Springbok rugby coach Peter de Villiers faces world criticism and SA Rugby has confirmed that he is to be grilled by a review panel on the Boks’ trio of humiliating defeats against New Zealand and Australia.
Murray Williams writes for the Cape Argus that under De Villiers, the Boks struggled in 2008 but reverted to their world championship recipe for success in 2009 as they won the Tri-Nations and beat the British & Irish Lions.
However, their fortunes have waned this season. After three successive defeats – twice to the All Blacks and the Wallabies on Saturday in Brisbane – local and international rugby writers and columnists have criticised De Villiers for an apparent lack of progressive ideas, stale tactics and a lack of leadership. De Villiers was also accused of having a hands-off coaching style – deferring to his senior players and relying on world champions in the squad to make key decisions during matches.
Questions are again being asked about why the Springboks, after being crowned world champions in 2007, were given a coach with limited top-level experience. At the time of his appointment, De Villiers had coached only the Falcons Currie Cup team at senior level.
Writing today, columnist Peter Bills warned that if De Villiers was permitted to stay until after the World Cup, he may by then have “squandered the golden generation bequeathed by Jake White and failed in his principal task to retain the World Cup”.
Rugby columnist Mark Keohane this weekend echoed this sentiment: “There are major problems in the Bok set-up as this champion’s cycle nears an end. A failure to front those issues and make the necessary adjustment will be a rugby crime,” he warned.
Approached for comment today, the Boks’ 2007 World Cup-winning coach, Jake White, questioned SA Rugby’s appointment of the current Bok management team.
White said the foundation for a successful 2011 World Cup campaign had been laid during his term.
“… Imagine where the team would have been if, like (All Blacks coach) Graham Henry, I had had the same opportunity to stay on,” said White whose contract was not renewed at the end of the 2007 season.
Among other criticism of De Villiers this weekend, New Zealand’s Herald on Sunday columnist Richard Loe, a former All Black prop forward, wrote: “I hope this character stays in charge of the Boks until after the World Cup (because) I don’t think he is doing them any good.
Loe said the Bulls and Stormers had been so impressive in dominating the Super 14 this past season that he had to single out a lack of coaching as the reason the Boks were misfiring and that form was not carried through to the national team.
In response to criticism of De Villiers, SA Rugby head Oregan Hoskins said this morning: “We normally review performances after a leg like this, and we will begin this week.”
The panel would be headed by SA Rugby’s new vice-president, James Stofberg, and would include selector Ian McIntosh.
Asked about the waves of concern about De Villiers’s alleged lack of ideas, Hoskins said: “I’d rather not comment on that now. But we’re concerned about the losses.
“We shouldn’t change the personnel – in other words we shouldn’t sack the coach. The issue about him not coaching and leaving it up to the senior players – that we will certainly take up with gusto. If that is happening – and it shouldn’t be happening – (it) would certainly be concerning.
Asked if SA Rugby had erred by appointing De Villiers after White’s world-beating stint as coach, he said: “I’m not a coach. That’s why I don’t pick the team.
“I wouldn’t say he’s best coach in the world, but I wouldn’t say he’s inferior to Jake White. I’d say they are on par. My issue with the coach is his media comments – I think that detracts from his ability. That’s where I’d like to concentrate,” Hoskins said.Tweet