R5m to get rid of Bok coach
Cape Town - South Africa's rugby chiefs have no other option than to support beleaguered Springbok coach Peter de Villiers.
De Villiers and his team were booed in Durban on Saturday after Australia had beaten the home team 27-15 in a Tri-Nations match.
It was the fourth defeat in five matches in the competition for the World Cup champions.
The Springboks, having won five of nine internationals this season, now have a success rate of 55.55% since De Villiers took over the coaching of the team.
Their only really noteworthy achievement this year was when they beat New Zealand in Dunedin. The other wins were at home against Wales, Italy and Argentina.
Under the previous coach, Jake White, the Springboks won six of their eight Test matches (75%) between the time he took over the reins and the end of his first Tri-Nations series.
However, De Villiers has a watertight contract. SA Rugby will have to cough up nearly R5 million should the administrators want to get rid of him after this year's Tri-Nations series.
According to his contract, which ensures him an income of R1.4 million annually, achievement clauses may only be considered at the end of next year.
SA Rugby will then have the option of firing him if he has not met the requirements.
Initially, a winning ratio of 75% after the first year was insisted upon. After a dispute, however, the target was lowered and the period extended to two years.
De Villiers was appointed as coach of the national team in January this year.
Booed at the end of the match
Liam Del Carme reports from Durban that De Villiers will have to report to his employers at the end of the Tri-Nations series, providing only a review.
However, there are rumblings in SA Rugby as a result of the team's third successive Tri-Nations defeat, especially after the Springboks were booed at the end of the match in Durban and also while they were getting into their bus.
"It's not nice, but one has to live with it," De Villiers said. "The supporters are justly dissatisfied. South Africans are proud people. They want to be winners and support a winning team."
"I have a new style of playing that I want to establish. Rome wasn't built in a day. I ask the public to give us more time to master the things we are trying to do.
"When we throw together all the elements and play according to the style I have in mind, we'll be hard to stop."
Springbok captain Victory Matfield also understands the emotions of the supporters. "We're the Springboks, we're World Cup champions and we've lost two home games in succession.
"If you could look into the dressing room, you'd see the players are feeling worse than the supporters are," Matfield said.
"This is our work, our passion and our life. For us, to play like that is unacceptable."