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Rugby | Springboks

Heyneke Meyer © Gallo Images

Bulls, Boks at impasse over Meyer's staff



Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer’s appointment of his management team is at an impasse after the Blue Bulls Company demanded a big fee to release several of their coaching staff to the national union.

It is no secret that Meyer has wanted to appoint a team that he trusts and has worked with in the past, but with several of them in contracts across the country, the negotiations surrounding their release have taken a lot longer than expected.

SuperSport.com can reveal that the Bulls have asked for transfer fees for all four their employees requested to be released to the South African Rugby Union, with Saru chief executive Jurie Roux and Bulls CEO Barend van Graan chipping away at the details over the past few weeks.

According to sources, the Bulls Board of Directors has asked for a R1-million transfer fee each for forwards coach Johan van Graan and fitness guru Basil Carzils, while asking for R250 000 each for defence coach John McFarland and backline coach Ricardo Loubscher.

The quartet are set to form the basis of Meyer’s coaching team against England in the June test matches and are likely to be joined by kicking coach Louis Koen and a number of consultants, including former WP Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus.

The reason for the difference in asking price for the officials is that McFarland is seen as a Meyer loyalist while Loubscher is contracted to the Vodacom Cup team and therefore not as high profile as the other two.

Van Graan is currently the forwards and attack coach for the Super Rugby team, while Carzils is regarded as one of the best fitness experts in world rugby and has also helped out Namibia in the Rugby World Cup in the past.

Meyer was appointed on January 26 but did his presentation to Saru’s executive last week, getting approval for his choice of management team. He did however give his list of preferred candidates when he was appointed.

While Saru are keen to get the best management team in place, one can understand the Bulls' reluctance to let go of their own intellectual property. To lose your defensive coach, forwards and attacking coach and fitness expert in the middle of a Vodacom Super Rugby campaign is not an easy thing to let happen, and to replace them with staff that are of a similar caliber will take some doing.

Saru general manager: Communications Andy Colquhoun declined to comment on the transfer fees, saying only that the national body would make an announcement when the management team had been appointed.

Bulls CEO Barend van Graan echoed these sentiments, saying only that negotiations were at a sensitive stage.

Meyer’s first test in charge will be against England on June 9 in Durban.

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