CAPE TOWN – Former Springbok boss Peter de Villiers is back in international rugby.
After a seven-year hiatus from the highest level, De Villiers was appointed as Zimbabwe’s national team coach in Harare on Wednesday morning.
De Villiers was recently in the country to consult with their Under-20 team, and it is understood that he was also interviewed for the top job at the same time.
“It would be an honour to coach Zimbabwe, but I’m waiting anxiously on decisions to be made by the board, and I believe they will make the right decision,” the 60-year-old was quoted as saying at the time.
“I’m still a servant of the game and would want to serve whenever and whatever I can.
“I’m not expecting to get the job because I know there are a lot of great candidates who also came for the job, and I know they are capable of getting the team to the next level.”
But now De Villiers has been tasked with getting the Zimbabweans to that next level – qualifying for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.
They have only featured at the showpiece event in the first two editions in 1987 and 1991, and it is hoped that with De Villiers’ pedigree, many quality players who are in other countries – such as South Africa – will make themselves available to play in the World Cup qualifiers.
De Villiers achieved a number of successes during his four years in charge of the Boks, including beating the All Blacks home and away, winning the 2009 British and Irish Lions series and the Tri-Nations in the same year.
His overall record at the Boks saw his team win 30 Tests out of 48.
The Boks lost 11-9 to the Wallabies in the 2011 World Cup quarter-final, best remembered for New Zealand referee Bryce Lawrence’s controversial decisions.
Since then, De Villiers has been a consultant with a few teams, and was also the director of rugby at the University of the Western Cape (UWC).