KSA Shark ©

Yes, Div adds colour and fun

Written by Andre Bosch (KSA Shark ©)

Posted in :In the news, Springboks on 23 Nov 2008 at 07:30
Tagged with :

After a bloody nose, coach sticks with what works

Clinton Van Der Berg writes for the Sunday Times that apart from the results, the measure of any coach is how he copes with expectation, criticism and the inescapable glare of public life.

The results are tangible — just look at yesterday and Peter de Villiers’s previous 12 Tests — but the other elements reveal themselves in different ways.

For all his faults, De Villiers has shown doggedness and a reasonably thick skin during a year that has produced a familiar story line: controversy, defeats, conspiracies and carping.

It is the lot of every Springbok coach.

But the ex-scrumhalf is different from the rest. Even after Test wreckages and lurid reports of a sex scandal, he remains unfailingly positive.

“You get only one life and must live it to the full,” he said with customary enthusiasm this week. “It’s your own fault if you miss something great.”

De Villiers came into the job under difficult circumstances. In many ways, all he could do was fail — Jake White, his predecessor, had seduced the nation by winning the World Cup. How could he top that?

Moreover, he was openly billed as SA’s first black coach, a millstone he neither sought nor deserved. Inevitably, there were claims of tokenism, claims that rang true when Oregan Hoskins, his boss, said the appointment was made “not entirely for rugby reasons.”

Whether he liked it or not, De Villiers was immediately on the back foot.

Undeterred, he chose to do things his way and not in the image of White. He flirted with a fresh, open game, but smartly realised that consistency and structure weren’t mutually exclusive.

“My style is exactly how rugby’s always been played,” he explained this week.

“If you don’t dominate, you can’t play. Be direct, keep the ball. If the occasion allows, play the situation. There’s no Peter de Villiers style if you don’t do the basic job. My job is simply to empower the players.”

In other words, after bloodying his nose he chose to wind his neck in and stick to what works for the Boks.

Whatever else he achieves, De Villiers will find it hard to top the moment in July when the Boks ended a 10-year drought in New Zealand. It was a remarkable win achieved against great odds. To his credit, De Villiers didn’t crow.

And yet he could have: a succession of coaches, among them White, failed to win in New Zealand.

But then De Villiers missed a trick. The Boks lost at home to Australia and to New Zealand. The goodwill dissipated quickly; the jury is still out on whether he has the nous or the personality to make the Boks a better, stronger, more formidable team than they were under White. They will need to be when they play the Lions in a three-Test series in May.

Yet De Villiers, like all post-isolation Bok coaches, must also be measured beyond the scoreboard. In the instance of transformation, he has exceeded expectations. Five minutes into last weekend’s Test against Scotland, there were eight black players on the field. It wasn’t even mentioned and the Test was won. That’s progress.

Specifically, players such as Adi Jacobs, Beast Mtawarira and JP Pietersen have thrived under the De Villiers method.

Yet his first season also brought great drama, not least when he was embroiled in a sex-tape scandal not of his own doing. De Villiers was caught in the middle of a bizarre conspiracy that eventually burned itself out. He foolishly put it down to a “racist plot” and was censured for threatening to “give the job back to the whites”.

For a man who revels in his tough- guy image (and has the moustache to back it up), it was a telling moment of weakness. There’s no doubt De Villiers is an acquired taste — he is very much his own man and unlike any Bok coach before him. He is variously funny, puzzling, curious and cutting, sometimes all at once.

His press conferences have become famous for their weird moments and homespun philosophies. Certainly, this paper has taken some delight in projecting his homilies, although, to be fair, much of what he intends to say is often lost in translation. English is not his first language and yet he tries valiantly to make his point in English, usually with peculiar results.

He claims not to care what people think. “I was made in a concrete mixer with water, stones and cement. I’m tough,” he said after his team belted the Wallabies 53-8 at Ellis Park.

Yet he tore a strip off a black colleague on this paper for mild criticism: “If you want to be white, why don’t you be white?” he snapped.

Yes, he does surly as well as strange. But he disputes the assertion that the job has brought him days both good and bad.

“I’ve only had good days up to now,” he insists. “I like criticism, I really like it. When [media] opinion becomes fact, you start worrying. I don’t read the papers, I don’t listen to radio, I have too much to do. I was appointed to coach rugby. Outside that, my family is important — that’s what keeps me busy.”

If nothing else, De Villiers has brought a riot of colour and fun to the SA sporting landscape. For that alone, we should be grateful.


  • If nothing else, he has achieved some wonderful results – SA vs NZ in NZ, SA vs Aus at Ellis Park and a successful 3-0 EOYT culminating in a record-breaking victory over England.

    The sad thing is that he is often crticised or lampooned for the wrong reasons (colourful language [second language] and great big mustache). Anyone who can handle the job, and the pressures thereof deserves a little leeway. The jury might still be out on whether he’ll take SA to a victorious RWC, but the fact remains he’s done a hell of a lot better than some of the coaches that have gone before him and for that reason alone should be granted some respect.

  • Comment 1, posted at 23.11.08 08:11:08 by Baldrick Reply
  • @Baldrick (Comment 1) :
    True that.

    I find it very telling how certain people cant even afford him any respect by virtue of his position – it seems that his looks, language, moustache and pretty much anything is valid reason for criticism.

    Tells me plenty about them (that definitely includes you, Gavin Rich).

  • Comment 2, posted at 23.11.08 14:07:28 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • @Baldrick (Comment 1) : hell yeah!

  • Comment 3, posted at 23.11.08 14:10:32 by robdylan Reply
  • @Big Fish (Comment 2) :

    Same with Jake White, with Straueli, with Mallet, with MArkgraaf etc etc etc… it ain’t tiddly-winks…

  • Comment 4, posted at 24.11.08 07:14:15 by bryce_in_oz Reply
  • Being a Paarliet myself can understand him better then most. I recieved a lot of flak of backing this man for the job but usrely cant help myself watching Johno got a basting from his interviewer to thought about Snor. Also Smit’s words of advice afterwards make me thinking. Here you got Snor playing rugby in his days the hard way then going coaching , starting from the bottom on club level, working his way up the ranks at WeePee. WP never gave him the change to develope on CC level and he had to go to another province to get that , then going through the youth teams to get to the top. Then Hoskins big mistake to add skin colour to his appointment. Well its easy for our Saffers to climb the political wagon but myself always agree to his his wide gameplan he wants. Then just look at the newbies he added to Jake White lot. Johnson taste the sweet of rugby as a player but never the bitter as a coach. Enjoy your bitter Johnno, Snor had his fair share in the past and hope he take our lot to the next level.

    Verskoon net sy taal, ons Paarliete bly in die skadu van die tall monument.

    Myself got more respect for the guy, making time to attend a Paarl Gyms U10A rugby team match in Paarl. Dont think he’ll ever knew how much that means for those kids.

  • Comment 5, posted at 24.11.08 12:45:49 by PaarlBok Reply
  • @PaarlBok (Comment 5) : nicely put

  • Comment 6, posted at 24.11.08 12:52:58 by robdylan Reply
  • @PaarlBok (Comment 5) : Well said PaarlBok!

    I think the media is to blame for the belief out there that PDV wants an expansive game at the expense of structure.

    How many times has he said that ‘when the opportunity arises’ THEN and ONLY then must the players ‘play the situation’

    I am actually disgusted at certain sections of the SA media.

  • Comment 7, posted at 24.11.08 13:31:54 by wpw Reply
  • @wpw (Comment 7) :

    Sho, Wes…but you are “taai” today!! Soemeone stole your lunch?? 😈 😉

  • Comment 8, posted at 24.11.08 13:43:34 by Ice (Bébé de Glace) Reply
  • @Ice (Bébé de Glace) (Comment 8) : Nope. I NEVER miss lunch… 🙄

  • Comment 9, posted at 24.11.08 13:46:51 by wpw Reply
  • @Ice (Bébé de Glace) (Comment 8) :

    Wes missing lunch is about as common as me going out for a pork lunch. 😛

  • Comment 10, posted at 24.11.08 13:50:41 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 10) :


  • Comment 11, posted at 24.11.08 13:56:54 by wpw Reply
  • To be honest I dont think you’ll ever find a more humble person then Snor. Paarl aint a big town by any means and myself have walked a few times into him and his family at places. He’ll always make time for you as a rugby supporter to talk about the game, exct.

    When he talked about giving the players freedom he sure mean it and he surely did because he knew from the start that the Bok lot is a experienced lot and being a humbled person he will always being able to learn as he go along. I mean he got rookies as co coaches and all three of them will learn from their experiences. I watch some TV when the Bokke practises and saw him practise scrummie when FdP was injured. How many modern day head coaches will be able to do that?

    He need to get a PR guy to help him out, thats the one he needs. Cant understand why they picked Athob because he is also from Paarl and have the same problem like myself and Snor.

    Trust me you wont find more passionate rugby supporters then our lot. Have been like this for over a 100 years.

  • Comment 12, posted at 24.11.08 13:57:27 by PaarlBok Reply
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 10) : Or as common as Hmmm talking some sense… 😆

  • Comment 13, posted at 24.11.08 13:57:49 by wpw Reply
  • @wpw (Comment 11) :

    Is that your stomach after a missed lunch? 😆 😆

  • Comment 14, posted at 24.11.08 13:58:13 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©
  • @wpw (Comment 13) :

    No, you and I do those things occasionally, Hmmm on the other hand…………..

  • Comment 15, posted at 24.11.08 13:58:57 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©
  • @PaarlBok (Comment 5) : Myself got more respect for the guy, making time to attend a Paarl Gyms U10A rugby team match in Paarl. Dont think he’ll ever knew how much that means for those kids.


  • Comment 16, posted at 24.11.08 14:03:00 by PJLD Reply
  • Paarlbok
    I saw him practicing at scrummie – he was pretty nippy. Obviously a fiks oomie.
    Also do you know if the W.Heyns in the training squads of the Cheetahs is Whaleed, that played for Boland this year.

  • Comment 17, posted at 24.11.08 14:04:00 by Salmonoid Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Salmonoid the Subtle
  • VIVA PDV, supporting you from the start… :mrgreen:

  • Comment 18, posted at 24.11.08 14:07:18 by Charlie Reply
  • @Salmonoid (Comment 17) :
    Here is the Cheaters squad I last got hold off
    Cheetahs squad for 2009 some time ago

    Fullbacks: Bevin Fortuin, Riaan Viljoen, Hennie Daniller.
    Wings: Jongi Nokwe, Fabian Juries, Trompie Nontshinga, Kabamba Floors, Bjorn Basson, Eddie Fredericks, Dewald Pretorius.
    Centres: Meyer Bosman, Piet van Zyl, Corné Uys, Philip Snyman, JW Jonker, Alwyn Hollenbach, Egon Seconds.
    Flyhalves: Jacques-Louis Potgieter, Chris Rossouw, Naas Olivier, Hanno Coetzee.
    Scrumhalves: Sarel Pretorius, Tertius Carse, Tewis de Bruyn and Gerrie Odendaal.

    Loose forwards: Juan Smith, Heinrich Brüssow, Frans Viljoen, Hendro Scholtz, Schalk van der Merwe, Nico Breedt, Francois Uys, Devon Raubenheimer.
    Locks: David de Villiers, Wayne van Heerden, Flip van der Merwe, Piet Myburgh.
    Props: Wian du Preez, Coenie Oosthuizen, Albertus Buckle, Ruaan du Preez, Kobus Calldo, Jean Botha, Sarel Louw, WP Nel.
    Hookers: Adriaan Strauss, Richardt Strauss, Ryno Barnes and Ashley Johnson.
    Injured: Wilton Pietersen and Gavin Passens. Sevens commitments: Robert Ebersohn, Lionel Mapoe and Howard Noble.

  • Comment 19, posted at 24.11.08 14:33:16 by PaarlBok Reply
  • @PJLD (Comment 16) : What make that pretty special is the both his girls are in Paarl Girlshaai. 🙄 our enemy. Maybe Schalk whisper something in his ear!

  • Comment 20, posted at 24.11.08 14:35:33 by PaarlBok Reply
  • @PaarlBok (Comment 20) : Hehehehe perfect!

  • Comment 21, posted at 24.11.08 15:09:09 by PJLD Reply
  • @PaarlBok (Comment 19) :
    KSA posted (today)2 Cheetah training teams and one of the teams had a W.Heyns – just wondering if that is another new recruit from Boland.

  • Comment 22, posted at 24.11.08 15:36:49 by Salmonoid Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Salmonoid the Subtle
  • @Salmonoid (Comment 22) : yes – Paarlbok confirmed that on another thread.

  • Comment 23, posted at 24.11.08 15:54:03 by robdylan Reply

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