Underarms, Catamarans and Food Poisonings

Apologise now or go to your room!

Not content with telling a current All Black prop how to scrum, Springbok coach Peter De Villiers and the South African Rugby Board are demanding an apology from a former All Black prop for labelling the new coach a “puppet”. A veteran of 60 tests, Craig Dowd questioned the abilities of De Villiers telling Newstalk ZB, “if De Villiers knows anything about rugby, he (Dowd) is yet to see it”. He also said “while the Springboks have some good staff, De Villiers is merely a puppet”. Dowd is not the only one question the quality of the Boks coach, English writer Peter Bills considers the man “naïve” and guilty of making poor squad selections. De Villiers harping on hypocritically about cheating underlines the extent of which the man is out of his depth, as was stand in coach for England Rob Andrew when his team toured last month. Although probably intended to distract New Zealand, the tactic may well be distracting the Bok’s staff.

Meanwhile, the All Blacks have dealt with the complaints professionally and maturely, not letting the South Africans succeed in distracting the team. Other sports teams have reacted far differently to accusations of cheating. When the Pakistani cricket team were labelled cheats by umpire Darrell Hair they refused to return to the field and still would prefer the Australian not umpire them ever again. Some may still be bitter with Henry for his disastrous rotation policy, but credit where credits due, he plays the ball not the man. You don’t see him resort to personal attacks, accusations of cheating, or question the refs abilities explicitly (and he has certainly been presented opportunities!). He does make subtle digs, but each week it is clear the focus is on the next game. With all the talk and excuses coming from the Springbok camp, I’d be surprised if they’ve even thought about the coming match in the house of pain. Perhaps De Villiers and company will learn an important lesson on Saturday.


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