the Japanese Top League.
It looks like the DHL Stormers should soon be in position to unveil their new coach to replace England bound Eddie Jones, with John Mitchell reportedly having met with Western Province officials in Cape Town late on Tuesday.
The former All Black coach is the only person who fits the requirements laid out last week by WP director of rugby Gert Smal last week – namely that the new coach preferably have an overseas slant to his coaching, have coached international rugby, have coached Super Rugby for at least seven seasons and have experience and knowledge of the South African rugby culture.
When asked about the meeting on Wednesday morning, all Mitchell could say was that he’d had fruitful discussions and that WP had been very professional in the way they had formulated their approach. However Mitchell was not at liberty to divulge further details and he has not signed on the dotted line, so negotiations appear to be ongoing.
The Crusaders have announced that Todd Blackadder will step aside as head coach at the conclusion of the 2016 Super Rugby season.
“This will be my 8th season coaching the Crusaders, and every minute in the role has been a privilege, but moving on at the end of the 2016 season is the right thing for me and the right thing for the team,” Blackadder said.
“I have been so fortunate to be able to do my dream job for all of these years, but 8 years is a relatively long time in coaching and I feel that the time is right for someone else to take the reins and lead the team in their own direction in the future.
“One of the important things to come out of our 2015 season review is that distractions were a problem for us last season, so that is why I was keen to make my intentions clear before the season begins to avoid my future becoming a distraction for the team during the 2016 season,” Blackadder said.
Blackadder took over from Robbie Deans as head coach of the Crusaders in 2009. He has coached the team to 4 Super Rugby Semifinals and 2 Finals so far, and the final against the Waratahs in 2014 marked his 100th game in the Crusaders’ top job.
Eddie Jones will most likely not be coming back to Cape Town to assist the DHL Stormers in their pre-season preparation work, but he will be in Los Angelos this week.
Newly appointed England coach Jones will be addressing a World Rugby workshop on the success of the Japan team at the Rugby World Cup, who won 3 games despite failing to make the play-offs under his guidance.
Jones was unveiled as the new DHL Stormers coach earlier this month, before being made an offer he could not refuse by the English RFU which saw him leave Cape Town after just 2 weeks.
Stormers director of rugby, Gert Smal, claimed that Jones would return to Cape Town in December to assist with the planning for next season, explaining that the experienced coach felt bad for the way things had transpired with the Stormers.
After the DHL Stormers confirmed the hasty exit of Eddie Jones on Friday, we now look at potential candidates to take over the head coaching role at the Cape franchise.
The candidates are:
- John Mitchell
- Gert Smal
- John Dobson
- John Plumtree
- Nick Mallett
It’s official, DHL Stormers head coach for an ever so brief spell, Eddie Jones (which included no games and lasted only from 1 November to 18 November 2015, after being introduced to the SA Media on 12 November) is now the new England head coach!
The RFU have revealed that they have appointed Eddie Jones on a 4-year contract, starting in December 2015 and he will take charge of his 1st international game with England when they meet Scotland in the RBS 6 Nations at Murrayfield on 6 February 2016.
The amount the RFU had to pay to Western Province for Eddie Jones’ release is still the subject of wild speculation and varies between rumours of £ 100 000.00 (R 2.1 Million) to £ 350 000.00 ( R 7.5 Million) and even up to £ 700 000.00 (R 15 Million).
Western Province Rugby Football Union (WPRFU) have issued the following media release:
WPRFU President Mr Thelo Wakefield and WP Director of Rugby Gert Smal will host a top table press conference at DHL NEWLANDS on Friday 20 November at 11:00 SA Time.
Western Province Rugby has agreed terms with the English Rugby Football Union (RFU) which will see Eddie Jones depart to take on an international coaching post with England.
There has been plenty of speculation about Jones’s future ever since his arrival in Cape Town earlier this month and he officially received an offer on Wednesday of this week which proved impossible to turn down.
With Eddie Jones now in London and appointed as the new England coach, the DHL Stormers director of rugby Gert Smal needs to do what he failed to do earlier in the year by making John Mitchell a serious offer.
The former All Black coach was targeted by the Stormers earlier in the year, and the approach to him preceded that made to former Sharks coach and fellow Kiwi John Plumtree. However, Mitchell was only offered a 2 year deal and Mitchell said at the time that the figures didn’t turn his head either.
Mitchell, who has become a successful chief executive in the business world over the past 2 years, said he would have needed a longer contract, more like 4 years, in order to be interested. The negotiations broke down after he communicated that view to Smal.
Jones though was offered a 3 year contract with the option of a year extension, which effectively meant 4 years, so it is difficult to see any reason now why Smal can’t do the same for Mitchell, particularly as the pay-out from the RFU to Western Province should be a substantial one.
With Jones out of the picture, Mitchell says he would definitely be interested in working as Stormers head coach under Smal were the union to make him a realistic offer.
EP Rugby President, Cheeky Watson, held a media conference at the EP Rugby offices on Wednesday afternoon as financial issues continue to plague the union.
“This has never been about Cheeky Watson, it is about the Kings, it has always been about the Kings,” said Watson.
Watson said it was important to take note of the press release from SA Rugby issued on Tuesday 17 November 2015.
“There has always been a Plan B; I put the call in to SARU to come and bring stability, so that we can stop hemorrhaging players and focus on our preparations for Super Rugby,” he said.
Watson said he was constantly engaging with SA Rugby, including Rugby boss, Oregan Hoskins, and that the details around the implementation of the assistance still needed to be fleshed out.
“The cash flow crisis we have experienced is like a Greek tragedy. We want to thank SARU for stepping in to assist and we welcome whatever contributions they bring,” he said.
Watson said part of the intervention envisioned was to have members of the SARU mobi-unit come down to assist in support roles and bolster the Southern Kings coaching staff.
UK bookmakers have stopped taking bets on newly appointed DHL Stormers coach Eddie Jones replacing fired Stuart Lancaster as supremo of the England rugby team. They are so convinced Jones will leave Newlands for Twickenham that betting on him doing so has been suspended.
But the Australian who guided Japan to rugby’s great giant killing act over the Springboks won’t come cheap. In the Times of London this morning, SA billionaire Johann Rupert says extracting Jones from his contract with the DHL Stormers will cost the English Rugby Football Union (RFU) R 15 Million (£ 700 000.00).
Richemont chairman Rupert, co-owner of the DHL Stormers through the 25% owned by 1 of his businesses, told the newspaper: “We have no influence” and confirmed the Cape-based franchise would not engage in a bidding war over the recently hired head coach.
In September, Eddie Jones signed a R 5 Million a year deal with the DHL Stormers which runs until the end of 2018. That made him the highest paid coach in South African rugby, ahead of Heyneke Meyer who guided the Springboks to 3rd in the recent Rugby World Cup.
Australian Wallabies coach Michael Cheika insisted Monday he had no interest in taking over the vacant England position, as he joined a growing list of high-profile figures in ruling himself out as a successor to Stuart Lancaster.
Last week saw Lancaster quit as England coach, as he paid the price for a poor Rugby World Cup, which saw England become the 1st host nation to fail to get out of the group phase.
“No one from there (England’s governing Rugby Football Union) has contacted me and they know they can’t contact me because I am committed to Australia,” Cheika, who led the Wallabies to last month’s Rugby World Cup final at Twickenham Stadium, said.
“That’s where I want to be coaching.”
Jake White insists he won’t take part in another drawn out application process for the vacant England head coach role.
White, who coached South Africa’s 2007 Rugby World Cup-winning squad, is 1 of the leading candidates to replace Stuart Lancaster after he parted ways with the Rugby Football Union (RFU) in the aftermath of England’s dismal Rugby World Cup campaign.
But the 52-year-old South African has twice been snubbed at the final hurdle by the RFU, when Martin Johnson took control in 2008 and when Lancaster was handed the reins in 2012.
Determined not to be messed around for a 3rd time, White has called on RFU chief executive Ian Ritchie to install him as the organisation’s Top choice before he will consider succeeding Lancaster, who was widely criticised for his lack of Top-level experience during England’s Rugby World Cup pool stage exit.
Former Springbok coach Jake White has again signalled interest in the England head coaching position.
Stuart Lancaster on Wednesday stepped down as England coach after a torrid Rugby World Cup which saw the hosts knocked out of the tournament at the pool stages after defeats to Wales and Australia.
Bookmakers have made White favourite to replace Lancaster and when asked whether he would be interested, the South African said:
“If they genuinely think a foreign coach is the right way forward and it is genuine they think it is me, it would be naive of me to say I was not interested.”
New DHL Stormers coach Eddie Jones says he wants them to play a brand of rugby that attracts people to come watch them.
After arriving in Cape Town last week, Jones held his 1st press-conference as DHL Stormers coach at Newlands on Thursday.
Speaking about the challenge ahead, Jones said: “It’s a fantastic city. Western Province is one of the most prestigious unions in the world – there is so much history here.
“When the opportunity came up to coach the Stormers – such a well-supported team, the best in the competition – it was simply too good to ignore. Of course, the ultimate aim is to produce a good team that attracts people to the stadium and, ultimately, challenges to win trophies.
England Rugby Football Union Chief Executive Ian Ritchie said that England were determined to appoint a coach of “proven international experience”.
The search for this new coach – to replace Stuart Lancaster – will continue, however long it takes.
England’s dismal Rugby World Cup campaign set the seal on Lancaster’s 3-and-a-half years in charge, with the RFU announcing earlier on Wednesday he had left his post by “mutual consent”.
Under Lancaster – who had little prior elite rugby experience – England became the 1st host nation to fail to get out of the group phase at the recent Rugby World Cup.
RFU Chief Executive Ritchie said the decision to replace Lancaster had been “unanimously accepted” by the governing body’s board.
England’s next match is their Six Nations opener away to Scotland on 6 February, with the squad due to be announced in January.
The England Rugby Football Union revealed that Stuart Lancaster has, by mutual consent, stepped down as England coach.
The decision follows England’s recent Rugby World Cup campaign, which saw the team knocked out of the tournament at the Pool stages – after defeats to Wales and Australia.
Lancaster was appointed full time in April 2012 and guided England to 2nd place in all of the past 4 Six Nations Championships, with 1 of his notable victories coming against the All Blacks in 2012, 1 of 28 wins in the 46 Test matches during which he was in charge of England.
“I am obviously extremely saddened to finish the way we did in this World Cup and to step down from the role,” Lancaster said.
“As I have always said, I ultimately accept and take responsibility for the team’s performance and we have not delivered the results we all hoped for during this tournament.
“I did, however, want to take part in the review to ensure I understood the views of others before making a decision.
We have received a request by a reader and newly registered blogger here on Rugby-Talk.com, Helgaard, to place an ARTICLE here on Rugby-Talk, containing an OPEN LETTER by him to SA Rugby, all supporters and interested parties as well as decision-makers in our country.
The topic of the Letter, follows the trend and main topic of discussion amongst Springbok supporters, namely whether Heyneke Meyer should stay on as coach, or whether he should go.
In his well-worded and well-reasoned letter, Helgaard supports the “Heyneke Must Fall” stance on the matter, and seeing as Rugby-Talk.com is “By the people, for the people” we gladly place relevant and requested reader content here on Rugby-Talk.com… once if conforms to the necessary literary requirements, of course. I wish more readers would act like Helgaard and send me their contributions, as it could lead to Rugby-Talk.com really becoming the official voice of the marginalized supporter out there and depicting the views of the average rugby supporter and not for supporters to be boxed in by the normal way media steers things to suit their own agendas.
Helgaard’s views are his own and does not necessarily reflect the views of this publication.
Without further a do… here is Helgaard’s Letter in it’s entirity:
WHY HEYNEKE MUST FALL…
Background to the article
As a dedicated Springbok supporter, I watched my fair share of the 48 games played at the Rugby World Cup 2015, including the 7 Tests in which the Springboks featured. I also watched all of the other 40 Tests played since Heyneke Meyer took over as the Springbok coach.
USA Rugby is seeking applicants for the position of head coach for their national team after Mike Tolkin’s contract came to an end.
Following the expiration Tolkin’s contract, a comprehensive review of the USA Eagles program and 2015 Rugby World Cup performance has led to the national governing body of Rugby in the United States opening the application process on a global level.
New France coach Guy Noves has vowed to bring back the excitement following the national team’s Rugby World Cup debacle under predecessor Philippe Saint-Andre.
France were often accused of being dull during Saint-Andre’s tepid and fruitless 4 years in charge of Les Bleus, which culminated in a Rugby World Cup humiliation at the hands of eventual champions New Zealand.
4 Years on from making the mighty All Blacks tremble on home turf in a 7 / 8 Rugby World Cup Final defeat in Auckland, France were put to the sword in spectacular fashion in this year’s quarterfinals in Cardiff, suffering a chastening 13 / 62 defeat.
France were mostly uninspired as well as unsuccessful under Saint-Andre, but Noves says he’s going to bring back the flair-filled rugby for which the French have always been famed.
We take a look at different views on whether the South African Springboks coach, Heyneke Meyer, should stay on as Springbok coach till the next edition of Rugby World Cup or whether he should be replaced as coach.
Rugby365’s JAN DE KONING and Sport24’s GARRIN LAMBEY are of the opinion that Heyneke Meyer should stay on as coach, whereas Sport24’s Herman Mostert believes Heyneke Meyer should be replaced.
My own opinion is that South Africa lacks quality coaches, who could take the Springboks up a notch or 2 and I do not believe the South African rugby culture, SARU’s stoid stance on rugby and the political environment is at all condusive to appointing a foreign coach, to take the Springboks further and upwards. I therefore believe that Heyneke Meyer should stay on, but I also believe there are a number of things which needs to change, to make the Springboks serious contenders for the World No 1 spot.
Let’s take a look at the different views:
Samoa coach Stephen Betham has resigned after the Pacific islanders’ disappointing Rugby World Cup performance, chief executive Vincent Fepuleai said Monday.
Samoa Rugby Union’s Fepuleai said more was expected from the team, who exited in the pool stage after losses to Japan, South Africa and Scotland.
He said that a review into the campaign was underway but Betham had already decided to leave after 3-and-a-half years in the job.
“Stephen has called it a day, I guess, and there will be opportunities there and I think we will go through the proper process in recruitment of a new head coach and so forth,” Fepuleai said.
Leopards coach Robert du Preez has been linked with a coaching role at the Cell C Sharks.
A newspaper report on Wednesday indicated that the former Springbok scrumhalf will coach the Cell C Sharks during next year’s Currie Cup competition, while also assisting Gary Gold during Super Rugby in 2016.
The report indicated that Du Preez, 52, will start his job in Durban on 1 November.
The Cell C Sharks did not respond when contacted about official confirmation on the matter.
Du Preez has now taken the Leopards to the ABSA Currie Cup First Division title, when they beat the SWD Eagles on Thursday evening (today).
Decorated international rugby coach, Eddie Jones, will take over the role as head coach of the DHL Stormers at the start of the 2016 Vodacom Super Rugby season.
The former Wallabies head coach and 2007 World Cup-winning Springbok technical advisor will assume the DHL Stormers coaching reins from Allister Coetzee, who moved to Japan after the DHL Stormers’ SA Conference-winning 2015 Super Rugby campaign.
“Our Director of Rugby, Mr Gert Smal, always promised that he would deliver the best and in Eddie Jones I am more than satisfied that we have appointed the best coach to take over the reins of the DHL Stormers,” said WPRFU President, Mr Thelo Wakefield.
“Eddie is no stranger to South African Rugby and we look forward to making him feel welcome and ensuring that he brings more silverware to DHL Newlands.”
Having guided the Brumbies to Super Rugby success back in 2001, Jones coached the Wallabies between 2001 and 2005 – delivering Tri-Nations and Bledisloe Cup success, as well as taking them to the 2003 Rugby World Cup Final on home soil.
The Kenya Rugby Union on Friday confirmed the appointment of former Sevens coach Benjamin Ayimba to take charge of the national team in time for the World Rugby Sevens Series of 2015 / 2016.
Ayimba, a former player, 1st handled the Kenya Sevens team between 2006 and 2011, leading the side to their 1st-ever World Series final in Adelaide, Australia in 2009, as well as the semi-final of the 2009 Rugby Sevens World Cup in Dubai.
“Ayimba will be tasked with preparing the team for the Safari Sevens, as well as the men’s 2016 Olympic qualifiers in November in Johannesburg,” the KRU said in a statement.
The new coach takes over from Felix Ochieng, who took temporary charge of the team following the resignation of South African Paul Treu in December.
The Vodacom Bulls’ search for a replacement for Super Rugby coach Frans Ludeke will start in earnest when the union advertise for the vacant position over the weekend.
Bulls chief executive Barend van Graan announced the latest development after Ludeke stepped down following the team’s final match of the competition in June.
“We will advertise for the Vodacom Bulls coach position for next year and it will be in the media over the weekend,” Van Graan said in Pretoria on Thursday.
“We will then have a process which takes time depending on the amount of applications we receive.”
Van Graan would not reveal whether the Bulls had done any headhunting prior to advertising the position.
Auckland ITM Cup head coach Paul Feeney has been named an assistant for the Blues, commencing at the end of this year’s provincial championship.
Feeney completes the new coaching group for the Blues under head coach Tana Umaga, taking specific responsibility for the backs attack and skills. He joins new defence coach Alastair Rogers and current forwards coach Glenn Moore.
Feeney, a former North Harbour representative, has been a professional coach for 14 seasons including 2 as assistant coach for Fiji and including winning the Rugby World Cup Sevens title and also coached for 2 years in Japan.
He has been involved in the ITM Cup with North Harbour, Bay of Plenty and Auckland, taking over as head coach last year.
Feeney won 3 Heartland Championship titles in succession with East Coast from 2006 – 2008, and was assistant coach with the Blues Development side for the last 3 years.
Former Springbok wing Chester Williams has been appointed as the new head coach of the University of the Western Cape’s rugby team.
He replaces former Springbok coach Peter de Villiers, whose contract with the university has expired.
De Villiers had coached UWC in the 2nd-tier Varsity Shield competition since 2012.
Eddie Jones has confirmed that he will be stepping down as Japan coach after the Rugby World Cup.
Jones also confirmed that he will not be taking up a permanent role with the new Japanese Super Rugby franchise, making the speculation of him joining the Stormers even more of a reality.
The former Australia coach said that his contract would not be renewed when it expires at the end of the year.
“The Union are going to announce this afternoon that I will not be continuing after 2015,” he was quoted as saying on Tuesday.
“That was always the case as my contract was until the end of the year, so all they are doing is stating the obvious.
Japan coach Eddie Jones has dismissed speculation that he has penned a deal with the DHL Stormers but said he was in talks with the Cape side.
Jones, like any professional in the sporting world, is weighing up his options before his contract comes to an end in Japan.
The Australian has a contract with the ‘Brave Blossoms’ until the end of 2015 but he was thought keen to remain in Japan, which will host the 2019 World Cup, to coach the national side as well as the new Super Rugby expansion team.
However, reports from Cape Town on Monday said that the 55-year-old had already put pen-to-paper on a 2-year deal worth R 5 000 000.00 ($ 385 563.00) per year with the Stormers.
The Reds have announced the extension of Richard Graham as head coach for the 2016 Super Rugby season.
Graham will work under a new high performance structure that will see him report into an Executive General Manager.
This newly created structure, outlined as the main recommendation from the recent Reds High Performance Review, sees the appointment of former World Cup-winning Wallabies centre Daniel Herbert, a 124-capped Queensland Red, to this Executive General Manager’s role.