De Villiers hopes he left a mark in Zim

HARARE - Former Springbok coach Peter de Villiers hopes his visit to Zimbabwe has left an indelible mark on the lives of the teenagers he mentored during his week-long coaching stint in the country.

De Villiers, the first non-white man to coach the Boks, having guided South Africa between 2008 and 2011, was in Zimbabwe for the first time along with former All Black coach John Mitchell and Bok hooker Chiliboy Ralepelle.

The accomplished trio carried out a series of lectures and coaching clinics at the just ended Dairibord Kyros Rugby Academy Week at the invitation of Kyros rugby.

“If rugby can be the tool with which these kids learn about themselves and life, then we would have achieved what we were here for,” De Villiers told the Daily News.

“What we do understand is that not all of them will become professional players, but they will become good citizens of this country and that is very important to us.”

De Villiers, who is now director of rugby at the University of the Western Cape, said he came to Zimbabwe with an open mind.

“I’m one of those people who don’t care what other people say. I come with an open mind in everything I do.

“I didn’t judge anything or look for anything that is wrong, my main objective was to come and up the skill of rugby players.

“But my perception about the Zimbabwean people, I can only make after I have worked with these boys.

“And it’s a lot of intelligence among these boys that we must unlock.

“They are inhabitant with things they want to say to the world but they never have a chance to do it.  I hope through rugby we will be able to unlock the greatness within them.”

De Villiers, who also had a chance to interact with the Zimbabwe Rugby Union executive amongst a number of Zimbabwe rugby stakeholders, hinted at his desire to return and hold more coaching clinics.

The outspoken coach also had a parting shot for the juniors who attended the Dairibord Kyros Rugby Academy Week at Watershed College.

“Don’t you feel inferior to anyone in this world. Don’t stand back for anyone in life. God doesn’t have any favours, so don’t you favour anyone,” he told the players.

“Let this camp be valuable in more ways than one. Respect the person inside you. Greatness comes from inside.”

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