Peter de Villiers appointed Zimbabwe rugby coach

RUGBY

Peter de Villiers appointed Zimbabwe rugby coach

Peter de Villiers appointed Zimbabwe rugby coach

STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN

AFP

Former South Africa coach Peter de Villiers returns to coaching after leaving the Springboks back in 2011.

Former South Africa boss Peter de Villiers is making a return to international rugby as Zimbabwe’s head coach, it was announced on Wednesday.

The 60-year-old South African returns to coaching after a seven-year absence, having left the Springboks following the expiry of his contract in 2011.

"People believe in me"

De Villiers, who is tasked with leading the Sables to qualification for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan, hailed his appointment as his "greatest day".

"This is the greatest day of my life for one reason only, because people believe in me," SBS News cited De Villiers as saying.

Zimbabwe have so far only featured in the first two editions of the Rugby World Cup - in 1987 and 1991 - and it is hoped that De Villiers will lead them to their third tournament.

"No one will ever wave the magic wand for us to become a force in world rugby," Zimbabwe Rugby Union (ZRU) president Aaron Jani said. "It is up to us as a team and as country to start believing in ourselves."

In order to reach the World Cup finals, the Sables must finish in the top two in the Africa Gold Cup later this year.

The winners of the six-team round robin will qualify directly for the World Cup, where they will face New Zealand, South Africa and Italy in Pool B.

Meanwhile, the second-placed side will go on to play a repechage tournament against teams from Asia, South and North America and Europe.

De Villiers' coaching experience

After training South Africa's under-19s and the Emerging Springboks team, De Villiers was appointed as head coach of the country's national team in 2008.

With the Boks, he achieved a series of successes during his four years in charge, including wins over New Zealand home and away, and victory in the 2009 British and Irish Lions series and the Tri Nations in the same year.

After a controversial loss to Australia in the quarter-finals of the 2011 World Cup, his contract wasn’t renewed.

As South Africa coach, De Villiers claimed 30 victories in 40 Tests.

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