By John Harvey
FORMER Springbok coach Peter de Villiers continues to maintain that South Africa was “robbed” during its ill-fated World Cup quarterfinal against Australia at last year’s Rugby World Cup – and has again questioned whether the shocking defeat could have been determined by “outside factors”.
In a candid interview with Weekend Post this week, following the controversial launch of his “tell-all” book Politically Incorrect last month, De Villiers said he would “definitely” consider coaching the Southern Kings if approached, despite believing the franchise was far from ready for Super Rugby next year.
De Villiers is still scratching his head over New Zealand referee Bryce Lawrence’s decisions in last year’s quarterfinal and questioned why no one in South African rugby circles ever took up sports science guru Professor Tim Noake’s call to probe Lawrence’s performance.
In a letter to a Cape Town newspaper following the Boks’ exit from the tournament, De Villiers said rugby bosses were being “too quiet” on this issue. “We are a leading rugby nation and we’ve been robbed out of competition [World Cup]. We have to wonder if there are people working higher up.
On the issue of the Kings’ involvement in Super Rugby next year, De Villiers suggested that, had Saru kept faith in the Southern Spears in 2005 – a team he coached – the franchise would have developed to Super Rugby level by now.
“When I was at the Spears the assignment was to develop rugby in the Eastern Cape, where the vast majority are black people. The difference between then and now is that almost eight years have passed and the team would have been developed for Super Rugby.
“Now the Kings are starting from scratch.”
Acknowledging that he had acquired something of a cult following in South Africa, De Villiers said he hoped his term in charge of the Boks would have inspired others. “I did it my way and I got everyone involved, not just rugby-wise, but you, me, the team, the Eastern Cape, everyone.”