JJ Harmse

Why give Mitchell our secrets?

2010-05-20 12:42
JJ Harmse
JJ Harmse

You have to ask yourself what has gone wrong in our game when Bakkies Botha gets suspended for four weeks after charging into a ruck. Or perhaps not? It seems that there is divided opinion on this issue and while some feel that Botha is due some harsh punishment every time he enforces himself, others feel the big man has been targeted unfairly.

I am one of the latter and unfortunately the erratic way SANZAR is still handling citings does not ease arguments on the matter. There was hope that the 2010 effort, where three senior statesmen in refereeing circles were entrusted with making the citings, would streamline things, but this has certainly not been the case.

I could cite numerous examples of foul play that went unpunished in South Africa this year (just follow Ma’a Nonu or Sione Lauaki around) and ask for justification. Or justice?

Same with the actual judicial process …

Four weeks for Botha was not the sanction proposed by Freek Burger. His job was to cite foul play, which he did, selectively.

As with citings, judicial findings are influenced by certain guidelines and ultimately, the way the judicial officer applies his mind. In this instance, it seems, Botha’s bad track record counted against him.

I suppose once the penalty has been dished out, a player has his right to appeal, should he feel aggrieved, something the Blue Bulls Company decided against.

It is interesting that Botha enjoyed much more support when he cleaned a Welshman wearing a Bok jersey. This time he cleaned poor Gio Aplon wearing a Stormers jersey at Newlands. 

Mmmmm, no wonder there are cries of thuggery from the deep south.

Of course, being a well-known supporter of the way the Bulls play their rugby and how that impacts on our national side, I find it disgusting that Botha was suspended for a month.

What happened to him last year wearing green, and what happened to him this time wearing blue, remains a travesty of justice.

Onto more positive things. It was interesting to note that more than half of the Sky Sports Dream Team picked at the completion of the Guinness Premiership were foreigners.

I am not sure who the selection panel were, but the team was heavily laden with Northampton and Saracens players, and included only a sprinkling of local players.

Some of them, like the Saracens fullback, Andy Goode, have not found favour with Martin Johnson. Then again, it seems that not many of the Saracens players have found favour with Peter de Villiers!

It will only be confirmed when De Villiers announces his side to play against Wales at Orlando Stadium on Saturday evening, but no passports have been called for from Hertfordshire.

This means that Schalk Brits will not be called up, Derick Hougaard will not make the trip to Cardiff, and Ernst Joubert will never play for the Springboks.

De Villiers of course, is under no obligation to pick any player from that club, but one could expect, that due to their good form (they made the final of the Premiership), and the good form by some of their players that made the Sky Dream Team, some might have had a look in. The coach obviously also had a good look at them when they defeated his midweek-side at Wembley in November last year.

I can’t wait to see who De Villiers picks, but it seems that BJ Botha, CJ van der Linde, Joe van Niekerk and Butch James will be shoe-in.

Talking about shoe-ins. Will John Mitchell really be allowed to coach the Lions in the Currie Cup? Do we not have other, local coaches that could do the same job?

How fantastically intelligent will it be for SA Rugby to allow a New Zealand coach from an Australian Super 14 side to come and gain (and perhaps harvest) intellectual property from our Currie Cup teams?

Let’s give Mitchell three months to have a good look at our players, the way they play, analyze their strengths and weaknesses first hand, and expose him to the psyche of our game.

Then he takes all of that back to Perth with him, shares that with his employer, the Australian Rugby Union, and as he departs Perth in May next year, he hops across the pond to give that information to Graham Henry, telling him about the handful of wildcards being included by De Villiers in his final 2011 squad.

Nice one Lions. Again, you are really showing some fantastic vision that will benefit South African rugby.

No wonder the Bulls are playing in Soweto and not you. How that must hurt! But then, is it not fitting that it is the Bulls who will bring rugby to Soweto?

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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