Peter de Villiers

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"The motivation needs to come from inside each individual," says the head coach of South Africa.

Raise Your Game: What's more important - talent or attitude?

Peter de Villiers: Talent comes and goes as form comes and goes, but attitude is something that stays around. If you have a good attitude, that'll serve you well in all aspects of your life.

RYG: What makes a great rugby team?

PDV: Great teams have a great team spirit. You need players that don't expect anything from the team but give everything for the team. You need players that can handle the pressure of performing in front of 74000 people. When the opposition comes at you with all guns blazing, you need to be up to the task. A great rugby team stands up as brothers.

RYG: What have you learnt from rugby?

PDV: It's not necessarily how you play when you're winning that's important, but how you react to defeat as well. If you work as hard as you can you'll do well. It teaches you that it's good to endeavour to be the best that you can be. The most important thing I've learnt is that the road to success in this game is always under construction.

RYG: How do you help the players deal with the nerves before a big game?


Peter De Villiers

3 June 1957

South Africa

Rugby Union

Head Coach


  • Winner - Nations Cup (2007)
  • Winner - U21 Rugby World Championship (2005)

PDV: Everyone gets nervous before a big game. The guys just need to focus in order to minimise the number of mistakes. I get them to relax so they can take their chances.

RYG: What do you look for in a leader?

PDV: I want someone who brings calmness and direction to the team.

RYG: How do you get the best out of your players?

PDV: I respect people and that's how I get the best out of them. We each have one unique thing and that's our fingerprint. That's what tells you you're an individual and tells you that everyone can bring something different to a team. You need to understand human beings in order to coach rugby players. If you understand and respect people, you can get the best out of them.

RYG: How important is it to be dedicated?

PDV: It's important to be committed to anything in life. It's important to work hard, train hard and play hard.

RYG: Which works best for you - the carrot or the stick?

PDV: The motivation needs to come from inside each individual. You can give a hungry child a fish and feed him for one day, or you can teach him to fish and he can feed himself for the rest of his life. That's what we try to do.

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