Springbok Peter de Villiers is an exception to the rule that results and trophies define coaches.
The 54-year-old known for bizarre utterances and actions rather than tactical master strokes heads for New Zealand Thursday and a World Cup title defence.
South Africa face Wales, Fiji, Namibia and Samoa in Pool D and should advance, but many predict their reign will end after a likely semifinal showdown with the hotly-fancied hosts.
De Villiers has placed a lot of faith in the 2007 Cup-winning squad, choosing 18 of the 30 and at least half are likely to start against the Welsh on September 11 in Wellington.
Columnist Archie Henderson says the biggest mistake De Villiers has made is believing the class of 2007 can finish first again on October 23 in Auckland.
"De Villiers took over a wonderful squad from [Jake] White, but did little to mould it into a team with a serious chance of becoming the first to successfully defend the title.
"The coach was caught between a need to indulge those old hands of 2007 and being too afraid to risk new talent.
"He has ended up with a team that will be lucky to survive the first round, and return empty handed. He might admit then that he took a bunch of geriatrics to the tournament."
'Div' has upset many with his talk-now-think-later approach which peaked when South Africa flank Schalk Burger eye gouged British and Irish Lion Luke Fitzgerald.
The incident at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria two years ago overshadowed a last-minute, series-sealing triumph for the green and gold, and triggered world-wide fury.
Instead of offering sympathy to the injured Irish wing, De Villiers defended Burger and committed one of the worst gaffes of an often troubled three-year reign.
"Why don't we go down to the nearest ballet shop, get some tutus and get a dancing shop going?"
"There will be no eye gouging, no tackling, no nothing, and we will enjoy it," was the sarcastic De Villiers response.
His public support last year for Bees Roux after the Blue Bulls prop was arrested for the alleged murder of a Pretoria policeman severely embarrassed South African officials.
The 54-year-old native of Western Cape wheat town Malmesbury was a controversial choice as successor to 2007 World Cup winner Jake White.
South African Rugby Union boss Oregan Hoskins admitted that rugby was not the only factor considered before De Villiers became the first black Springboks coach.
Critics pointed to his inexperience - two seasons at Currie Cup minnows the Falcons and a spell in charge of a national age-group team.
A poor first Test season brought only two wins in six Tri-Nations outings, but 2009 produced a dramatic improvement.
Victory in New Zealand sealed top place in the southern hemisphere championship and the large cherry on top was revenge for a 1997 series loss to the British and Irish Lions.
De Villiers failed to maintain the momentum, though, and 2010 was an 'annus horribilis' with five Tri-Nations reverses, including home defeats by New Zealand and Australia.
This year was no better with a 'B' team humiliated in Sydney and Wellington during July before a loss to the Wallabies and a win over an All Blacks 'B' team at home.
Apart from a dismal win-loss record, De Villiers has not delivered on promises to get the Springboks playing more expansively and speeding up transformation.
He will take to New Zealand the kick-chase-swarm approach that won the 2007 title and Zimbabwe born and educated prop 'Beast' Mtawarira is the only new black first choice.
The embattled coach hired two former White helpers - technical guru 'Rassie' Erasmus and fitness trainer Derik Coetzee - to bolster his backroom team.
These moves led one reporter to wonder why De Villiers had not completed the circle and brought back White as well.
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