De Villiers enjoyed mixed success – coaching the Boks to a Tri-Nations title and a Test series win over the British and Irish Lions in 2009. Then there was also a memorable first victory over New Zealand in Dunedin.
However, in 2010 the cracks began to show and at the 2011 World Cup the Boks suffered a quarterfinal exit at the hands of Australia.
SARU replaced De Villiers with Heyneke Meyer.
He was appointed the Director of Coaching at the University of the Western Cape, but his contract was not renewed in 2015.
In an interview with the JoburgPM, De Villiers expressed his disappointment with the lacklustre performance of the Springboks.
The 59-year-old also went on to criticise SARU and the insufficiency of last years coaching indaba.
“I don’t think the Indaba can help South Africa improve in 2017,” De Villiers said.
“The thing is if you know there is a problem you can find the solution but failing to identify the problem will not improve anything. You have to identify the problem first.
“Dropping your best player in the squad just adds doubt in the minds of the team which results in the players focusing on their individual performance and not the team.
“There are players like Elton Jantjies, Warren Whitely and Jaco Kriel, some of the most outstanding players in South Africa. However, I don’t think they understand what is needed of them.
“Furthermore, they don’t have the freedom within the structure to do what they are good at.
“It is all about believing in the players. A player just doesn’t become bad in two weeks.”
De Villiers, who spent 2016 in Namibia as a development coach, was linked to the Boland coaching position in the wake of the controversial resignation of Alan Zondagh.
Excessive interference by the board and the executive of the Boland Rugby Union force Zondagh to exit.
However, the speculation was short-lived, as the Paarl-born De Villiers claims that SARU paid the Boland not consider him for their head coaching position.
“I don’t know what I did wrong. I think I am too strong in my way of thinking, my way of doing things. Or maybe there is something wrong with my ears, because I don’t listen to things that I know won’t work and the rugby people don’t like it. So they will never allow me to go to any Union in South Africa.
“What I heard very early in 2016 is that people from SARU paid Boland or offered them money not to consider me. I heard it from a very good source.”
He further went onto to explain: “If people who are in charge don’t want you there you don’t go there because the working conditions will not be great for you. It will be constant fighting. In the end, you will do the players and organisation more harm by forcing yourself into the setup.
“However, the coaching job at Boland would have been great for the players, I would have made them understand what the game is all about. I would have gotten to their heart and souls,” he added