South African Rugby
'Meyer must stay true to himself'
June 8, 2012
Peter de Villiers left his post as Springboks coach at the end of the last World Cup © Getty Images
Former Springboks coach Peter de Villiers has spoken out about Heyneke Meyer's appointment as the new supremo of South African rugby and has questioned the differences between his unveiling by the SARU and Meyer's.
De Villiers left his post as Springboks coach after the 2011 World Cup after a reign fraught with controversy and some bizarre statements. With Meyer taking charge of his first Test as Boks head coach on Saturday against England, De Villiers has claimed that the South African public must lend their backing to the new coach.
When asked for his advice for Meyer, De Villiers told ESPN: "Be true to yourself, just know who you are and make the decisions that you believe in and trust your instincts because whenever you stand on your own two feet you have a reason for whatever you do and you don't have excuses."
But De Villiers did question the contrasts between his unveiling as Springboks coach and Meyer's. When De Villiers' appointment was made, SARU president Oregon Hoskins said that it was a decision not purely based on rugby reasons. De Villiers speaks out about this in his new book Politically Incorrect and claims that it was a setback in his early reign as Boks coach.
"The one thing that I saw from the first day was that when they appointed the new coach [Meyer] was that they didn't say anything nice about him or anything bad," De Villiers said. "It made me question - why did they not keep quiet about me?
"I can't answer that question but I can tell you that it will run more smoothly for the next one and people will learn from their mistakes if they know that they made a mistake in the way they handled me. If I can make things easier for everyone in this country who follows me then I have achieved more than I was there for."
With the likes of John Smit and Victor Matfield both hanging up their Test boots after the last World Cup, Meyer has opted to hand the captains armband to Jean de Villiers, a decision which Peter de Villiers labels the "best choice in the circumstances that they could have made".
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.