Heyneke Meyer: 'I am not a dictator'
REACTION: Former Springboks coach Heyneke Meyer has insisted he is not a dictator despite a series of high profile departures from Stade Francais since he took over in Paris.
The South African, who guided his country to the 2015 World Cup semifinals, is preparing for his second season in charge of the under-achieving Top 14 club and the list of names who have exited during his watch is extensive.
It includes assistant coaches Julien Dupuy, Mike Prendergast and Paul O’Connell, along with players Alexandre Flanquart, Djibril Camara and long-serving talisman Sergio Parisse.
However, Meyer insists the club is on the right track towards ultimately becoming a success under him.
“I was a little apprehensive,” he told RugbyRama about his role at Stade.
“Many people in France, especially the media, say that I am a dictator, have a bad image of me after what happened in the off-season. But I am not a dictator.
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“I just want players to be happy. But nothing must be more important than the team. I like Paris. I want to stay here and make sure there is a family spirit.
“Some players at times have weakened this family spirit. When I hear that the spirit of Stade Français disappears, I do not agree.
“We have brought iconic players back to the club: Pieter de Villiers, Fabrice Landreau… Pascal Papé invests beautifully with young people. Laurent Sempéré joins the staff and will also cultivate this state of mind. And I do not forget Julien Arias who is a very important leader for us.
“The history of this club is in my eyes paramount. But it’s so hard to win, you need people on the same wavelength. There is certainly a need to improve relations with the players, especially with the leaders of the group,” he continued.
“The leader group is a little different this season but I feel that the communication goes well and that there is a real exchange between me and the players. Things are progressing well.
“Throughout the season, communication must be done naturally. I may have made mistakes. Although I am here for my leadership and experience, all players must feel involved. We have a lot of young players very fond of playing.
“I really feel motivated. The first year is more difficult to find. There are inevitably players who do not agree with your choices. We have been faced with this scenario but I am convinced that there will be much more osmosis this season.”
Sources: RugbyRama & RugbyPass
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