Meyer will restore Stade Francais glory says owner
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Stade Francais owner Hans-Peter Wild told AFP that former Springboks coach Heyneke Meyer will restore the struggling Top 14 outfit to their former glory.
Stade had been looking for a coach since New Zealander Greg Cooper left the job in January and the Paris outfit announced on Tuesday that Meyer would take over as Sports Director from next season.
Swiss magnate Wild told AFP that Meyer had been recommended to him as "a very good option for us" in South Africa in January when he was visiting performance centres at the Sharks, the Bulls and the Stormers and that Meyer then travelled to Switzerland to meet him.
"I spent a whole Saturday with him. He was very well prepared, he came with this booklet, 'Concept for Stade Francais', that was very convincing," said the 76-year-old billionaire.
"It was a great choice for us, one of the best coaches in the world... we were very confident that he would restore Stade Francais to its former glory."
The Parisians are in the middle of a remarkable slump in form after seven defeats in their last eight games.
Wild described Meyer as very motivated and said he would outline his 'Concept for Stade Francais' in detail shortly.
The language barrier is one problem the club has to work out, and another was what to do with the interim coaching team of Robert Mohr, Julien Dupuy and Olivier Azam.
"The thing is he cannot talk directly to the players," said Wild. "The same problem that Cooper had. But we learnt, we will give him a South African player who will be on his side, he speaks French very well so he will be his translator."
Wild said the interim coaching team all had a future too, especially player Mohr, who was being primed as a coach and manager by the club.
"Heyneke is No.1, Robert is No.2. Same with Julien, same with Olivier [they have a future]. Everybody is welcome to work at the team but everybody needs to be in line otherwise it's a mess."
Wild was scathing of the situation left by Cooper, saying 20 of his 50 players were injured and half of the rest were not strong enough. He did however promise to rectify the situation with recruitment and development.
Meyer will have his work cut out when he arrives as Stade lost 33-37 on Sunday to Toulouse, leaving the Paris giants third from bottom.
Both sides scored four tries apiece with Stade at least having the consolation of a losing bonus point when Jules Plisson popped over a last-minute penalty.
Toulouse moved into second spot but are six points behind Montpellier who routed Castres 45-7.
South African hooker Bismarck du Plessis scored two of his team's five tries as Montpellier maintained their undefeated home record with a ninth successive win at their Altrad Stadium.
La Rochelle and Pau both cemented their play-off hopes.
La Rochelle ran in five tries to see off Bordeaux-Begles 31-20 while Pau also crossed five times on their way to 33-12 triumph over Oyonnax.