THE Blue Bulls rained on the SA Rugby Union’s (Saru) parade yesterday by blandly informing the rugby public that Heyneke Meyer had been offered the position of Springbok coach.
Saru will unveil the game’s worst-kept secret after a special general meeting in Cape Town tomorrow and the event will be televised live on SuperSport.
But the Blue Bulls, clearly unhappy at the prospect of losing their influential executive coach, yesterday released a statement which confirmed that their directors had already met with Saru’s vice-president James Stoffberg and CEO Jurie Roux to discuss Meyer’s appointment as the new Springbok coach.
“Saru informed the Blue Bulls Board at their meeting [on Tuesday] of their intention to offer Heyneke Meyer the position of national coach,” the statement read.
The Blue Bulls said they would not prevent Meyer, who is contracted to them for four years, taking up the Bok coaching offer even though such a move “would not be in their best interests.”
Indeed, they made it clear that they wanted Meyer to turn down the Bok job and continue his work in Pretoria.
“Many resources and commitments have been made in order to enable Meyer to fulfil his mandate. Should Meyer, however, decide to accept the position of national coach, he needs to inform the Blue Bulls Board of his decision to abdicate his responsibilities and commitments to the Blue Bulls.
“Although the Blue Bulls Board would be disappointed with such a decision by Meyer, the Board has faith in the coaching structures under the leadership of Frans Ludeke in taking the Bulls into the future.”
Saru also confirmed yesterday that discussions had been held with Heyneke Meyer regarding his “possible appointment as Springbok coach and as disclosed in a media release issued today by Blue Bulls”.
“No appointment has yet been made. The executive council [Exco] of Saru will be provided with a report back on those discussions at their meeting in Cape Town on Thursday [today].” The Exco is constitutionally responsible for the appointment of the Springbok coach.
Their recommendations have to be ratified by a general meeting of Saru in Cape Town tomorrow.
“The outcome of those processes will be communicated at a media briefing at 2 pm on Friday, as previously advised,” said Saru.
While the Bulls are leaning heavily on Meyer to turn down the Bok offer, there is little the Bulls can do to prevent him leaving. Meyer’s contract with the Bulls apparently contains a clause which releases him if he should receive a better offer.
With Irish assistant coach Gert Smal, the early favourite for the Bok job, withdrawing from the race, and Allister Coetzee also unavailable, Saru and the South African rugby public will be hoping that Meyer does not fold under Bulls pressure.
Waiting impatiently in the wings is Peter de Villiers.