Strauss: Lay off Spedding

2014-11-13 18:34
Scott Spedding (AFP)

Cape Town – Dual Springbok and Wallabies international Tiaan Strauss has defended SA-born Scott Spedding’s inclusion in the French national rugby side, saying it is a “great opportunity and achievement” for the fullback.

The 28-year-old Spedding, born in Krugersdorp and once on the Sharks’ books, made his debut against Fiji – a rousing one -- and is in the mix again for Saturday’s bigger clash against Australia in Paris.

Reports in the Australian press on Thursday said Spedding’s inclusion had caused “unrest” in French domestic rugby, given that he is a third South African-born player in the current squad, which also boasts a New Zealander.

Spedding first began his French club career six years ago, qualifies now through residency and received his passport late last month.

But ace, Upington-born loose forward Strauss, who earned 15 Bok caps between 1992 and 1994 but later compiled another 11 in a year of further Test activity with the Wallabies in 1999, backs Spedding’s right to play for an adopted country.

“Increased (movement between borders) is a fact of life ... he’s not the first South African to play for France and won’t be the last,” he told Sport24.

“If you make a dedicated career move because you think your best chance lies elsewhere, then good luck to you ... not everyone can play for the Boks.

“Some people really flourish for an adopted country, just fitting better into that environment or pattern of play, and it happens across sports – not just rugby. I’m certainly supportive of someone who pursues his dreams.”

The 49-year-old Strauss, now general manager (rugby) for Megapro Marketing, did concede that “you don’t want to get to a situation where half your side are foreigners” as it could impact on national pride.

But he said that if players proved their loyalty to a new cause through passion and weight of performance, they would earn broad acceptance.

“It definitely adds pressure on you to perform: everyone’s waiting to criticise you initially; I was given a hard time by some journos (when he first ran out for the Wallabies).

“But I was lucky enough to get three tries straight away (in a 46-10 triumph over Ireland in Brisbane) and suddenly the mood rather changed.”

*Strauss said he was confident the Boks would produce the goods against England at Twickenham on Saturday.

“I think the guys will have done their homework after the loss to the Irish – it was a good wakeup call, and we ought to be better in execution this time.

“We were so close to breaking Ireland’s back, but made crucial mistakes and also learned that you must take your ‘three points’ opportunities to keep the board ticking.”

He said he welcomed certain changes but was a little surprised coach Heyneke Meyer had made as many as five for the London date.

“Would they have ‘rotated’ as much as they’re claiming they are if they’d won in Dublin? I’m not so sure ... remember that same team had beaten the All Blacks not long earlier.

“But I welcome starts for players like JP (Pietersen) and Schalk (Burger). I feel a bit sorry for Handre Pollard ... you must build a guy like that, and he didn’t do too many wrong things against the Irish.”

*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing

Read more on:    scott spedding  |  rugby

What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter


With the Absa Premiership in full swing, who will be crowned champions when all is said and done? Will Mamelodi Sundowns defend their title? Or can Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates or Bidvest Wits mount a serious challenge? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Did Stormers and Springboks lock Pieter-Steph du Toit deserve to be named SA Rugby Player of the Year?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.