By Elliot Mathye
SOUTH AFRICAN rugby team coach Peter de Villiers says there is no tension or bad blood between himself and forwards boss Gary Gold hence he backs coach Dick Muir.
This after de Villiers apparently overlooked the two in sounding out the availability of other coaches to help coach the Springboks.
The controversial coach, who survived being fired early this after a dismal Tri-Nations campaign which saw the Boks win only one out of six outings.
It is a known fact that De Villiers seeked help from several other coaches in South Africa in the past weeks – among them was the Lions boss John Mitchell, Frans Ludeke (Bulls), Allister Coetzee (Western Province) as well as Rassie Erasmus and Heyneke Meyer. Surprisingly all these coaches turned down his offer.
De Villiers had offered the two, Ludeke and Coetzee of forward and back positions in coaching the Boks.
When asked by the media recently about his relationship with Gold and Muir, who remain part of the Boks coaching team, De Villiers was quoted saying: “I did speak to other people … but the intention was not to replace Gary and Dick. This was after I was instructed to see who would be available to help us (Springboks) … just as Os (du Randt) has come in. It was more for the long-term, looking ahead to the World Cup.”
He further said he had a couple of meetings in the last few weeks and he had established a very good relationship.
In preparations, the Boks will face Ireland, Scotland, Wales, England and the Barbarians on tour and De Villiers –will remain under pressure to get the Boks back on their winning form.
De Villiers said he had planned to rest some of his key players for next year’s world cup, and it should not come as a surprise when there will be omission when he name his 30 member squad that he will be touring with to Ireland.
The out-spoken mentor was not given no specific targets for the tour, but he did mention the fact that the three of them (himself, Gold and Muir) might fight about a number of little things, but the one thing they see eye to eye on is that they need to win their matches.
“We’re hoping to get a five percent improvement from the players in defence and execution – the areas that let us down in the Tri-Nations. If we manage that and add to the structure we’ve built, then we’ll be able to turn things around.
At the moment, Boks’ focus is on Ireland, and in the absence of John Smit, Victor Matfield will lead a squad of 30 players to be named on Saturday, October 30.