- Ex-Springbok coach Peter de Villiers has been appointed the new EP Elephants head coach, the Eastern Province Rugby Union confirmed on Friday.
- It's the 63-year-old's first coaching job since being axed by Zimbabwe last year.
- De Villiers coached the Springboks to success over the British and Irish Lions in 2009.
Former Springbok coach Peter de Villiers has been appointed the new EP Elephants head coach, after fighting off stiff competition for the post, the Eastern Province Rugby Union (EPRU) confirmed on Friday.
It is De Villiers' first head coaching job in the senior provincial ranks in South Africa since being let go by SA Rugby when his four-year Bok term expired in 2011, following the Rugby World Cup quarter-final exit to the Wallabies.
Although he coached the University of Western Cape between 2013 and 2015, "Div" has found it tough getting coaching gigs domestically - sometimes accusing his former employers at Plattekloof of "blacklisting" him.
His last full-time job was as head coach of Zimbabwe's Sables, a tenure that also ended in acrimony after the Zimbabwe Rugby Union accused him of taking unauthorised leave from work in May 2019.
However, De Villiers was attending to his cancer-stricken ill daughter, Odille Monk, who succumbed to the disease at the age of 28 late last year.
De Villiers fought of a shortlist that included former Varsity Cup-winning coaches Jonathan Mokuena and Kevin Musikanth, as well as ex-Bok coach Heyneke Meyer's former assistant Ricardo Laubscher and Deon Kayser.
De Villiers sounded appreciative of the opportunity to get the Eastern Cape, especially the Port Elizabeth, region to unite behind the EP Kings.
"Being the coach of EP poses the opportunity to for us to actually unite a divided community into one support group that is behind the team that is supposed to be one of the best in the country," said De Villiers in an EPRU statement.
"It is going to be a challenge but with the input of all stakeholders, we will be able to reach our goal.
"My plan for the union is that I need a lot of support from all the stakeholders to build bridges and to get the right personnel together and make sure that everybody understands what the collective goal is."
"I will work hard to make sure we achieve our goals."
- Springbok head coach between 2008 and 2011.
- Became first black Springbok head coach in history.
- Led the Springboks to a series victory over the British and Irish Lions in 2009.
- Won the 2009 Tri-Nations with the Boks.
- Registered famous wins over the All Blacks in Dunedin and Hamilton.
- Led the SA Under-21 team to the IRB World Championship in 2005.
- EX SA Rugby president Oregan Hoskins said rugby reasons weren't the only reason he was appointed in 2008 - affirmative action was also considered.
- De Villiers was haunted by the tag of being "political appointment" to the Bok job in 2008.
- During his Bok term he was known for numerous controversial comments, including defending Schalk Burger's eye-gouging incident.
- Ex Bok Beast Mtawarira wrote in his (edited) biography that De Villiers was "probably lucky that a very good group of players was handed over to him".
- His Boks got knocked out of the 2011 Rugby World Cup final by Australia, their joint worst performance with 2003 under Rudolf Straeuli.
The 63-year-old had one of the best records against the All Blacks of any Bok coach in history, winning five of six meetings in his time.
He famously led the Boks to their first win in Dunedin (Carisbrook, 2008) in a century and also added a famous win in Hamilton in 2009.
Undoubtedly, his biggest career achievement to date came when his Springboks defeated the British and Irish Lions 2-1 in 2009 - something the Boks hadn't achieved since 1980.
That same year, the Boks won the Tri-Nations for the third time in their history, securing a rare run of three straight wins over the All Blacks in one calendar year.
He also engineered South Africa's largest victory over England at Twickenham (42-6 in 2008) and the highest margin victory over the Wallabies anywhere, 53-8 at Ellis Park in 2008.
De Villiers' Bok tenure was also riddled in controversy, starting from the first whistle when former SA Rugby president Oregan Hoskins said at his announcement as the first black head coach that "affirmative action" played a part in the appointment.
A cloud that he was a "political appointment" hung over him through the four years in charge.