Div has SARU's 'full support'
Cape Town - Springbok coach Peter de Villiers was backed by the South African Rugby Union (SARU) on Thursday following his team's dismal Tri-Nations tour.
"We had an informal chat this morning and we intend to have a full review with him next week," SARU president Oregan Hoskins said.
"We would normally only have a review at the end of the Tri-Nations series, but this time we see the need to have one in the middle of the competition given the gravity of the situation."
Hoskins said De Villiers's job was safe despite calls for him to be axed following the 32-12 and 31-17 losses to the All Blacks and a 30-13 defeat by Australia.
"It's important that you don't change management at this stage, although it is certainly a grave situation. After three losses, we need to take stock and try to rectify the wrongs," Hoskins said.
South Africa's recent triumphs in Hamilton (2009), Dunedin (2008) and Perth (2009) raised expectations back home but the Springboks' overall record in away Tri-Nations matches is poor. They have won just six Tests in 14 years in New Zealand and Australia.
"History is one thing, but recently we've done better over there and we won the Tri-Nations last year," Hoskins said.
"We want to improve rather than go backwards and we feel this year may be a step back."
The Springboks returned from Australia this week to newspaper stories alleging there was a split between De Villiers and assistant coaches Gary Gold and Dick Muir over the team's style of play.
Gold, however, said there was no truth in them.
"We believe we are all on the same page. We sit down every Sunday night after a game and decide, with the very senior players, on the way forward for the next game, and we always emerge with a united front," Gold said.
"Of course our execution could have been better overseas and we will be doing an in-depth factual examination of where it went wrong for us in the last three games."
The Springboks have also been criticised for appearing lethargic overseas.
"Where they lost the plot was in November when they dragged all the top players on the end-of-year tour to England," Tim Noakes, South Africa's leading sports scientist and a consultant for the World Cup-winning 2007 side, said.
"The guys appeared cooked in Australia and New Zealand, emotionally and physically drained, and the cooking happened there in England and in the pointless Test against Wales," Noakes said.
"The more matches the guys play, the less training they can do, the less work they can do on their conditioning, and the classic result is that the players are less fit at the end of a competition.
"And it's not just the physical demands that take their toll on the players. There's all the travelling, the being away from home, and the mental exhaustion has a profound effect on the body," Noakes said.
De Villiers was not available to comment and would not allow Reuters to interview the Springboks' conditioning coach Neels Liebel.