Two powerful sports figures have hit back at former Bok coach Peter de Villiers – whose autobiography contains numerous side-swipes against former friends and new enemies.
And one, a powerful MP, has consulted an advocate about laying defamation charges against De Villiers.
In his book Politically Incorrect, co-written by rugby scribe Gavin Rich, one of those De Villiers takes aim at is Cedric Frolick, who served as deputy chair of Parliament’s portfolio committee on sport during De Villiers’ reign.
De Villiers accuses Frolick of trying to have him sacked as Bok coach, and happily names Frolick as a possible enemy who he says may have been behind the “sex tape” scandal, which rocked the country in 2008. The tape allegedly showed the devout Christian and father of two engaged in illicit activities with a woman in a car.
Yesterday, Frolick told the Cape Argus: “I must express extreme disappointment in Peter de Villiers. I feel betrayed by what are, in certain instances in his book, complete lies.”
Frolick denied he had tried to coerce De Villiers into selecting Luke Watson, the son of his ally Cheeky Watson, as a Springbok, as De Villiers alleges.
Instead, he said: “Peter de Villiers came to us to sell us this grand plan he had for SA rugby. We looked at these plans, and supported them. But it quickly became clear that he was doing the complete opposite of what he had said he had planned.
“He did not start bringing in new players, for example,” Frolick said. Notwithstanding De Villiers’ turn-around, he had not interfered.
About the allegations against him, specifically De Villiers’ publicly blaming him for possibly trying to sabotage his career with the alleged existence of a “sex tape”, Frolick said: “I’ve referred it to an advocate. But I don’t necessarily want to waste time and money on something that is a non-event. Those who are foolish enough to buy (the book) will be disappointed. It is nothing more than a litany of excuses as to why he failed to win the World Cup.”
Contacted for his response, Cheeky Watson, who heads up Eastern Cape rugby, said: “Shame, I actually feel sorry for him – the lengths he has to stoop to … for the selling of a book.”
SA Rugby Union president Oregan Hoskins is slammed by De Villiers for not having offered him enough public support, for not having done enough to protect him from various scandals and for secretly starting negotiations with his successor, Heyneke Meyer, while he was still coach.
Approached yesterday, Hoskins said: “Rugby is too precious a national asset for me to respond to him.”