JJ Harmse

Div's opened a can of worms

2010-09-09 10:06
Sport24 columnist JJ Harmse (File)
JJ Harmse

Talk about a week in rugby!

This time last week we were still encouraged by the Springboks and the way they played at Loftus Versfeld. Now we know it was just a mirage.

This time last week we heard a lot of talk from our national coach, this time he is nowhere to be found and heard. But that is a good thing...

Rugby needs some good news right now and at the moment, good news and Peter de Villiers do not go hand and hand.

He has certainly overstepped the mark with his Bees Roux comments and although Roux is innocent until proven guilty and we have all the facts on the table, comments attributed to De Villiers have now opened the door for rugby’s enemies to come charging in.

Suddenly our sports minister is alive again, revived by De Villiers. Damn, we almost forgot about the reverend Arnold, but here he is back to guide us with his wisdom and style.

Another who did not need to have their cage rattled was the portfolio committee on sport, but guess what? Divvie woke them as well!
Nice one Peter and thanks for that.

At least minister Stofile had some sound advice for De Villiers, suggesting that he should get a spokesperson who can protect him from those perceived moments of insanity.

But wait; do the Springboks not have a media communications department? Yes they have, but certainly they don’t seem to have the influence on De Villiers that they need to.

De Villiers does not show progress on that front and whether he has been coached or not, he is certainly not listening to that advice.

What to do about that?

Well that certainly is SA Rugby’s problem and I can only add to Stofile’s advice. Get a spokesperson, but maybe another one, as the incumbent is clearly not getting the right result!

It could have been a lot worse of course. Can you imagine De Villiers’s press conferences being televised live on SABC as well as, or instead of, on SuperSport?

Only a privileged million or so who have access to the pay channel’s rugby programming have been exposed to the coach’s verbal puzzles.

Can you imagine how the millions watching SABC's sports channels would react if they were able to watch a live press conference with De Villiers going off about whatever subject?

The thing is, the Boks, according to De Villiers, are not keen on those who are ‘against’ them and they will revert back to the laager. The problem, it seems to me, is that they are in the laager already.

Media access to the team has been restricted, with promised players not showing up at press conferences, no distinction been made between the various media outlets and their needs (but for rights holders SuperSport) and certain players being kept away from media.

The All Blacks have, every time they play a Test, a ‘coffee and muffin’ session on the Thursday before the match where the whole starting XV are available for an hour to talk to the media. No All Black player can leave before the hour is over, even if no one seems to be interested to talk to him.

The Boks promise two or three players for their Thursday press conference and at times only one shows up.

So yes, the laager is well established already and De Villiers, who promised to take the team to the people, is not delivering on that one.

Training sessions have been moved without proper notice in the past, half of them are at exclusive private schools and many are ‘closed’ sessions.

SA Rugby’s alignment with pay TV also takes away the possible exposure of millions of people to the team.

But then, maybe it is easier to fool some people some of the time than it is to fool all the people all the time?

Congratulations to New Zealand for winning the Tri-Nations this year. They certainly played the best rugby of all three teams, managed to get the right players peaking at the right time, and as it happened with good homework, often got the rub of the green as well.

With the devastating earthquakes on the South Island rattling the psyche of the New Zealand people, at least the All Blacks will provide some solace, although not much. Well done guys, you deserved this one!

Read JJ every Sunday in Rapport.

Disclaimer: Sport24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on Sport24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Sport24.

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