Os du Randt has been offered a year-long deal to become Ireland’s new scrum coach.
Du Randt signed a six-month deal with Saru as Springbok coach in June last year, but his contract was not renewed and he was controversially axed in March, despite a notable improvement in the Bok scrum during his tenure and head coach Peter de Villiers calling him the ‘X-factor’.
Ireland then immediately swooped in to negotiate a short-term deal with the 1995 and 2007 World Cup-winning loosehead prop.
‘Ireland contacted my agent soon after I left the Boks a few months ago. We are still negotiating the deal and hopefully things will be sorted out soon,’ Du Randt told keo.co.za.
‘Whether it works out depends on all the little things, like where and when I will be needed. I have a family here in South Africa to consider. I don’t think I’ll be based over there, it’ll just be a short -term deal until after the World Cup.’
Du Randt added that the stint will benefit both parties.
‘Ireland aren’t happy with their scrumming standards and that’s an area they want to improve. Hopefully, my techniques and philosophies will help the team. I won’t go there and force the players to do what I want. I have to try and make them believe and trust in my coaching methods. I’ll need to connect with senior players, like [centre] Brian O’Driscoll and [lock] Paul O’Connell – if I win them over, they’ll help me connect with the team.
‘In turn, I’ll also learn new innovations as a coach. European teams are the best scrumming units, so I’ll learn new scrumming ideas and philosophies. [Ireland forwards coach] Gert Smal will also help me settle in and introduce me to the personnel. I’ve worked a lot with him as a player and it will be great to talk Afrikaans to someone over there.’
If Ireland finish second in Pool C and the Boks top Pool D at the World Cup, the two teams will face off in the quarter-finals. Du Randt said it would be a good challenge as a coach, but added that it’d be tough to face some of his former team-mates and players.
‘I’d never thought I’d ever be against the Boks in my lifetime,’ said Du Randt. ‘I’m looking forward to getting one over the top guys in the Bok coaching team considering what happened, but it’s going to be tough being up against the players. But I’ll have to back the scrum of the team that pays my bills.
‘However, my focus won’t be solely on the Boks. If I get the job, my main aim will be helping Ireland.’
By Gareth Duncan