Former Springbok coach Peter De Villiers appointed EP coach!

By Maxwell Levine

Former Springbok coach Peter De Villiers is back into the big time, after been appointed as the head coach of the EP Elephants.

De Villiers fought off stiff competition from Varsity Cup winning coaches Jonathan Mokuena and Kevin Musikanth, as well as former Springbok assistant coaches Ricardo Laubscher and Deon Kayser.

It’s been a bumpy road for the outspoken coach who has often made it known that he struggled to secure coaching jobs after being let go by SA Rugby when his four-year Bok term expired in 2011 following the Rugby World Cup quarter-final exit to the Wallabies.

PDV, as he is affectionately known, is making a comeback in the rugby coaching ranks with his last stint as coach of Zimbabwe, a tenure which ended in acrimony after the Zimbabwe Rugby Union accused him of taking unauthorised leave from work in 2019. At the time, De Villiers was attending to his daughter, Odille Monk, who was suffering from cancer and later succumbed to the disease at the age of 28. De Villiers also coached the University of Western Cape between 2013 and 2015.

Peter De Villiers is still regarded as one of the best coaches with an excellent record against the All Blacks. He took charge of the Springboks from 2008 to 2011 as the first black Springbok head coach.

His biggest achievements were leading the Boks to a series win over the British and Irish Lions in 2009. He led the Springboks to famous victories over the All Blacks in Dunedin and Hamilton and remains the only Springbok coach to win three straight wins over the All Blacks in a calendar year.

He won the Tri-Nations in 2009. He also engineered South Africa’s largest victory over England at Twickenham in 2008 (42-6) and the highest victory over the Wallabies, 53-8 at Ellis Park in 2008. De Villiers also led the SA Under-21 team to the IRB World Championship in 2005.

With all of these accolades and a CV that many coaches can only dream of, Peter De Villiers still finds it hard to secure top coaching jobs in South Africa, with most referring to SA Rugby for “blacklisting”
the outspoken coach.

There were also widespread controversies surrounding PDV, with ex SA Rugby president Oregan Hoskins stating that rugby reasons weren’t the only reasons for De Villiers appointment in 2008, but affirmative action was also considered. He was haunted as a “political appointment”. There were
also suggestions that Peter De Villiers inherited a “ready-made” team from Jake White. This was further fuelled by former Bok Beast Mtawarira’s biography that De Villiers was “probably lucky that a very good group of players was handed over to him.”

The Springboks were knocked out of the 2011 Rugby World Cup in the quarter-finals by Australia amidst refereeing controversy, which is the joint worst performance in a World Cup by the Boks, joint with the 2003 team under Rudolf Straeuli.

It’s a new dawn for both Peter De Villiers and the Eastern Province Rugby Union who have also been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons.

“Being the coach of EP poses the opportunity for us to actually unite a divided community into one support group that is behind the team that is supposed to be one of the best in the country,” said De Villiers in an EPRU statement.

“It is going to be a challenge but with the input of all stakeholders, we will be able to reach our goal. My plan for the union is that I need a lot of support from all stakeholders to build bridges and to get the right personnel together and make sure that everybody understands what the collective goal is.”

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