If you have raised your hand believe me that after typing this column my hand will be raised with yours with my other hand trying to cover my face in shame following SA Rugby’s latest stunt to include a bunch of Franchise representatives to try and convince their SANZAR partners (Australia and New Zealand) to include a 16th team into the competition from next year.
SA Rugby said in a statement on Thursday that a South African delegation which will include Brand de Villiers (Bulls), Kevin de Klerk (Lions), Cheeky Watson (Southern Kings) and Brian van Zyl (Sharks) will along with SARU president Mr Oregan Hoskins, deputy president Mark Alexander and SARU CEO Jurie Roux, leave for Australia on March 17 to go an plead with their SANZAR partners to include a 16th team in the competition from next year.
I don’t think it’s relevant for me to mention how we (and by ‘we’ I mean SA Rugby which includes you and me the supporters) got to this point, but I do think it is about high time we (as supporters) sit back and realize how utterly embarrassing this is and how we must be viewed by our contemporaries and fellow rugby supporters (and media) in Australia and New Zealand if not the world.
Expect our friends ‘Down-Under’ to be very ‘politically correct’ when reporting on this latest development but have no doubt that they sit in their pubs or around their ‘BBQ’s’ shaking their heads in disbelief of just how desperate (or rather ‘stupid’) the ‘Japies’ from the Republic are believing that their inability to sort their own personal and domestic mess out is suddenly their problem?
Let me be bold enough to leave you in no doubt of why we find ourselves in this situation.
SA Rugby is planning to go over to Australia and plead with their SANZAR partners to help them sort a problem out we have been sitting with in South Africa since 2005! They are ‘positive’ they can convince their partners to renege on a promise or contract they made to the broadcasting ‘gods’ (folks with money) in only its second year of existence (it runs until the end of 2014).
A promise or agreement just about every South African rugby supporter thought was stupid to start with (this new Super 15 conference system) where South Africa clearly carries the commercial (broadcasting) muscle but for some reason agreed the Newscorp pie will be shared equally among all three members.
But forget the deal even if you will, the Kings situation in itself is quite simply absurd!
How could South African rugby under the same leadership since 2005 not have resolved this issue of the Kings (previously Spears) in 6 years? How is it possible that after 6 years we now find ourselves in a situation where we have to go to Australians and New Zealanders and plead and beg for them to help us to sort out a local problem we are obviously incapable of sorting out ourselves? Is this the level a once proud rugby nation has lowered itself to? Have we become incapable of sorting out our own affairs that we have to beg other nations to accommodate us in our domestic rugby affairs?
Make no mistake fellow supporters – this delegation on its way to Australia on March 17 represents you and me – their actions define us and what we have become as a rugby nation and quite frankly I am utterly and completely embarrassed to call myself a South African rugby supporter because of it.
This brings me to my final point on this matter where we are all very quick to vent our disgust and anger at the National Government of this country for always interfering in sport and how we are all sick of politics in sport.
Ladies and gents, from where I sit the ‘politics’ and bullshit we see in sport and rugby specifically in South Africa starts with those who run the game, not those in government.