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Durbs

Peter De Villiers’

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I received some good news this morning, there is still hope for the WC in 2011 in the form of a new coach.

 

The only surprise regarding Peter de Villiers impending dismissal is that its taken this long for Saru to realise hes a complete liability.

 

Theres been plenty happening behind the scenes since Mondays press conference in Bloemfontein. De Villiers wasnt asked about the Bees Roux murder case, but felt obliged to bring it up while waxing lyrical about the hope the Boks bring to people in dire situations. He said that the Boks are behind Roux 100%, a statement thats caused an uproar in certain communities and enraged his employers at Saru.

 

This careless comment could be the final straw. Come Sunday, De Villiers should be gone.

 

De Villiers will face a disciplinary committee this week and an announcement regarding the incident will be made on Sunday. The deluge of embarrassing comments hes made during his three-year tenure will be used against him as grounds for an early dismissal.

 

No one should be surprised, because if it were any other coach, they would have been fired long ago. Theres no denying De Villiers has brought the game into disrepute. The Bees Roux statement was a misplaced show of patriotism, an absurd gesture. Hes never been a fit spokesman for the Boks and his latest offering only underlines the fact.

 

De Villiers in a press conference is like a loaded gun. The slightest provocation sets him off. On Monday, that gun exploded without prompting. Saru should bullet him on Sunday, but they cannot say that they didnt see another verbal calamity coming. Keeping him as Bok coach will continue to risk the reputation of Saru, the Boks and South Africa itself.

 

Nick Mallett and Jake White were two of South Africas more successful coaches, but their strong-willed personalities saw them clashing with the top brass at Saru. Mallett was fired after complaining about ticket prices, something most South Africans complain about on a weekly basis. White won the World Cup, but it wasnt enough. Saru wanted him out after 2007, and his resignation pre-empted their move to displace him.

 

What if Mallett or White had botched a press conference so spectacularly that they ended up condoning eye-gouging? Would they have made it to the next Test, let alone the next season?

 

De Villiers showed his support for Schalk Burger after the second Test against the Lions in 2009, but his misfiring mouth spoke about gouging lions on the highveld in the same breath, an arrogant and defiant statement that almost dared the authorities to censor him.

 

In 2008, he responded to criticism by saying he’d had enough, and that they ’should give rugby back to the whites’. On Monday in Bloemfontein, he made another outrageous claim that smacked of mindless bravado, ‘You’re either for us or you’re against us’. He spoke about the laager being closed and how the team is unified and immune to any criticism. And here I’d thought we were done with the laager mentality. Apparently not.

 

Earlier this year, his comment on live television intimated referees favoured the All Blacks because of the 2011 World Cup, and referees knew it was in New Zealand’s interest that the home team remained successful.

 

Former Wallabies hooker Brendan Cannon called him a clown, a view shared by many opposition coaches and players abroad, and a few in this country as well. If De Villiers is a clown, he’s the unfunny kind, and the only people laughing are those who aren’t South African. They want De Villiers to continue because they know he’s the Boks’ primary stumbling block. Technically, he offers nothing, and his controversial rants only result in more pressure on a team that he’s ironically sworn to protect.

 

All these incidents have been kept in a file and the latest comment, which amounts to backing an alleged murderer, should be the blunder that hastens his departure. He no longer enjoys the government’s support, and his president will no longer tolerate his arrogance. Regan Hoskins has been instructed not to comment, but deal with the situation. There’s no way De Villiers can survive the axe. Anything but an axing will be a let off.

 

Regardless of what happens in the final Tri-Nations Test on Saturday, Peter de Villiers can no longer be tolerated. The Boks are the world champions and the South African community should accept nothing but the best. It’s been obvious from day one that De Villiers doesn’t fit the criteria, and he’s consistently proved it over a three-year career. The free ride is over.

Edited by Durbs

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