NZ Rugby World
How would you describe the pressure of being the Bok coach?
It’s an unbelievable honour. I was on the shortlist when Jake got the job in 2004. Jake came in late and I'm not saying he wasn’t the best candidate but he wasn't on the original shortlist so I could have taken on the job with that team, but I felt I really wanted to win Super Rugby because people said it's never been done.
And if we look at Super Rugby – and I mean this in a really, really humble way – it's almost more difficult to win Super Rugby than to win a World Cup. In the World Cup you need three good games but in Super Rugby you have to win all the way through.
After achieving that in 2007 I wanted to take the team after Jake because Victor Matfield, Fourie du Preez – and all my leaders and all the best guys were at their best – but that wasn’t to be.
When I did get the job in 2012 I had a long discussion with my family and we knew it was going to be tough, because I was assistant with Nick Mallett and he got lot of bad publicity at the end, although now he's a superstar again [laughs].
But what I didn't realise when I took the job is the strength of social media. I’m not on any social media – I don't even know how it works – but I knew through Nick, and going through most of the papers, and his family took it heavily.
So I warned my family it would be tough, but it was only when I came back after the World Cup, that the impact of social media was really hectic, and on my kids.
People are really, really harsh out there. But by saying that, it was an unbelievable honour and I'd do it again.
Obviously, we didn’t win the World Cup and only winners are good enough for South Africa. I said at one stage that I let my country down, but Steve Hansen helped me a lot when it came to getting over that and realising that we gave it everything, and the way we fought back was unbelievable for me.