Heyneke Meyer named Springbok coach
27 January 2012
"I've always coached to make a difference to the people of our country," Heyneke Meyer said on his appointment as the new Springbok coach on Friday, calling on the people of South Africa to get behind their rugby team.
"It's a huge, huge honour," Meyer told the press conference in Cape Town following the announcement of his appointment. His contract with the South African Rugby Union (Saru) is for four years.
"I truly realise that it's a huge responsibility, because you carry the hopes and dreams of the whole of South Africa on your shoulders, but I am ready and I am looking forward to the challenge," Meyer said.
A coach 'for the people of South Africa'
"I realise that winning is the most important thing ... but I've always coached to make a difference to the people of our country, and I truly believe that I can make a difference."
Meyer said he wanted to be a Springbok coach "for the people and all South Africans out there, and I want to make myself accessible to all people.
"I want all our supporters to be proud of the Springbok team, the Springbok jersey, and what it stands for, because, for me, this is very important, and this is the country that I love.
"I truly want to unite our country through the team, but I can't do this alone. I need every single South African citizen to help me to make this the best team in the world."
Run of success with the Bulls
Meyer was a leading candidate to replace Jake White after the Rugby World Cup in 2007, but the job was went instead to Peter de Villiers.
At the time, Meyer was coming off a run, from 2002 to 2006, as coach of the Blue Bulls that included three Currie Cup titles in succession and a shared title with the Free State Cheetahs. In 2007, he led the Vodacom Bulls to the first ever Super 14 title won by a South African team.
After a short stint as head coach of the Leicester Tigers in 2008, Meyer returned home on compassionate leave and then resigned from the English club.
He then returned to the Blue Bulls in an executive role, but has been released from his position to allow him to take up the reins as Springbok coach.
Meyer has previous experience with the Springboks, having served as an assistant coach to both Nick Mallett and Harry Viljoen.
Saru president Oregan Hoskins said the choice of Meyer as coach had been unanimous from the general and executive councils of Saru.
"The Springboks are Saru's top priority," Hoskins said. "Heyneke's coaching pedigree is second to none in South Africa. He will be an asset to the Boks and South African rugby in general.
"Heyneke has our full support, and we know he won't leave any stone unturned as he strives to take the Boks back to the top of international rugby."
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