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You don't have to be 'crazy as hell' to be a Rugby World Cup coach, but ...

We've had sensational half-time rants. There've been media conferences where you expected grown men to break down and cry. Others more restrained have shown excessive moments of emotion. The press has even called for the sacking of some. We're only two weeks into this World Cup tournament, and already numerous coaches are starting to go a bit wonky, seemingly struggling to handle the pressure.

France coach Philippe Saint-Andre became an early tournament hit when footage of his finger-thrusting tirade during the break in the Romania game was shown during the match broadcast. At the other end of the spectrum, the sight of a delirious Welsh coach Warren Gatland gleefully shaking every body part after his team's mighty and defiant triumph over England will not be forgotten for some time.

There has even been raw emotion on offer at media conferences, where coaches have openly pondered why they ever decided to pursue such an unpredictable and highly stressful lifestyle.

One of the most interesting and unexpected of media-coach powwows came after the South Africa-Samoa match in Birmingham last Saturday. Heyneke Meyer had just gone through a week of misery, having been forced to apologise to his nation after the Springboks had inexplicably lost to Japan in the first round.

As if being the coach on the wrong side of World Cup rugby's biggest upset was not humiliating enough, Meyer then had to endure the South African Minister of Sport Fikile Mbalula warning that further disappointment of the tournament would see the team branded a "bunch of losers who failed to represent their country".

"Mr Heyneke Meyer please can your team represent South Africa and make us proud,' the Sports Minister moaned.

All this came on top of recent complaints that Meyer had not picked enough black players in recent Springboks squads.

Meyer had appeared short of allies in the lead-up to Birmingham, and he could have easily have been an early tournament casualty had if the Springboks stumbled against Samoa. But the Springboks held up - even if a bit shakily at times - and Meyer was allowed some breathing space. He arrived at the press conference with a look of sheer relief. He appeared emotionally drained, but soon found his second breath. His first words were: "I would like to thank the Lord for blessing us. It's been a tough week."

As we all wondered if we all had to go down on our knees and pray, Meyer thanked anyone and everyone in enabling him to get through what he had been the "toughest year of my career".

Sure, he wondered why he was eager to carry on as coach when he had been the target of so much venom and criticism, particularly from his own countrymen who were skeptical of his willingness to stack his squad with veterans - several clearly past their best.

"But that's why I coach. I'm crazy as hell."

You do have to be a bit wacko to take on the Springboks coaching position, as it involves trying to appease so many different sporting and political factions. It's a position where you can never please everyone; it is more a case of trying to keep your enemies to a minimum.

"I know there are a lot of bad things in my country," Meyer said. "But there are a lot of good things as well. And I know that when the Springbok team goes well, South Africa as a country goes well. We are a proud nation. And only winning is good for us. Yes, I know this job is a burden, but it is also an honour."

It was certainly time for a cold shower.

The other coach with an enormous burden right now is England's Stuart Lancaster. The consequences of the highly fancied host nation being out of contention before the end of the pool stage if they lose to Australia on Saturday is overwhelming.

An early England tournament departure will put an enormous dampener on this World Cup, and Lancaster is certain to be targeted. His position will be far from safe if Australia expose England's leadership problems and strange selections as did Wales last Saturday.

The big question is when and if Lancaster will ever crack. His matchday demeanour is certainly different - and a contrast to so many of the World Cup coaches. The expression never changes. Look straight ahead. Don't smile. Don't do anything. Just keep staring straight ahead. You would love to be sitting next to him so you can prod him and say: "You there? You with us?"

If Lancaster were an Australian, he would probably be tagged 'Bernie' as in Weekend at Bernie's. Stephen Larkham was given that nickname many years ago as he wouldn't say boo.

Nowadays Larkham is Harpo Marx compared to Lancaster.

Then again, Lancaster may have found remaining expressionless is the only way to retain your sanity in this "crazy as hell" profession. Other more extravagant ways have been tried, and failed.