Head Coach of South African National Rugby Team, the Springboks
Considered one of South Africa’s most iconic coaches, Heyneke Meyer is the current head coach of the South African national rugby team, the Springboks. Born in Nelspruit in 1967, Meyer graduated from the University of Pretoria with an Honour’s degree in sports psychology. After spending some time on the rugby field, his passion for coaching grew.
Meyer coached several smaller clubs before joining the South Western Districts (SWD) Eagles as an assistant coach in 1997. The following year, he took on his first provincial head coach position for the team. He immediately took the Eagles to the semi-finals of the Vodacom Cup and a year later, guided them to a top-four finish in the Currie Cup for the first time in their 100-year history.
In 2001, having already served as an assistant to Springbok coach Nick Mallett in 1999, he replaced Eugene van Wyk as coach of the Vodacom Blue Bulls. Here he led the team to win the Vodacom Cup title before returning to take on the additional role of assistant Springbok coach under Mallett in 2001 and, later that year, Harry Viljoen.
Three consecutive Currie Cup crowns for the Vodacom Blue Bulls followed in 2002, 2003 and 2004. He also helped turn the team around from dwelling near the bottom of the Vodacom Super 12 log, to consecutive semi-finals in 2005 and 2006. That same year, Meyer was inducted into the University of Pretoria’s Sport Hall of Fame in recognition of his exceptional achievements in rugby. The first Super Rugby title for a South African team followed in 2007, when Meyer masterminded a Vodacom Blue Bulls' victory in an epic final during what had by then become the Super 14.
Celebrated as one of the most successful coaches of the modern era, Meyer was appointed by the South African Rugby Union (SARU) to succeed Peter de Villiers as coach of the Springboks in 2012. A year later, Meyer ranked as the second most-successful coach in Springbok history in terms of winning percentage. Under his leadership, the team won 10 out of 12 Test matches in 2013 and ended the year with a season success rate of more than 80%.