White or De Villiers?

2009-08-04 07:55

Who's the best - Jake White or Peter De Villiers? It's time to settle this argument once and for all. To help put things into perspective, maybe the real comparison should not be between Jake White and Peter De Villiers, but rather between Rudolph Straeuli and both Peter De Villiers and Jake White?

We all know that White was better than Straeuli but for me it would go without saying that I would also choose PDV as national coach over Rudolph Straeuli any day of the week and twice on match days.

But to those PDV fans who fail to understand why so many people are still stuck on Jake White and find it hard to move on, please believe me when I say, it's NOT because Peter is black and Jake is White - excuse the pun!

Instead it's ALL about the timing of SARU's decision to fire Jake White, especially after the way White had turned us from being World Chumps into World Champs in four years. For those of you who still believe that JW was not fired, but was actually a racist who left of his own accord, you really are a bunch of easily misguided individuals and obviously you haven't bothered to either listen carefully or to try to understand the man.

The same however can be said of those who simply choose to dismiss Peter De Villiers and give him no credit for anything good that has happened to this team. If the team plays badly it's De Villier's fault. If the team plays well it's only because of White, the players and the assistant coaches.

The fact of the matter is that the team is continuing to win AND improve under De Villiers and one has to wonder where we would be now if Rudolph Straeuli had taken the reins again after White, instead of De Villiers? Don't laugh - nothing could surprise me anymore in rugby with SARU.

Furthermore, it's difficult to speculate how far White could have gone with this team. Take Graham Henry and the All Blacks as an example - sometimes a change is as good as a holiday - and right now the All Blacks are in serious need of a change of coach, even though Henry previously guided the All Blacks through a golden era in New Zealand's rugby history.
Now think about this - had SARU decided to appoint Peter De Villiers after Straeuli instead of Jake White, things could have been very different. I have no doubt that De Villiers would have done better than Straeuli, and who knows, maybe just as well as Jake White? Maybe by now, we would all be singing Peter De Villiers praises instead?

The reality is that De Villiers was always on a hiding to nothing because of SARU (as was JW) and maybe it's us as fans that need to take the lead, and stop blaming De Villiers for SARU's incompetence? Yaya.I hear all the Heyneke Meyer fans chirping now, but let's be brutally honest for once. If Heyneke Meyer had achieved the same level of success as De Villiers has at this point, since taking over from White, we would all be satisfied. Right?

But instead it is about race and that's simply because of SARU's poor leadership. They needed a reason to fire JW and chose to make it about race - period! And because of this, poor Peter De Villiers ends up on the receiving end of all our frustrations as fans.

So for me this debate is more about Straeuli and SARU and the timing of White's departure, simply because the period preceding White's appointment was such a shocker that almost anything and anybody could have done better. In fact I can't remember a time when Springbok rugby was at such a low, and the future looked so hopeless.

That's not to say that Jake didn't make mistakes or lose games once he was appointed, and quite frankly the same can now be said of Peter De Villiers. I would suggest to all of Jake's followers not to underestimate De Villiers because of your resentment against SARU. He may not have Jake's ability to communicate and his style may lack the guile, but he is not to be underestimated and his results have proved that so far, and no one can question his passion.

Like Jake, this man thinks outside the box and hasn't been scared to try new plays or players, and in most cases when it hasn't worked he has corrected the problem quickly, so you would be foolish only to credit the players and not the coach for our recent results.

Yes I admit that he has put his foot in his mouth a few times, but remember that English is not the man's first language and to judge him as dumb because of this is silly. Look at Bafana Bafana's Brazilian coach, Carlos Parreira and ask yourself how dumb does he sound?
Furthermore, remember how White fired up the Irish in a press conference by telling them that not one of their team would make his starting 15 - a team that included Brian O'Driscoll - how stupid was that?

Anyway, the mark of a good leader is to be able to empower those around him and to adapt and to say that Peter has not done this is naïve and not impartial. Just like Jake did with Eddie Jones, Peter has empowered his support coaches and even the players. In fact I honestly would like to see Peter De Villiers and Jake White working together in future (White could handle the press) and maybe Peter could also hire the likes of Eddie Jones and Robbie Deans as consultants.

Of course the cynics would then say that it's not Peter, it's only Eddie and Robbie that are making the difference, but they would be 100% wrong, as ultimately it's this kind of "out of the box" mentality and leadership that separates the good leaders from the great.

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  • IandI - 2009-08-04 08:03

    It's the usual situation again. The Boks win and PDV gets no credit, if they lose then PDV is slammed.They fact is the Boks are doing quite well so cut PDV some slack.VIVA PDV and the BOKKE!

  • Baas - 2009-08-04 08:06

    A full evaluation can only be done once PDV has completed a tenure equal to that of JW. Me thinks JW will edge him out.

  • fraud - 2009-08-04 08:08

    This has to be the best, most balanced, factual and unbiased article about the bok coach ever! Thanks dude. This is brilliant. Just one correction: bafana coach is Joel Santana....and yes, his english is as good as my chinese...:-)

  • Mark - 2009-08-04 08:13

    Pointless article. Once Peter De Villiers has taken the Boks through four years of ups and downs, injuries and form (lacking or not) and then arrives at the RWC and manages to beat the press, the country's politics, the rugby politics, makes it to the field and beats the rest of the teams and is able to hold that trophy up high, then and only then can you start to compare him to Jake White. He has a long way to go. He is doing well. Let him do his job. He's on the right track.

  • ian - 2009-08-04 08:13

    i heard from a very trusted source that the springbok players have the utmost respect for peter de villiers and that they will litteraly walk through fire for him...the man is a good motivator, he's passionate and above all, he's LOYAL to the players (yes, in capital letters) my opinion, jake white's success is overated, as the springboks only started to look really dangerous while he was coach, when eddie jones joined him...long live, peter, long live!!

  • expat - 2009-08-04 08:16

    Wow man you nailed it on the head ! Well written.

  • spike - 2009-08-04 08:16

    I agree with everything you have said. A well written artical indeed. I was one of them that ran PDV down but he has changed my perceptions about him.....I'm going to give him the chance he deserves.....GO BOKKE and GO PDV

  • colin - 2009-08-04 08:17

    I am just happy that the Boks gives the results on the field - the type of rugby the current team is playing is unlike what we have become accustomed in the past - we are much more direct in our approach and I have never seen a Bok pack winning a tighthead against the ABs in the past - the fact is that the influence of PDV have transformed this team and made it stronger and my hope for this team is that PDVs contract should be extended until the next RWC as this will make us unbeatable.

  • Poloyatonki - 2009-08-04 08:17

    I think PDV is better than white, he failed to transform the sport and PDV is working towards bringing change. White’s past victories I cant recognize them since there was only one race involved..

  • RGB - 2009-08-04 08:19

    First of all, great article. I couldn’t agree more. Although PdV did get a great team from JW, he still deserve a lot of credit. He could have changed the whole team/system and screwed everything up, yet he didn’t do that and the results speak for themselves. I wasn’t the biggest PdV fan in the beginning (maybe because of the anger I felt for the way they fired Jake), but he grew on me and I am quite fond of him at the moment and it will stay like that as long as our Sprinkboks are on the winning side of things. Just hope the whole quota thing will stay away for good!!! We don't need it and the team has many coloured players that is playing on merit and not colour.

  • RugbyMan - 2009-08-04 08:20

    1. Kitch Christie 2. Jake White

  • BokDrolletjie - 2009-08-04 08:22

    Jake OR Peter???Hmmmm,I choose....
    THE BOKKE!They are the ones you should be watching you lalapipes!
    Leave the Coach to do his job and you do yours by Supporting our Nations Greatest Sports team,The AMAZING BOKKE YOU BEAUTYS!

  • GR - 2009-08-04 08:22

    You need to remeber that Jake white built and nurtured the core of this side over many years and for therefore can't give PDV too much credit even though some is due. Another aspect of PDV's success which goes largely unnoticed is the impact of the assistant coaches, Dick Muir who is an excellent tactician and Gary Gold

  • ENrust - 2009-08-04 08:22

    Nice letter... I wish all white rugby fans could have your mentality. It is unfortunate that no matter how well PDV performs, his efforts will not be seen and it will be because he is person of colour

  • Johncarlos - 2009-08-04 08:27

    "it's NOT because Peter is black and Jake is White" just because u feel so, it doesn't mean others don't. PdV is not God's gift to rugby, but the way cartin parts of the population speak about him....its as if he woke up one day to get the job, whereas he was probably more suited than when White took the job. I urge u to read the Sports forums on this site regularly, where PdV is the subject, before u assume "it's NOT because Peter is black and Jake is White".

  • bongani - 2009-08-04 08:28

    i am failing to understand how is the firing of Jake White has anything to do with PDV.To me i still rate Nick Mallet above Jake White. We won world cup yes, but who did we play against on our way to the finals? it is is about time we stop this thing of black and white and look at people as people. Boks are playing a kind of rugby that gives hope and i believe we have to support them and appreciate what they are doing.

  • Madipha - 2009-08-04 08:30

    Hi Peter very sober assessment of things, and your argument is very balance. Thanks for the good article. Lets support the boys hoping this will be year we win the tri nations since 04.

  • @Author - 2009-08-04 08:30

    Juan will be in shortly to comment, he ARE trying to cover the builders crack before he he rearranges his words in his limited vocabulary.

  • francois pienaar - 2009-08-04 08:32

    this is the most insightful and unracially biased article i've seen in awhile
    well said

  • @Peter - 2009-08-04 08:34

    Your Article smacks at the need to create news where news isn't. Why we comparing the two coaches. They both good coaches in their style of play. i actually upset that we are prevoked to judge on this. I am A Springbok fan and any coach with a winning team is a good coach. Lets kill this article at the roots and move to somewhere where we can not critisize when there is no need. bad article!

  • Jerome - 2009-08-04 08:34

    This is a very good article. Our society is often caught up with what is being said instead of what is being done. Pdv is not 'english' and the Bok communication manager should deal with the media most of the time, but I dont see any communication manager as he is either missing or having the coach and players deal with the media.....for me he is sitting on the gravy train created by SARU and reaping the dollars for it. Pdv in my opinion shall become the best Bok coach EVER

  • marcel - 2009-08-04 08:35

    If there's one thing PDV has done it's shift attention away from the players, which can only be a good thing. They're free to concentrate on rugby while he has the attention of the media and fans. Look it's tough to get a team to No 1, but even harder to keep them there. Two good coaches, the Boks are playing well, lets not make this a mud-slinging match, lets just be happy we're doing well. PDV is doing well right now and has got the team playing superb, room for improvement of course but on the right track.

  • Denzil - 2009-08-04 08:38

    I think it's a completely unfair comparison. Jake White took over at an extremely difficult time with the Boks struggling week in and week out. He then took them, as you state from chumps to champs. PDV on the other hand took over an extremely successful team, but had his own difficulties. He inherited a team that was bitterly loyal to JW and he has had to convince these guys that he know what he is doing and I think that after the our last 5 tests, he has proven that. Could PDV have achieved what JW did, I don't know and we will never know, but I do know that JW was the right guy at the right time. But, South Africans being the fickle supporters we are, will always want to lynch the coach when things go wrong, no matter who he is. So, PDV, my advice, enjoy your reign on top while you're there, but don't be surprised when even your employers eventually turn their backs on you, because it will eventually happen.

  • @ poloyatonki - 2009-08-04 08:38

    Actually, if you go have alook at the teams, White picked just as many black/coloured players as PdV, so you're just being a twit again.

  • Sonny @ Poloyatonki - 2009-08-04 08:39

    There goes magnet head again! "White’s past victories I cant recognize them since there was only one race involved" Wake up RIP VAN WINKEL!

  • settie - 2009-08-04 08:40

    The players are the best!!

  • kam - 2009-08-04 08:40

    Our current squad will most likely beat any other team in the world regardless of the coach. So much experience, so much talent.

  • mack the blue - 2009-08-04 08:43

    I said it yesterday ,and today again I retract all my negative comments ,although to me it never was a race issue - I thought the man to be ,well , stupid !How stupid I was,the man has proved me wrong.Peter this is a great piece you wrote ,makes sense .Send a cv to Oregin Hoskins ,maybe ,who knows ,you could start a new career,point made and taken !

  • MarcE - 2009-08-04 08:43

    who cares

  • Al - 2009-08-04 08:43

    No my friend, it definitely is NOT time to settle it. PDV has just started and JW finished his stint. Are you thinking clearly?

  • Steward - 2009-08-04 08:45

    Dude ,this is the best article I have read all year long..Well done...No bias at all.This type of journalism can only uplift and unite a Country..Keep up the good work

  • Mark V - 2009-08-04 08:46

    Very balanced article. And Polo Donkey just had to start his racist arguments again. Can someone please give that child a WHITE ice-cream?

  • Sinudeity @Poloyatonki - 2009-08-04 08:47

    With the same sentiment, we will not count any Bafana wins polo, cause they only represent one colour of South Africans. Oh wait, they never win anyways. Nevermind.

  • Gordon - 2009-08-04 08:48

    I honestly think that they both deserve credit. Jake took over a dispirited bunch of players who were ranked number six in the world. He developed the team and took them on to win the world cup. They also reached number one then. Peter deV took over the team and has built and consolidated on what Jake achieved. Fact! Well done Jake and well done Peter. By the way, I have put Peter's racist and stupid remarks behind me (pressed minus memory) and for the first time am feeling somewhat positive towards him. So, I suggest that the anti Peter sentiment comes from his off field activities (which hopefully are now under control) and not really his rugby abilities! Go Bokke and also rub the Aussies noses into the turf!! Scrum them so black and blue that even their mothers-in-law will feel sorry for them!

  • Anton Engelbrecht - 2009-08-04 08:48

    I agree totally with this letter, although PDV did inherited a settled team full of stars and we have to give JW all the credit he deserves for building this team.

    I was afraid that PDV will fall into the same trap as other coaches to change something that worked and it looked that he was trying it after he took over, but thankfully he came to his senses.

    Well done PDV and the BOKS, hopefully he will persists with Morney Steyn and Brossouw, they made the world of difference to the balance of the team.

  • Fan - 2009-08-04 08:48

    @Polo-Donkie, more garbage from your keyboard, you're taking over from kolobo. If you cant find any players of colour in JW's team then you havent been wathching any rugby

  • Dude - 2009-08-04 08:48

    @Poloyatonki do you even whatch rugby ? Jake white had more players of colour in his squad and on the field than PDV. Explain your race statement now.

  • nigel - 2009-08-04 08:49

    Excellent letter, well written & very balanced. Its a pity more politically motivated letters are not as fair & balanced. I fully agree that the criticism surrounding Div stems from a complex problem caused by the administrators. This is well documented in Jakes book. Also Div's PR counts heavily against him which cannot be underestimated. Hopefully Div settles down, & the administrators grow up & do their job, then maybe we can finally get on with building our rugby brand from the schools up. In time more blacks will become part of the team based on merit & we will have an even better pool of players to select from & spot will unite rather than divide our proud sporting nation.

  • Maars - 2009-08-04 08:51

    Peter, I could mot have said it better. Well done boet !

  • Duma - 2009-08-04 08:52

    Just like every other waiing for him to mess up just once and bring back White. Acknowledge he has done a great job, move on and stop comparing, you dont see us compare Christie and White they all won the world cup, so what let DIV do his job, must be hard seein someone suceed when you expected him to fail. Credit to him and please continue to run your mouth, White dude did.

  • NorthernExposure - 2009-08-04 08:53

    Jake was a good coach but had his limitations as well. Divvie is a good coach and he also has his limitations.
    That said I do feel the Divvie is bringing a new dimension to our game that was not there with Jake and the good thig is that it is complimenting what Jake did with the team and not competing with it and that is the most important to me. He took over a goos squad. Added an extra dimension to it and that is to me a compliment to Jake and the work he did. We have a more balanced side now and they an go far so lets just support them.

  • doug - 2009-08-04 08:54

    Hell, it's nice to see racialism starting to die in rugby. Many of the above comments are favourable to PdV, after admitting they didn't like him before. When I look at NZ and Aus, making such good use of their 'Black' players from the islands, I think - hell if only we had more Black guys playing rugby at school. More Habanas, more Beasts. We are all South Africans - let's concentrate on winning and leave race out of it. That includes you to Poloyatonki, you're one of the worst racialists on this forum.

  • Simon - 2009-08-04 08:55

    Good article, Jake White loses against PDV, simply because of his fetcher policy. Now if PDV replaces Brussouw with Burger... then both are losers.

  • Martiens - 2009-08-04 08:55

    @ Poloyatonki....Always has to be SOMEONE thats rips out the race card again...I whish you all can just for once support a team without looking at skin color. If you are good enough, you play, regardless of your race. If you have to field a team because all the best players are black, then great! We will support them. BUT let there be 15 white players....then all HELL will break loose!!! I wonder who the real racists in this country are...

  • SimonP - 2009-08-04 08:57

    Only time will tell who is the best coach, the one thing that will overshadow the PDV appointment is whether it was politically motivated, if PDV wasa DA supporter would he have got the job? Hard to say as the the sports ministry and SARU speak in riddles.

  • Dries - 2009-08-04 08:59

    A coach should be rated on his ability to identify new springbok players, how many players have JW correctly identified in four years versus PDV in one. I can only think of Heinrich Brusouw who is a real find, the rest chosen for the first time by PDV have all failed... Rugby is a 15 man game with 7 reserves. One find in a year does not cut it.

  • Dan - 2009-08-04 09:00

    Hmmm, this article reeks of provocation! Anyway, its as easy as this: JW build the team from scratch, won WC etc. PdV got handed the most talented team in the world, and is successfull. Let time be the judge as the experienced players wont be there forever. Then only will he be exposed.

  • Tsotsi - 2009-08-04 09:01

    Poloyatonki I hope you are not representative of your race... You're are confirming exactly what most people should not believe. Luckily my friend I know a lot of people who'll defy you as being part of their attitudes and beliefs. Sorry my friend but your own people are despising you now!

  • harry - 2009-08-04 09:02

    You are comparing apples & oranges mate, completely different coaching styles. I actually do not rate JW at all - Eddie Jones made the diff when het joined the staff. Without him we would have never made it.

  • AncorMan - 2009-08-04 09:03

    I love Lamp!