A sportsperson has to make the decision when to hang up their boots at some time in their career but some have to make that decision before their career has even begun due to a variety of reasons. Twenty-one-year-old Vic Meyer, son of former Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer, opted to take up coaching after injuring his back just before the start of the Under-21 season as he did not want to suffer the consequences later in life.
"To be honest, I have been dealing with injuries since my school days and have missed out on quite a bit of rugby. I love this game but it was getting to the point where I was putting my body on the line week in and week out for very little in return. The frustration was just not enjoyable anymore," said the loose forward.
It was his alma mater, Afrikaanse Hoër Seunskool, that gave him his first coaching stint with the third year BComm Human Resource Management student coaching the U15As before TuksRugby came knocking with an offer to coach the new boys on the block, FNB Academy Old Boys (AOB).
"Affies reached out and offered a coaching position within their rugby structures in 2017 while I was out injured which set the platform for TuksRugby to give me a shot with AOB. My decision to step away from the playing side of things was a hard decision but the coaching offers made it a bit easier," said Meyer.
Meyer has now stepped into the same arena where his father has excelled and he admits to feeling the pressure as the rugby community has already begun to draw comparisons. It is his father, who coaches Top14 outfit Stade Français, who has been the voice of reason in Meyer's new career path with Meyer acknowledging the profound impact he has had on his life.
"My dad told me that I was crazy to take up coaching as it is such an unforgiving environment but as soon as he saw how determined I was to make a success of it, he became my biggest supporter. Just as he has always been. My dad has laid the perfect blueprint for not only being a successful coach but also showing us how to be a good man. People often do not think of how much he was away from his family but this did not stop him from instilling the values needed to live a good life. He truly is a great father and husband and I just want to do what is right by him," explained Meyer.
It may be early days as Meyer has just started his coaching career but he has already guided AOB to the final of the Tuks FNB Res Rugby League and although they narrowly lost to the defending champions FNB Maroela, he deserves credit for creating a winning mentality for the newcomers which he attributes to simple coaching.
"The rugby community tends to think that coaching is a complicated process. It is quite literally the opposite as playing to one's strengths is critical to the success of a team. It is important to add that one needs to be able to adapt on match day as things can stray from the chosen game plan. This is the legacy that I want to leave as a coach," he said.
The future does indeed look bright for the gifted Meyer who boasts an incredible rugby mind and the South African rugby landscape will only benefit from his input as he seeks to establish himself as a world class coach in the years to come.