Bok boss questions tour

The man who led South Africa to victory over the Lions has questioned the decision to tour Britain and Ireland at the end of this year. [more]

Bok boss questions tour

The man who led South Africa to victory over the Lions has questioned the decision to tour Britain and Ireland at the end of this year.

Springbok head coach Peter de Villiers saw his side record a 2-1 series victory over Ian McGeechan’s tourists last summer thanks to narrow wins in Durban and Pretoria.

South Africa then travelled to Europe last autumn to face France, Italy, Ireland and English club sides Leicester Tigers and Saracens, winning just once in their five outings.

Despite suggestions that such a tour was a step to far for a Bok side that seemed to suffer from fatigue towards the end of 2009, the South African Rugby Union has confirmed that the Boks will embark on a Grand Slam tour of the UK this November when they will face all four Home Unions on successive weekends.

That decision has been met with disapproval by de Villiers, who believes the tour will impede preparations for the defence of South Africa’s world crown next year.

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"The timing of this Grand Slam tour isn’t right for me. The World Cup is the next thing," de Villiers told the Cape Times.

"It would have been better if the Grand Slam tour was scheduled for just after the World Cup, because then we would have been in New Zealand for the World Cup, and played Tri-Nations before that against them and Australia.

“So after the World Cup would have been perfect for a Grand Slam tour."

De Villiers has suggested that the timing of the tour will have a significant impact on training schedules for the Springboks, who will have little time off between the end of their autumn tour and the start of a jam-packed 2011 season.

The former Baby Bok coach says he intends to discuss his concerns with the SARU hierarchy, although he implied that discussions like these should have taken place before the SARU agreed to take on England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales in a single month at the end of another grueling season.

"I haven’t spoken to the bosses yet about the Grand Slam tour, so I don’t know how they see it. I haven’t spoken to them or the players," added De Villiers.

"We have to determine how important the Grand Slam tour is to South African rugby.

“There are many shareholders in our rugby including the players and supporters. We need to consult with everybody to see how we view the Grand Slam tour as well as the World Cup. The sponsors also need to be consulted.

“There needs to be quite a few consultations before we can make any decisions on the way forward for South African rugby.

"I need to really sit down and work out when exactly we want to do the conditioning with the guys ahead of the 2011 season. From there we will know what we want to do and how we are going to approach the next two international seasons."

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