Springboks go with De Villiers

The South African rugby team have their first black coach.

    Peter de Villiers in the new man at the helm
    [GALLO/GETTY]
    Peter de Villiers was appointed the first black South African rugby coach, succeeding the World Cup-winning Jake White.

    The 50-year-old was chosen from a short list which also included former Bulls coach Heyneke Meyer, White's former assistant, Allister Coetzee, and Chester Williams, a winger from South Africa's 1995 World Cup-winning squad.

    "I am an inclusive type of person and all players who perform well will have an equal opportunity to make the Springbok team," De Villiers said.

    South African Rugby Union president Oregan Hoskins said the decision to appoint De Villiers was not for "purely rugby reasons."

    "I want to be honest with the country and tell them that transformation is a major issue for rugby," Hoskins said.

    "South African rugby is on top of the world at the moment, and SARU is confident that Peter will build on this great momentum and move us into a new era."

    SARU chief executive Johan Prinsloo said the vote had been very close between the final two candidates, De Villiers and Meyer, while Hoskins hinted that Meyer was being considered as the first person to fill a proposed post as director of a high-performance institute.

    Last year, De Villiers coached the emerging Springboks after taking the South African under-21 squad to the final of the under-21 World Cup in 2006.

    He also coached the under-21 squad to a third-place finish in 2004 and to the title in 2005.

    De Villiers said he valued the foundations laid by White.

    "I am privileged to take over a winning team, and people can be assured that I will not try and reinvent the wheel, I'd be crazy to change too much," De Villiers said.

    The new coach will help select his support staff during the next few weeks, and will meet with South Africa's Super 14 coaches on January 14.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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