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Rugby World Cup: Duane Vermeulen leading calls for Heyneke Meyer to fight on as South Africa coach

By Nick Purewal

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 tonight (8pm) 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 said.

"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."

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 at the Olympic Stadium tonight in his 127th and last Test before retiring for the second and definitely final time after dragging himself out of his dotage two years ago to bolster this World Cup bid.

Belfast Telegraph


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