Former Springboks Peter de Villiers has hit back at criticism about him by Tendai Mtawarira in the South African player’s new autobiography.
“If you look at how I fought to actually get him citizenship in South Africa, and how I fought to get him to be selected for this team, and how I fought for his teammates to accept him for who he was… it’s sad to listen and see this kind of stuff,” said de Villiers to the Marawa Sports Worldwide programme on Radio 2000.
“But then again, I understand it. I do understand that we allow ourselves to be controlled by either outside forces, or money, or power and all those kinds of things.
“So yeah, I just hope for him to get well soon (from injury), so that he can actually fight for a place in the World Cup.
“He was a No8, he had some ball-sense. Very quiet – you couldn’t use him as part of your senior group because he had that mentality of ‘submissiveness’, if you can call it that, coming from Zimbabwe. They always… everybody else is better than them.
— Marawa Sport Worldwide (@MarawaSportShow) June 19, 2019
“Some players weren’t actually happy that he was there, but I could see something in him. I could see that there’s a lot of potential that we have to fulfil. It took hard work and belief to get him there.”
In the book called ‘Beast’, there is a passage where Mtawarira comments on the de Villiers reign as Springboks coach a decade ago.
“He [de Villiers] was a fantastic coach of the Junior Springboks, but I think at the high level, he was probably lucky that a very good group of players was handed over to him,” wrote Mtawarira.
Hey guys a lot has been said/insinuated the last few days regarding my soon to be released book.
— Tendai Mtawarira (@Beast_TM) June 18, 2019
“His methods and approach didn’t really work with the Springboks, and as players, we had to be careful what we said to the media.
“What you said would get back to Peter and affect your place in the team. The media did not like Peter, and thought he was a bit of a clown.
“There’s no doubt that he was happy to be at the forefront of a team that could operate on its own steam. Most of the work was done by the players, with Dick (Muir) and (Gary) Gold (Bok assistant coaches) very influential.”
Mtawarira and the book’s publisher have since released a joint statement claiming the above comments from the player have been taken out of context.
WATCH: Episode three of Rugby Explorer, the RugbyPass documentary series where Jim Hamilton visits South Africa
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