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Heyneke Meyer backed to remain as South Africa coach

Published 29/10/2015

Heyneke Meyer, left, has the support of the Springboks squad
Heyneke Meyer, left, has the support of the Springboks squad

The Springboks squad have thrown their weight behind Heyneke Meyer's bid to continue as South Africa coach after the World Cup.

Meyer has branded himself a "total nutter" in wanting to extend his tenure as Springboks head coach, but the former Blue Bulls boss may yet relinquish his position.

The 48-year-old could assume a youth development role in the Springboks set-up, but number eight Duane Vermeulen backed him to retain South Africa's top job.

South Africa will battle out the third-place play-off with Argentina on Friday night before union bosses plot their long build-up to World Cup 2019.

"We would love to see him stay, but you never know what's going on in his head," Vermeulen told Press Association Sport.

"It's all up to him, but if it doesn't happen then hopefully he'll still be available where he can teach the younger guys coming through.

"And hopefully we can keep that production line coming through.

"I think it would be amazing if he could stay on, but it's all up to him."

Meyer's unbridled passion and candid leadership has caught the attention of his Springboks.

The fiercely honest South Africa boss rallies his troops through an endless stream of personal life lessons.

Toulon-bound back-rower Vermeulen hailed Meyer as one of the most inspirational coaches he has worked with.

"For Afrikaans guys we've got a different way of approaching things," said Vermeulen.

"He's a guy who really motivates you in the way he presents himself, the way he speaks to you.

"He always captivates you with one or two stories that he tells; and that's not stories out of a book, it's life experience.

"And you can learn a lot from a guy who has gone through those life experiences.

"It's been an amazing four years working with him and being a part of what we've been trying to do.

"I'd love to go on with him, he's definitely a guy that I've learned a hell of a lot from and hopefully I can still do that."

Victor Matfield will captain South Africa against the Pumas at the Olympic Stadium, in his 127th and last Test before retiring for the second and definitely final time.

Matfield dragged himself out of his dotage two years ago to bolster this World Cup bid, but at 38 will not now continue past the competition.

Vermeulen said Matfield's legacy will reverberate around Springbok rugby for years to come.

"There's so much to say about that guy, he's been an inspiration to so many of the guys in South Africa," said Vermeulen.

"To still be playing at his age is amazing, but it's not just to be playing, it's to be running in front with the fitness, that's a big motivator for each guy, to try to keep up!

"What he brought to rugby with his lineouts, the way he thinks about his approach, it's amazing.

"It's great to have played with him for a couple of years and to pick up on what makes him tick and see how he thinks going into a game.

"By the time he's done and he's hung up his boots it's going to be a big loss for South Africa and for world rugby.

"He's taught so many players so much, there's massive respect worldwide for him and he's just an amazing player.

"It's great to see younger locks coming through now and picking up on Victor's trade.

"We've got two great youngsters that can learn from him, hopefully they can still learn a lot more from him too."

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