Sharks coach Dick Muir has crushed speculation linking his name to the Springbok head coach job.
Muir was unequivocal in his response when asked if he would be interested in the position saying he has a long-term vision for the Durban-based team.
“It’s obviously a big ambition of mine to coach the Springboks one day, like I’m sure it is an ambition of every coach in this country,” Muir told keo.co.za. “But right now I’ve got a few years to run on my contract with the Sharks and I’m committed to seeing that through.
“We [the Sharks] are building something here, so if the approach ever came I would have to turn down the opportunity,” he said.
“But it would be a big honour just to be asked,” he stressed.
Muir also came out in strong support of the embattled Springbok coach.
“I believe Jake is doing a wonderful job,” he said. “I know that as a coach that you will have tough periods in your career and then you’ll have some really good periods.
“The South African public and the media needs to support him and the team, he certainly has my full support.”
The Sharks have again fell victim to White’s refusal to settle on a squad of players, with their skipper AJ Venter being called up.
Muir though was diplomatic when asked about having to constantly prepare for matches with a depleted team.
“I understand the situation that Jake is in,” he said empathetically. “You have to find the right balance in a side and with all the injuries he has had that’s been difficult.
“We are flexible as a team and there really is nothing we can do about call ups to the Springboks, we have to adapt,” he asserted.
Twenty-one-year-old JP Pietersen in particular has become a pawn in White’s never unfolding plan.
The young fullback has been called up and released more times than he would care to recall and is yet to see game time in the green and gold despite being involved in every one of the training squads in the lead up all four of the Tri- Nations Test matches.
At Loftus, White opted to play a natural scrumhalf in Ruan Pienaar at fullback as a late replacement for the hopelessly out-of-form and visibly exhausted Percy Montgomery, while Pietersen toiled in the torrential rain of the Absa Stadium the night before.
But Muir believes the Sharks utility-back is a few years away from being ready make the transition from provincial to Test level.
“For JP, it’s just been great to be called up to the squad even though he hasn’t played,” he said.
“I think he, Jake and myself realise that he is not the complete package yet and we will continue to work on his weaknesses, most notably his kicking game.
“Please understand that I believe he has all the qualities to be a very special player ,” he added.
“But at Test level your space to attack is drastically diminished and JP thrives on space. In the years to come though that aspect of his game will improve and he’ll be a very, very good player.”
He however did hint that Pietersen could be a surprise package if given the opportunity now.
“Percy has done well over the last few years but recently he has been far too defensive in his approach.
“Having coached him, I know that he offers you a great attacking option. I don’t know if he is tired or playing to instructions but if Jake does decide to give him a break JP could be a very successful wildcard to throw in.”
By Ryan Vrede