Legendary prop Tendai Mtawarira believes Peter de Villiers wasn’t very effective during his stint as Springbok coach.
De Villiers was the Bok head coach from 2008-11. The Springboks won 30 of their 48 matches under his reign and secured the Tri-Nations title and a series win over the British & Irish Lions in 2009.
But in an extract from his soon-to-be released autobiography, Beast, the 33-year-old Mtawarira – who made his Test debut under De Villiers in 2008 – reveals that De Villiers didn’t contribute much to the team’s success and that he was rather lucky to have inherited the core of Jake White’s side.
‘He was a fantastic coach of the Junior Springboks, but I think at the high level he was probably lucky that a very good group of players was handed over to him,’ Mtawarira writes in the book.
‘His methods and approach didn’t really work with the Springboks, and as players we had to be careful what we said to the media. What you said would get back to Peter and affect your place in the team. The media did not like Peter and thought he was a bit of a clown.
‘There’s no doubt that he was happy to be at the forefront of a team that could operate on its own steam. Most of the work was done by the players, with [assistant coaches] Dick [Muir] and [Gary] Gold very influential.’
Photo: Chris Ricco/Backpagepix
Cover Photo: Steve Haag/Gallo Images