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.”
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.”
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.
Cell C Sharks Director Of Rugby, Gary Gold, has announced the 4 coaches that will be assisting him in next year’s Super Rugby competition.
Former UKZN Impi coach Ryan Strudwick will be in charge of the forwards. Strudwick’s Impi side were crowned Varsity Shield champions earlier this year when they beat Wits in the Final. He also previously coached Maritzburg College.
Strudwick also assisted Gold during this year’s Currie Cup campaign. He has been involved with the Sharks at Under 19 and Under 20 level as well.
Former Springbok and Sharks scrumhalf Robert du Preez will be the team’s skills and attack coach – a role he shares with Sean Everitt. Du Preez also won the ABSA Currie Cup First Division trophy with the Leopards this year. The North West team went through the entire tournament unbeaten.
He also guided NWU-Pukke to two Varsity Cup finals – one of which was this year’s 33 / 63 loss to UFS Shimlas. Pukke lost to UCT in the final in 2014.
Du Preez will also be coaching his sons Dan and Jean-Luc who are part of the Cell C Sharks squad.
Omar Mouneimne joins from the Steval Pumas and will be the team’s defence coach. He was also part of the Eastern Province Kings coaching setup and also had coaching stints in Edinburgh and Italy.
All Blacks assistant coach Ian Foster has extended his contract with New Zealand Rugby (NZR) through to 2017, NZRU chief executive Steve Tew announced on Tuesday.
Foster has been assistant coach alongside All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen since 2012.
“It’s been an honour and a privilege to have worked for the All Blacks over the last few years and to help the team achieve its goals, including winning the Rugby World Cup, and I look forward to getting stuck into next season after the summer break,” Foster said.
Steve Tew paid tribute to Foster’s work with the national team, which has fashioned a stunning record of 49 wins, 2 draws and just 3 losses, in their 54 Tests since 2012.
“Ian has provided outstanding coaching of the All Blacks over the last 4 years. He has a calm yet forthright style which works well in the team and his strategic thinking and development of the All Blacks’ back play, which is his specialist area, has been exceptional. We look forward to his ongoing contribution over the next 2 years.”
Tew confirmed that All Blacks forwards coach Mike Cron had also re-signed with NZRU through until 2017.
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.
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.
The South African Rugby Union (SARU) has delayed its General Council meeting by a week.
The meeting was originally due to take place on 4 December and is understood to have a major influence on whether or not Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer’s contract is extended following the Springboks semifinal exit at this year’s Rugby World Cup.
The meeting will now take place on 11 December and will follow a meeting of the Executive Council on 9 December.
New Cell C Sharks Assistant Coach, Robert du Preez snr, wants the team to play a brand of rugby that will make their fans proud.
Du Preez, himself a former Sharks scrumhalf, joined the Durban side’s coaching staff this month after a successful stint with the Leopards, who he led to the Currie Cup First Division title this year.
He will be an Assistant Coach during Super Rugby and will head up next year’s Currie Cup tournament.
Under the tutelage of Director of Rugby Gary Gold, the Cell C Sharks had a torrid 2015 season.
After a disappointing Super Rugby campaign in which they finished 11th on the Combined Log, things took a turn for the worse for the Cell C Sharks. They failed to reach the ABSA Currie Cup semifinals, and their 4 victories came against the competition’s also-rans, the EP Kings (2), Steval Pumas and ORC Griquas.
Wales coach Warren Gatland will quit his post after the 2019 Rugby World Cup and return to New Zealand, media reports in his homeland said on Friday.
Gatland, already Wales’ longest-serving coach after taking up the position in 2007, said he wanted to head home and possibly take a break before resuming his career in New Zealand.
“I’m here (Wales) until 2019 and the plan for me then is definitely to come home for a period,” he reportedly told commercial radio.
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.
New DHL Stormers coach Eddie Jones is set to arrive in Cape Town later this week, a team spokesperson confirmed on Monday.
Jones recently signed a deal with the Cape franchise after not renewing his contract as Japan coach.
He coached Japan in impressive fashion at the Rugby World Cup, masterminding a 34 / 32 upset win over the Springboks – a result which will go down as the biggest upset in the tournament’s history.
Japan also beat Samoa (26 / 5) and the USA (28 / 18) at the Rugby World Cup, but finished 3rd in Pool B, behind South Africa and Scotland. It was the 1st time a team had won 3 pool games and did not progress to the quarterfinals.
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said Sunday he is unlikely to take his champion team through to the next Rugby World Cup.
Hansen who directed New Zealand to their 34 / 17 record-breaking victory over Australia in Saturday’s final at Twickenham Stadium is currently contracted through to 2017.
From being Assistant Coach when the All Blacks won in 2011, Hansen has enhanced his reputation since taking over as head coach 4 years ago.
Under his guidance they have won 49 of 54 games and the win over Australia made the All Blacks the 1st side to defend the Rugby World Cup crown and the 1st to win it 3 times.
But Hansen said the time is fast approaching for someone else to take over the prestigious coaching role.
’n Basiese kontrak van R 5 miljoen per jaar, aansporingsbonusse uitgesluit.
Dís glo die vergoeding waartoe die Suid-Afrikaanse Rugbyunie (SARU) ingestem het in die nuwe kontrak met Heyneke Meyer, die Springbok-afrigter.
Volgens bronne het Meyer al voor die Wêreldbeker-toernooi ’n kontrak onderteken om die span vir nog 4 seisoene, tot in 2019, af te rig.
Oregan Hoskins, SARU se president en voorsitter van die uitvoerende raad, het Vrydag benadruk dat die finale besluit by die Algemene Raad sal lê. Elke provinsiale rugbyunie word in die Algemene Raad verteenwoordig.
Die kwessie gaan na verwagting vroeg in Desember ter tafel gelê word.
Uit verskillende oorde is verneem Meyer kry aansporingsbonusse vir die verowering van die Wêreldbeker, ’n wenpersentasie van meer as 60% en ’n 2de plek op die wêreldranglys.
Die kontrakkwessie hang al weke lank soos ’n wolk oor Suid-Afrikaanse rugby, met SARU wat dit nog nie onomwonde in die openbaar ontken het nie.
Daniel Hourcade may stay on as coach of Argentina for 2 more years but confirmed on Friday he will not be in charge at the next Rugby World Cup in Japan in 2019.
Hourcade’s Pumas finished 4th at the tournament when they lost 24 / 13 to South Africa’s Springboks at Olympic Park on Friday.
The Argentine Rugby Union (UAR) have indicated they want him to continue but Hourcade said he had yet to sit down to formalise his next step.
“If we come to an agreement it would be for 2 years,” Hourcade told reporters.
“A lot can happen in 2 years including logical physical wear… Cycles come to an end.”
Hourcade, who told Argentine daily Clarin this week he would not take the team to Japan, has carried out a transformation of Argentina’s game in his 2 years as coach.
Argentina joined The Rugby Championship in 2012 and their only defeats at the Rugby World Cup in England came at the hands of their 3 southern hemisphere rivals.
Once a “joke team” – in the words of departing coach Eddie Jones – Japan’s Rugby World Cup 2015 heroics put Rugby Union firmly on the map in a country dominated by baseball and football.
However, the ‘Brave Blossoms’ now face the arduous task of building on their 3 pool victories in England before Japan hosts the next tournament, in 2019.
“We wanted to put pride back into Japanese rugby and obviously the results of the World Cup have done that,” Jones told a news conference on Friday. “But for Japanese rugby to keep developing, it needs to happen by planning now.
The Chiefs have confirmed their coaching staff for the next 2 seasons.
Current coaches Dave Rennie and Andrew Strawbridge will be joined by Tasman ITM Cup coach Kieran Keane and Canada’s national forwards coach Neil Barnes.
Chiefs CEO Andrew Flexman said, “We are well aware of the importance of having a world class coaching group to succeed in this competition.
“I have no doubt that our management team for the next few years are capable of continuing the Chiefs legacy of on-field success given the mix of coaching skill-sets and experience they possess.”
Chiefs head coach Dave Rennie is extremely happy with his new management team.
“I’m really looking forward to working with KK and Barnsey. They are bloody good men, experienced and innovative coaches who are prepared to challenge and work hard. They’ll fit in well here,” he said.
Current Chiefs assistant coach Andrew Strawbridge extended his contract for 2 years.
In December 2013 and January 2014 we looked at Squad Contenders in the SA Super Rugby participating franchises. This tiime we will focus on the SA Conference Coaches for Super Rugby 2014.
We’ll have a look at all the head coaches and briefly their assistant staff, for the various South African Super Rugby franchises.
We look at their history and discuss their coaching styles and speculate about what can be expected.
The latest news regarding Player Movements, the appointment of coaches and player movement miths set straight.
Some players are definately moving, some are extending their stay, some refute rumours of possible movement, whilst on the coaching side of things the John Mitchell saga carries on. The Crusaders also appoint 2 vital Assistant coaches for 2013.
You will find the news, item by item below:
The Reds have rounded off their coaching staff for next season with the re-signing of Super Rugby-winning High Performance coaches, Jim McKay and Damian Marsh.