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Dublin: 11°C Monday 19 April 2021
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De Villiers quits as Australia send Springboks packing

South Africa’s outspoken coach says that he will not be staying on following this morning’s quarter-final exit.

Image: Themba Hadebe/AP/Press Association Images

PETER DE VILLIERS announced his decision to step down as South African coach before the dust had even started to settle in Wellington this morning.

The outspoken 54-year-old called time on almost four years in charge of the Springboks minutes after his side were stripped of their World Cup crown in an 11-9 defeat against Australia.

De Villiers’s contract was due to expire at the end of the World Cup, but speaking to the press after the defeat, he confirmed that he would not be seeking a further term from the South African Rugby Union.

“It’s been a brilliant journey and one that none of you [the media] can take away from me,” de Villiers said afterwards.

There’s a time to come and a time to go. The journey is over.

“I enjoyed it. I was in a privileged position to be able to contribute to my country. South African rugby is in a good state and will move forward after this.”

After a successful spell in charge of the South African U21s, De Villiers was appointed as senior coach in January 2008, replacing Jake White.

Under his management, the Springboks scored a series win over the British and Irish Lions in the summer of 2009 before going on to capture the Tri-Nations title that autumn.

De Villiers gained a reputation for his colourful and often abrasive public comments, not least when he attempted to defend Schalk Burger following an eye gouge on Luke Fitzgerald during the second Lions test in 2009.

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“If we are going on like this, why don’t we go to the nearest ballet shop, get some tutus and get a dancing shop going?” he asked.

There will be no eye-gouging, no tackling, no nothing and we will enjoy it.

South African captain John Smit paid tribute to the departing De Villiers this morning, saying: “We’ve had a really good four years together. That’s been pioneered by Peter. Even the bad days are good.”

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Niall Kelly

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