Bok coach: ‘I do listen to my players’

Written by Wesley Weber (wpw)

Posted in :In the news, Springboks, Tri Nations on 2 Aug 2010 at 09:37
Tagged with : , ,

Springbok coach Peter de Villiers has made an astonishing admission: He does take advice from the senior players in the team.?

Rugby365.com reports:

However, he remained adamant he was still in charge of proceedings within the senior national team.

Following three successive Tri-Nations defeats in Australasia, and with a title defence now out of the reach of the Boks, De Villiers has come under intense public scrutiny for the decline of a team that last year held every trophy available to them.

They have since allowed the Tri-Nations title and Freedom Plate to slip from their grasp, with the Mandela Cup just one defeat away from also leaving South African shores.

However, it is reports that there is a split in the coaching ranks and that it is actually captain John Smit and vice-captain Victor Matfield that are coaching the Bok team that have sent shockwaves through the country.

De Villiers, speaking in a weekly question and answer session with readers of the official SA Rugby  dismissed the notion that he is just a token “affirmative action” coach.

“I’ve heard this so many times,” De Villiers replied, in answer to one reader’s question.

“It’s obvious that those with fixed opinions won’t change their minds whatever I say.

“I am the coach, but I do listen to players who have played in close to 100 Tests and won every trophy there is to win in rugby.

“It has brought us success and I don’t recall this being a criticism last year.

“I am not threatened by this talk – after all, I went to France to fetch John [Smit] back.”

De Villiers was also extensively questioned about his team selections, with one reader wanting to know why he did not use the younger players or give them a chance to get experience and build a team for the next World Cup.

The suggestion is that some of the older players are ready to move on.

“It is one of the key questions that we spend a long time debating in selection and this year you’ve seen that we have brought through young players like Francois Louw, Juan de Jongh, Flip van der Merwe and others,” the Bok coach answered.

“But the history of World Cups is that they’re won by experience – the Bok and England teams that won the last two were the most experienced in either teams’ history!

“All but three of Jake’s team won in 2007 had made their debuts at or before the previous World Cup, so experience can’t be a bad thing.”

He was also questioned about his ongoing support for out of form scrumhalf Ricky Januarie, as well as Ruan Pienaar, who is moving to Ireland. The reader wanted to know why Griquas star Sarel Pretorius was not given a chance.

“Sarel [Pretorius] was playing great rugby before his injury [in 2009] and he was in our plans for the end of last year.

“It was a bad injury and now he is coming right we will be watching him closely, as we will anyone who is playing well in the Currie Cup.

“However, that doesn’t mean we’re about to turn our backs on players who have already performed in the Springbok jersey.”

Of course, the name of French-based utility back Frans Steyn also came up.

“Frans [Steyn] is very much still in our thinking and we would like him in the team – we just have to balance the demands of club and country so that he can perform his best for the Springboks.”

And there was a question about Jean de Villiers or Wynand Olivier at inside centre – to partner Jaque Fourie.

“Jean [de Villiers] and Wynand [Olivier] are both very good inside centres, but when Jean moved overseas it was time to move on as it is difficult to assess form and fitness when players are playing in a different environment overseas.

“Wynand was again outstanding in the Super 14, while Juan de Jongh put up his hand.

“They performed well and as we knew they were performing at the top level, earned their selection.

“In addition we were expecting New Zealand to use the cross field bomb and Jean’s height is an asset in that regard, while his try-scoring record as a Springbok wing is outstanding – it wasn’t about breaking up partnerships, it was about making decisions in the interests of the team.”


  • I wonder why people are calling it an ‘astonishing admission’ :roll:

    So doesn’t it make sense for a coach to get input from players who have ‘been there done that’ at the highest level??

    Players that have won every possible trophy available. Should they not have a say in team matters??

    Earlier this week Gary Gold confirmed that the coaches (Div, Gold and Muir) meet with the senior players (John and Victor) to discuss the game plan, etc.

    So what seems to be the problem??

    I think the rugby public in SA (read: media and coaches) are missing something and instead of backing the coach and the team all they’re doing is making a mountain out of a mole hill.

    What ever happened to supporting the team through bad/tough times?? :roll:

  • Comment 1, posted at 02.08.10 09:43:02 by wpw Reply
    wpwAssistant coach
  • @wpw (Comment 1) : From my side there has never been a question of support but that doesn’t mean he can’t or shouldn’t be critisized.

  • Comment 2, posted at 02.08.10 09:54:52 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
    Assistant coach
  • @Pokkel (Comment 2) :

    I agree 100% but some people really take it way too far.

    Anyway, the team is not playing well, how is that ONLY the coaches fault??

    It is not Div who missed over 50 tackles in both tests against the AB’s. Anyway, I’m just saying we should back them now that they need us the most!!

  • Comment 3, posted at 02.08.10 09:58:59 by wpw Reply
    wpwAssistant coach
  • @wpw (Comment 3) : the team is not playing well, how is that the coach’s fault?

    Did you actually READ that before you hit “Submit”? :)

  • Comment 4, posted at 02.08.10 10:06:23 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
    robdylanHead Coach
  • @robdylan (Comment 4) :

    ‘ONLY the coaches fault’ :twisted:

  • Comment 5, posted at 02.08.10 10:13:02 by wpw Reply
    wpwAssistant coach
  • @wpw (Comment 5) : i think that calling for the coaches head when underperforming is as natural in SA rugby as it is in European Football. As harsh as it may seem, the SA public wants results. wasnt it in 2006 when jake also lost the away legs of the tri nations that he also nearly got sacked?

  • Comment 6, posted at 02.08.10 11:09:19 by VanWilder Reply

    VanWilderCurrie Cup player
  • @VanWilder (Comment 6) :

    Jake lost 5 in a row in 2006 :roll:

  • Comment 7, posted at 02.08.10 11:18:13 by wpw Reply
    wpwAssistant coach
  • @wpw (Comment 7) : okey ja, but i think he played 2 or 3 test with a b-team? if i`m not mistaken?

  • Comment 8, posted at 02.08.10 11:25:56 by VanWilder Reply

    VanWilderCurrie Cup player
  • @VanWilder (Comment 8) :

    Well, the 0-49 result had the following players in the side:

    Os du Randt
    John Smit
    CJ van der Linde
    Danie Rossouw
    Victor Matfield
    Joe van Niekerk
    Juan Smith
    Pierre Spies
    Enrico Januarie
    Jaco van der Westhuyzen
    Bryan Habana
    Wynand Olivier
    Jaque Fourie
    Akona Ndungane
    Percy Montgomery

    Reserve Jacques Cronjé
    Reserve Albert van den Berg
    Reserve Eddie Andrews
    Reserve Danie Coetzee
    Reserve Fourie du Preez
    Reserve Meyer Bosman
    Reserve Breyton Paulse

  • Comment 9, posted at 02.08.10 11:35:22 by wpw Reply
    wpwAssistant coach
  • @wpw (Comment 7) : The 2006 is like comparing oranges with apples – Jake White didnt start off with the World Champions – PDV did.
    The majority of the Boks are Bulls and Stormers – those two teams during the S14 practically schooled the rest fo the S14 teams (with the exception of the Reds) in the new interpretations, the Bulls attacked was unrivalled as was the Stormers defense. So how is it that those same players now seem completly clueless on the field. Sorry, but the most signifcant change between the players in the S14 and in the 3N’s is the coaching staff. Surely if the provincial coaches get it right, the our National coaches should be even better.

  • Comment 10, posted at 02.08.10 11:37:08 by Just a Fan Reply

    Just a FanCurrie Cup player
  • @Just a Fan (Comment 10) : i think you cant even compare jake with snorre. the fact is, when losing form and a few games in a row, the public and media will start calling for your head. if youre peter or jake, doesnt matter. there is a worrying fact that the commentators mentioned before the last test, and it is that since the last tri nations, the boks could not win against a top 5(or 6) ranked side since (except france).
    but there is still hope, as we lost so many games in 2006 and won the cup in 2007… :|

  • Comment 11, posted at 02.08.10 11:50:22 by VanWilder Reply

    VanWilderCurrie Cup player
  • @Just a Fan (Comment 10) :

    Firstly, its not Div’s fault that he took over the reigning world champions just like it wasnt Andre Markgraaff’s when he took over from Kitch and yet Div has managed to improve the Boks whereas under Markies we deteriorated.

    As for the S14 finalists, i believe that guys like John, Matfield, Spies, Rossouw, Burger, Habana have played way too much rugby over the last 18 months.
    2 x S14 tournaments, an extended Tri Nations, B&I Lions series and an EOYT.

    When are they supposed to rest??

    I’ll ask this question again: Is it the coach/es who missed over 50 tackles against the All Blacks??

    Did Div, Gold and Muir knock the ball on??

    I’m not saying they should not be blamed in some way but for goodness sake, our players have been cack!! :???:

  • Comment 12, posted at 02.08.10 11:52:04 by wpw Reply
    wpwAssistant coach
  • @wpw (Comment 12) : i think PDV true colours are starting to show that’s my point of view everybody that i know has been saying that JW coaching has wierd off and now it PDV and he is nt climbing like we want him to, and its true the BOKS hv been playing to much Rugby and not resting enough, the human body can only take so much and if u don’t rest it, you’ll burn out maybe thats what is wrong with most of the guys and one more thing the S14 everybody’s playing in the teams and 2 little time for players at the SB level to get coaching and time together. And i also say if we want to win the WC 2011 why nt take the best of the best from all teams and leave them out of the CC and start working towards the WC 2011, but that me just me :???: :lol: ;-)

  • Comment 13, posted at 02.08.10 13:45:55 by chaz Reply

    ChazTeam captain
  • @wpw (Comment 9) : That’s not a very good team … lets January, Jaco, Wynand, Joe at six ?, andrew’s, Paulse … I can’t believe there was no better players around.

  • Comment 14, posted at 02.08.10 19:47:10 by Letgo Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Administrator
    LetgoAssistant coach
  • @Letgo (Comment 14) : Still not an awful team, makes you wonder why we lost 5 in a row.

  • Comment 15, posted at 02.08.10 19:47:57 by Letgo Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Administrator
    LetgoAssistant coach
  • @Letgo (Comment 15) : …and why only a couple of changes for the WC produces a winning team.

  • Comment 16, posted at 02.08.10 19:48:37 by Letgo Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Administrator
    LetgoAssistant coach
  • JP for Akona
    Frans Steyn for Wynand
    Butch for Jaco
    Fourie for January
    Danie Russouw for Spies
    Burger for Joe
    Bakkies for Russouw

    Bissie was on the bench, and

  • Comment 17, posted at 02.08.10 19:58:02 by Letgo Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Administrator
    LetgoAssistant coach
  • @Letgo (Comment 17) : OK so a couple of changes.

  • Comment 18, posted at 02.08.10 19:58:24 by Letgo Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Administrator
    LetgoAssistant coach
  • Letgo, not to miss the point, but the team that Jake selected was the one he thought best. Naturally we may look back and question some calls, but I think wpw was trying to illustrate that it wasn’t the team of palookas that we had at the 2003 WC, and that point is valid.

  • Comment 19, posted at 02.08.10 20:04:21 by Big Fish Reply
    Big FishAssistant coach
  • @Letgo (Comment 18) : I think this indicates how important the coaches selections really are… a few of the right combinations and some quality “x-factor” players and suddenly you go from zero to a World-Cup winning team.

    The coach may not miss the tackles or drop the passes, but he is the one who picks the repeat offenders… and the one who picks the over-played senior players that should be resting and creating opportunities for the younger, hungrier up-and-coming players.

  • Comment 20, posted at 02.08.10 20:31:58 by CS Reply

    CSCurrie Cup player
  • CS
    There I agree with you. We need to build squad depth and select guys like Kanko, De Jongh, Hougaard, Basson, Coenie, Chilli or Botha, Potgieter, Fondse, etc.
    I think Div has missed the boat in that respect!

  • Comment 21, posted at 02.08.10 20:37:10 by wpw Reply
    wpwAssistant coach

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