SA Rugby cleans house

Jake White will probably live to fight another day but his assistants Gert Smal and Allister Coetzee are likely to feel the sting of the SA Rugby’s axe.

The Cape Times reports that South African rugby officials have identified Vodacom Blue Bulls and Vodacom Cheetahs coaches Heyneke Meyer and Rassie Erasmus as possible replacements.

Outside of an impressive 2004 season, neither the traditionally powerful Springbok forwards nor the backline have imposed themselves on top class opposition.

The pack were comprehensively outplayed against France, Ireland and New Zealand this season, while the backline have again failed to create regular scoring opportunities from structured play.

In a further fall out from the poor year-end tour, national selectors Pieter Jooste and Ian McIntosh are also likely to get the chop, in a bid to bring in men who will be more aggressive in challenging White. He has, up to this point, been able to overrule selection calls made by McIntosh and Jooste.

White meets with the Presidents Council today to provide an explanation for a diabolical 2006 season that has seen the Boks win just five out of twelve Tests. It is predicted that he will argue that he is building towards the World Cup in France next year, and with only 10 months before the showpiece event, the board are unlikely to show him the door.

“It’s the World Cup that we’ve been working towards and this victory [over England] has given us a major boost ahead of facing them in France,” White told journalists.

SA Rugby will however lay down stringent conditions, and according to Cape Times sources, these will include assistant coaches of SA Rugby’s choice and an empowered technical committee that will assist with selecting.

In this regard, Nick Mallett and Andre Markgraaf have both been identified as candidates for the technical committee.

Some Presidents Council members are also said to favour a greater involvement in selection by the Super 14 coaches.