Div ready to 'change lives' in Zimbabwe

Peter de Villiers (Gallo Images)
Peter de Villiers (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Former Springbok coach Peter de Villiers is ready for his new role as head coach of Zimbabwe’s national team.

De Villiers, 60, was on Wednesday confirmed as Zimbabwe’s new coach.

He was earlier involved with the country’s under-20 team and has now signed a two-year deal with the national team.

De Villiers' immediate task will be to attempt to help Zimbabwe to qualify for next year’s Rugby World Cup in Japan, which, if successful, would be the country's first World Cup appearance since the 1991 tournament in England where they lost all three group matches to Scotland, Ireland and Japan.

Zimbabwe will face stiff competition from Namibia in their quest to qualify for the World Cup, and according to Netwerk24, their other opponents in the qualifying rounds are Kenya, Morocco, Tunisia and Uganda.

Should they make it to the World Cup, Zimbabwe will be drawn in the same pool as defending champions, the All Blacks, the Springboks and Italy.

De Villiers, who described the appointment as the "greatest day of my life", will be assisted by Brendon Dawson.

"I’m excited to be part of the change (of Zimbabwean rugby) and where we are headed - to be part of changing lives. I believe through sport we can be the leaders in rugby in Africa."

De Villiers said “he’s done a few things right in his life”, before adding: “I believe I’m doing the right thing. I’m swapping the green jacket of the Springboks for the green one of the Sables. I’ll leave the country as a true Zimbabwean and even though it’s tough at my age, I’m already learning the words of the national anthem," he quipped.

De Villiers acknowledged that Zimbabwe face a stiff task in qualifying for the World Cup but assured fans that he’ll do his best.

“What I can promise is that we’ll be ready to control the uncontrollable.”

De Villiers coached the Springboks between 2008 and 2011 and was the director of rugby at the University of the Western Cape between 2012 and 2015.

During his tenure as Springbok coach, De Villiers won five out of 11 Tests against the All Blacks - a better record than most Bok coaches in recent times.

Other notable achievements for De Villiers as Bok coach was a Tri-Nations win in 2009, as well as a series win over the British and Irish Lions that same year.

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