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Where to from here for Meyer?

Where to from here for Meyer?I am flabbergasted at the unbridled hatred directed towards South Africa's coach Heyneke Meyer at the moment.

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Even Peter de Villiers in his most dysfunctional idiosyncrasy was not disliked as much as Meyer is at the moment.

Maybe Rudolf Straeuli in the aftermath of Kamp Staaldraad experienced the kind of vitriolic bile directed at the Springbok mentor.

I was as disappointed as the next person in the Boks' loss to the All Blacks in the semifinals.

However, unlike some cretinous 'supporters' I did not wish to bring harm to any of the coaching staff or players.

Wishing somebody dead because of a two-point loss to the world's best team is taking it a tad too far.

Seriously, that says more about the so-called 'supporters' than the coaching staff or players.

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I want to take a step back and look at – what I feel – should be the way forward for Heyneke Meyer.

We all know there is this rumour that he has already been signed on for another four years.

He did not shed any real light on it either, with a sidestep that will make most midfielders proud – when asked about it at a media briefing at the weekend.

However, I believe he may well be the right man to take us forward – be that for another two or four years (preferably four years).

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Just think about this: What would have happened if England had discarded Clive Woodward after the 1999 World Cup (quarterfinal exit for England), or New Zealand dismissed Graham Henry after the 2007 World Cup (also a quarterfinal exit)?

Meyer is as passionate about the Springboks as the next person – you can hear that when he speaks, you can see it in how he behaves on the sidelines during games, you can see it in the painful expressions in his face when his team gets beaten.

Did Heyneke Meyer make mistakes in the last four years? YES!

Did he learn from those mistakes? I believe he has.

Did he get some things right? Yes.

Now that the emotions of the loss have settled, let us look at where the national team stands.

In contrast to the prevailing pessimism, there were significant changes to the team in the last four years.

A substantial chunk of the team that played in the semifinal at the weekend made their Springbok debuts under Meyer and can go on to play in the next two World Cup tournaments.

Willie le Roux, Jesse Kriel, Damian De Allende, Handré Pollard, Duane Vermeulen, Lodewyk de Jager, Eben Etzebeth, Frans Malherbe, Trevor Nyakane and Jan Serfontein all made their Test debuts under Meyer.

Now add in the likes of Francois Louw, JP Pietersen, Adriaan Strauss, Willem Alberts and Patrick Lambie  and you have a well-established team.

If you compare that with the quality of the players that New Zealand will lose by next year, you may see why there is reason to be optimistic.

Springbok rugby is not in such a bad state and I believe Meyer is slowly (maybe slower than some want) evolving the national team.

When he took over the Bulls in 2002 it also took them a few years to settle and evolve. By 2007 they won their first title and added two more (2009 and 2010, albeit under Frans Ludeke) with a brand of rugby that packed stadiums – making them the most supported brand in the Southern Hemisphere.Where to from here for Meyer?

And – again contrary to what the naysayers will tell you – they also scored plenty of tries, always among the top three try-scorers in Super Rugby.

But back to the Boks and Meyer's future.

I took a look at what Meyer will be left with next year (if reports/rumours are true that he is staying on) and it is really encouraging.

Here is what New Zealand will look like: Ben Smith (available), Nehe Milner-Skudder (available), Conrad Smith (gone to France), Ma'a Nonu (to Toulon), Julian Savea (available), Daniel Carter (France), Aaron Smith (available), Kieran Read (the next captain), Richie McCaw (retired?), Jerome Kaino (getting old, but still around), Samuel Whitelock (available), Brodie Retallick (available), Owen Franks (available), Dane Coles (available), Joe Moody (available), Keven Mealamu (retiring), Ben Franks (gone to England), Charlie Faumuina (available), Victor Vito (available), Sam Cane (available), Tawera Kerr-Barlow (available), Beauden Barrett (available), Sonny Bill Williams (swapping codes again or retiring?).

Now let us look at what South Africa will look like in 2016: Willie le Roux (available), JP Pietersen (available), Jesse Kriel (available), Damian de Allende (available), Bryan Habana (available), Handré Pollard (available), Fourie du Preez (retired), Duane Vermeulen (in France, but available), Schalk Burger (going back to Japan, but retired from Test rugby), Francois Louw (available), Lodewyk de Jager (available), Eben Etzebeth (available), Frans Malherbe (available), Bismarck du Plessis (in France, but available), Tendai Mtawarira (available), Adriaan Strauss (available), Trevor Nyakane (available), Jannie du Plessis (in France, available), Victor Matfield (gone to England, retired from Test rugby), Willem Alberts (France, available), Ruan Pienaar (Ireland, available), Patrick Lambie (available), Jan Serfontein (available).

That is a very interesting picture and does not take into account the back-up (or fringe) players.

If you look at the Currie Cup competition, there is a host of very talented youngsters coming through, along with some established players that will give the national team some real depth.

That is why I say, #HeynekeMustStay!

By Jan de Koning

@King365ed

@rugby365com

Where to from here for Meyer?

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