Blue Bulls president Willem Strauss says Victor Matfield took a ‘personal decision’ to turn down the opportunity to coach the Super Rugby side.
Matfield was heavily favoured to replace John Mitchell as head coach after a thorough process resulted in a three-man shortlist, including the former Bulls and Bok lock, Currie Cup coach Pote Human and Kings coach Deon Davids. However, in a surprise twist, Human, who has been involved with the union since 2005, was announced on Tuesday as the Super Rugby coach.
Speaking to the media at Loftus, Strauss said Matfield had told him that the high-risk coaching environment led him to the decision to stay in his current role as a SuperSport pundit.
‘It is difficult because he is not here to answer. What he informed me is that what it comes down to is the insecurity of being a coach. You can ask why he went through the whole process, but it is tough to be a coach. It is a high-risk environment, we all know that.
‘But if I can summarise, it came down to that. Maybe when he looked at the high-risk situation, maybe he thought he is better off where he is now in terms of security and for his family. But it was a personal decision he took.’
Strauss said that keeping Human on as part of the coaching structure was always part of the plan and they will begin negotiations around a potential new deal for him soon.
‘Pote was always going to be part of the structures,’ Strauss said. Although it is a huge surprise, it is not that big of a surprise that he is still part of the setup.
‘We did not give him a one-year contract. He is still on a contract until the end of next year. It was not like he was given a one-year extension. We appointed him yesterday, so give us a bit of time to get it started.’
SA Rugby director of rugby Rassie Erasmus will assist the side throughout the campaign, but Strauss was still unclear about his day-to-day role with the union.
‘I don’t want to speak on behalf of him or SA Rugby. Pote is meeting with him tomorrow. We will have more clarity [after that]. He will be here from 3 January in his capacity as director of rugby to help upskill, which is his job. Once Pote has met with him we will have more clarity on his day-to-day situation.’
Photo: Johan Rynners/Gallo Images