Enter Eddie for Bok job
Several coaching candidates have a hat in the ring, writes Dan Retief
Eddie Jones, the former Wallabies and Brumbies coach who played a vital role in South Africa winning the Rugby World Cup in France in 2007, has expressed a strong desire to coach the Springboks.
Contacted in Japan where he is in charge of the Suntory club that will shortly be joined by Fourie du Preez and Danie Rossouw, Jones said he "would love to coach the Boks" but added the interesting rider that the job might not be available to him.
"I'm led to believe that the job has already been allocated," said Jones. "I do not want to waste people's time and effort."
Attempts to shed some light on Jones's belief that a successor to Peter de Villiers, whose contract expires at the end of December, had already been decided upon were unsuccessful.
However Saru chief executive officer Jurie Roux, who is still in New Zealand "on IRB business", did indicate that Jones's information might be incorrect and that the position of South Africa's national rugby coach will be advertised.
Replying by e-mail to a request for an interview, Roux wrote: "The appointment of the coach and the criteria for the position will be (made) public as soon as the advertisement comes out. We agreed on a process and timelines within the Exco (of Saru) and will stick to that. Any discussion before that will be premature and outside of our HR approved policy and procedure."
The latter part of Roux's reply was in response to a query by the Sunday Times whether a foreigner could be appointed and whether a "transformation imperative" would be part of the profile of the new coach.
Jones played a key role when he joined Jake White's team of coaches in 2007, with many crediting the Australian of Japanese descent with having added the crucial finishing touches that carried the Springboks to their second World Cup triumph.
Jones, who presents coaching clinics with White, has continued to keep a close eye on South Africa's talent. "The young Boks have enormous potential - to blend the natural power with skill will be most exciting," he said in an e-mailed reply.
With John Kirwan standing down, Jones has also been named as the possible new coach of Japan.
With De Villiers seemingly having announced his intention to vacate the Springbok coaches' job once his contract ends in December - although he may well reapply - speculation is rife about a position that used to be like a game of musical chairs until White and De Villiers managed to complete long terms.
The departure of De Villiers unleashed a frenzy of speculation about possible candidates with the names of all the top coaches mooted - Allister Coetzee, Rassie Erasmus, John Mitchell, John Plumtree, Heyneke Meyer, Naka Drotske, Brendan Venter, Gert Smal, Gary Gold, Dawie Theron as well as two former coaches in Nick Mallett and White. Only Mallett has clearly stated that he is not interested.
It seems the others will play a wait-and-see game until Saru reveal their frame of reference.
In a statement by Jurie Roux, Saru announced that "the subject of the Springbok coaching and management team for the 2012 season and beyond will be reviewed by the executive council of the South African Rugby Union after the Rugby World Cup.
"The formal review of the 2011 season and the process of making appointments for 2012 will only be concluded towards the end of the year. The appointment of the Springbok coaches and management team are easily among the most important decisions we must take as an organisation.
"We are aware that there is great public interest in the matter but supporters will understand that we have many factors to consider before any further announcements."