Smal the frontrunner for Bok post

Gert Smal is the favourite for the Springbok coaching position although Allister Coetzee and Heyneke Meyer are also on the shortlist.

The appointment will only be confirmed on 27 January 2012, but according to a reliable source, Smal is expected to pip Coetzee and Meyer for the job.

Smal has enjoyed success as a coach in South Africa, coaching Western Province to the Currie Cup title in 2000 and 2001, and also serving as the forwards coach during Jake White’s World Cup-winning tenure. For the past four years he has coached the Ireland forwards and was integral to the Emerald Greens’ 2009 Six Nations triumph.

While Meyer has also enjoyed great success with the Bulls, firstly as a hands-on coach and then as a director of rugby, it is Smal’s record with transformation that may reportedly secure him the post.

Smal was responsible for nurturing numerous players of colour while he was at WP, and in 2008 he drafted a transformation proposal to Saru detailing the development of black forwards in the Eastern Cape region.

Peter de Villiers, whose term as Bok coach will expire at the end of 2011, struggled to transform the Boks despite his earlier intentions. This is best illustrated by the make-up of White and De Villiers’s respective World Cup teams.

White picked just two players of colour in the match 22 for the 2007 World Cup final in France while De Villiers picked the same two players (Bryan Habana and JP Pietersen) and just two more (Gurthro Steenkamp and Gio Aplon) in the 22 that played Australia in the 2011 quarter-final in New Zealand.