Trade union federation Cosatu said yesterday its campaign to transform South African rugby would not be curtailed by Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer’s decision to step down.
“The problems in rugby are much deeper than the coach and reflect on the entire leadership of the sport,” Cosatu said.
Cosatu recently accused Meyer of racism after eight players of colour were included in the 31-man squad for the Rugby World Cup in England. Cosatu welcomed his latest decision not to reapply for the national job, but called for wholesale changes in the SA Rugby Union (Saru) leadership, saying it would protest at its council meeting in Cape Town next week.
The news broke yesterday that Meyer has told Saru he no longer wishes to be considered as a candidate to coach the Springboks. He communicated his desire to stand aside to Saru after a recent meeting with Saru president Oregan Hoskins and CEO Jurie Roux.
Former Stormers’ coach Allister Coetzee was being tipped as the most likely candidate to replace Meyer, but Saru said it would not comment further until the appointment had been made.
Meyer said he had decided to stand aside as coach, a decision he considers to be in the best interests of SA rugby, after recent developments. Meyer, whose fouryear tenure included 34 victories and two draws in 50 matches, was lauded for improving national structures.
He was widely criticised, however, for his alleged reluctance to adapt to changes in the international game and his apparent failure to focus on transformation.
“I have realised that as much as I believe I still have a lot to offer, the time has come for change,” Meyer said.
“My only motivation was to serve my country and to do what was best for the Springboks.”
Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula said it was crucial that Meyer’s replacement assist in driving Saru’s long-term transformation strategy.
“It’s a prerequisite that whoever comes in as a new coach of the Springboks is conscious of our transformation needs and will meet our objectives,” he said.