Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Politics at Play

Good day all rugby fans, and I use that term carefully. Not all readers of this article will claim to be rugby fans, but many people, some who may miss the delights of this column, claim to be in fact, rugby fans. They are in fact the very people who hold vast amounts of power within the game of rugby, but seemingly have got lost somewhere between following their job description and attempting to win a few mates in parliament who may invite them round for a braai and a dop on a Sunday afternoon.

Now let’s set the record straight right from the outset, this writer is all for transformation, hopes it takes place sooner rather than later, and would like to see nothing more than 7 players of colour in our national rugby side come November. In fact let’s throw in a female physio and disabled baggage carrier if we plan to properly EE (Employment Equity) compliant. I welcome the day we can watch the Boks and scream at a poor JP Pietersen decision with the same gusto as we scream at the grossly overrated Jean De Villiers, without labeling him a quota player. I long for the day where every team that is picked is one that we can look at and analyze purely for rugby reasons.

This however my good friendly readers, is not going to happen for some time to come.

Transformation by nature is something that needs to be actively pursued and encouraged right through all levels of any organization, and rugby is no different. The merits of and needs for it should be positively promoted to all and sundry and honesty must at all times be upheld. OK so I’m using a lot of big words. In simplistic terms- Transform at all levels not only the top, be positive about it, and don’t bullshit the paying and supporting public!!

Unfortunately, our esteemed SARU president seems more intent on sharing his expertise on forward play (he questioned the importance of scrumming- not wise, props are big!) and setting pie in the sky numbers of black players for our national team. It’s funny that this guy’s brother is the sports minister and his big mate, the manager of the Bok team too! He’s clearly on a political crusade second to none and has shown quite clearly that he is not interested in solid rugby administration but far more in furthering his political standing through the game. He doesn’t seem too perturbed about the minute number of black players in the Currie Cup or Super 14. Or the fact that many of the top rugby schools (the real breeding ground of talent) are predominantly white. Bishops average 2, paarl Gym 1, affies 1 and Boland Landbou 0 players of colour in their first teams. This is surely where things have got to change concurrently with the changing of the Boks.

Promoting the merits of transformation also needs to be done. Making threats about withholding passports and changing coaches only serves to rev people’s engines and make people become irrational. This is unhealthy for rugby and for society in general. Our ever-objective rugby writer in the Cape Times does wonders for stirring up people’s emotions by contradicting himself and blatantly being on a colour crusade throughout every article. How sad this is, from such a young man. His loose trio of choice is Burger (8), Watson (7) © and Floors (6). Yeh he’s really thinking about rugby hey?! He yarns on about how much of a fool Jake White is for making excuses that there is no pool of black talent to choose from, and then just today talks about how it’s difficult to pick Boks who are not being played in the Currie Cup. Anyway, I could write all day on this guy. But it’s fine I’ll look him up on Facebook and invite him to the Playroom!

Finally I hope we can all stay positive through the chaos that engulfs the rugby and marvel at how badly grown men can handle a situation.

Thanks for reading—please send in comments.

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