John Smit says that the squad is behind Peter de Villiers although he admits that his style of coaching differs from that of his predecessor Jake White.
De Villiers has been a magnet for controversy since getting the Bok coaching job in 2008. Apart from his bizarre press conference offerings that range from mixed metaphors to racial slurs, it’s widely known that he offers very little from a technical point of view.
Faced with the assertion that De Villiers is not up to it, Smit hit back at reporters.
‘We’re in our fourth year with Peter,’ he said. ‘We haven’t seen too many players running away just yet but the stories continue.
‘I think the perception is because he is different to what we had before. When we started with Jake [White] he pretty much had to start from ground zero and turn us into something that had some idea of structure and how to play and what our strengths were. And that was drilled into us for a good three or four years leading into the 2007 World Cup.
‘To be honest coaches in South Africa are always going to be under pressure, it’s probably the one job I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.’
Smit maintains that De Villiers is the right man to lead the Boks at the World Cup.
“It’s frustrating for us as players to keep seeing Peter under pressure. He’s very good to us and whenever we’ve needed something he’s provided that and for me in the time we have had with him he has been the guy who has been able to coach us in the appropriate manner.
‘I think another coach with a different type of personality would have made things go a little differently in terms of results in the last three or four years.’