2011 World Cup cam­paign

For­mer Bok coach tried to con­vince cur­rent coach to as­sist with na­tional team be­fore start of

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The man who made a scathing racial at­tack against Spring­bok coach Heyneke Meyer this week begged Meyer to help him with the coach­ing of his strug­gling team five years ago.

City Press’ sis­ter pub­li­ca­tion, Rap­port, has learnt that Peter de Vil­liers, Meyer’s pre­de­ces­sor as Spring­boks coach, trav­elled to Pre­to­ria in 2010 to ask Meyer to be his for­wards coach.

Meyer turned down the of­fer and later took over from De Vil­liers af­ter the team’s un­suc­cess­ful World Cup in 2011.

De Vil­liers said in a news­pa­per col­umn last week that Meyer had “un­der­es­ti­mated the in­tel­li­gence of black South Africans” with his team se­lec­tion for the re­cent Rugby Cham­pi­onship and es­pe­cially with his start­ing team for the test against Ar­gentina in Dur­ban last week­end, which the Boks lost.

This fol­lowed an out­burst by Tony Ehren­re­ich, labour fed­er­a­tion Cosatu’s out­spo­ken Western Cape sec­re­tary, about the al­leged lack of trans­for­ma­tion in the Boks team.

Nev­er­the­less, Meyer’s 23-man squad for that test in­cluded one black player in the start­ing line-up and three on the bench – more than De Vil­liers in­cluded in his en­tire World Cup squad in 2011.

Meyer was widely crit­i­cised last week, par­tic­u­larly for his un­suc­cess­ful experiment of choos­ing Jesse Kriel as a wing in place of Cor­nal Hen­dricks and Lwazi Mvovo for the bat­tle at the Shark Tank.

But even De Vil­liers will know that se­lec­tions some­times in­volve a dif­fi­cult bal­anc­ing act.

Since 2008, for ex­am­ple, De Vil­liers se­lected Percy Mont­gomery, Frans Steyn and Pat Lam­bie as full­backs, but did not use Zane Kirch­ner and Gio Aplon much.

In the 2011 World Cup, Jaque Fourie served as Meyer’s firstchoice out­side cen­tre, while Juan de Jongh had to be sat­is­fied with just 26 min­utes of game time in the en­tire tour­na­ment.

At the same tour­na­ment, De Vil­liers regularly used Fran­cois Hougaard on the wing, while Odwa Ndun­gane and Aplon had to watch from the side­lines.

In ad­di­tion, many “play­ers of colour” whom De Vil­liers se­lected be­tween 2008 and 2011 – such as Kirch­ner, Bryan Ha­bana, Bjorn Bas­son, Ndun­gane, Heini Adams, Chili­boy Rale­pelle and Gurthrö Steenkamp – were in fact re­cruited and coached by Meyer at the Bulls.

It’s not the first time that the racial bomb has ex­ploded in a World Cup year. In 1999, the coun­try’s for­mer rugby boss, Rian Ober­holzer, read the trans­for­ma­tion riot act to coach Nick Mal­lett be­fore a test against Wales, while in 2003 Ru­dolph Straeuli had to quash re­ports about the no­to­ri­ous Kamp Staal­draad and the Geo Cronjé saga.


HEAD­MAN Spring­boks

coach Heyneke Meyer

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