De Villiers says SA Rugby tried 'four or five times' to get rid of him

Former Springbok coach Peter de Villiers Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Former South Africa coach Peter de Villiers says he was a 'bit more astute' in dealing with what he describes as behind-the-scenes machinations by SA Rugby during his tenure.

Allister Coetzee and SA Rugby parted ways on Friday after less then two years in charge of the Springboks. Coetzee could only manage 11 wins in 25 matches for a 44% winning record. Only John Williams (20%), Ian McIntosh (33%) and Carel du Plessis (37%) have worse records since 1992.

However, Coetzee highlighted plenty of obstacles he says he faced as Bok coach in an explosive letter to SA Rugby chief executive Jurie Roux that was leaked to the media.

"He was forced out of his job, because people didn't give him the support he needed so much to be successful. It happened to me and I told him that it would happen to him too," De Villiers told EWN Sport.

"When I was appointed as coach, there was another coach on stand-by just in case I don't make it, and they tried about four or five times to get rid of me in my four years as coach. I was a little bit more astute than Allister was."

De Villiers' contact wasn't renewed after the Boks were knocked out at the quarter-final stage of the 2011 World Cup in Australia. But he did make his mark in charge of the team, as his Boks remain the last team to record a series win over the British and Irish Lions (2009), while he also won the Tri-Nations in the by beating the All Blacks three times in the same year.

"I did not sign my contract until there was a performance clause in it, and at the end it was the performance clause that kept me in my job for four years," he said.