De Villiers New Sables Coach
Former South Africa rugby coach, Peter de Villiers has been appointed Zimbabwe Sables coach with Brendan Dawson, a former Sables captain and coach engaged as his assistant.
De Villiers and Dawson were unveiled at a Harare hotel on Wednesday morning. It was also announced during the same gathering that the new Sables mentor will get a courtesy vehicle from ZIMOCO, the only official distributor of Mercedes-Benz passenger and commercial vehicles as well as Jeep, Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Great Wall Motors, Mitsubishi, FUSO and Freightliner in Zimbabwe.
The 60-year old De Villiers was Springboks coach from 2008 until 2011. During his tenure as Springboks coach, he enjoyed mixed successes, managing South Africa to winning the 2009 Tri-Nations, a Test series triumph over the British and Irish Lions and a memorable first victory over New Zealand in Dunedin.
Following a quarter-final defeat to Australia in the 2011 Rugby World Cup, De Villiers had his contract not renewed by the South African Rugby Union.
Dawson is the most successful modern-day Sables coach having presided over the team from 2007 until beginning of 2015 when the job was given to Cyprian Mandenge. The former Sables skipper won the then Confederation of African Rugby Southern Trophy in Gaborone, Botswana in 2009. The following year, the Sables were on the rise, winning the 2010 Africa Cup 1C to earn promotion into 1B where they did not stay long before making it to 1A for the 2012 competition.
Zimbabwe, under Dawson, won the 2012 Africa Cup with a 22-18 triumph over Uganda in Tunisia. They finished as runners-up to Kenya in 2013 before they narrowly missed out on a place at the 2015 Rugby World Cup when Namibia sneaked through on points difference. A costly mistake was made by Sables skipper Daniel Hondo against Kenya, a match the Sables won 28-10. Hondo opted to have flyhalf Guy Cronje kick for posts instead of taking a scrum and go for a fourth try which would have earned Zimbabwe a bonus point and an automatic ticket to England.
Zimbabwe went on to lose a playoff 23-15 to Russia which saw them miss out on their third appearance at the Rugby World Cup.
The Sables coaching post has been vacant since August last year when ZRU disbanded the Mandenge led technical team after a disastrous campaign in the Rugby Africa Gold Cup. Zimbabwe narrowly survived relegation, with their only victory, a 28-18 triumph recorded over Senegal in Dakar.