When Regan Hoskins admitted last week that Peter de Villiers is not the best coach in the world, he had ears ringing. But, he’s not the one dragging the Boks down Losers’ Lane now.
Poor old P Divvy. Spare a thought for him. He’s getting a lot of heat at the moment, isn’t he?
Let’s face it; he was always on a hiding to nothing. Regan Hoskins, the President of the SA Rugby Union, publicly admitted upon Div’s appointment to the helm that his selection was not entirely made for rugby reasons: “We as an organisation have made the appointment and taken into account the issue of transformation very, very seriously when we made it. I don’t think that tarnishes Peter – I’m just being honest with our country.” Perhaps a bit too honest there Regan?
I then thought my ears had deceived me again, when Hoskins came out with this clanger last week: “I wouldn’t say he’s the best coach in the world, but I wouldn’t say he’s inferior to Jake White. I’d say they are on a par.” Really? The head of the organisation basically admitting that he hasn’t got the best man for the job. I thought you knew better Regan? Maybe Hoskins is really the clown and says even more outlandish things than our moustachioed mentor?
People go on about Div having destroyed a World Cup-winning team. I take issue with that. We have certainly improved and built on 2007. If we want to talk about coaches who destroyed a World Cup-winning team, let’s talk about André Markgraaff. Our execution has dipped of late, granted, but we know we have been getting the rough end of the stick with the referees. It’s there for all to see, and doesn’t help when our efforts to play the game fairly are being thwarted. However, when our coach says what we all think, he gets vilified. I am not condoning a person in his position berating referees, but his frustration is clearly showing and he had the courage to say something.
White, in 2006, clearly didn’t know what to do. He also had lost some key players to injury, and certainly hadn’t built up the depth Div has. Everyone hung him out to dry, but he earned a stay of execution and we all know what happened. I was a bit disappointed in White stating last week that he was going to apply for his old job after the World Cup. That was very disingenuous, particularly when Div is in the firing line. If that had happened to White in 2006, he would have blown his top!
Personally, I think Dick Muir is the weak link in the coaching setup. I don’t care if Div doesn’t actually coach the team, but rather manages it (much like Martin Johnson for England). Honestly, what has Muir done? He never won a trophy with the Sharks, lost every game with the Lions in the Super 14, and I haven’t seen our backline fire much since he took over. He’s not a good fit for the style the Boks want to play, and I think if someone has to go, it’s him.
This article originally appeared on The South African in 2010.