With the news that Nick Mallet’s contract to coach Italy will not be renewed after the World Cup, it is only natural to begin the piñata bashing festival known as the debate over and selection process of picking the new Bok coach.
So here are some early thoughts on names that are sure to be thrown into the hat for speculation:
Heyneke is certainly due his turn. After starting with a Bulls team that began as the laughing stock of the Super rugby tournament (they went winless for an entire season) he turned the franchise’s fortunes around to the point of becoming the first Saffer coach to lift the Super Rugby trophy. In 2007 under his guidance the Bulls played a brand of rugby more akin to the kind of force of nature you see in movies about Mayan apocalypses. His reward? In true SA rugby style the man with buckets of coaching talent got shafted and left for colder shores up north. Despite his credentials I fear if he does get picked we may see a return of Liefling and a strategy built on two principles – eff em up front and non-stop drop kicks.
Certainly the cuddliest coaching option out there. I can see a whole range of stuffed toys made in Coetzee’s likeness selling like hot-cakes at the local Engen. A solid candidate but until his WP/Stormers team actually lift silverware questions around delivery in big games will remain. Unfortunately winning a world cup as an assistant coach doesn’t get you over the finish line.
With possibly the angriest looking face he is certainly physically qualified to be a test rugby coach. Although he started off well with coaching the Lions, the Ellis Park shambles that has been the Lions 2011 Super 15 season so far must have seriously dented his chances. SA Rugby’s love affair with anything Ozzie or Kiwi since Eddie Jones’ stint with the Boks might count in his favour.
Impressive coaching record (who among us can wear a World Cup winner’s medal out on a first date?), but famously burned some bridges with top brass at SA Rugby. Taking up a position at the Brumbies most likely puts him out of the running. Those Aussie dollars have strengthened mightily since the financial crisis began.
Given that Nick will be out of a job post-World Cup he could be in theory be in the running. I suspect neither party will be keen on renewing the tortured marriage given that he has given the middle finger to South African rugby administrators not once, but twice – first as a player during the bad old days than as a coach by criticizing the ticketing prices for games.
With South African politicians penchant for turning the bok team into a way of dividing rather than uniting the nation what better way for the clowns who call themselves administrators to upset the conservatives? Hell, they could really score some points here with a “political appointment”. After he succeeds in shutting down Twitter he can always move on to trying to shut down those pesky Aussie rugby blogs.