P-Divvy a ‘great diplomat’ – Meyer

Date published: August 29 2015

Springbok head coach Heyneke Meyer has taken the high road in his reply to the staunch criticism from his predecessor, Peter de Villiers.

The former Bok coach has launched a series of increasingly bitter and personal attacks on Meyer over the past month, openly accusing the current coach of racism.

De Villiers recently wrote in a newspaper column that Meyer was "taking Springbok rugby back into the gutters" with his selections as he jumped on the bandwagon of criticism over the apparent lack of transformation in South African rugby.

Meyer named his 31-man squad for the Rugby World Cup on Friday, which included eight players of colour, one more than De Villiers' squad for the 2011 tournament.

In reply to questions after the announcement, Meyer chose to avoid conflict with a tongue-in-cheek response, and instead called on De Villiers to help rugby grow in South Africa.

"I truly respect Peter de Villiers as a coach and a human being," said Meyer.

"I think he’s done a lot of good things for South African rugby. He’s a great diplomat for South Africa. He’s made a difference to people’s lives, and hopefully he can still be involved in South African rugby.

"We need guys who can make a difference at grassroots level. I wish him the best of luck for the future."

SARU Deputy-President Mark Alexander added that SARU were satisfied that the Bok squad had met their transformation requirements.

"We’re happy where we are with our transformation initiative," said Alexander.

"We signed an agreement with the government and Sascoc. There are six dimensions, and performance is one. Currently, if you check our barometer, we are at 92 percent. We’re on track. We’re happy with where we are. We can do better, but we are happy."