Wales coach Warren Gatland has denied he was under extra pressure as his team sought an elusive win over a Southern Hemisphere side when they clash with South Africa on Saturday.
Gatland’s record against the SANZAR sides of Australia, New Zealand and the Springboks since taking charge in 2007 does not make for pleasant reading: played 27, won one, lost 26.
That solitary win was against the Wallabies, 21-18, back in 2008, but Gatland on Thursday played down reports in the media that he was under extra pressure, 10 months away from the World Cup in England.
After opening their November campaign with a 28-33 defeat by Australia, an experimental Wales side scraped past Fiji 17-13 before rebounding against New Zealand, leading after 69 minutes before leaking three late tries to go down 16-34.
Pumas coach Jimmy Stonehouse is pondering his future after a receiving an offer to coach in Japan.
According to reports, Stonehouse has until next Friday to decide if he will accept an offer to coach the Toshiba Brave Lupus.
Should he decide to leave, he would be lost for South African rugby until the middle part of 2017.
The Cell C Sharks are expected to name their new Super Rugby coach and successor to Jake White within the next two weeks.
White left the Sharks in mysterious circumstances last month with reports indicating there was growing discord between himself and management, as well as with the players.
Brad MacLeod-Henderson took charge of the Cell C Sharks during the Currie Cup, but it’s unlikely that he’ll be the head coach during Super Rugby.
The Australian Rugby Union on Wednesday confirmed that Michael Cheika is the new Wallaby coach, ahead of a tough End Of Year European tour.
He has been appointed on a three-year contract, coming in the wake of the controversial departure of Ewen McKenzie as a result of the fall-out over the Kurtley Beale saga.
ARU Chief Executive Officer Bill Pulver said Michael Cheika was the outstanding candidate for the role.
“Central to our decision was selecting a world-class coach who can lead us to victory in next year’s World Cup and a person who represents the game’s core values,” Pulver said.
Brumbies head coach Stephen Larkham turned down the opportunity to help coach the Wallabies on their End Of Year Tour.
The Rugby World Cup winning Wallabies playmaker Larkham has tipped to be the attack coach working as an assistant to Michael Cheika.
Waratahs coach Michael Cheika was confirmed as replacement Wallabies coach on Wednesday.
Larkham said that he was honoured to be considered but would prefer to concentrate on preparing for the Brumbies upcoming Super Rugby season.
Waratahs coach Michael Cheika confirmed on Monday he has been offered the Wallabies coaching job left vacant by the resignation of Ewen McKenzie, saying it was “humbling”.
A smiling Cheika, dressed in a Waratahs tracksuit top and black jeans, confirmed the offer when he spoke to the media out the front of Waratahs headquarters at Moore Park. “It’s a pretty humbling experience to be asked to be involved in something like that, but we’ll see what happens,” Cheika said.
The Australian Rugby Union revealed that Ewen McKenzie has resigned as Wallaby coach.
McKenzie announced his resignation after the Qantas Wallabies were gallant in defeat, going down 29-28 to New Zealand at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday 18 October.
Australian Rugby Union CEO Bill Pulver paid tribute to McKenzie who has led Australia in 22 Tests since starting in the role in August 2013.
“I did not ask Ewen to resign, but understand his decision. He informed me this morning of his intention to resign, regardless of tonight’s result.”
The Australian Rugby Union is rejecting reports it is preparing to replace Ewen McKenzie as Wallabies coach.
Australian media say talks have taken place between senior union officials and McKenzie’s most-likely successor, New South Wales Waratahs coach Michael Cheika.
But in a statement late Monday ARU Chief Executive Bill Pulver said: “the ARU has not had any conversations with any other coaches regarding the Wallabies coaching position.
“Ewen [McKenzie] is coaching the team [against the All Blacks] this weekend and next Friday he will board the plane with the team for the November Tests tour [to Britain] and is contracted to Australian Rugby to lead the Wallabies to next year’s Rugby World Cup.”
Former All Black David Hill will join the coaching team at the Blues for the forthcoming Super Rugby season.
Hill will take up the role as backs skills coach for the Blues, to complete their coaching group for the 2015 season under head coach Sir John Kirwan and assistant coaches Grant Doorey and Glenn Moore.
He has enjoyed a long career including representation for the All Blacks, Maori All Blacks, Junior All Blacks, more than 50 games for the Chiefs and the 2010 Super Rugby season for the Force.
Heyneke Meyer lauds him as the one of the unsung heroes in the Springboks’ transition to an attacking game plan, with many of the stellar try-scoring feats being attributed to his role, but ask the average rugby fan what they know about Johan van Graan and many will struggle to come up with a single fact.
From his early days as a ball-boy at Loftus Versfeld, kicking the leather pigskin back to the likes of Naas Botha and Johan Heunis, Van Graan has always had an obsession with the game.
But now it is his hard-work, the hours that go unseen as he meticulously analyses the opposition, helps craft the Springbok attacking structures and spends almost every moment in trying to make the Bok side a massive success that make him such a vital cog in the current Springbok machine.
Jake White could make a quick return to rugby coaching with Japan coach Eddie Jones keen to secure his services with the Brave Blossoms.
It was announced yesterday that White would be parting ways with the Sharks after a single season in Durban.
White and Jones worked together with South Africa during the successful 2007 World Cup campaign when the Australian helped the squad in a consulting role.
And the roles could be reversed this time, with Jones in charge of Japan, and eager to bring in White although he admits the South African will be in high demand.
“He is going to do some consultancy, I just don’t know where,” Jones told Kyodo News.
The sudden departure of Jake White as Sharks director of rugby has led to informed sources confirming there was growing discord between White and his back-room staff as well as with the players.
While White may not technically have been “fired” by the board of the Sharks, it is believed he was no longer heading a harmonious environment.
It is understood that Gary Gold, the former Springbok assistant coach under Peter de Villiers, could be the front runner to replace White as the Super Rugby coach, while former All Blacks coach John Mitchell could also be in the running.
A schools rugby coach who breached South African Rugby Union (SARU) rules governing underage rugby has been suspended and the points his school took for the match were overturned, following a SARU disciplinary hearing.
The charge was the first brought to SARU under new regulations that were introduced to protect players under the age of 18 at the start of last season.
Former Highlanders coach Glenn Moore will take charge of the Blues forward pack for the next two years.
Moore will join the Blues fulltime at the conclusion of the Heartland Championship – he is the current Mid Canterbury head coach – and replace All Blacks skills coach Mick Byrne, who stepped down at this end of last season.
Auckland-born Moore partners head coach Kirwan and assistant Grant Doorey in the coaching team with a back skills coach, who will fill Sir Graham Henry’s void, to be appointed in the coming weeks.
Moore reckons none of his Super Rugby charges will phone to say they can’t make training because the cow shed roof has blown off in a big storm.
Stephen Larkham has committed to another three years as Brumbies Head Coach, taking him through to the end of the 2017 Super Rugby season.
The announcement comes as Laurie Fisher confirmed he will finish his tenure as Director of Rugby with the Brumbies at season’s end to pursue opportunities in Europe.
“It’s a huge moment in my career to be extending my position here. I’ve had a long history with the Brumbies with some success, but the idea of new challenges has made this really exciting for me and my family,” Larkham said.
The Free State Cheetahs will tackle this year’s Currie Cup competition under a new head coach, the Free State Rugby Union said on Thursday.
Super Rugby coach Naka Drotské hands over the reins for the coming domestic competition to the coach of this year’s Free State Vodacom Cup side, Rory Duncan.
Drotské, who would be heading off to the UK to expand his coaching knowledge abroad, remained the head coach for the Cheetahs Super Rugby campaign next year. Griquas coach Hawies Fourie and former Springbok prop Os du Randt would be his assistants for the 2015 competition.
Former England fly-half Jonny Wilkinson says it would be “amazing” to one day coach his country after announcing he will retire from playing this month.
The 34-year-old will play in the Heineken Cup and Top 14 finals for Toulon, at which point he will join the French club’s coaching staff.
Wilkinson played 91 times for England, famously kicking a winning drop-goal in the 2003 World Cup final.
Auckland coach Wayne Pivac has become the latest in a growing number of New Zealamd mentors who are heading to Europe.
The Scarlets announced that Pivac will join them as an assistant coach at Parc y Scarlets next season, to further strengthen the set-up in West Wales.
While the Vodacom Cup heads towards two very competitive semifinals this weekend, one small story that will go unnoticed will be the rise of a top young new coach in Peter Engledow, who will take Griquas into their big showdown with the Pumas in Nelspruit confident of victory.
World Cup-winning coach Jake White still has hopes of coaching at the highest level again despite his disappointment at missing out on the Wallabies job last year.
White, who guided South Africa to the 2007 World Cup, thought himself a shoo-in to take over from New Zealander Robbie Deans as Australia coach last year but missed out to Ewen McKenzie.
Hurricanes coach Mark Hammett will step down from the Super Rugby side when his contract expires at the end of the season.
His decision to fall on his sword comes after four years in charge.
Following a strategic meeting by the board of the Blue Bulls Company (Pty) Ltd, it was decided that Vodacom Bulls Head Coach Frans Ludeke, following the completion of the Vodacom Super Rugby competition, will continue in a similar position with the Vodacom Blue Bulls in the Absa Currie Cup.
Former All Black Carlos Spencer has been tasked to guide the Eastern Province Kings in their return to the Currie Cup competition.
Spencer, who joined the Kings in December, has been appointed head coach for the Currie Cup season.
Former Treviso coach, Franco Smith has been appointed as Assistant Coach for the Currie Cup. Smith gained a wealth of experience whilst coaching Treviso.
Former Baby Boks, Lions and Boland coach Eugene “Loffie” Eloff will coach the Border Bulldogs in this year’s Vodacom Cup.
Victor Matfield has revealed his ambitions to coach the Springboks in future.
The cash-strapped Fiji Rugby Union (FRU) on Monday sacked coach Inoke Male in a money-saving move less than a month before they start their defence of the Pacific Rugby Cup.
John Mitchell says that it is time to put his ego aside as he starts a new chapter of his coaching career with UKZN in the Varsity Shield.
The former All Blacks coach has settled in Durban and said that although it is a significant step down from jobs he has held in the past, the decision to take the position was an easy one.
The Eastern Province Kings may be keen, but they are a long way off from securing the services of Gary Gold.
Media reports on Friday suggested the former Springbok assistant coach could be heading to Port Elizabeth – to fill the void left by the departure of another former Bok assistant, Alan Solomons, and New Zealander Matt Sexton.
The Fiji Rugby Union are yet to pay new head coach Ben Ryan any of his salary since he took over the national side this season.
John Mitchell, head coach of Varsity Shield side, UKZN Impi, has attained the services of former Springbok flyhalf Butch James.
According to the Varsity Cup website, the 35-year-old James will be the backline and kicking coach in 2014.
Cheetahs coach Naka Drotské says they won’t find a replacement for defence coach Michael Horak who will join the Eastern Province Kings later this year.
Samoan legend Brian Lima has resigned as defence coach of his country’s national team after his arrest for assault on his former wife.
Rumours are doing the rounds that former Springbok assistant coach Gary Gold could be the next head coach of the Eastern Province Kings.
Gold was released from his Director of Rugby position at English club Bath in December, and the Kings have shown interest in his services for a while now.
Former Southern Kings assistant coach Brad Mooar will take over the head coaching role for Southland in next year’s NPC.