Div: SARU too late with decision
Peter de Villiers (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg - Springbok coach Peter de Villiers says the SA Rugby Union (SARU) left the appointment of the new national coach too late.
De Villiers's contract was extended until the end of January while SARU completed the process of finding his replacement.
"It is already too late for the coach to sit down with the Super Rugby coaches," De Villiers said on Thursday.
"The appointment should have been made in December because we didn't have an overseas tour this time."
He said the new Bok coach would not have enough time with the team before the start of the three-match Test series against England.
The Super Rugby season will recess for the June international matches, with the Boks playing the English Roses a week after a gruelling weekend of local derby matches.
Speculation about his replacement had been rife in recent weeks. No formal shortlist had been made public.
SARU, however, last year confirmed De Villiers was on the shortlist, while Bulls director of rugby Heyneke Meyer and Ireland forwards coach Gert Smal were touted as favourites.
De Villiers confirmed a meeting with SARU CEO Jurie Roux on Monday where they "spoke about this and that", adding that he did not know whether he was a candidate for the job or not.
While doubting whether SARU had any interest in him, he said he was open to take the reins in a caretaker capacity.
"There is always a bigger picture and one should not be egotistical. It will always be an honour to make a contribution," De Villiers said.
De Villiers, however, said SARU pulled the rug from under his feet with the extension of his contract.
"Now there isn't any other work out there. Perhaps it would be better to say that they would no longer be making use of my services. It creates certain expectations," he said.
The Bok mentor said there were no regrets in his tenure as national coach, which spanned four seasons.
"Hours of planning and consultation went into the job... .I can say with complete sincerity that every single decision I have made in the last four years has been a rugby one.
"That is why it has been easy for me to make them without any agendas. It is true that one doesn't always make the right decisions, but I have taken responsibility for it.
"You can't satisfy everybody, but I can keep my head high as I haven't enriched myself."
De Villiers felt the amount of talent he had brought through was a feather in his cap, with players like Tendai "Beast" Mtawarira, Zane Kirchner, Heinrich Brüssow, Francois Hougaard, Andries Bekker and Morné Steyn making their debuts under him.
"If I can give one medal to myself, it is the one for giving young talent the opportunity, who will now make the core of the team for the future."
De Villiers said the Super Rugby recess would give the new coach a different challenge as it was a crucial stage of the cross-continental competition.
He said if the franchises stood a chance of advancing to the playoffs they would be reluctant to release their players to the Springbok team.
De Villiers suggested that injuries could easily be feigned to keep the players out of the June internationals.
He also felt the franchises held too much power and had made life difficult for him.