Springboks

Peter de Villiers recalls calling rugby writers 'rats' and 'deep agendas' in SA rugby

Peter de Villiers (Gallo Images)
Peter de Villiers (Gallo Images)
  • Former Springbok coach Peter de Villiers believes "deep agendas" cost him during his tenure as national coach.
  • In a radio interview over the weekend, De Villiers said it was tough to perform because his employers admitted he wasn't picked purely on rugby reasons.
  • De Villiers also shed more light on his difficult relationship with the media and why he referred to rugby writers as "rats".

Former national coach Peter de Villiers believes his success as Junior Springboks coach between 2004 and 2006 counted against him.

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"In 2005, we won the under-21 World Championships in Argentina with nine players of colour in the 22-man squad. It gave people a fright because they thought this guy now wants to come and make rugby black," De Villiers said in an interview with the RSG radio station over the weekend.

"You can't fight against it because there are lots of deep agendas. It cost me in some regard."

His tenure as Springbok coach also started in controversial fashion in 2008 when then SA Rugby president Oregan Hoskins said at the news conference announcing the new coach that the decision was not made purely for rugby reasons, but also with transformation in mind.

"It was difficult, how do you manage to perform if your own people say you're not only there for rugby reasons?"

De Villiers' interview with the Afrikaans radio station follows a video which was posted last week where added his voice to the conversation around the Black Lives Matter movement.

WATCH | Peter de Villiers talks candidly about Springbok coaching tenure

In the video, De Villiers also recalls his difficult relationship with the media and accuses rugby writers of lacking knowledge, saying they couldn't judge because "I could not find one who played first team rugby for his school".

De Villiers continued in the radio interview: "Back then I said: 'We'll pull a rat out of the hat'. Now if they (the rugby writers) just gave it some thought, then they would have realised I was a teacher for 20 years, so I taught those [proverbs] to children, I know that stuff...

"With 'rats' I referred to them, the rugby writers. If they then think I'm stupid then so be it. I played them and I had them just where I wanted them. I used my poetic freedom to say things the way I wanted to."

During De Villiers' tenure as Springbok coach, the team won the Tri-Nations in 2009, as well as a series win over the British and Irish Lions that same year.

He also won five out of 11 Tests against the All Blacks - a better record than most Bok coaches in recent times.

- Compiled by Sport24 staff

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