Eastern Province 'amicably' part ways with former Springbok coach Peter de Villiers

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

Eastern Province Rugby Union (EPRU) acting president Maasdorp Cannon confirmed that the province has agreed to amicably part ways with EP Elephants head coach Peter de Villiers.

On Thursday, De Villiers met the EPRU executive to explain his decision to sign up to be the GOOD party's Drakenstein municipality mayoral candidate.

Following those discussions, the two parties ended their relationship three months sooner than initially meant to last.

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"Out of free will, our coach went to explore a new career path without declaring it to us. It came as a total surprise," Cannon told Sport24.

"The communication wasn't as fluid as could be. There was no breakdown in communication but the expectation from our side was, if you're in pursuit of something else, even a better coaching position, the proper thing was to inform us on what's about to happen.

"We were informed via social media that this is what's happening. So, we had that conversation, and we accepted it for what it is.

"With the new direction, it automatically terminates the relationship. We hope the termination is in good faith for both of us.

"At the end of the conversation, we agreed amicably that our obligation to each other has come to an end."

De Villiers' one-year contract was set to expire on 31 December this year.

However, after the latest developments, EPRU served the former Springbok coach with a 14-day notice of termination per the terms of his contract.

"There was a fixed-term contract with him that was meant to last until the end of 2021," Cannon said.

"In terms of the contract ... in an instance like this, either party could give 14 days' notice, so we duly gave written notice to the coach, hoping that we are parting cordially.

"After the 14 days, it will be concluded that Peter de Villiers will no longer be EP Elephants head coach, unfortunately."

De Villiers told SA Rugby Magazine he gunned for the Drakenstein municipality mayoral election because he was unsure whether he had a future with the Gqeberha-based union beyond the end of his contract.

He added that the province had no communication to assure him of his future and was, therefore, "done with rugby".

"Since the passing of Andre Rademan, they have not spoken to me about my contract at the union," said De Villiers.

"I cannot sit around and wait, only for them to tell me at the 11th hour that I don't have a job anymore.

"Something else has come across my path recently, and I accepted the opportunity. So, I'm done with rugby for now."

However, Cannon disputed De Villiers' assertions, saying that the union met the coach to discuss these matters two months back.

"It seems our communication wasn't reciprocal; there wasn't a strong communication channel. We've learnt things via the media," said Cannon.

"Out of insecurity, Mr De Villiers was of the opinion that he was looking for security, and his perception was that there was no offering of security from the part of the province.

"That was his perception because we had a meeting two months back.

"It's unfortunate that it didn't last long, but we can say thank you for his short-lived contribution to the province.

"But, as agreed last night (Thursday), he has accepted that he has a new life. We also need to stay sober and say there's life after everything.

"The people might not be there, but the product will remain, and in the interest of that product, we need to do things without emotion and just move on."

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Sport24 reached out to the 64-year-old for comment, but De Villiers refused to elaborate on the discussions.

"There is no comment yet; I must first talk to them," De Villiers said.

"I can't give comment now because I need a report back from [EPRU] first. If they want to say that [we've parted ways], then it's fine. I first want to talk to them."

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