South Africa Rugby Appoints Heyneke Meyer as Coach, Replacing de Villiers

Heyneke Meyer was named coach of the South Africa rugby team, taking charge of the two-time world champions until after the 2015 World Cup.

Meyer, 44, executive in charge of rugby at the Pretoria- based Blue Bulls franchise, replaces Peter de Villiers, the country’s first black national coach who said he would step down after South Africa’s lost to Australia in the 2011 World Cup quarterfinals.

Meyer, a former teacher who coached the Bulls to four domestic Currie Cup titles between 2002 and 2006 and a Super 14 win in 2007, faces the challenge of increasing the number of black players in the national team while maintaining its competitiveness after the departure of World Cup-winning players including former captain John Smit, Victor Matfield and Fourie du Preez.

“I truly realize winning is always the most important thing,” Meyer told journalists in Cape Town after his appointment was announced by the South African Rugby Union. “But I also realize the role that sport plays in this country and I hope I will be able to make a difference.”

Meyer didn’t name his support staff, and said he hasn’t yet made up his mind about who will captain the team.

South Africa is scheduled to play three test matches against England at home in June, followed by the southern hemisphere championship involving home-and-away matches against Argentina, New Zealand and Australia.

To contact the reporter on this story: Robert Brand in Cape Town at rbrand9@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Gavin Serkin at gserkin@bloomberg.net

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