The Sunday Mail
PETER DE VILLIERS had everyone at hello as he was unveiled as the new Sables coach in Harare last week.
The 60-year-old impressed with a sharp-witted speech.
That speech all but confirmed what most people already knew – that the former Springboks coach is the right man for the job.
This is not an indictment on Brendan Dawson, or any of the other two candidates who were vying for the job.
Dawson is where he is supposed to be.
The decision to appoint him assistant coach was a masterstroke on the part of the ZRU because he brings to the table one of the few things that De Villiers lacks and that is intimate knowledge of Zimbabwean rugby.
Being second to a coach like De Villiers will not hurt Dawson either as he will get to learn a thing or two from the legend while waiting for another crack at the national team job.
As of now, its PDV’s time and rightfully so!
The Paarl-born rugby tactician’s credentials speak for themselves, a 62,5 percent win percentage with the Boks, one that includes a 47 percentage win ratio against the All Blacks and a Tri-Nations victory back in 2009.
But credentials aside, De Villiers pretty much rubber-stamped his claim to the throne with an awe-inspiring induction speech.
“I have done a few things right in my life and today I count this as one of those things,” he said.
“It truly is the best day of my life. I am swapping the green jacket of South Africa, for the green one of Zimbabwe.
“I am not here to save Zimbabwe rugby, and I can’t promise you that we will win everything. What I can promise you is that we will be prepared and ready for everything thrown at us.”
PDV then hit the patriotic note.
“I won’t leave here not being a true Zimbabwean and the first thing I am going to do is learn the words of the national anthem.
“I am 60 years old and learning new things is hard, but that is the first goal I have set for myself, after which the target is June 16 when we play our first game,” added the new Sables coach, amid wild applause. And just like that, De Villiers bowled over everyone in attendance, as his message was more than what anyone could ever ask for.
One attendee best captured the aura of De Villiers and the awe of his unveiling.
“It’s basically trickledown economics,” he said.
“You have the whole new dispensation at the top with the President Emmerson Mnangagwa working so hard and sports like rugby benefitting because people are seeing us in a new light.
“ In this new dispensation there is not only hope for the economy but sport as well. Who would ever thought that a man who is being linked with the Boks job could choose to be the Sables coach?
“We are heading somewhere. What needs to be done now is give the new coach as well as ZRU president, Aaron Jani, all the support they need to make rugby great again in Zimbabwe.”