(Written 9 Oct 2011)
Dear All,
Peter de Villiers (Bok coach) is reported to have jumped. I hope it is true. If so, I expect that the most relieved person must be de Villiers himself. In four years he simply never looked the part and must have known that he was well out of his depth. I think Graham Henry (NZ coach) made the most sensible comment about the SA ex-coach when he said “nothing de Villiers says can be taken seriously.”
So what will be the outcome of the de Villiers experiment?
Educational and sporting organisations have a life of their own that changes slowly; often taking years for a specific leader’s influence to work its way into the culture of the institution. And sometimes it takes years to shake off the influence of a past leader. Anyone who has worked in schools and/or universities will be familiar with this phenomenon. The influence of a new head-of-department may take 2 or 3 years to become apparent and may stay in place for 2 to 3 years after they leave.
Jake White’s influence lasted well into de Villier’s term of office – and it served the national team well – just as I am sure that the influence of John Mitchell at the Golden Lions will stand that province in good stead for years to come. The question is whether there is a de Villiers influence in the national team, or is it all just an aimless muddle, waiting for a leader?