News24

Watson answers Smit's claims

2009-12-30 17:11

Bath - Controversial Springbok loose forward Luke Watson has fired a few pot shots at the South African establishment from his new English club, Bath, including slamming record-breaking Bok captain John Smit.

According to a report on the rugby365 website, Watson, in a series of interviews in the English media, took exception with what he felt was a campaign waged against him in the media and also accused Smit of a 'cop-out' for labelling Watson as the 'cancer' in the team during last year's Tri-Nations.

John Smit, in his recently published autobiography, Captain In The Cauldron, wrote that Watson was the "principle reason" why the Boks were off colour in the 2008 Tri-Nations campaign in which they lost four of their six matches. In 2009, when Watson was not present, the Boks went on to beat the British & Irish Lions and win the Tri-Nations convincingly.

Smit said that Watson "didn't participate in team meetings, and he basically did his own thing" in 2008.

Smit, in a chapter titled 'Killing the cancer', revealed how Watson continued to send SMSs on his cellphone during a team meeting when the most capped Bok of all time Percy Montgomery announced his retirement from Test rugby.

The Bok captain said Watson was "showing complete disrespect to a Springbok legend".

Smit also tells of his speech to the Bok team last year before the home Tri-Nations match against Australia, during which the captain accused Watson of destroying morale within the squad.

"I didn't single Luke out in my talk, but I said to the match 22: 'There are 21 guys here who will bleed for each other, and you have to understand that you can't let one guy disrupt everything we have worked for as a team. We are bigger than this one guy, and he shouldn't be allowed to affect how we feel about each other.'" Smit said in his book.

He added that "the team" blamed the bad environment on Watson, not on the new coach, Peter de Villiers.

"How can you function as a family when one guy doesn't give a rat's arse? He was polluting the environment," Smit added.

However, Watson, in an interview with London's Sunday Times, hit back at Smit.

"I do find it peculiar that everybody is now having a go at me when people didn't have the guts to address the situation with me at the time," he said.

"I was blamed for bringing down an entire Tri-Nations campaign. Now, come on, one player in a 40-man squad bringing down an entire team? I don't buy that. And if you're an experienced captain and you've got senior players around you, you speak to the guy."

"John has done incredibly well with South Africa, he is the most capped captain of all time. Fantastic, but to blame me for the team coming apart at that time was a cop-out."

Watson, in an interview with the Daily Mail, said he does not know if he would play for the South African Test side again if a call should ever come.

He's not holding his breath, especially given the publicity that has seen him heavily criticised for a speech he made at the University of Cape Town.

Full transcript of Luke Watson's UCT speech

In the speech he was critical of South Africa's rugby establishment and including a comment that the Springbok shirt made him want to vomit.

Watson denied that his move to Bath in England was a response to the treatment he received at home.

"By that time I was very popular in Cape Town and I was voted player of the year there. Western Province desperately wanted to keep me and came back with a nice counter offer, but I told them it wasn't a money decision," he told the Mail.

WP honour Watson

At no stage, he said, did he feel sorry for himself that the comments he made in his speech were made public, despite the reaction of some to his comments.

"I made a decision to stand up against something that I considered to be an injustice. I realised that there would be a lot of resistance, and it came. But it was difficult for my family," he said.

Despite that he said he still received a lot of support from the population in general.

"A majority of people in the country, the black South Africans, play soccer, they don't watch rugby because of certain perceptions that come with the sport in South Africa. So there was a large majority of people out there who really supported me," he said.

Watson acknowledged that he had been a political pawn since the age of eight because of the stance his father, Cheeky Watson, took in playing his rugby outside the white regime.

However, the politicians who thrust him into the Springbok side had done him no favours.

"It was very difficult. As a player you are thinking, 'I don't want to be here. I shouldn't be here because I wasn't selected'. Having said that, the year before I was Super 14 player of the year so I probably should have been there, but the coaches didn't want me, so now I was being put there by other people. I didn't know what to do," he said. 

Sport24

Comments
  • Mike - 2009-12-30 17:33

    Notice he does not deny Smits charges about him He only asserts Smits stand on what he said/did. Pity could have been a great player if only his attitude was different Maybe he will play for Aussie

  • J - 2009-12-30 17:35

    This Luke guy, seems to want to get in has father's shadow by opening his mouth. Lets admit it Luke, you were not up to scratch to wear the green and gold, in every way.

  • sido - 2009-12-30 17:37

    you are a victim of your father's agenda and his connections - no matter how good or bad you play - if they want you there they will make it happen no matter what - good luck in the cold !

  • Mark - 2009-12-30 17:44

    The guy is history, gonzo, bye-bye, persona non grata, let it go now, le'ts move on .

  • Dup - 2009-12-30 17:58

    Watson you a***clown!!!!!! Please stay far away from SA!!!!!

  • Terry - 2009-12-30 18:00

    Vat jou goed en trek Watson good riddance

  • Scud - 2009-12-30 18:06

    When Jean received an offer he took it and left WP in the lurch(he was captain before Luke took over in Jean's place temporarily). When Watson got an offer,he accepted subject to taking it up after the currie cup ended I do not like Watson's politics but which of the two showed more loyalty to SA?,-and his performance in the Currie cup was great. I dont like Kevin Pietersen but he would walk into our side of Jokers. In the same way,SA rugby could do with Luke's skills.

  • Get real - 2009-12-30 18:08

    Luke you've made an a-- of yourself so many times ,now shut up .

  • Richard - 2009-12-30 18:08

    Watson is an outstanding player. No one can take that away from him. He is a man that speaks his mind and people can't handle the truth. Put people in the team not cos they are black or white, or because their father knows someone who knows someone, but for the skills that they have!

  • Chris - 2009-12-30 18:12

    Is Watson Jewish???

  • Paulo - 2009-12-30 18:12

    Luke, you're 100% on the ball. To all the supporters who stand up against you, well clearly they don't know the game. Just take this year's Currie Cup as an example ... player of the season, BY FAR !!! crtitisize that at your peril, beacuse even if you tried ... it would make no sense at all!!! quality

  • Marius - G@tvol of Luke - 2009-12-30 18:14

    Come on guys, why are we still debating or even making a comment on whatever Luke or dis dad has to say...? By giving them the satisfaction of reeding this junk and by commentating on it, we only give the papers and websites hits on their sites and it thus mean that they can charge more for advertising. Let's totally ignore this idiot and his likewise idiot father and rather read and comment on the more interesting stories... I am truly g@tvol of reading about this guy who isn't even in SA anymore.

  • Joe - 2009-12-30 18:15

    You chop!! Please stay there. Thanks for admitting that you did not belong in the squad - all of us knew this.

  • steveh - 2009-12-30 18:16

    Luke the jappies are all losers; enjoy your time in (cultured) Bath.

  • Milder - 2009-12-30 18:17

    Yes you are right Luke, EVERYONE who knows nothing about rugby ( The Blacks ) Loves you! Everyone else, hates you. So start playing football! Lets face it you can only be better at that then rugby anyway! You are the coward for only now that you sit in the UK have something to say! Bet you would never had said all this in SA becuase you know you will get your face kicked in on the field! Even funnier is how you WANT TO STAND UP FOR WHAT YOU BELIEFE IN but just look where you are now, not even in the country anymore!

  • Rusty - 2009-12-30 18:18

    Luke you played hard for WP + SA but you are not a team player. You must first change you attitude both politicaly and mentaly. Stay in England, maybe you will become captain of the Lions and play against us.That will be fun.

  • Pat - 2009-12-30 18:21

    A disgrace to the Springbok jersey that he wanted to vomit on. Good riddance to him.

  • GeePMB - 2009-12-30 18:23

    @ Richard - So Watson can speak his mind but Smit can't. Watson isn't the great player you make him out to be, At best he is a good provincial player but he is certainly not a great test player.. He must rather shut up and earn his pounds instead of bleating from 6000 miles away.

  • Les - 2009-12-30 18:24

    It is unfortunate that Luke continues to be vilified by the proponents of the old guard in SA rugby. The old guard being the people who refuse to accept that Cheeky Watson was a worthy candidate to play for the Springboks but refused to play ''normal rugby in an abnormal society'' Cheeky chose to play non-racial rugby with people like me (at Dan Qeqe and Adcock Stadiums) who were never recognise for their skills purely because of the colour of of my skin. I salute the Watson brothers (Cheeky, Valance and Ronnie) for their contribution to the liberation of uMzantsi.

  • Springbok - 2009-12-30 18:29

    Watson - Stay where you are - F..OFF out of South Africa!!!

  • Renier - 2009-12-30 18:35

    Give him rope. He is going to hang himself in the UK as well. This guy will not be able to shed that chip on his shoulder. As soon as he does not get his way, he throws a tantrum... a leopard does not change its spots... Luckily we will not have to sit with him when he gets ousted in UK as well.

  • brian - 2009-12-30 18:40

    puke will allways remain an a@#***e!!!

  • MJ - 2009-12-30 18:42

    Luke - So glad you opted to buzz off overseas, stay there, don't rush back, Bath have now the problem of how to get rid of you once you start your cr** over there !

  • iceman19820603 - 2009-12-30 18:44

    Talk about Watson. How much professionalism does Smit show in pointing a player out in front of other players. Why not pull him aside and do it undercover. I'm sorry but i think Smit could have done bettter. If you dont feel like doing something then you end up doing half a job. Smit's mind was made up for him about Watson long before he got there.

  • Phillip - 2009-12-30 18:46

    Chris, cut out your rascist comment!! We are talking sport camaraderie here, not racism. watson's comments were unpatriotic to the rugby fraternity, not rascist!

  • W - 2009-12-30 18:48

    Luke you remind me of somebody, o ja Julius Malema Please shut up

  • Uncle Pete - 2009-12-30 18:55

    BRAVO to the Bok team leadership in sidelining ever s*** stirring Luke, whom himself admits he was not selected but politically forced into the Bok Team, and for neatly sidestepping confrontation with the Watson family backed by the ANC whom it seems collectively remains bent on destoying Rugby, a huge and independent international sport played and/or supported by diverse nations and by more than 25% of the true birthright RSA citizenship. Well done and thanks to Coach De Villiers, Captain Smit and their teams for making South Africa proud with your ongoing world class champion wins in 2009, wearing the Springbok in the minds of the entire world. Like you we true birthright South Africans do and will fully support Bafana, SAFA, FIFA and all South Africa regarding all aspects of the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Championship and wish all well, good luck and God speed.

  • francois - 2009-12-30 19:03

    Smit's the real thing on and off the field. 2010 should be a good year for South African rugby now that we've got rid of all the p***....

  • Adam - 2009-12-30 19:09

    Unfortunately South African rugby remains within the domain of the dark ages of Apartheid!! It's a pity there are not more people of the calibre of Luke Watson who is prepared to "out" the ridiculous practices going on in SA Rugby. It's time there is a transparency within SA Rugby which is still controlled by the predominantly Afrikaans conservative portion of our nation!

  • Chris - 2009-12-30 19:12

    Puke Watson has unfortunatly picked up the attitude that the ANC has picked up - the entitlement mentality. The ANC feels they are entitled to rule and steal money. Watson feels entitled to be picked, entitled to be put on the field and entitled to act like an idiot. The thing is he doesn't act like one - he is one!

  • Lawrence - 2009-12-30 19:13

    All you critics of Luke should wake up and smell the roses, our unwanted players for SA were a major cause of a county side giving the boks a clap, the same goes for our cricket - we do not only have a brain drain, we are experiencing a talent drain as well

  • chas - 2009-12-30 19:23

    Luke Watson and John Smit"s names should not be mentioned in the same artical. Smit is an icon, a true SA rugby hero and South African Ambassador. He will be remembered as one of if not the greatest captain in SA rugby history. Luke Watson will be remembered as the only Bok not to be honoured by intitation and his selection motivated by reasons other than skill and talent.

  • shawn - 2009-12-30 19:24

    Luke are a great rugby player and John Smit a a@#$%

  • @vomit.com - 2009-12-30 19:25

    A man is judged by his action,....not by his words, and luke has spoken for the last time, let him rest in peace as this is all he has left good bye PUKE

  • Eric - 2009-12-30 19:28

    I still want to puke on Luke!

  • Rob Wat - 2009-12-30 19:47

    Good riddance to Luke.... He was never good enough, but only got the to the TEAM because he was deemed previously disadvantaged. Certainly nothing to be proud of to be selected because of your deemed skin colour. The best will always be the best, regardless of your background: Quality shows and hard work gets rewarded. I agree that as soon as he does not get his whims satisfied, he will scream (or try to vomit) again. Luke, I hope you freeze your dinges af, as you never had any balls to begin with, or ball sense...

  • Charlie - 2009-12-30 19:57

    Oh i love it when the so called White people( Right Wing) of SA fight the White People(Left Wing)....Again the rest of the world is laughing at you idiots...Start thinking out of the book....The World laughs again at you all........Incompetent SAns.......Hoekom hou julle almal julle traps toe ASSEBLIEF tog....

  • adam - 2009-12-30 20:01

    the truth of the matter is Luke slept with johns Wife and that a true story thats why smit has beef with him

  • Coen - 2009-12-30 20:31

    Luke is the Paris Hilton of SA rugby, by saying his name we give him power, misguided power, but seen as that by him. I dream of the day when the media and people in general just let her (luke and paris) fade into nothingness. And with this I contradict myself, so Watson fans don't have to point it out.

  • Rowajo - 2009-12-30 20:33

    Spot on, Uncle Pete! Cannot better your comments at all, and VERY glad the puking problem has now been resolved...

  • David The Jew - 2009-12-30 20:48

    Chris, what are you implying by asking if Luke Watson is Jewish?

  • Jacques - 2009-12-30 20:51

    thank goodness the biggest CHOP in SA rugby has left the country,you dont belong in the bok squad never have never will,shut up and stay in the uk

  • JSC - 2009-12-30 20:58

    No matter who says what about Luke Watson. If you knew anything about rugby, then you will admit that 2009 was a great year for WP. Who was the man who motivated his troops? Smit could not do that in Europe during the end of year tour. Leave the man alone. He may just be a better person than all of us.

  • Alan - 2009-12-30 21:28

    I commend the Boks who did not withdraw when you were selected as an affirmative player. I would have. You are a disgrace to the Springbok jersey.

  • Andre - 2009-12-30 21:28

    Pitty that Luke did not puke on a blue jersey - got a hiding from Blue Bulls every time

  • Kobie - 2009-12-30 22:23

    Luke, write a book man and let us know your side of the story. If Joost can do it, certainly yours should be easy. They all milk their supporters and yet these supporters blindly grab the bait. Cast your voice in a book my friend, i'm waiting for my copy.JBS

  • Pierre - 2009-12-30 22:42

    Player of the year, thank you dad and the ANC!

  • Dennis - 2009-12-30 22:53

    Like Father, like Son. You set a great example Dad. You too should have stayed home. Lets bury these folk and get on with the game.

  • Nr 1 WP Supporter - 2009-12-30 23:09

    Lukie, please do not forget to remind the English of their role in human rights violations all over the world the past few centuries .... o sorry you won't do that cause you want their money .... your psychopath !!!! We all see through your plan dude !!!! You know you can't play rugby and now you are campaigning for a future political position in SARFU ... the ANC and our Black Rugby Supporters aren't idiots dude ... they see right through you ... !!!!

  • Madoda - 2009-12-30 23:47

    It's a shame that SA sport is so polarised 15 years after democracy. Looking at the percentage of mails which are anti-Luke makes one wonder how long it has to take for us as apeople to look at matters in differently from just Black and White. Luke has been man enough in not attacking the man but stating facts in his defense. Wish you luck in your sabbatical and hope you're not lost forever to our rugby!