Springbok captain John Smit says that coach Peter de Villiers is largely misunderstood and speculative comments on his coaching ability “irritates the living daylights” out of him.
Smit, South Africa’s most illustrious rugby captain, stressed that De Villiers’ botched comments in the media does not mean he does not know what he is doing on the rugby field.
“People must understand that the vibe Peter gives out in the media is very different to the one we get from him as players,” the Bok captain explained in an interview with the Cape Argus.
“We understand that he makes a meal of every press conference and sometimes gives the press ammunition, and this is something he will work on, but in our Springbok camp he creates a happy and positive environment for the players.
“In the 15 months he has coached us, not one reporter has ever quoted a player, even anonymously, as saying ‘De Villiers does not know what he is doing’, and that is because the players enjoy him,” Smit said.
Smit also drew comparisons between De Villiers and World Cup-winning Bok coach Jake White and he suggested that the De Villiers is better than White in certain ways.
“He is very different to Jake White, but in some ways he is better…” Smit said
“Technically you will not get better than Jake but Peter has other very good attributes.”
Smit also scoffed at suggestions that he is holding the Springbok team together and not the coaching staff.
“It is nice that people think highly of me,” he laughs, “but I am just doing my job on the field as captain.
“It would be easy for me to say I am in charge of the team, but that is only the case on the field, where as captain I must keep the team headed in the right direction and playing according to plan.
“I don’t see how it is fair that the coach is criticised because the captain is doing his job.”
With the British and Irish Lions series wrapped up, the looming Tri-Nations has the Boks’ full attention and they find themselves tipped to win it.
“We are the favourites, I believe [according to the bookies], and we very much want to live up to that expectation. It is going to be one heck of a series.
“I think the Wallabies are going to be much better than people think, and the All Blacks will get their act together [they were not in good form in the June Tests] – they always do, especially with Richie McCaw now back from injury.”Tweet