Peter de Villiers has given his strongest indication yet that he is keen on another term as head coach of South Africa's national team.
Speaking at the Bok team's Tri-Nations base in Cape Town, De Villiers made it clear results are as important to his future as it is to the team hoping to secure some silverware.
He admitted that the absence of 21 frontline players for the away leg of the Tri-Nations series has placed him in a precarious position.
"I am in a difficult situation ... where your contract comes up for renewal and you want to win all your Tests," De Villiers said, adding that it was with some reluctance that he will leave almost an entire matchday 22 behind when they head for Australasia.
The Bok play Australia in Sydney on July 23 and New Zealand in Wellington a week later.
And the group that will not board the plane for Australasia include first-choice players like Fourie du Preez, Schalk Burger, Victor Matfield, Frans Steyn, Jaque Fourie, Jean de Villiers, Juan Smith, Bismarck du Plessis, Andries Bekker, Jannie du Plessis, Gurthrö Steenkamp, Butch James, JP Pietersen, Tendai Mtawarira, Bryan Habana and Bakkies Botha.
The coach suggested that he was tempted to take along some of those injured players.
"You have to look after yourself a bit also in life," De Villiers said, adding: "I was very disappointed when I sat down with them and found out I won't have the services of so many of them.
"Our leadership group is very thin and that in itself can cause some problems."
Asked if this is not the ideal opportunity to give the players a break before the World Cup, the coach said he would love to "go win every damn Test".
"However, it is not just about me, it is about the country.
"Then again, at the end of your four years [as coach] you can look at your record, you can always secure some job for yourself."
De Villiers said he will work very hard at making sure the players who do make the trip to Australasia believe in themselves.
"What I must bring across is the guys who are on the field and who are available, will read a lot ion my body language," he said, adding: "If I make them feel inferior, I might as well also stay back home."
By Jan de Koning
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