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Published: 19:55 | 14/12/15

Meyer steps down as Springsboks coach

Heyneke Meyer has stepped down as head coach of the South African Rugby Union team.

Meyer was appointed head coach after the 2011 Rugby World Cup and oversaw 34 victories from his 50 matches in charge.

Despite losing to Japan in the opening game of this year's World Cup, the Springboks went on to reach the semi-finals where they lost to eventual champions New Zealand.

It was thought that Meyer would remain at the helm but he has decided to stand aside in the interests of South African rugby.

"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," Meyer said in a statement.

"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.

"I have greatly enjoyed my time as Springbok coach – although it has been highly pressured at times and especially tough on my family, and I would like to thank them for their unwavering support in the last four years.

"I have put my heart and soul into the job and did my very best. I believe that, overall, I leave the team with much to look forward to in 2016, with new structures in place to ensure the Springboks will remain competitive on the world stage.

"The number of young players that have been blooded over the past four seasons, who chose to remain in South Africa, leave the team in a great position to move on in the next few years. I would like to wish the next coach all the success in this wonderful position.

"The Springboks are a special team and carrying the hopes of a nation is a huge responsibility and great privilege. I realised that yet again with all the support I received from ordinary South Africans, both at the World Cup and upon our return to the country. Thank you to the countless faithful, positive and passionate supporters that have made my job as coach a joy.

"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."

Mr Hoskins thanked Meyer for his services to South African rugby.

“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,” said Mr Hoskins.

“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.

“He also set very high standards of behaviour for himself, his management team and his players and he was and is a credit to South African rugby. I’m sure all my colleagues join me in wishing him the very best of luck in whatever coaching path his career now takes him."

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