Divvy: 'In SA right has become wrong and wrong has become right'
Former Springbok coach Peter de Villiers has joined The Rugby Pod – with Andy Goode, Big Jim Hamilton and hosted by Andy Rowe – to chat about all things Springboks.
In true De Villiers fashion, he likened inside centre Damian De Allende to a blindside flank and took exception with the media not being tough enough on Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus.
De Villiers, who won a Tri-Nations title and beat the British and Irish Lions in his stint from 2008 to 2011, described the reaction to RassieGate as ‘indifferent’ in South Africa.
He was never a fan of the media and made that clear when he suggested they went ‘mum’ on the entire Erasmus issue.
“I am not surprised,” the 65-year-old said of the SA media, adding: “They actually don’t understand what the game is truly made of.”
He also blasted the South African Rugby Union for not pulling Erasmus back in line.
“There are a lot of individuals, a lot of former Springbok [players] who are not happy with him.
“In this country right has become wrong and wrong has become right,” he said in typical De Villiers fashion.
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De Villiers also suggested that the current Springbok midfield selection does not allow for skilful playmakers like Manie Libbok and Damian Willemse to come to realise their true potential.
“It depends on how they want to play, who plays [at No.10], although with those centres though I don’t think we can attack much,” De Villiers told The Rugby Pod.
“The two [No.10s] that we have there now, Manie and Damian, can take us a long way.
“What they do need is some exciting inside backs to get the best out of them.
“If Manie plays at No.10, I don’t think any team will have a problem stopping the Boks, because the No.12 next to him, won’t be able to catch up with him.
“De Allende, the big No.6,” he said of a position that is an openside flank in South Africa, but a blindside flank in the rest of the world.
The former Boks coach elaborated on his position, explaining that he has nothing against De Allende, but that a creative player should be in the position.
A large part of the Springboks’ current game has been to use De Allende as a direct ball carrier with little else which the former head coach believes is ‘killing the game’.
Against England the two midfielders, De Allende and centre Jesse Kriel, completed just two passes between them with one apiece.
“I don’t have anything against him personally.
“To me, your most creative players should be No.9, No.10 and No.12.
“That’s what the game was made of. We are making it a bit boring,” he said.
“And then, at times the people are watching the game and giving the accolades of man of the match to some of these guys, and to me they are killing the game.
“Because now they believe that what we do is right. There is so much room for us all to improve.
“If we are only going to get to a mindset to allow the players to think and to play.’
De Villiers, who coached the Springboks at the 2011 Rugby World Cup, believed that South Africa had a good chance to repeat their 2019 triumph due to the mindset developing from other nations.
He believed a low risk approach and too much focus on the Springboks has detracted from focusing on their own game.
“Nations are respecting other teams so much, we too are gaining much respect from all the other countries,” De Villiers said.
“People will come out against us playing not to lose, instead of their old mindset of ‘do everything to win’.
“And that might count in our favour. The fact that people are already thinking about how do we stop the kicking, how are going to do this, forget about those things.
“Ask how are they [South Africa] going to stop us [as opponents].
“It’s only New Zealand at this stage you can say, this is the way they play. All the other guys, you don’t know how they play rugby anymore.”
The big risk for South Africa from De Villiers perspective was the lack of depth in the Springboks who don’t have a quality second team.
When they did run out what many described as a ‘B’ team against Wales in the second test, they suffered a 13-12 defeat, while the South Africa ‘A’ side struggled on their recent European tour losing multiple games to club sides.
“To me, I think they [South Africa] have a very good chance to go back to the World Cup and do what they do best.
“The only thing for them that I’m aware of, and fear, is that they don’t have a second team.”
* Watch the full interview below …