Div unaware of development role

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iol spt may14 De Villiers P Associated Press Former Springbok coach Peter de Villiers says he had no knowledge of Sport Minister Fikile Mbalula earmarking him for a rugby developmental role at grass root level.

Former Springbok coach Peter de Villiers said on Monday he had no knowledge of Sport Minister Fikile Mbalula earmarking him for a rugby developmental role at grass root level.

The Sowetan reported that Mbalula said during his department's budget vote speech in Parliament on Friday that he wanted De Villiers to assist with the development of the sport.

De Villiers said on Monday that he only got word of Mbalula's plans through the media, but he would be interested to plough his knowledge back into the sport.

“Let me tell you. If one can give back to your country it is good news,” De Villiers said.

He, however, said he could not comment on Mbalula's plans as he did not know about it but he would wait for an official offer from the minister.

In his four-year term De Villiers coached the Springboks to Tri-Nations champions and a series victory over the British and Irish Lions in 2009.

His stint ended on a low as the Springboks bowed out of last year's World Cup in New Zealand against Australia in the quarter-final.

He was replaced by Heyneke Meyer as national coach at the beginning of this year.

“We want him to develop the best model for grassroots rugby in the country. We are engaging him. The man has a wealth of knowledge that we need to tap into,” Mbalula told the Sowetan.

“Peter has done well for the country, including winning big events with the junior national teams.”

De Villiers recently reported that De Villiers had approached Saru over a possible role of working with club coaches.

His biography, written by rugby writer Gavin Rich is also set to be published in June.

During his budget speech Mbalula said he supported the appointment of Meyer wholeheartedly.

“Saru (SA Rugby Union) have appointed a new coach in the belief that he will take the Springboks to the next level and new heights,” Mbalula said.

“We have expressed our support for their decision and I have personally written to the coach to congratulate him on his appointment.”

“In the same vein we believe that the appointment of the coach was a bold step which must be applauded.”

Mbalula, however, said Saru needed to make work of developing young African coaches who could coach the Springboks in future.

“As Saru correctly strive for quality and excellences as exhibited in their choices of the coach, Saru must by the same token apply their minds to question of developing young African coaches from the grass-root level, through the regions up to national level,” he said.

“Saru must embrace this opportunity that the people of South Africa have given them to lead rugby in South Africa by making decisions that will leave a lasting legacy of non-racialism, equal opportunities and access for all.

“For instance there should already be a plan of a person of colour to understudy the current coach.” – Sapa



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