Meyer regains his appetite for rugby
The former Springbok coach has recently been devoting much of his attention to his family and eastern Free State game farm at Memel, but now, a few months after the World Cup, he wants to become involved in the game again as quickly as possible. He hasn’t yet signed an official agreement with any club, but City Press stablemate Rapport has learnt that there is strong interest in his services, especially from Japan.
Two Japanese clubs, Canon Eagles and Docomo Red Hurricanes, are mentioned as possible options. A move to a European club is also not excluded.
This after Meyer released a joint press statement with the SA Rugby Union (Saru) last year that he would not apply to extend his term as Springbok coach.
There were doubts at the time about whether he would become involved in rugby at any level again soon.
Before this announcement, however, more than one local rugby writer reported that the 48-year-old Meyer’s Springbok contract had been extended before the start of the World Cup.
There has since been considerable speculation about whether Meyer was given a golden handshake worth millions of rands because Saru was under pressure to get rid of him. In response to a recent enquiry by Rapport, Saru did not deny these allegations, although his contract would have ended “officially” after the World Cup.
A Saru spokesperson said no conclusions should be drawn from its refusal to deny the suggestion of a golden handshake.
Saru’s only response was: “We have no comment on the suggestion, except to confirm our policy that we do not comment on the contract of any employee [player, coach or staff member].”
Meyer’s possible move to Japan is no surprise, since there is currently no room for him in the Bulls’ structures.
During the World Cup, Nollis Marais was appointed the Bulls’ Super Rugby coach and will be given a fair chance to make his mark.
Meyer is apparently now also too expensive for the Bulls, who recently got rid of several big names to provide relief for their budget. This could change if he is willing to earn less money.
Japanese club teams have a famous love affair with South African coaches.
Two South Africans, Albert van den Berg and Kees Lensing, were involved in the coaching of the Canon Eagles’ forwards in the past season.
Several other well-known coaches, such as one of the strongest contenders to be Meyer’s Bok successor, Allister Coetzee (Kobe Steel Kobelco Steelers), are either already there or will be coaching there in future. The rest of the list includes Os du Randt (Toyota Verblitz), Jimmy Stonehouse (Toshiba Brave Lupus) and Hugh Reece-Edwards (NTT Shining Arcs).
Meanwhile, one of the members of Meyer’s Bok management team, Craig Roberts, is making a name for himself in the English Premier League as a team doctor. A few weeks after the World Cup, Roberts joined Bournemouth, and, since his arrival there The Cherries have already achieved a 2-1 victory over Manchester United.
COMEBACK KID Heyneke Meyer could coach in Japan soon