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South African team hire historic Springboks coach De Villiers

AFP logoAFP 12/4/2020 AFP
Peter de Villiers wearing a baseball hat: Peter de Villiers pictured during his time as Zimbabwe coach. © SIMON MAINA Peter de Villiers pictured during his time as Zimbabwe coach.

Peter de Villiers, who in 2008 became the first black coach of the Springboks, was named coach of South Africa second-tier team Eastern Province Friday.

The 63-year-old will be in charge of the Port Elizabeth-based outfit in the 2021 Currie Cup second division, a statement said.

De Villiers became Springboks coach when Jake White refused to reapply for the position after winning the 2007 Rugby World Cup in France.

After a shaky first season in charge, De Villiers plotted a 2-1 series victory over the touring British and Irish Lions in 2009.

He also guided South Africa to three consecutive victories that year over New Zealand, their fierce rivals for many decades.

The Springboks went to New Zealand for the 2011 World Cup as one of the title favourites, but surprisingly fell to Australia in a quarter-final marred by controversial refereeing decisions.

De Villiers was ditched when his four-year contract ended in 2011 and Heyneke Meyer took over as coach of the Springboks.  

Zimbabwe hired De Villiers as they sought a place at the 2019 World Cup in Japan, but Namibia qualified to represent Africa alongside automatic entrants South Africa.

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