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Puzzling Meyer changes two

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Photo: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
Photo: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

 

The Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer made just two changes as he named a familiar side to take on the Argentinians. Having suffered defeat earlier in the year, a battle to finish at least third at the World Cup and on the official rankings Meyer was quick to replace Fourie du Preez with Ruan Pienaar and Rudy Paige was added to the bench. Victor Matfield comes into the stating line up and is handed the arm band. He swaps with Lood de jager. I see the value in the side winning this game to end the side’s year on a high. What is telling is in the bigger scope of thing Meyer has sent messages of a lack of trust, belief and courage to not only make changes but to believe in the abilities of the players.

I am in awe as the World Cup and the potential end of some careers and players like Siya Kolisi , Lwazi Mvovo and are not trusted. In some way Meyer is sending a different message. You are not good enough and you were a selection that was forced upon. It really is sad and while he has already secured a four year deal, well reportedly he has shown stubbornness, blindness and continues to not only make his position fragile among the fans. Meyer states that ringing the changes would be a lack of respect to the jersey. So the other Springboks are not worth the honor of donning the jersey?

Meyer is a loyalist and will be going all out for bronze. It will be a result, if he wins that will make his win percentage even better but in perspective it will be another dry and unsuccessful four years. Something is wwrong in the South African system and maybe it is time to look else where. It has been a poor habit of ours but if the coach only trusts 16-20 players only in a squad of 30 or better yet in five franchises there is a problem.

We wish the Springboks all the best and may they prevail. A second loss to the Pumas would bring mixed emotions, however it is important to note the mental state of the players that have lost a semi final earlier in the week. It would have made sense to start with players who have had little game time but will be motivated to get some minutes but to also prove a point. Meyer knows best, he is a national coach anyway.

 

Springbok team to play Argentina:

 

Springboks – 15 Willie le Roux, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Schalk Burger, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Victor Matfield (c), 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Beast Mtawarira.
Subs: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Jannie du Plessis, 19 Lood de Jager, 20 Willem Alberts, 21 Rudy Paige, 22 Pat Lambie, 23 Jan Serfontein.

The clock is ticking…

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SAfricaAway15

The deciding week in the Rugby Championship. South Africa will go into the last test having all but secured third spot on the log unless they succumb to a shock loss. Will Pieter-Steph du toit feature in the fourth game with the former Sharks lock having managed to get a few minutes against the Lions in the warm up game. The giant lock was impressive, dominant at lineout time, solid in defense and had a great break to cap off a decent night on the park. One has to hope he will feature for the Springboks and manage to get the same chance as Lood de jager had (missed most of the rugby this year but managed to step up in a Test match) and take it. The match against Argentina will be an opportunity for Meyer to have a look at several more options and it would be even better to try out some combinations. Will Jean de Villiers get the opportunity to win back his jumper? Had the skipper been fit the Springboks would not have been privileged to have Damien and Jesse in the midfield. That in itself is a positive from a fan’s perspective. His injury that is. What I do know is that Jean’s leadership will be the most important asset the Springboks get this week. It will be time for the skipper to prove the doubters wrong and step up to the plate; question is for who? Jan Serfontein is also believed to be recovered and all of a sudden Meyer has the difficult task of picking not just a squad but a best XV.

Argentina will present a physical onslaught and will require the very best from our player; our forwards more so. With Jannie and Francois Louw it will be an opportunity for several players to get a shot at the 31 man squad.

 

It is also expected Fourie du Preez and Willem Alberts more importantly will be back and a decision whether they will feature will be made later in the week. They are likely to receive much needed game time as they look to be ready for the England show piece. All hopes of the Springboks final showing will be on the shoulders of the returning stars. Argentina will not only be two dead rubber tests but they will tell Bok fans where exactly they stand with the World Cup on the horizon. The Springboks have managed to improve every game this year but it’s not good enough to dominate games over 60 minutes only. Goodness, even Wales have managed to perfect that art. They have managed to dominate against every powerhouse side but still lost. At the end of the day it counts for nothing! The next two weeks will be pivotal for all four nations. It will be the performance that is needed for Argentina and South Africa while Australia and New Zealand will be aiming for the crown. Will New Zealand be able to make it 19 from 21 win in the Rugby Championship? Will they claim every Rugby Championship title since its inception?

A funny story in somewhat has popped out of the New Zealand camp with the All Blacks looking to take their innovation levels to a new level by taking two half backs only to the world Cup. That would mean, take Aaron Smith and TJ Perenara and have Colin Slade cover the third slot. Why? Steve believes it could allow the All Blacks to take more back line options to the World Cup. This is something the men in black are considering, it looks like they were impressed by the Highlanders five-eighth Lima Sopoaga. Only time will tell if Colin Slade will actually be considered an option in this position. With Hooper cleared to face the All Blacks it will be an interesting match this weekend. It would also good be good to see the All Blacks give Beauden Barrett a run at Fly half and they could also throw in Patrick Osborne into the cauldron with the persistent injury to Cory Jane. With Steve Hansen believed to be willing to gamble on Nehe Milner-Skudder who was battling with a rib injury in one of the two tests against Australia. The All blacks are looking solid going into the World Cup and have the most balanced and assured side.

Australia may need to work on several aspects of their game such as their kickers who all have been shocking. The Australian scrum has improved but it will not worry their Pool A opponents who will see some creeks in that pack. A positive for the Wallabies will be the return of Kane Douglas. They are in desperate need of second row reinforcement as they will likely call on James Horwill this weekend with the injury to Rob Simmons.  The countdown to Rugby World Cup 2015 continues, and there will be a lot more questions answered in the next few weeks.

Execution over innovation

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It is a term one of the most successful coaches of Springbok rugby used on the magazine show Boots & All last night to describe Heyneke Meyer and our current Springbok playing style.

Imagine if…

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All the excitement from the elections in the United States seems have many South Africans reflecting and saying things like; ‘Imagine if South Africa…’

In the Hotseat – Heyneke Meyer from Durban

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Heyneke Meyer took some time off from preparing the Boks for the first Test against England to answer your questions sent in to him by readers of BOKzine.
June 07, 2012

Heyneke Meyer took some time off from preparing the Boks for the first Test against England to answer your questions sent in to him by readers of BOKzine.

Your Question: The Bulls defence is suspect, Bob showed it during Boots and All Thursday night 31-05-2012. The record also proves it. Why do you not employ the Stormers defence coach? He has made the Stormers the best defencive side in the Super 15? – Owen Hughes

Heyneke answers: That is a good question Owen. I won’t say the Bulls’ defence is suspect, in some of their tour games they rather made individual errors which allowed tries to be scored. I have a lot of respect for Jacques Nienaber and we’ll look at getting him involved in some role in future, but we’ve gone with John McFarland as him and I have been working together for years. He also does more than just defence and is very involved in our kicking game as well as helping the hookers with their throwing, being a former hooker himself.

Your Question: Howzit going boet? I am really a massive fan In fact my spare room has every scarf, hat towel, flag, big springbok and little springbok I have all the rugby balls dude from BOKKIE to world cup, I’ve been to all the Scotland and South African games…. I was wondering what are the chances of getting a signed card or something from the BOKKE. thank you. – Trevor Conradie

Heyneke answers: It’s always nice to hear from someone who is a passionate Bok fan, thanks Trevor. I’ll have to speak to the relevant people to see what they can come up with. All the best!

Your Question: Heyneke, What I would like to know is if you could name ANY former Springbok to the team for this series, not as a way to add depth, but in terms of the effect you feel the given player has on a squad as a whole, who would it be? Please consider more than just the players who retired from Test rugby recently. – AJ White

Heyneke answers: I’m really happy with my squad and I know the guys can do the job for us. Now that the team has been named, it would really be unfair of me to single out any specific player from days gone by, I’m sure you understand. We considered all available options and now it’s up to the players in the squad to show they can stay here.

Your Question: We can expect the All Blacks and Australia to play an expansive game, and they clearly have exceptional backline players to accomodate this. What is your thinking in terms of how the Springboks will counter this – do we take them on at their own game or do we go for a more traditional approach? – Gareth Brown

Heyneke answers: Gareth, I think we’ll have to wait and see. The All Blacks were certainly not the most expansive side at the World Cup last year, in fact, they kicked more than any other team. We will go for the approach that will help us win Tests. But we’re only focused on playing England at the moment.

Your Question: WITH ANDRIES BEKKER INJURED, WILL YOU BE LOOKING TO REPLACE HIM WITH A SPECIALIST LINEOUT JUMPER (E.G. JUANDRE KRUGER) OR THE BEST PLAYER (E.G.FLIP VAN DER MERWE)? – Michael

Heyneke answers: Hi Michael – this question was answered yesterday when I named my team. Juandre is in the mould of Andries and Victor as line-out specialist and organiser (very important) and Eben and Flip are more like Bakkies, who do the hard work around the park. There will always be room for both kinds of locks in a team.

Your Question: Hi coach, I seriously hope you will give Joe Petersen a chance at fullback as I think Zane Kirchner and him has been far the best fullbacks this year. Also just one thing please? Please pick players on form only? No matter who the players are- if they are not performing drop them. Thank you and good luck!! – Marius

Heyneke answers: Hope you like the team we announced on Wednesday Marius, but I’m guessing you would’ve preferred Joe over Zane. We’ve gone for the best players that we think can do the job against England and I can assure you that Joe is not out of the picture at all, but he is injured at the moment.

Your Question: Im still over the moon u got the job ! Dont u think its ridiculous that bizzy was selected to play a hapless lions team days b4 Eng series, they arnt exactly going to loose if a hungry/fit//fresh 180% Burden plays ??? U agree that our plyr mgmt should take a leaf out of the Crusaders & NZ re rotation/injury comeback etc. – Holzie

Heyneke answers: Thanks for the support Holzie, it’s nice to see I’ve still got some fans out there ;-). We don’t have any say over the way the Vodacom Super Rugby franchises utilise their players and I have faith in their coaches. We communicate with them regularly, but in the end they also have a job to do and I understand that full well, having been on the “other side” as well.

Your Question: Hello Heyneke Meyer, do you think you right to coach the bok team. And do you got a different format than the province coaches. – Desmond

Heyneke answers: I’m very excited about this opportunity to be entrusted with this big job. It’s not up to me to say whether I’m the best man for the job, but I will always do my best for the Boks. My format will be to use our traditional strengths or whatever it takes to get the Boks back to winning ways again.

Your Question: Indien klein Lambie gesond is gaan daar ‘n plek vir hom in die Bokspan wees? Veral gesien dat Francois Steyn nou ook terug is. Al is dit net op die bank om iemand tussen die agterspelers wat beseer word te vervang. Gaan ons no. 1 stut geleer word om reguit te druk – onthou hy het die meeste strafskoppe teen hom van enige stut!! – Dirk C le Roux

Heyneke answers: Ja Dirk, altyd, soos jy gesien het met die spanaankondiging. Pat is uiters talentvol, het ‘n goeie voet, kan aanval en is veelsydig. Ons het goeie losskakels en heelagters en daar sal altyd plek wees vir ouens wat my wys hulle wil vir die Bokke speel. Ons stutte het baie hard gewerk aan hul tegniek saam met ons skrum-afrigter, Pieter de Villiers. Dis iets wat vir ons baie belangrik is.

(Dirk asks about what role Pat Lambie will play and if our loosehead prop will push straight. Heyneke said there will always be a place for Lambie as he is very talented, kicks well, can attack and can play in different positions in the backline. And that our props will be ready as they’ve worked hard with scrum coach Pieter de Villiers.

Your Question: AS HEINRICH BRUSSOW NIE AANGEPAS HET NIE HOE HET COENIE OOSTHUIZEN ?? BRUSSOW HET BITTER MIN STRAFSKOPPE AFGESTAAN EN IS EEN VAN DIE BESTE VERDEDIGERS. OOSTHUIZEN HET BAIE STRAFSKOPPE AFGESTAAN – UIT N CHEETAH OOGPUNT!!!!! – Basil Kinghorn

Heyneke answers: Basil, ek ag Heinrich baie hoog – asook ‘n hele klomp ander oopkantflanke wat vanjaar skitterende rugby gespeel het. Dis altyd moeilik om span te kies, maar ons voel gemaklik met die span wat ons vir hierdie eerste toets gekies het. Brussow is beslis nie uit die prentjie nie – ek dink ook hy is ‘n baie goeie mens en dit maak dit soveel moeiliker om hom nie te kies nie.

(Basil says Brussow has not conceded many penalties but that Oosthuizen has. Heyneke says that it’s never easy to select a side but that they are happy with the team selected to face England and that Brussow is not out of the picture at all.)

http://www.sarugby.co.za/article.aspx?category=sarugby/diaries&id=1417461

Farewell, legends…

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The South African Rugby Union paid tribute to Springbok captain John Smit and vice-captain Victor Matfield today, following their retirement from international rugby.

Pride and prejudice

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Similar to the Jane Austen classic, South African Rugby is a mixture of misplaced pride, shady characters with delusions of grandeur and the inability to focus on the obvious, all of which leads to the degradation and ultimate destruction of that which really matters.

Hospital job will lead to Bok trauma

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The Grand Slam dream is over.  The one thing that could have redeemed the Boks and its management came to an embarrassing end on Saturday as the Springboks went down to the Scots, and as my three-year old would say; ‘Now what now?”

Not worth the gamble

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Since reading most opinions on news websites and the mainstream media I cannot get that irritating tune of Kenny Rogers called The Gambler out of my head.

Fetchers, can you eat it?

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It is strangely tempting, just for the moment, to suggest that Jake White was right after all … maybe fetchers are indeed best employed at plucking beers out of the fridge.

Jean is a starter

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Centre Jean de Villiers will win his 64 cap for South Africa on Saturday after passing a late fitness test in Dublin on Friday morning.

Irish test factfile

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Here are some interesting facts about this weekend’s test, and the history between the two countries.

Cash, quotas ruining rugby

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Money for rugby development should rather be spent at schools level and teams at senior level should be picked on merit.

Innovative thinking can avoid Bok crisis

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Is Bok rugby heading towards a crisis?  Well given that De Villiers is seemingly scrambling to get experts on-board and all of them are turning him down, it seems we are getting pretty close.

Anyone out there?

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JJ Harmse in his Sport24 column looks at the dire situation Peter de Villiers and Springbok rugby find themselves in.

De Villiers keeps his job

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Although full details of the meeting between SA Rugby and Peter de Villiers will only be announced tomorrow, it seems clear De Villiers’ job is safe.

Two players, one mind

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Who would be South Africa’s best 9/10 combination ever?

Metro was advised of change of visit

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SA Rugby has advised all European Clubs who were scheduled for visits from Springbok management of a change of plans.

Don’t let Jantjies become another statistic

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Respected rugby scribe, Dan Retief, has a word of caution for those who want to elevate the Lions flyhalf sensation, Elton Jantjies to Springbok honors too soon.

Get the experts involved!

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What would you do if you have a double Rugby World Cup medal winner at your disposal?

Nothing that can’t be fixed

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How does a team that came of such a high in 2009 hit such a low in 2010, more importantly, can it be fixed?

Bok season review later this month

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The annual review of the Springboks’ performance in the Vodacom Tri-Nations will be scheduled as per normal with Springbok coach Peter de Villiers for later this month. The review will include all aspects of Springbok performance.

Born to lead

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Browsing the internet I could not find a better piece than the one Paul Dobson did to pay tribute to the most successful captain Springbok rugby has ever seen, John Smit.

The Steyn situation – PDV is not the bad guy

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In his latest newsletter Mark Keohane, a sports journalist who at one stage was part of the Springbok setup under Rudolps Straeuli believes the current situation surrounding Frans Steyn can only be resolved by one person, Frans Steyn.

From the coach’s desk

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There was a big postbag for Springbok coach Peter de Villiers with some tough questions from supporters this week.

Captain Luke Watson

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Former Springbok loose forward Luke Watson has been named as the new captain of Bath rugby club.

Remember the Titan

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The more I think about it, the more I believe that it is one of Springbok rugby’s greatest injustices that a man and player of this calibre had to wait so long to reach such an important milestone in his rugby career.

All Blacks haunted by ghost of Steyn

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It’s time for the All Blacks to start having nightmares about Morné Steyn again after he succeeded with all seven his kicks at goal in Saturday’s 55-11 win over Italy by the Springboks.

Back to where it started

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On the surface it’s just another routine victory over Italy awaiting the Springboks this week, but the match has special significance for captain John Smit.

Hougaard ready for Bok call-up

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Francois Hougaard is fit and ready to join the Springboks on their tour to New Zealand.

Smit back to lead Boks

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John Smit has recovered from his hamstring injury and will lead the Springboks on Saturday in the second Test against Italy, at the Buffalo City Stadium in East London.

Zinzan slams Northern Hemisphere rugby

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All Black rugby legend Zinzan Brooke looks at the weekend’s rugby where the Southern Hemisphere dominated their Northern Hemisphere rivals.
“Boks sounds massive warning to rest of the world”

Maku and Van der Linde joins Boks

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Prop CJ van der Linde and hooker Bandise Maku have joined the Springbok squad in Witbank in advance of this weekend’s first Test against Italy at the Puma Stadium.

Jan Pickard would be proud

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Francois Louw’s dream season took another fairytale turn on Saturday when he scored a try for the Springboks in front of the pavilion named after his grandfather.

Matfield to captain Boks?

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Chiliboy Ralepelle at hooker and Victor Matfield as captain.

Springboks 42 v. France 17

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Let’s get back to rugby for a bit!

Wales lack the belief to beat Boks

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Will Carling draws from his own personal experience and the reasons for Wales and most Nothernern Hemisphere sides struggle against the boys from the South.

Butch playing after all!

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Butch James is set to be re-instated in the Springboks side to face Wales on Saturday, in an extraordinary fresh twist.

Unexpected lifeline

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When Joe van Niekerk traded South Africa for France in 2008, the last thing on his mind was the possibility of adding to his already impressive tally of 51 Test caps.

Protecting our brands

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There has been a lot of debate on South Africa’s policy around the selection of foreign based players of late, but Peter de Villiers may just have it spot on.

Boks take up Welsh challenge

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The players who run out for the Springboks on Saturday may not be automatic first choice players, but every one of them has an opportunity to play themselves into contention for next weekend’s Test against France at Newlands.

Boks have clean bill of health

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The Springbok squad to face Wales in a one-off Test in Cardiff on Saturday, June 5 was cleared to tour ahead of their departure for the United Kingdom.

Boks get behind Bafana

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Springbok coach Peter de Villiers and captain John Smit have presented their soccer counterparts, Carlos Alberto Perreira and Aaron Mokoena, with a special jersey to wish them luck for the forthcoming FIFA 2010 World Cup. The global soccer showpiece kicks off on June 11.

Agent poisoning Frans’ mind

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Bok coach Peter de Villiers has come out criticising Francois Steyn’s agent, Gerrie Swartz, as the reason for the breakdown between himself and the player.

Situation critical

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For years the Sharks have lead South African rugby, if not world rugby, in the way they market their brand and team oozing success at all levels, but it seems to me that lately they are doing their level best to destroy all this.

Juan still mourning

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Springbok flanker Juan Smith will probably only play for South Africa in August.

Who will take over from Bakkies?

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Adriaan Fondse, Steven Sykes, Gerhard Mostert or Flip van der Merwe?

De Villiers: “All Black rugby lagging”

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Springboks coach Peter De Villiers, here in New Zealand scouting ahead of the 2011 Rugby World Cup, has said that rugby here is not bad, but that the kiwi’s have not progressed with other powers.

Bok selection crisis?

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Bismarck du Plessis’ neck injury may have hogged the headlines this weekend, but the Springbok could face a potential wing crisis after the injury list doubled with Jongi Nokwe’s injury.

P.Divvy wants someone fired

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Springbok coach Peter de Villiers says he made a “big mistake” with the appointments of some members of his management team, and that he wants to replace them because they “are not working with me”.