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Heyneke Meyer steps down as South Africa head coach

The decision comes two months after Meyer guided the team to the semi-finals of the World Cup, where they were beaten by eventual champions New Zealand. During his stint, Meyer helped lift the Springboks from fourth to second in the world rankings in his first season in charge, and went on to guide the team to a record-breaking 38-12 win over Australia, as well as two unbeaten end-of-year tours.

“I have always put the Springboks first in my time as coach and since returning from England I have realised that as much as I believe I still have a lot to offer, the time has come for change,” said Meyer. “My integrity has always been very important and I feel I can leave with my head held high.

I’ve always maintained that my only motivation was to serve my country and to do what was best for the Springboks. “I have greatly enjoyed my time as Springbok coach, although it has been highly pressured at times and especially tough on my family, and I would like to thank them for their unwavering support in the last four years.

“I have put my heart and soul into the job and did my very best.

I believe that, overall, I leave the team with much to look forward to in 2016, with new structures in place to ensure the Springboks will remain competitive on the world stage.

“The number of young players that have been blooded over the past four seasons, who chose to remain in South Africa, leave the team in a great position to move on in the next few years. I would like to wish the next coach all the success in this wonderful position.”

South Africa won 34 matches and recorded two draws in 50 games under Meyer, and they also scored 143 Test tries.

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