The “Fed to the Lions” story is one that depicts the life journey of former Springbok coach Pieter de Villiers. It takes a look at his upbringing as well as his achievements as a coach.
De Villiers’ schooling history
The 64-year old De Villiers was born in Paarl where he attended Noorder Paarl High. He then went on to study at both Perseverance College as well as Hewitt College.
De Villiers’ coaching career begin in 1996 when he began coaching amateur team Tygerberg Club until 1997. After leading Tygerberg in 1997, he got roped in with the Western Province system, starting off by coaching the Disas side.
Professional coaching journey
It then seemed like each year came with progress for De Villiers as 1998 saw him getting his first major break in the Western Province rugby system, after being appointed as an assistant coach for their Currie Cup side before he was given the role of coaching the South African u19 side, which he coached to a bronze medal at the U19 Rugby World Championships.
De Villiers’ senior head coaching career
De Villiers than branched out from the Western Province Rugby structures and sought to find his feet as a head coach at a senior level. His first head coach job came with the Falcons, which he coached for both the 2002 and 2003 Currie Cup campaigns. He would then continue to progress in the South African rugby structures, with his appointment as the national u21 rugby sides coach between 2004-2006.
During De Villiers three year tenure as South Africa u21 coach, the team received a bronze medal in 2004, won the tournament in 2005 and came second in 2006. Those success would see him appointed as the coach of the Emerging Springboks, who he lead to the 2007 Nations Cup title.
Springbok coaching career
That then paved the way to his appointment as the first Springbok coach of colour in 2008. De Villiers had a largely negative tenure as Springbok coach, winning both the Tri-Nations and the British & Irish Lions series in 2009. He would also take the Springboks to the quarterfinals of the 2011 World Cup where his tenure marred with off field controversy ended.
After the Boks
He has since gone on to coach the Zimbabwean Rugby national team briefly, been involved in the structures of the University of Western Cape rugby structures and is now the head coach of Currie Cup Division One. It has been a rollercoaster ride for De Villiers watch the trailer below to get a glimpse of the journey.
Fed to the Lions is available on DSTV Catch Up as well as Supersport TV.