Peter de Villiers was fired last month, according to internal Zimbabwe Rugby Union documents. Photo: Vata Ngobeni

HARARE – Former Springbok coach Peter de Villiers has been fired by the Zimbabwe Rugby Union for unauthorised absence from work.

De Villiers was fired last month, according to internal ZRU documents, but has indicated he will appeal his dismissal in a labour court.

The documents spell out how De Villiers, who was South Africa’s coach from 2008-11, failed to return to work in Zimbabwe after a vacation last year.

He was suspended and later fired following a disciplinary hearing.

But his absence is understood to be as a result of his daughter Odille fighting cancer.

A photo of the 61-year-old spending time with his daughter at her bedside was posted on social media.

De Villiers was hired by Zimbabwe on a two-year contract in February 2018, with the aim of getting the southern African country back to the Rugby World Cup for the first time since 1991.

Not only did Zimbabwe fail to make the World Cup, they were nearly relegated from Africa’s top-tier competition.

De Villiers’ time in charge of the Zimbabwe team was problematic. He also fell out with and then fired assistant coach Brendan Dawson, a former Zimbabwe captain, accusing him of undermining his authority.

AP, Staff Writer