Springboks

Div ‘An odd little man’

2010-10-12 07:45
Peter de Villiers (Gallo)
Rob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer

Cape Town - Peter de Villiers is “an odd little man who rubs people up the wrong way in a short space of time”, says retired All Blacks prop Richard Loe.

Writing in the New Zealand Herald, that country’s leading newspaper, the 49-cap international and now rugby pundit fired a fresh salvo at the embattled Springbok coach, whom he had also ridiculed during the Tri-Nations campaign.

Loe said: “I was over in South Africa recently at a Murray Mexted IRANZ coaching stint, and who should turn up one day but (De Villiers). All I can is … what an odd little man.”

The 50-year-old farmer described the manner in which De Villiers “held onto his job” recently as “a bit of a circus”.

He said it appeared as though the head coach tried to blame assistants Dick Muir and Gary Gold, to save his own post.

“The news that De Villiers had been approaching others (coaches) got out – and made SARU and De Villiers look a bit sick.”

Of course Loe suggesting the Bok coach “rubs people up the wrong way” might be considered a bit rich by some, as the front-row firebrand was a highly controversial Test player not averse to eye-gouging and other on-field misdemeanours.

But he is a popular columnist and sometimes guest on Re-Union, the New Zealand television equivalent to SuperSport’s Boots & All.

Loe added that he had spoken to Muir a few weeks ago and that the Bok backline coach informed him they badly needed to rest their senior players (from the looming European tour) to get them right for the 2011 World Cup.

“You see, Muir is thinking of the future. De Villiers is starting to make noises that he might take his stars (abroad), or most of them. A man under pressure, the future is his next game.

“What’s going on in South African rugby is at least part of the reason the Boks are not rated as highly right now.”

Loe said he agreed with All Blacks coach Graham Henry’s view that Australia potentially posed a greater threat to No 1-ranked New Zealand at the World Cup than age-old rivals the Springboks.

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