The trouble with being branded whingeing losers and the like is that when there is actually valid reason to whinge, you suddenly stop doing so.
Rob Houwing – Sport24
That, I suspect, has been the fate of Springbok rugby in recent weeks, so cowed and ego-bruised that players, management, local media and supporters have lost all stomach for any fight against injustice.
And yet the dubious officiating of the (mostly) northern hemisphere referees and touch judges in Bok matches this season goes on.
Now not for a second do I think South Africa would suddenly be looking a million dollars if it weren’t for a catalogue of infuriatingly skewed calls against them.
Yet rank refereeing inconsistency, especially in the area of foul play, continues to dog them and I was so pleased that Breyton Paulse animatedly revisited the Ben Franks shoulder charge (er, sorry, apparently wholly permissible clean-out, Mr Owens?) on Juan de Jongh in the Soweto thriller against the All Blacks last weekend.
Koue Bokkeveld farm lad Paulse will be remembered as fairly soft-spoken, unassuming and even introverted during his playing career, but he has notably come out of his shell as he gains experience as a TV pundit.
And there was no holding him back when KykNet’s SuperRugby chat programme on Monday re-ran the Franks incident.
It seemed clear as the living daylight that the All Blacks tighthead led with his shoulder — or at least very high upper arm — as he smashed into a prone De Jongh at a ruck.
The tenacious centre took the blow smack in the proverbial chops yet didn’t make a meal of it, to his credit. (His “reward”, needless to say, was no action being taken against the offender whatsoever.)
“If that had been Bakkies … 10 weeks,” said Paulse forthrightly and only in very, very partial jest as studio allies Kobus Wiese and Ashwin Willemse nodded in resigned agreement.
He also queried, again rightly, the fact that the Bok camp did not appear to make a post-match issue out of it.
SuperRugby replayed another incident in which, after a collision between the two near a corner flag, Richie McCaw appeared to poke Schalk Burger unnecessarily in the face. One wonders what the (again unmoved) officials might have done had the incident occurred the other way around?