The Golden Lions sacked coach Eugene ”Loffie” Eloff on Wednesday only a week before the team meets the British and Irish Lions.
Eloff, who was contracted to the union until October 31, paid for three woeful seasons for the Lions in the Super 14.
The team, which has featured at the bottom of the Super 14 standings since it reached the semifinals in 2001, finished 12th in 2007, last in 2008, and 12th again this year, with only four wins in 13 games.
The Golden Lions Rugby Union said those results made it necessary to hire a consultancy firm run by former World Cup-winning Springboks coach Jake White on Tuesday to audit the union.
The GLRU said in a statement on Wednesday that ”in order…to move forward” it needed ”to make immediate changes to allow for a proper buildup” for the British Lions game next Wednesday and the 2009 Currie Cup, and that started with axing Eloff, who coached the team to the 2007 Currie Cup final and was to be re-employed elsewhere within the union.
The players were informed, said chief executive Manie Reyneke, and Hans Coetzee was appointed interim head coach, with assistance from Vodacom Cup coach Wimpie Vermeulen and former Springboks flanker Ian Macdonald.
Last week, Eloff said he hoped to continue coaching the Lions in the Super 14 and Currie Cup. — Sapa