It may appear, at least to the broader populace, like the ideal career choice. However, judging by how few people are willing to publicly put their hands up, coaching the Springboks is not an attractive proposition.
While Peter de Villiers may have been at his evasive and confusing best this past week - first saying: "The journey for me is over.' and then a day later: 'I never resigned.' and most recently: "I am available." - it is obvious there will be a new Bok mentor next year.
South African Rugby Union insiders have revealed that the organisation is determined to avoid another PR disaster such as that which accompanied the four years under P Divvy!
Some, unsubstantiated, reports have suggested that SARU's preferred choices are the Stormers duo of Alister Coetzee and Rassie Erasmus.
And while the national body said this week the process of making appointments for 2012 "will only be concluded towards the end of the year", it is believed they have already spoke to a few 'leading' candidates..
While, on the surface, it appears there may be a horde of suitably qualified candidates, those who have already removed themselves from the race far outnumber those who are available.
At present there is a very, very short queue to fill in applications at SARU headquarters in Cape Town.
We have decided to canvas as many leading candidates as possible and found very few who are indeed available at this time.
There are few who are still 'undecided' - some who may well be front runners, but would like to stay under the radar, but the number of world class coaches who have openly distanced themselves from the Bok job is astonishing.
We have listed the coaches in three categories - those who are available (the YES group), those who are unavailable (NO) and those who would not commit either way (the MAYBE group).
Here then, are a list of the candidates and where they stand on the Bok job - to be vacated by De Villiers in December.
Peter de Villiers (Bok coach - till December 31)
"If I get offered the job I would take it. It would be an honour to serve my country ... again. I would do it with the same conviction I had for the past four years."
Jimmy Stonehouse (Pumas):
"I am available. It is every person's dream to coach at that level. I believe I do have the ability to coach there .... you just need the right opportunity. Experience do count, but if you can surround you with the right people, with experience in their fields, you can do. And we must remember that Peter de Villiers never coached at Super Rugby level - other than age-group rugby his highest experience was with the Flacons."
Eugene Eloff (Boland Cavaliers):
"I am certainly available! Many of the guys are there now, and who will be there next year, I worked with when I coached the Junior [Under-19] South African team. We did win two [Junior] World Cups with those guys. It is a treasured position. I won't lie and say I don't want the job, but I don't have any expectations."
Heyneke Meyer (Blue Bulls - Executive: Rugby):
Meyer is currently in America, as part of the planning for the future success of the Bulls. However, retired legendary Bok lock Victor Matfield spilled the beans this week when he made it clear that long term appointment of Meyer as Executive: Rugby at the Blue Bulls Company means the Super Rugby-winning coach and beaten Bok candidate (in 2008) won't put his name forward. This was confirmed to rugby365.com by sources inside the BBC.
Frans Ludeke (Bulls - Super Rugby)
He is with Meyer in America, as the Bulls look to build a new dynasty. Ludeke, who won Super Rugby titles in 2009 and 2011, in June signed a new contract to stay with the Blue Bulls Company till 2013. The same source at the BBC confirmed to us that Ludeke won't be available.
John Mitchell (Lions - Currie Cup and Super Rugby)
"I will not apply." Yes, that was the short, and to the point, answer when we spoke to the Lions mentor. When asked for a reason, he simply said: "I'm not prepared to share that."
Brendan Venter (unattached - consulting at Saracens)
"I am not available. Now is not the right time for me. I have only recently returned from abroad [at Saracens]. I would like to, one day, coach the Springboks. However, as I said, now is not the right time. I am back at my [medical] practice and I am still involved at Saracens ... which is a long-term project. We have stability at the club, it is going well and I am enjoying working there and getting plenty of rugby stimulation at present."
Leon Boshoff (Leopards)
"No, I am not available, because I am not experienced enough yet to taken up such a position. There are a number of coaches who may be in line, who have proved themselves at Super Rugby and higher level."
Alan Solomons (EP Kings)
"No, I have a job here, in Port Elizabeth, and that is my focus. This [the EP Kings] is my job and I am absolutely 100 percent committed to EP Rugby and the Kings."
Nick Mallett (unattached - his Italian contract ended this month)
"I'll have an opportunity, I've already had plenty of offers and I'll have an opportunity in June next year if I want to get back into coaching. I might not want to get back into coaching but if I do it will be in June next year. I won't coach in South Africa again, there's always opportunities in France because I speak French and also in England but I'll look at it then and it will give me six to eight months [to think about it]."
Jake White (Brumbies)
"I've got a contract here in Canberra, I'm enjoying putting the program together with a great group of staff and players and I'm definitely not leaving. As a proud South African it has always been my intention to one day return to my homeland and as an ambitious coach, leading the national team again is also something I would like to achieve in the future. I will not turn my back on South Africa, but for at least the next four years I am 100 per cent committed to leading the Brumbies and returning Super Rugby success to the people of Canberra."
Rudolf Straeuli (Sharks - Commercial Manager)
"You don't do the same thing twice. I enjoyed my time here [with the Boks] and gained plenty of experience, but I am in a different line of work here at the Sharks now. There are many capable guys that can do the job."
Alister Coetzee (Western Province and Stormers)
Despite being touted as one of the leading candidates, Coetzee was extremely evasive this week. He told a media gathering in Cape Town: "As far as my knowledge goes, nobody has been approached for the job yet." He went on to say that he is trying to get his team (Western Province) into the Currie Cup semifinals and felt it is "not the right time" to discuss the Bok job. He felt SARU must first finalise the process through which the next coach will be appointed.
Rassie Erasmus (Senior Professional coach - Western Province and Stormers)
Despite being linked to the Bok job as a 'package deal' with Allister Coetzee, Erasmus has deliberately moved under the radar this week - even taking to changing his cell phone number again. However, insiders say he will be in the running if the "conditions are right".
Naka Drotské (Cheetahs - Currie Cup and Super Rugby)
He is only on this list because we have been unable to get hold of him, although Free State Rugby Union sources confirmed that he unlikely to join the dwindling Bok coaching queue at headquarters as he signed a new three-year contract in June and will stay in Bloemfontein.
John Plumtree (Sharks - Currie Cup and Super Rugby)
He has also gone under the radar and because he has not formally ruled himself out, we have to list him under this collection. However, it is believed that SARU's policy of 'no foreigners' have been made its way through the grapevine to the coaches. Which is why, like his compatriot John Mitchell, he will not put his name forward.
Dick Muir (Bok backs coach - till December 31)
While he has also not ruled himself out formally, sources close to the national team suggested he might also take an extended break from coaching. Also, after his last stint in Super Rugby, with the Lions, he may have trouble finding another job.
Gary Gold (Bok forwards coach - till December 31)
He is here because we have also been unable to get hold of him. However, given his experience, it is unlikely that he would back down from the challenge of taking the head coaching job.
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