Meyer doesn't come cheap
New Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer is under pressure to deliver success for many reasons, and not least of all because he hasn't come cheaply.
The South African Rugby Union (Saru) unveiled Meyer on Friday as the man to lead the Boks for the next four years - a decision that has come at a large financial cost.
Meyer will exercise the early-release clause in his Blue Bulls contract, which still had three years to run, meaning that Saru will have to compensate the Bulls financially. Attempts to find out how much Saru will deposit in the Bulls' bank account were unsuccessful, but a Saru official did confirm compensation would be paid.
Over the next four years Meyer's salary, possible bonuses and the compensation could cost Saru in the region of R10-million. It's a hefty investment on the face of it, but hardly a massive amount for one of the best rugby minds globally.
In addition to buying Meyer out of his contract, by locking itself into a four-year contract with the coach, the governing body runs the risk of having to make a hefty severance payout in the event it has to sack Meyer at some point before his contract reaches its conclusion.
Saru CEO Jurie Roux wouldn't discuss details and performance clauses included in Meyer's contract but they will be there. Roux is a canny operator and before deciding to offer the coach a four-year contract, the chief executive would have given Saru some wriggle room.
Former coaches Peter de Villiers and Jake White were both given two-year contracts with an option to renew midway between World Cup cycles based on their performances. Meyer has the luxury of knowing he has Saru's backing until 2015 as long as he keeps up his end of the bargain. Exactly what his end of the bargain entails remains undisclosed.
Meyer did not specify what he considered to be a respectable winning ratio for the Boks, but he did say that South African rugby should be "the best in the world".
"I want to make it very clear that I will use all the resources in my power to make the national team the best team in the world," Meyer said.
"I'm going to be in a lot of meetings with the CEO in the next few weeks and I'm also going to work closely with the franchises in order to do what's best for the Springboks.
"I'm not going to make promises I can't keep but we will plan in advance and plan very thoroughly to map out the way forward.
"All the franchises, every single rugby person and player out there, need to work together, because I think you need to start working, not on the field but planning, for the first four or five months before the first game."
Meyer will take up his duties today even though his contract with the Bulls states that he needs to give them 14 days' notice.
One of his first points of business will be to fly to Britain to catch the opening stages of the Six Nations so he can take notes on England, who will be the Springboks' first opponents, in June.