Former Bok and Vodacom Bulls coach Heyneke Meyer has revealed he once sought to convince a young Dan Carter to sign with the Pretoria-based franchise.
Writing his a new book, ‘7: My Notes on Leadership and Life’, Meyer offers fascinating insight into conversations he had with certain players as he looked to build a championship-winning team at the Bulls.
Meyer, who coached the Bulls for the better part of a decade at the turn of the century, shares a fascinating anecdote when touching on the recruitment of Derick Hougaard.
‘He [Hougaard] became a Springbok at 20, converted the winning try in the 2007 Super Rugby final, and will forever be loved as the Liefling of Loftus,’ Meyer writes.
‘As a side note, before Derick cemented his place in the starting lineup in the second half of 2002, I had tried to convince a 20-year-old Dan Carter to sign with the Bulls. The IRB’s U21 World Championships took place in South Africa, and I thought Carter was sublime.
‘I asked Ian Schwartz, our manager of junior rugby, to get in touch with him, but Carter gracefully rejected our offer after having already aligned his personal aspirations with those of the Crusaders.
‘In the end, life turned out well for all of us. Well, sort of. When Carter slotted a drop goal to secure New Zealand’s 20-18 victory over the Springboks in the semi-final of the 2015 Rugby World Cup, I couldn’t help but wonder whether I shouldn’t have joined Ian on the pursuit of Dan’s signature 13 years before.
‘I suppose you can’t win them all.’