BWF: Pieter de Villiers & The Springboks
I guess it was inevitable. The esteemed Springbok coach landed up making a number of very poor decisions in the last week, all of which culminated in an abysmal performance by the Boks in the final test against the British & Irish Lions this past Saturday.
And now, in news just released, the Bok squad through its’ parent body, the South African Rugby Union, are to face charges being brought by the International Rugby Board after their petulant little armband hissy fit display. The team, together with PdV, decided to protest the two week banning of Bakkies Botha by donning armbands with the hand-written words “Justice 4 Bakkies” on them.
I am in no way suggesting that I agree with the banning. On the contrary, I feel it was a very poor decision, and that Bakkies was badly wronged by the whole incident. But for the team and coach to step out as representatives of the entire nation, onto a stage that many of them will never again have the opportunity to do, in the way they did is childishly embarrassing. To then go and play as badly as they did on Saturday simply added further insult to the whole tacky affair.
On the subject of their on-field performance: I understand that the coach wanted to give as many players an opportunity to start a test against the B&I Lions, what with it being a once-in-a-career event for most. But 10 changes?! That’s two thirds of the entire team. And for what? So that the inexperienced young players could take to the field clearly under-prepared and woefully short of cohesive team play. The ridiculous amount of missed tackles, poorly contested loose mauls, fouls and penalties speak for themselves. As did the possession and territory stats.
And that’s without even a mention of the 28 – 9 score line that brought the tour to a close.
Pieter de Villiers deserves special mention in all of this, especially after his poor “I am what I am, take it or leave” approach in front of the media, and his handling of the Schalk Burger gouging incident. “I have watched the television footage, and I am still convinced that nothing he did was on purpose. He never meant to go to anyone’s eye….” he said. [Source: The Independent]
Hell Oom Piet, what footage did you get to see? I only ask because the footage that I saw (together with tens of thousands of others all over the world) is pretty conclusive, in my opinion. There is a huge difference between an accidental poke in the eye, and the pushing of fingers into an opposing players’ eye sockets whilst he lies on the ground.
I have huge admiration for Burgers’ talents – he is an incredible rugby player. But his behaviour in the opening minute of the 2nd Test was disgraceful and entirely unacceptable. And I can also appreciate the role of his coach in supporting the player. But come on. “He never meant to go to anyone’s eye”? Try pulling the other leg PvD, it isn’t as sensitive.
With the Tri-Nations tournament not too far in the future, best you get some order restored back in the team, and start focussing on what it is you are all paid large sums of money to do: play decent rugby! We don’t expect you to win every match, but we do expect you to perform to the best of your abilities, and to do so with the dignity and respect that the badge you wear on your chest deserves.