Allister Coetzee says it would be a privilege to replace Heyneke Meyer as Springbok coach.
Saru still needs to go through the process of appointment, with the executive council meeting next Wednesday, and a recommendation for a successor set to be shared with the provincial unions at the general council meeting two days later.
Coetzee’s appointment is expected to be ratified during this process, with the former Stormers coach ticking most of Saru's boxes.
'Like every player wants to become a Springbok, coaches also want to reach the highest level,’ Coetzee told Die Burger. ‘It’s a huge privilege to represent and serve your country. Heyneke set an excellent example with his passion for this country and the Boks.
'If it happens [that he be appointed Bok coach], then it happens. But for now, my focus is 100% with the Kobe Kobelco Steelers in the Top League. I have an amazing relationship with everyone here in Japan.’
Meanwhile, All Blacks coach Steven Hansen confirmed that Meyer had phoned him before announcing his decision to resign. Hansen said it represented a ‘sad day’ for South African rugby.
‘Heyneke has decided it's right for him to go. I can only imagine the pressure he's under over there. It's different circumstances that he lives in,’ he told the New Zealand Herald.
‘It's a sad day for South African rugby because they've lost a good coach and a good man. South African rugby is poorer for it, but he's doing what's right for him and I can only support him for doing it.’
This year, Meyer has particularly come under pressure over the slow rate of transformation in South African rugby.
Sports minister Fikile Mbalula said Meyer’s successor would need to remain committed to the transformation plans that Saru has agreed to.
'The resignation of Meyer should not distract us on what we seek to achieve, rather it should serve as another opportunity to enhance our efforts of sport transformation. In May this year I signed transformation agreements with many federations – Saru was one of them.
'Saru agreed and committed to transformation; it is a prerequisite then that whoever comes in as a new coach of the Springboks is conscious to our transformation needs and will meet our objectives as outlined in the transformation agreement before the next World Cup.’
Photo: Shaun Roy/Gallo Images