I went to bed on Sunday evening thinking it was the last night that Peter de Villiers would hold the position of Springbok coach. Perhaps that was wishful thinking, a more likely scenario would have been the sacking of his two assistants Gary Gold and Dick Muir. I now see that I was delusional to expect any action worth speaking of because the South African Rugby Union and their president Oregan Hoskins do not have what it takes to make difficult decisions.
The coaching staff has come under fire following the disastrous end of year tour to Europe where the Springboks could only win one game against the hopeless Italians. The 2010 Tri-Nations was equally disappointing as they only managed to win one single game against the Australians at Loftus. The most alarming problems were our defence and poor fitness levels, which in previous years were hallmarks or South African rugby. The Springbok defence conceded more tries then any other in the history of the Tri-Nations. The image of John Smit slipping the easy tackle that allowed Nonu to set up the historic win in Soweto is just one of the many that tells a sad story. It is alarming to see just how far the fitness standards in the Springbok camp have slipped. The fact that a grossly over weight and out of form Ricky Januarie was allowed near a field tells us about both Peter de Villiers stupidity and stubbornness. His credentials as a leader qualified of making difficult decisions were further dissolved when he did not drop the out of form Brian Habana.
Peter de Villiers showed the nation throughout the year that he, like his employers, lacked a key component required to make such choices under pressure. A spine.
On Monday a committee chaired by James Stoffberg, chair of SARU’s rugby committee and vice president of SARU examined all aspects of on-field and off-field performance. I personally would have thought that his outburst backing an alleged murderer Bees Roux would have been enough to see SARU give him the boot. Especially when you consider the fact that Nick Mallet was fired for a remark about the exorbitant ticket prices and tests.
“The committee’s focus was very much on examining areas where we can assist the Springbok team and coach in making sure they arrive at the field in the best possible state of preparation,” said Stoffberg.“ We reviewed the season to date and have discussed options for assisting the team in those preparations.” Stoffberg said that the focus was now on selecting and preparing a Springbok squad for the end-of-year tour under the guidance of the current management.
“It was a frank meeting but a positive one,” said Stoffberg. “The results of the Springbok team are of paramount importance to our organisation and everyone in the room was committed to providing the team with the best conditions in which to succeed.”
De Villiers said: “It was a very helpful process as we have thoroughly reviewed all our systems. We know there are areas in which we must improve and we will be focusing on those in the remainder of the season.”
If you consider some of the heavy weights we have in the county it is rather perplexing that SARU have elected to put up with this clown for at least one more year. Rumors are circulating that a technical adviser may be appointed. Some of the names linked to the position are Allister Coetzee, Rassie Erasmus, Dawie Theron, Frans Ludeke and Heyneke Meyer. Although one has to wonder if any of these highly respected coaches would want to soil their reputations by being involved with de Villiers.
Monday’s hearing did little more then to confirm the obvious. The SARU big boys simply do not have the backbone required to effectively run such a complex organization in the complex environment of South Africa.
Brigadier Dylok out!