By Sports Reporter
Former Springboks star Tonderai Chavhanga has called on the Zimbabwe Rugby Union (ZRU) to fire South African coach Peter de Villiers following his failure to guide the Sables to next year’s Rugby World Cup in Japan.
Chavhanga, who honed his skills at Prince Edward School in Harare before relocating to South Africa to further his career, is one of Zimbabwe’s finest rugby exports after earning four Test caps for the Springboks, scoring 30 points in the process before injury setbacks cut short his international career.
The Masvingo-born former South Africa national team star winger – the fastest rugby player in the world at the peak of his athletic powers – poured his heart out on Zimbabwe’s disastrous World Cup qualification campaign.
Chavhanga said De Villiers, who signed a two year contract with ZRU in February with the goal of leading the Sables to the Rugby World Cup had failed after presiding over a dismal campaign in which the Sables narrowly avoided relegation from Africa’s top tier group.
“We have seen how many players have come out of that country, tremendous amount of talent…It was very noble and a very good gesture and intent by Zimbabwe Rugby Union to employ Peter de Villiers. When Peter was appointed he promised that he was going to get us to the World Cup and he failed and I just feel that we need to look elsewhere, we need something different,” Chavhanga told the South African website rugby365.com
The 34-year-old, who is famous for scoring a record six tries on debut against Uruguay in East London when the Boks won 134-3, added that he felt ZRU should start looking for another coach.
“Whatever approach that he took this year clearly didn’t work and for the amount of money that he is getting as a Zimbabwean personally I’d have certainly expected better results and I think it’s better to get somebody else.”
The Sables managed just one win against Uganda and a draw Morocco while losing to Namibia, Kenya and Tunisia in De Villiers’ first season as the Zimbabwe, who started the season with high hopes of a first World Cup since the 1991, narrowly avoided relegation to the backwaters of African rugby.
Selection has been the biggest source of criticism against the 61 year-old South African coach as he doggedly kept faith in a core group of young players, mainly locally-based, who found the going extremely tough.
De Villiers doggedly refused to incorporate several foreign based players plying their trade in different professional leagues around the globe a commitment by the team’s sponsors to dig deep into bags of resources to fly in all players as requested by the coaching staff.
The ZRU board is expected to meet on September 29 to review de Villiers’ first season in charge.