The man who guided South Africa to series victory over the Lions two summers’ ago admits that the absence of many of his top players for the forthcoming Tri Nations could effect his chances of being offered a new contract.
Peter de Villers led the Springboks to a 2-1 triumph over the Lions in 2009 but his current contract comes to an end after this autumn’s World Cup.
And with 21 star names having been made unavailable for the away leg of the shortened Tri Nations, de Villiers insists that taking what will be effectively a B team to Australia and then New Zealand will make it difficult to push his claims to be retained as head coach.
"I am in a difficult situation … where your contract comes up for renewal and you want to win all your Tests," De Villiers told Rugby 365 at a Springbok press conference in Cape Town.
"You have to look after yourself a bit also in life. I was very disappointed when I found out I won't have the services of so many of them. Our leadership group is very thin and that in itself can cause some problems."
"Then again, at the end of your four years [as coach] you can look at your record, you can always secure some job for yourself.
"However, it is not just about me, it is about the country. The guys who are on the field and who are available will read a lot into my body language. If I make them feel inferior, I might as well also stay back home."
South Africa open their Tri Nations campaign against the Wallabies in Sydney on July 23 before travelling to Wellington to face the All Blacks a week later.
De Villiers will be without a whole team of frontline players with the likes of Bryan Habana, Victor Matfield, Schalk Burger, Fourie du Preez, Bakkies Botha and Frans Steyn all unavailable for those two internationals.
For a full list of players ruled out through injury please see our Springbok selection story by clicking here.