Coach faces misconduct charge

2010-07-30 00:00

SPRINGBOK coach Peter de Villiers is to be charged with misconduct by Sanzar following his recent claim that New Zealand’s two recent Tri-Nations wins over South Africa were part of a conspiracy.

Late yesterday, Sanzar “issued notice of alleged misconduct” against De Villiers following comments he made on Australia’s Fox Sports on July 21.

A judicial hearing will be held next week.

De Villiers, who was highly critical of the Test referees in Auckland and Wellington, said the victories were part of a conspiracy aimed at generating support before next year’s Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.

“I’ve got my own observations about the last two Tests, and I can’t say it in public, but we do have a World Cup in New Zealand next year, and maybe it was the right thing for them to win the games so they can attract more people to the tournament next year,’’ he was quoted as saying.

SA Rugby officials, who were contacted by Sanzar the next day (July 22), discussed the interview with De Villiers on his return this week.

Sanzar chief executive Steve Tew said yesterday that “having considered the response from South Africa, we have determined that Peter de Villiers’s comments may constitute a breach of our code of conduct and warrant further consideration by our judicial officer”.

The SA Rugby Union, in a terse statement last night, said the allegation against De Villiers has been noted. “Saru will make no further comment until the judicial process has run its course.”

The charge of misconduct came just hours after leading Saru officials had met the beleaguered Bok coach and backed him.

“We had an informal chat this morning and we intend to have a full review with him next week,” Saru president Regan Hoskins said yesterday.

“We would normally only have a review at the end of the Tri-Nations, but this time we see the need to have one in the middle of the competition given the gravity of the situation.”

Hoskins confirmed that De Villiers’s coaching position is not under threat.

“It’s important that you don’t change management at this stage, although it is certainly a grave situation.”

The meeting with De Villiers yesterday was held at the request of James Stoffberg, the chairman of the Saru technical committee. Hoskins, Mark Alexander (deputy president), Saru CEO Johan Prinsloo and manager Andy Marinos also attended.

“We had a very productive meeting and there are areas where Peter will present us with his plans for the future and we will offer our support in realising them,” said Stoffberg.

“He has our full support and we are confident that we can quickly be put back on track.”

Meanwhile, Bok assistant coach Gary Gold yesterday vehemently denied reports that there is a split in the squad over the team’s tactical approach.

“We are all on the same page. We will be doing an in-depth factual examination of where it went wrong for us in the last three games, but the coaching staff is united.”

There was again criticism yesterday from leading South African sports scientist Tim Noakes, who said the Springboks are battle-weary.

“Where they lost the plot was in November, when they dragged all the top players on the end-of-year tour to England.

“The guys appeared cooked in Australia and New Zealand, emotionally and physically drained.

“The more matches the guys play, the less training they can do and the classic result is that the players are less fit at the end of a competition.”

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