Heyneke Meyer will not re-apply to coach South Africa when his current deal expires on December 31, the South African Rugby Union confirmed on Thursday.
Meyer had said he would like to stay after leading the team to third place at the Rugby World Cup in England, but has made an about-turn after receiving stinging criticism of the team’s style of play and his record on transformation of the side.
The 48-year-old appeared to be jumping ship rather than face the prospect of not having his contract renewed when SARU meet on December 11 after a number of provincial unions said they would not support his re-appointment.
Reports have claimed SARU officials have spoken to former Stormers coach Allister Coetzee, who has recently taken a position in Japan, about his availability.
The Boks were beaten 34-32 by Japan in their tournament opener before succumbing to eventual champions New Zealand in the semi-finals.
“I have always put the Springboks first in my time as coach and since returning from England I have realised that as much as I believe I still have a lot to offer, the time has come for change,” Meyer said in a press statement from SARU on Thursday.
“My integrity has always been very important and I feel I can leave with my head held high. I’ve always maintained that my only motivation was to serve my country and to do what was best for the Springboks.
“I have greatly enjoyed my time as Springbok coach – although it has been highly pressured at times and especially tough on my family, and I would like to thank them for their unwavering support in the last four years.”
Meyer coached the team to 34 victories and two draws in 50 matches, but suffered only disappointment in the Rugby Championship.
During his tenure, the Springboks recorded a 66.7 per cent win record in Tests and scored 143 Test tries – second only to New Zealand in that time.
SARU president Oregan Hoskins offered his thanks on behalf of the organisation and hinted they were looking for a coach with greater transformation credentials.
“We have reached a natural watershed in many ways with a significant number of senior players either retiring or moving overseas, as well as the fact that our Strategic Transformation Plan is now in full swing,” Hoskins said.
The Boks are not in action again until June when they play Ireland in three matches on home soil.