South African Rugby
De Villiers escapes the axe
September 27, 2010
De Villiers will still be the Springboks' coach on their end of year tour of Europe © Getty Images
Peter De Villiers looks set to steer South Africa at next year's Rugby World Cup after escaping a review into a disappointing season with his job intact.
The under-fire Springboks coach was reportedly in danger of being replaced after a disastrous Tri-Nations campaign that brought just one victory and featured the latest in a long line of controversies with De Villiers hinting at a refereeing conspiracy against his players. But De Villiers and his assistants Dick Muir and Gary Gold have survived a South African Rugby Union (SARU) review into the season and will lead the team on their end of year tour of Europe.
All aspects of onfield and off-field performance were examined by a committee chaired by James Stoffberg, chairman of SARU's rugby committee and vice president of SARU. The committee received reports from De Villiers on issues that had been discussed with SARU leadership at two previous meetings since the ending of the Tri-Nations season.
"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," Stoffberg said. "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," he said. "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 accepted his side had under-performed so far this season but is determined to turn things around. "It was a very helpful process as we have thoroughly reviewed all our systems," he said. "We know there are areas in which we must improve and we will be focusing on those in the remainder of the season."
The Springboks are next in action against Ireland in Dublin on November 6.