Johann van Graan
Springbok assistant coach Johann van Graan says Pieter-Steph du Toit’s injury is a big setback for the team ahead of their three-Test series against Ireland.
Du Toit, who has been plagued with injuries since making his international debut in 2013, suffered a grade two hamstring tear in the Stormers 31-24 win over the Cheetahs last weekend and has been ruled out of action for between two and six weeks.
Van Graan on Tuesday said that although the lock’s injury is “not a long-term one”, Du Toit was still a big part of the team’s plans heading into the first Test against Ireland.
“I believe Pieter-Steph [du Toit] will develop into one of the best locks in the world,” said Van Graan.
“He was pretty unlucky to get injured in 2013 and then again in early in 2015. I think he showed at the World Cup that he will develop into one of the best and in Super Rugby he has been fantastic.
“He is a big loss for the Springboks – he was part of our plans and he is still part of our plans. Luckily it’s not a long term injury.”
Du Toit’s injury opened the door for Lions lock Franco Mostert, who joined the Springboks in Stellenbosch from the SA ‘A’ squad on Tuesday.
Former DHL Stormers and DHL Western Province coach Allister Coetzee has been named as head coach of the Springboks for the next 4 years, ushering in an exciting new era for rugby in South Africa.
The 52-year-old former Springbok assistant coach succeeds Heyneke Meyer at a time when a number of veterans of the 2007 Rugby World Cup triumph have gone into retirement, including 3 of last year’s 4 captains.
“Allister’s appointment marks the changing of the guard at the top of Springbok rugby and is an exciting new departure for SA Rugby,” said Mr Oregan Hoskins, president of SA Rugby.
“It is a watershed moment for our game with new players developing alongside a spine of experience and it was the right time to have a new man guiding the Springboks for the foreseeable future.
“Allister was the outstanding candidate in terms of his rugby credentials, his understanding of our unique South African transformation imperatives and also in the image he will present as Springbok coach. I am delighted to welcome him back into the Springbok fold.
“The Springbok coaching job is an enormous challenge but Allister has the full support of us at SA Rugby and we will be united in our efforts to continue to make Springbok rugby strong. I want to wish him well in his new job, I also want to pay tribute to Heyneke and his management team for their dedication and service to Springbok rugby the past 4 years.”
The Vodacom Bulls are totally mum as to who could possibly succeed Frans Ludeke as their new Super Rugby head coach.
Media speculation has been rife about possible candidates for the new post in Pretoria.
Junior Springbok coach Dawie Theron is being mentioned as a possible successor to Ludeke, who was stood down despite having another year left on his contract.
Despite the Theron rumours, the Bulls insist no decision has been made yet.
“The Blue Bulls Company (BBC) will not comment about rumours about possible coaches mentioned in the media,” CEO Barend van Graan said.
Springbok lock Victor Matfield has also been touted as a possible head coach, as well as current Springbok assistant coach Johann van Graan.
Rugby consultant Brendan Venter believes current Springbok assistant coach Johann van Graan will take charge of the Bulls next year with Victor Matfield and Fourie du Preez appointed as his assistants.
A vacancy opened up a fortnight ago when long-time mentor Frans Ludeke resigned a year before his contract was set to expire.
Van Graan is widely regarded for his technical expertise and has cut his teeth at Loftus Versfeld where he played a vital role for the Bulls during their Super Rugby supremacy between 2007 and 2010 as forwards and attack coach.
His contract with the SA Rugby Union is set to expire at the end of this year which could see him return to the Bulls as head coach.
South Africa, after a solid session of introspection, realised they need to do what works for them and not worry too much about the opposition.
Springbok assistant coach Johann van Graan, speaking ahead of the Springboks’ trip to Twickenham and an encounter with England on Saturday, made it clear that they are rapidly moving on from their disappointing 15-29 loss to Ireland at the weekend.
Having done the necessary soul-searching and pin-pointed their mistakes in Dublin, Van Graan said they are “very excited” about the next match on their year-end tour.
“Pretty good,” was his blunt assessment of an England team that ran New Zealand very close (losing just 21-24) and even scoring a penalty try with their powerful scrum.
Herewith some nice short audio clips from the Bok camp, as they prepare for this weekend’s clash at Newlands, Cape Town in the Springboks opener in The Rugby Championship.