Meyer falls on his sword
NEWS: Former Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer’s stint at French club Stade Francais has come to an abrupt end.
Meyer has resigned from his position in charge of the French Top 14’s bottom side Stade Francais, the club announced on Tuesday.
Meyer, who led the Springboks at the 2015 World Cup, quit Stade after losing seven from the opening nine matches of the season with local reports saying he had been sacked after less than two years with the Parisian outfit.
“It has been an honour to coach the club,” Meyer, 52, said in a statement.
“I have had a great life experience coaching Stade Francais and I have loved my time in Paris.
“It has always been my intention to do what is best for this great club,” he added.
The former Bulls boss was given the backing of Stade’s billionaire owner Hans-Peter Wild last week before Sunday’s defeat to rivals Racing 92.
Stade has a league-leading budget of €40-millions (US$44-million) and came eighth under his remit last season.
📃 Heyneke Meyer a présenté ce matin sa démission avec effet immédiat. Le communiqué du Club ⤵️ #SFParis
— Stade Français Paris (@SFParisRugby) November 12, 2019
Newspaper Midi Olympique reported Stade’s former players in Julien Arias and Laurent Sempéré will take over the 14-time French champions on a temporary basis ahead of this Friday’s European Challenge Cup match against Brive.
The pair follow ex-Stade centre Thomas Lombard in being appointed in off-field positions at Stade Jean-Bouin, after he was named general manager earlier in October.
Meyer’s assistants in former France prop Pieter de Villiers, South African Dewald Senekal, English defence coach John McFarland and South African Ricardo Loubscher are also expected to leave.
The development comes just days after Stade fell to a disheartening 9-25 loss to Parisian rivals Racing 92, a result which cut them further adrift at the bottom of the table.
Racing sit just four spots above Stade in the Top 14 table, although that win was enough to lengthen their points lead over Stade to nine.
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Meyer’s now old side was in real danger of being left behind by the pack as they even sit seven points behind 13th-place Agen, with signs few and far between that they can close the gap.
With experienced veterans such as Morne Steyn, Sergio Parisse, Alexandre Flanquart and Djibril Camara having left the club oin the off-season, the former champions of France and Europe find themselves in a precarious position.
Not only have they slipped to seven defeats, but their points differential of -149 is also 106 points worse than the next worst differential in the league as the Parisian side has looked very much like relegation favourites since the early rounds of the competition.
Sempere announced his retirement from playing in the off-season and immediately took up the role of forwards coach alongside de Villiers at the club, while Arias recently re-signed as a player although it was understood he would be transitioning into a backs coach role over the course of the 2019/20 season.
Between the two, they have over 25 years of service to the club as players, as well as making nearly 400 combined appearances.
Rugbyrama had reported earlier on Tuesday that Lombard had called a meeting of the players at the club and although the report suggested a number of coaches could be axed, there was a chance that Meyer would stay on in his role of director of sport and head coach.