South African Rugby
De Villiers set to escape the axe
November 29, 2010
Springboks coach Peter de Villiers was in relaxed mood in the wake of his side's victory over England © Getty Images
Under-fire Springboks coach Peter de Villiers is set to escape a troublesome year with his job intact but faces increased scrutiny in the future.
Pressure had been growing on the controversial coach after a disastrous Tri-Nations campaign and a less than convincing start to their end of year tour but a hard-fought victory over England on Saturday added some much-needed gloss to their campaign and gave De Villiers some priceless breathing space.
As a result, reports suggest that De Viliers is unlikely to be axed with Rapport citing the potential political storm this would create. However, the newspaper adds that the South African Rugby Union (SARU) is set to insist on the formation of a technical committee to advise De Villiers and his coaching team.
The performance of De Villiers and his side, who will tackle the Barbarians at Twickenham on Saturday in their last tour outing, will be evaluated this week by a task group who will then decide whether the existing coaching team will steer the side into next year's Rugby World Cup.
The form of De Villiers' side prompted SARU to contact some of the country's leading coaches earlier this year with the aim of supporting the natioanl set-up but the likes of Rassie Erasmus and Heineke Meyer turned down the chance to work as technical directors. However, Erasmus, Meyer and other former Bok coaches Harry Viljoen, Carel du Plessis and Rudolf Straeuli are reportedly in line to form part of the new advisory team.
In related news, SARU president Oregan Hoskins has played down the chance of the current Springboks coaching team being shown the door. "I think it was important psychologically to get such a result before the World Cup year, especially as England were on the up and did really well to beat Australia two weeks ago," Hoskins told the Cape Times.
"I felt that the Bok team played to their strengths and we could see why they are the world champions. It has been a tough year for us all, but this win over England was a good marker for 2011. I am really positive about our rugby and our chances of retaining the World Cup."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.