KSA Shark ©

Rubbishing World Cup winners is silly

Written by Andre Bosch (KSA Shark ©)

Posted in :In the news, Springboks on 3 Jun 2008 at 17:35

You don’t have to look at his record as the most successful provincial/regional coach in world rugby to understand why Robbie Deans is so sought after and so highly respected in his industry.

It is obvious just from observing him, from listening to him speak. He is straight, he is economical with his words, he has a way about him that breathes rugby and just commands respect. You could see this when he addressed his Crusaders players after they had won their seventh Super 14 title.

Gavin Rich writes for Superrugby that after those celebrations were over, Deans flew over the Tasman Sea to take up position as the new coach of the Wallabies. I have read several reports on his first day in charge of the Australian national team. They were all positive, actually pretty effusive in some instances, and yet not once was there an instance where he made a comment that rubbished his predecessor.

Deans appears to be one who is able to look to the future without concentrating too much on what has been before. I doubt very much too that Deans could ever be accused of making contradictory statements. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same about the new Springbok coach Peter de Villiers.

In one of his earliest press conferences, De Villiers was so gushing in his praise of the intelligence and maturity of the Bok players he was working with that it was almost embarrassing. He spoke about how he was in awe of them, how they were impressive not just as rugby players, but also as human beings.

How did this fit though with a more recent interview in which he not only appears to go out of his way to criticise his predecessor, Jake White, but also disses the players for their conservatism and their unwillingness to embrace change.

The players are painted by De Villiers as being closeted, unable to think for themselves, and reading between the lines, they are robots. Or at least that is what he was thinking on the day he was interviewed, for as I say, on a different day he definitely thought very differently. Or at least so he said…

Now is it my imagination or is there a shared chorus coming from most readers at this point? One that goes like this: Give us 15 robots who will win us the World Cup and we will say those are damn good robots.

Which is a point that De Villiers should not forget as he starts out on his own path as Springbok coach – the man he is replacing did win the World Cup, if there is resistance to change it is probably because it is quite natural to resist change to something that works.

I know there are those who still like to criticise White, who try to negate his achievements. Those who do so though employ idiotic reasoning, and conveniently forget that the reason White’s team did not face New Zealand in the final was because the All Blacks lost to France, who were outplayed twice by Argentina, who in turn were thrashed by the Boks.

Those who point to him never winning in New Zealand conveniently forget that two of those four Test matches on Kiwi soil during the White era were decided off the last move of the game. No other post-isolation Bok coach other than Nick Mallett ever came so close. Then there were three wins over the All Blacks on South African soil. Name the modern Bok coaches who managed to win once, let alone three times? They are a small group.

White, when he was in the position De Villiers is in now, was rebuilding the Boks, who had been unceremoniously dumped from the World Cup in Australia a few months before. He went on from that small base to win the Tri-Nations. Considering where the Boks had been, that was a massive achievement, and it deservedly saw him win the IRB Coach of the Year award.

I don’t know what new level De Villiers might be referring to when he says he can get 40% more from the Boks that won the World Cup. There is no new level – Jake White achieved the pinnacle of what any rugby coach can achieve.

If his comments telegraph intent to reinvent the wheel, to sweep in a whole new way of playing, then someone should remind him that he has not coached at Test level yet. Harry Viljoen thought he knew it all when he took over in 2000, and that was why he instructed his players not to kick under any circumstances when they played their first Test under his charge against Argentina.

We all know what happened next – Viljoen’s style switched quite quickly from one of ultra-attacking to one of ultra-conservatism. He learned that Test rugby was a different animal to where he had been before.

The Test experience of the players in his squad far outweighs his own international experience, so I dare-say De Villiers would be well advised to listen to them, and instead of criticising White’s regime, he should be thankful for the platform and the winning culture that has been created.


  • Yip what a pleasure 2 take over a team full of confidence and is ranked #1 in the world..PDV would do well to give it a rest when making silly remarks about White and what went on before him and concentrate more at making his own mark.

  • Comment 1, posted at 03.06.08 19:02:17 by CoffeeShopBok;-) Reply
  • I will repeat what I said about this piece on RW.

    I think it is pretty rich of Rich to look at a couple of statements in isolation and formulate an article and opinion around that of Snor.

    Snor also said that under White the Boks achieved great success, and he would be stupid not to build on that which is why Smit is again captain, and Vic, Butch and Percy was brought back from overseas.

    If Snor can be criticised for one thing it is that he perhaps says too much, but in a country so hell-bent on forming their own opinions – especially the press – I am not surprised Snor wants everyone to know exactly what he is thinking and feeling. Problem is, you might just contradict yourself as I have done many times on this website when I was pressed for an opinion on something. But because his every move is scrutinized to the fullest, this is also exposed in the worst possible manner by journalists such as Rich who together with Keohane became Jake’s girlfriends in Paris last year – after they I might add, lambasted him not even 8 months before that calling for his head!

    Funny thing is I actually enjoy Rich’s stuff, but this is one of his most one-sided attempts at controversy I have ever seen, even outdoing Keohane by some margin. Hell it is even as bad as that moron on News 24 who feeble attempt at taking a dig a Meyer and harping on the old colour issue!

    It is very clear to me that there are two-camps in the media when it comes to Snor, one for, one dead against…

  • Comment 2, posted at 03.06.08 19:11:14 by MorneN Reply
  • Unfortunately the division as mentioned in my previous post has nothing to do with rugby ability, but seems to be a division based on specifically the colour of the coach, with the coloured/black journo’s taking his side and the white ones very sceptical if not downright ridiculous.

  • Comment 3, posted at 03.06.08 19:14:03 by MorneN Reply
  • Morne I agree with what you say journos have short memories..but instead of PDV making comments perhaps its better he just gets on with what he intends on doing with the Boks and let him and he’s team do the talking on the field.The real test will come tri-nations time and he will be up against the best in the business in Deans and Henry..Can’t wait, I for 1 want to see him suceed beyond what White achieved.Starting with an away win in NZ.

    Its a damn shame that there is division on the basis of the colour of the coach..will it ever go away 😕

  • Comment 4, posted at 03.06.08 19:21:17 by CoffeeShopBok;-) Reply

  • CSB I agree mate and yes, no matter what Peter or any coach says, he will be judged on results and Peter can actually take a note out of Rassie’s book where he said he does not need the media, and even snubbed them…

    But we know it is impossible in SA.

  • Comment 5, posted at 03.06.08 19:27:09 by MorneN Reply
  • rubbishing wc winners…? since when is that a big deal? we all do it all the time… anyway – how much of this has de villiers done? and how much of it is gavin’s imagination?

  • Comment 6, posted at 03.06.08 19:35:58 by blackshark Reply

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  • @MorneN (Comment 2) : do we really need to call him Snor? Pretty insulting, I would think.

  • Comment 7, posted at 03.06.08 19:53:47 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • This article is rubbish. The coach has to listen to the players because they have more experience??? Bollocks!

  • Comment 8, posted at 03.06.08 20:01:07 by blackshark Reply

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  • @blackshark (Comment 8) : why don’t we just let the players coach themselves?

  • Comment 9, posted at 03.06.08 20:02:06 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • Just when we are excited to see what the team can do…someone just had to try and stir. Why would Smit say all these nice things about someone who regards him as a robot leader? Bring on wales!

  • Comment 10, posted at 03.06.08 20:17:04 by blackshark Reply

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  • @blackshark (Comment 10) : yeah baby!

  • Comment 11, posted at 03.06.08 20:23:24 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • OZH MY GOD – Gavin Rich used the word dissed!!!

    Wonder if he was listening to his Fiddy album when he penned this.

  • Comment 12, posted at 03.06.08 20:23:33 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • @Big Fish (Comment 12) : fo sheezy

  • Comment 13, posted at 03.06.08 20:34:05 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • Great this is a very interesting article and I must agree seeing it
    now after posting comments under the headline BOKS READY FOR WELSH.

  • Comment 14, posted at 03.06.08 20:46:59 by rugby brain Reply

  • I quite enjoy de Villiers to be honest.

    Yeah he gives lots of soundbites but he’s still new in the job and is obviously very proud of the fact he is coaching the world champs.
    So what? I find it quite refreshing and the best thing is that it won’t make one iota of difference if the side wins.

    Who will really give a toss if he contradicts himself (normally when taken out of context) and is a clown?

    The proof, as always, is in the pudding and let me remin you that he has pretty much exactly the same credentials Jake had when he took on the job. And he has decidely less political worries and pressures than Jake had.

    These journos tearing into PDV without a ball being passed by his team are shameful and probably a little bit bored.

  • Comment 15, posted at 03.06.08 23:25:41 by VinChainSaw Reply
  • rob,

    To be honest: Peter de Villers and his snor is a bit like the old elephant in the room story.

    That snor is pretty all-encompassing.
    I think we should design a snor smiley that we could use everytime we were referring to PDV. Just to save time. S’pose it would really look like an upside-down u. But in capitals. So like U. Only upside-down.

    And all and all and all and all.

  • Comment 16, posted at 03.06.08 23:28:37 by VinChainSaw Reply
  • @VinChainSaw (Comment 16) : This is not the smiley site 🙂

  • Comment 17, posted at 04.06.08 00:27:53 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • something like this ???—> 👿 but no angry eyes


  • Comment 18, posted at 04.06.08 08:45:24 by blackshark Reply

    blackshark - I'm back!
  • Well one of the Jake White traditions and styles that De Villiers has embraced is the ability to engage his mouth without engaging his brain….I wish the Bok coaches would learn from the likes of Deans on making comments to the media.

  • Comment 19, posted at 04.06.08 08:58:54 by Dive Pass Reply

    Dive Pass
  • Rob, calling De Villiers ‘Snor’ is the same as calling Kobus van der Merwe ‘Fester’. If it was obviously intended as an insult and a derogative word was used then sure, but his ‘snor’ he wears is obviously the reason for his ‘nickname’. Same with Fester looking like… well… Fester from the Adams family.

    I have met De Villiers personally and would like to think he would not see it as an insult – if he does however complain about it I have no problem in apologising and not using it again.

    If it is offensive to SW I would obviously do the same.

  • Comment 20, posted at 04.06.08 09:09:05 by MorneN Reply
  • @Dive Pass (Comment 19) :

    Screw the media…you can never win with those idiots (apologies if there any media idiots here). They are only kissing Jake’s @ss now bcos he jammed their mouths shut with the Webb Ellis. Had we lost to England in the FINAL -things would be very different. Just one match would’ve made all the difference.

    Now where is the fairness in that? Are we going to judge all coaches based on Jake or Deans? Do you HAVE TO win the RWC to be classified a good coach? Do the 4 years in-between count for anything?

  • Comment 21, posted at 04.06.08 09:26:40 by blackshark Reply

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  • apologies if there any media idiots here).
    Comment 21, posted at 04.06.08 09:26:40 by blackshar


  • Comment 22, posted at 04.06.08 09:35:06 by PJLD Reply
  • @blackshark (Comment 21) :

    Firstly the media is a reality of modern sport and the fans perceptions of their teams and their coaches are largely formed by these perceptions….in fact this blog is media and by commenting here you have become part of the media. Please don’t do what you suggested the media do, to yourself 😉

    Secondly while never completely being a Jake White fan, I have a problem with your suggestion that White’s only legacy was as the result of the outcome of one match….. 😯

    Thirdly there is no suggestion in my post that had anything to do with
    with who is a good coach or not….the fact remains the both De Villiers and White have the ability to put their foot in their mouth and as Bok fan I find it embracing. I merely used the example of a coach who doesn’t put his foot in is mouth as hobby, namely Deans.

  • Comment 23, posted at 04.06.08 10:33:14 by Dive Pass Reply

    Dive Pass
  • @Dive Pass (Comment 23) :

    1. The loose term “media” was used in reference to “mainstream media”. I’m sorry but the opinions I read HERE make much more sense than the garbage that is fed to the people out there. I’m even considering cancelling my newspaper subscription.

    2. White’s legacy was not the result of one match/ one tournament…to ME…but to the media it pretty much WAS. You just have to compare PRE and POST WC perceptions to get the picture.

    3. I actually didn’t make any reference to YOUR POST…except the part about the media. But now that you’ve mentioned it – what exactly do you find “embracing” 😉 about the way PdV or Jake handle their press briefings / interviews?

  • Comment 24, posted at 04.06.08 10:47:23 by blackshark Reply

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  • @blackshark (Comment 24) :
    LOL oops….. 😳 that’s embrassing in more then one way!They must have put that “Sharpen your english” ad below just for me….

  • Comment 25, posted at 04.06.08 10:50:42 by Dive Pass Reply

    Dive Pass
  • @Dive Pass (Comment 25) :

    what ad?

  • Comment 26, posted at 04.06.08 10:57:02 by blackshark Reply

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  • @blackshark (Comment 26) :

    LOL – it was there for DP only – now it is gone. 😉

  • Comment 27, posted at 04.06.08 10:57:49 by Nessa Reply

  • Myself being a Paarl man only have respect for Snor. My domestic was one of his pupils and only talk of respect from the man. I cant remember him ever critizing the WC Boks or Jake White. Think he handled ETV or SABC comments on the WC.

    Myself think he is a humble person and not used to media hype or snobs. Dont think that can count against any person. Luckily he have John Smit on his right hand and a brave decition from him in the first place to reinstate the NH WC Bokke.

    Snor is not even in his first test and these guys start critizise. Hope he prove them all wrong.

  • Comment 28, posted at 04.06.08 11:01:15 by PaarlBok Reply

  • Fact is from very early on people were finding innuendo’s with PdeV’s comments and he should by now realise that the press is rabid and will analise his tea leaves if given a chance. Ignoring the press is also not going to help him so maybe before answering anything he should take a deep breath, think long and hard and answer the question with the view that the journo’s have stored it in amemory bank somewhere for a hatchet job some time in the future.

  • Comment 29, posted at 04.06.08 11:18:52 by Salmonoid Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • @Salmonoid (Comment 29) : think long and hard and answer the question with the view that the journo’s have stored it in amemory bank somewhere for a hatchet job some time in the future.

    journo’s and Gatland 🙄

  • Comment 30, posted at 04.06.08 11:32:15 by blackshark Reply

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  • The way Gatland’s going on one would think he’s expecting to get the genuine lineout calls from PdeV – of course this could all be journalistic licence again.

  • Comment 31, posted at 04.06.08 11:40:46 by Salmonoid Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • To me, the media is just part of the side show. Nothing too serious.

  • Comment 32, posted at 04.06.08 11:48:24 by ra-cheltjie de' be-er Reply

  • Who changed the fonts on the main page of the blog? 😯

  • Comment 33, posted at 04.06.08 12:16:24 by blackshark Reply

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