Why Matfield turned down Bulls' offer
REACTION: Victor Matfield took on and overcame some tough hurdles in his playing career, but the ‘high-risk environment’ of coaching was too much to stomach for the Springbok legend.
Matfield, despite applying for the job, turned his back on the Bulls when he realised the perils and pitfalls of coaching a Super Rugby team
Veteran coach Pote Human was named as the man to fill the vacancy created by New Zealander John Mitchell’s premature departure to England in September – where he took on the role of defence specialist on Eddie Jones’ coaching panel.
Human, who coached the Bulls in the Currie Cup competition this year, was nowhere near the front of the queue in recent shortlists.
In fact, Matfield was a clear favourite. So much so that the Bulls asked him to “reconsider” when he informed them last week that he is no longer interested.
Blue Bulls President Willem Strauss, one of the officials who attempted to twist Matfield’s arm, suggested that the risk that comes with the position was at the heart of Matfield’s dramatic about turn.
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“It is difficult, because he is not here to answer,” Strauss told a media briefing in Pretoria on Tuesday – where they unveiled Human as the coach for 2019.
“What he [Matfield] informed me is that what it comes down to, is the insecurity of being a coach.”
It has been reported that Matfield has been offered a long-term, high-paying position as an analyst at a pay-TV station.
Strauss raised the question of why Matfield decided to through the whole process of applying and then declining.
However, the Bulls boss admitted it is “tough to be a coach”.
“It is a high-risk environment, we all know that,” Strauss said.
“If I can summarise, it came down to that.
“Maybe when he looked at the high-risk situation, maybe he thought he is better off where he is now in terms of security and for his family.
“But it was a personal decision he took.”
Strauss said that keeping Human on as part of the coaching structure was always part of the plan and that even if Matfield had accepted the position, Human would have been part of his backroom staff.
“Pote was always going to be part of the structures,” Strauss said.
“Although it is a surprise, it is not that big of a surprise that he is still part of the setup.”
Human was already on the Bulls books, with a contract that runs until the end of next year.
“It was not like he was given a one-year extension,” Strauss said, adding: “He was still employed by us until the end of next year.”
He added that they will start this week to talk about backroom staff for Human.
“We appointed him yesterday [Monday], so give us a bit of time to get it started.”