BREAKING: Heyneke Meyer stands aside as Bok coach

Meyer’s job has been under the spotlight since the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

FILE: Heyneke Meyer. Picture: Vumani Mkhize/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Heyneke Meyer has decided to stand aside as Springboks coach, the South African Rugby Union (Saru) has announced.

Meyer's job has been under spotlight throughout the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

Following South African's defeat 34-32 by Japan in the opening match of the World Cup, renewed calls were made to have him fired.

Heyneke Meyer has advised SARU that he no longer wished to be considered as a candidate to coach the Springboks.

Meyer decided to stand aside as coach, a decision he considers to be in the best interest of SA rugby, following recent developments.

"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," says Meyer.

"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.

"To everyone at Saru and for the hard work and commitment of my management and support team, I will be forever thankful. And finally to the players, you are ultimately the reason why I coach and you've enriched my life in the last four years."

Saru says Meyer took over a Springbok team that was fourth in the world rankings at the conclusion of the 2011 Rugby World Cup and lifted them to second (to New Zealand) by the end of his first season in charge.

That position was maintained in 2013 and 2014 with a combined winning ratio of 77 percent which included a record-breaking win over Australia in Brisbane (38-12), a Castle Lager Rugby Championship record victory over Argentina in Soweto (73-13) and the first away win over France in 16 years, as well as two unbeaten end-of-year tours.

In all, Meyer coached the team to 34 victories and two draws in 50 matches. During his tenure, the Springboks recorded a 66.7 percent winning record in Tests and scored 143 Test tries, second only to New Zealand in that time.

Saru's Oregan Hoskins thanked Meyer for his services to South African rugby and his commitment.

"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."

"Heyneke gave his all for the Springboks and it was a great pleasure to work with such a passionate South African. There were many highlights during his time as coach and those are the moments we will remember."

Saru said the search for a successor would begin immediately.