SIMON BORCHARDT says Peter de Villiers has overstayed his welcome and should do the honourable thing and resign.
When the Springboks were knocked out of the recent World Cup at the quarter-final stage, Peter de Villiers said that his journey with the team was over. The vast majority of Bok fans heaved a huge sigh of relief and looked forward to putting the past four years behind them.
Now De Villiers, in an interview with SuperSport.com’s Gavin Rich, who is writing the coach’s autobiography, says he will re-apply for his job. He says he has unfinished business and that he has learned from his mistakes.
When I SMSed Rich about De Villiers’s sudden change of heart, he pointed out that the Bok players want De Villiers to continue. That is not surprising. When De Villiers was Bok coach, the senior players ran the show and effectively picked themselves. Why do you think Smit started the quarter-final against the Wallabies and not Bismarck du Plessis, the best hooker in the world? The senior players who will still be around next year would love nothing more than to have a boss who will let them do what they want for the next four years.
When De Villiers was named Bok coach in 2008, Saru president Regan Hoskins (who did not vote for him) admitted that the appointment ‘was not entirely made for rugby reasons’. Yet De Villiers ended up coaching the world champions for four years because Saru didn’t have the balls to fire its first black coach, who was clearly out of his depth.
At the end of the World Cup, De Villiers should have done the honourable thing and resigned immediately. Instead, he has refused to let go of the job he didn’t deserve to get in the first place, and has made fool of himself yet again.
As a coach, De Villiers is not in the same galaxy as Graham Henry (who was re-appointed as All Blacks coach following their World Cup quarter-final exit in 2007) let alone on the same planet, so those who say Saru should be brave and follow the NZRU’s example are simply showing how little they know about the game.
Fortunately, the chances of Saru retaining De Villiers, I’m told, are non-existent, so if he has any sense at all, he will walk away from the job now with whatever dignity he has left.