South African Rugby
Meyer issues warning to Boks
January 29, 2012
Heyneke Meyer was confirmed as the new Boks coach on Friday © Getty Images
New South Africa coach Heyneke Meyer has wasted little time in laying down the law to his players following his ascent to the Springboks hotseat.
The former Bulls boss was only confirmed as Peter de Villiers' successor by the South African Rugby Union on Friday but has already issued a warning to those hoping to feature for the Boks during his tenure.
"I will not pick anybody who does not fit into the team culture," the 44-year-old told the Weekend Argus. "I had to do it again recently at the Bulls because some player became bigger than the union. It is something I am ruthless about."
Meyer, a sports psychology graduate and a qualified geography teacher, adopted a similar hardline having taken charge of the Bulls in 2002, dropping 12 Springboks before sowing the seeds of a dynasty that reaped six Currie Cup crowns in eight years and three Super 14 titles.
"Players who think they are more important than the team must be replaced by newcomers who understand that paramount to me is an unmatched work ethic and the understanding that the team always comes before the individual."
Meyer served as an assistant to former Bok coaches Nick Mallett and Harry Viljoen and although considered one of the best rugby minds in the world, the newspaper suggest that he was only approached after Ireland forwards coach Gert Smal withdrew his application.
"The offer to coach the Boks came out of nowhere," said Meyer. "I was in a period of happy stability, and then suddenly was asked to coach the Boks. I never slept for a week but I kept asking myself, do I want to be on my death bed with regrets?
"If you are a coach you want to test yourself at the highest possible level, and I am a very proud South African, so really it was not a difficult choice. I love the Bulls family, but ultimately coaching the Springboks is my calling and I would like to sum up the decision with this quote: 'You live only once but if you do it right, once is enough'."
Having missed out on the job when many expected him to succeed Rugby World Cup winning coach Jake White, he added: "I am a wiser person than I was in 2008. Every negative has its positive and me not getting the job gave me time to commit to my family while submerging myself in the game without having the pressure of having to win every Saturday."
Looking ahead he added, "It is not easy for me, this job, because I am all about long-term planning and putting structures in place for long-term goals, but this has to be balanced with needing short term-results. What I'll say is that I'll get the players with the right character in place, I'll not cheapen the jersey with easy caps, providing each player understands I am primarily about work ethic and team ethos."
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