Former Springbok coach Peter de Villiers has a theory on why the Springboks have regressed so badly in recent years.
In an interview with Sport24, the 61-year-old stated his belief that South African rugby has suffered it’s own version of “state capture”.
“If you look at the state capture that we are currently busy with, I think there was a lot of state capture in our game during my day. This game does not belong to an individual and we should never allow somebody to take it hostage,” De Villiers, who coached the national side between 2008 and 2011, said.
In elaborating on that thought, De Villiers explains that after his contract expired, he approached SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux to discuss a potential mentorship role, where he could guide upcoming coaches.
“I thought I could bring coaches up to the level where they could understand the game.
“I’m not saying that I was the only one who could do it, but I think a lot of young coaches don’t understand the mental skills in the game. There are a lot of skills that you need to have in a coach so that you can look for them in the players,” he said.
De Villiers maintains he was a strong candidate because of decent 63% win percentage.
Annually, the Bolander – who now coaches Zimbabwe – is a talking point when the Boks build up to a game against the All Blacks in New Zealand, primarily because he has good record against them.
De Villiers won five of his 11 Tests against the All Blacks – including two in New Zealand.
That’s more than any of his counterparts since 1992 except Nick Mallett.
As the Springboks fear a repeat of last years record 57-0 loss to the All Blacks this coming weekend, De Villiers laments how things have gotten to this point.
“If you look at what we achieved between 2008 and 2011, and at those kinds of records that are still standing, then it makes me bitter to think that we haven’t progressed.
“I can’t rejoice in something like that, because this is my country and if you want to see your country go forward then records are there to be broken.”
Part of the answer, he believes, is down to South African rugby trying to copy their archenemies .
“What made us so good? Hard-nut, forward rugby where we don’t have any respect for anybody and our forwards grind and grind. We are our own enemies because the All Blacks have perfected their lifestyle and how they play, and we went to copy them.”