Heyneke Meyer

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Heyneke Meyer
Date of birth (1967-10-06) 6 October 1967 (age 47)
Place of birth Nelspruit, Transvaal Province, South Africa
School Bergvlam High School
University University of Pretoria
Rugby union career
Current status
Position(s) Head Coach
Amateur clubs
Years Club / team
1986–1987 Tukkies
Coaching career
Years Club / team
SWD Eagles (Asst. Coach)
SWD Eagles (Head Coach)
Stormers (Forwards Coach)
Emerging Springboks
South Africa (Forwards Coach)
Blue Bulls (Asst. Coach - Currie Cup)
Blue Bulls (Head Coach - Vodacom Cup)
Blue Bulls (Head Coach - Currie Cup)
Blue Bulls (Head Coach - Vodacom Cup)
Leicester Tigers
South Africa (Head Coach)

Heyneke Meyer (born 6 October 1967 in Nelspruit, South Africa) is a rugby union coach, who is currently the head coach of the South African national team.[1] He was previously Head Coach at Leicester Tigers in England, and spend many years at domestic level in South Africa prior to his English stint.

Early years[edit]

Meyer attended Bergvlam High School in Nelspruit before studying sports psychology at the University of Pretoria. He obtained various degrees in hi school life, including BA (Psychology, Geography and Human Movement Science), Hons BA (Geography).



Meryer who studied at University of Pretoria, played for the university's rugby team, the Tukkies. He took on a player-coaching role with the team, and upon graduating in 1988, he took on a full time role with the team. He coached various High School and Under-21 team in Pretoria, before joining the SWD Eagles in the Currie Cup in 1997.[2] He first started as an assistant coach with the team under Phil Pretorius, before being given the reigns of head coach in 1998. In his debut year, he led the team to the semi-finals during the 1998 Vodacom Cup, losing to the Golden Lions 31–19. He also improved their positioning in the Currie Cup, finishing seventh after the regular season. In 1999, the Eagles failed to make the semi-finals in the Vodacom Cup, though made the semi-finals of the Currie cup, defeating South African powerhouses Natal Sharks and Western Province along the way. In addition to this, Meryer was an assistant coach to Alan Solomons at the Stormers during the 1999 Super 12 season, in which the Stormers finished second on the table after the regular season, before being beaten 33–18 in the semi-final by the Otago Highlanders. Haven been appointed head coach of the Bulls for the 2000 Super 12 season, taking over from Eugene van Wyk, Meyer stood down from his post with the Eagles.

While at the Bulls, the side finish second to last, with only 1 win to their name, and at the Blue Bulls, acting as Assistant coach due to his Springboks commitments, 2000 was the worst season ever for the team, haven failed to qualify for the top eight of the Currie Cup. In 2001, he replaced Eugene van Wyk, at the Blue Bulls, while also being dismissed from his post with the Bulls in the Super 12 due to poor results in 2000. He led the Blue Bulls to their first Vodacom Cup title, beating Boland Cavaliers 42–24 in the final. He didn't take part in the Blue Bulls Currie Cup campaign that year due to his Springboks commitments, though returned to Pretoria in 2002 as full time coach with the Bulls at Super 12 and Currie Cup. The Bulls finished last during the 2002 Super 12 season with no wins, and like in 2000, with dismissed from his post.[3] He remained with the Blue Bulls which he reach two consecutive Vodacom Cup semi-finals in 2003 and 2004, and claimed three consecutive Currie Cup titles in 2002, 2003 and 2004.[4]

He returned to the Bulls in 2005 where the Bulls finished third after the regular season, only to lose to the New South Wales Waratahs 23–13 in the semi-final. In 2006, they reached the semi-final again, but lost to the Crusaders 35–15. It wasn't until 2007 when the Bulls made it to the the final, defeating South African rivals the Sharks 20–19 in Durban. Meyer's final actions in Pretoria was during the 2007 Currie Cup Premier Division, where after the regular season, the Blue Bull finished 4th, but lost to the Free State Cheetahs 11–6 in the semi-final.

On 30 June 2008, he was named head coach of Leicester Tigers in England.[5] His stint in England was short, haven won 9 matches with his new team, he took compassionate leave from his Tigers post to attend to family matters in South Africa, only to fully stand down from his post on 28 January 2009.[6]

He later took up an executive role with the Blue Bulls in Pretoria.


Meyer made his first international appearance as a coach in 1999 when he coach the Emerging Springboks. He later became forwards coach for the Springboks ahead of the 1999 Rugby World Cup. South Africa finished top of their group, and made it to the semi-final after beating England 44–21. Though in the semi-final, South Africa lost to Australia after extra time, 27–21. He remained with the Springboks between his club commitments, until 2001, when he returned to Pretoria as a full time coach with the Bulls and Blue Bulls.

Head coach of South Africa[edit]

In January 2012, Heyneke Meyer was named head coach of South Africa on a 4-year term until after the 2015 Rugby World Cup. His first match in charge was 1 of three tests against England during the South African tour. He won the first two tests 22–17 and 36–27 respectively, but drew the final test 14–all. He later led South Africa to third in the 2012 Rugby Championship, opening with back to back victories over newcomers Argentina. South Africa pushed the Wallabies in Perth, but lost 26–19, before going down 21–11 to the All Blacks. Meyer gained revenge over Australia on 29 September, beating them 31–8 in Pretoria, though lost to New Zealand 32–16 in Johannesburg the following week. Their victory over Australia saw the Springboks climb to second if the IRB World Rankings for the first time since 2010. During the Springboks 2012 End-of-year tour, Meyer led South Africa to their first clean sweep since 2008, defeating Ireland 16–12, Scotland 21–10 and England 16–15.

In 2013, South Africa claimed 6 consecutive victories, which included a first ever victory over Australia at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane. Then on 5 October, Meyer led South Africa into the 2013 Rugby Championship decider against South Africa, though ultimately lost 38–27.[7] South Africa later went on to record another clean sweep on their End-of-year tour, their first back to back clean sweeps since their 1996 and 1997 End-of-year tour clean sweeps.

In 2014, having claimed a 2–0 test series victory over Wales, South Africa went on to beat the All Blacks for the first time since 2011, winning 27–25 at Ellis Park Stadium. Though because of their 24–23 loss to Australia in round 3, South Africa finished second for the second consecutive year. While on their 2014 end-of-year tour, South Africa lost 2 matches, Ireland 29–15 and Wales 12–6, the Welsh loss being their first since 1999.

In 2015, Meyer came under pressure having lost all 2015 Rugby Championship matches, including a first ever loss to Argentina 37–25, at home. He was called a "racist" in the media due to the lack of "black" players being selected, which even led to the team being taken to court, with their position at the 2015 Rugby World Cup under threat.[8] Meyer got his first win in 2015, and in 4 matches, against Argentina in a Rugby World Cup warm-up match in Buenos Aires, winning 26–12.[9]

In their first game of the 2015 Rugby World Cup, Meyer coached the Springboks in their first ever game against Japan, then ranked 13th in the World Rugby Rankings. The Brave Blossoms convincingly outplayed the Springboks, beating them 34-32 with a try in the corner, deep into injury time.[10] Heyneke Meyer, often criticized for favouring "experience over talent", made a public apology to the South African nation for this loss, admitting that the team's performance was "unacceptable".[11]

International matches as Head Coach[edit]

Note: World Rankings Column shows the World Ranking South Africa was placed at on the following Monday after each of their matches

Record by Country[edit]

Opponent Played Won Drew Lost Win ratio (%) For Against
 Argentina 8 6 1 1 75 235 138
 Australia 7 4 0 3 57 167 88
 England 5 4 1 0 80 119 101
 France 1 1 0 0 1000 19 10
 Ireland 2 1 0 1 50 31 41
 Italy 2 2 0 0 1000 66 16
 Japan 1 0 0 1 00 32 34
 New Zealand 7 1 0 6 14 106 159
 Samoa 1 1 0 0 1000 56 23
 Scotland 4 4 0 0 1000 134 33
 Wales 4 3 0 1 75 93 61
TOTAL 42 27 2 13 64 1104 767


  • South African quadrangular tournament

Other honors[edit]

South Africa (as assistant coach)


Blue Bulls


External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
South AfricaPeter de Villiers
South Africa National Rugby Union Coach
Succeeded by