As rolling campaigns go, the plot to unseat Peter de Villiers has been spectacularly translucent. One uses the term loosely because it is probably less of a formal “plot” of conspirators than an exercise that gains new converts with each passing day because they fear getting left behind.
Rodney Hartman writes for the Star that fresh adherents join the anti-lobby because it’s safe in the majority camp where each member feeds off the other, and so it grows.
At the centre of this are some experts who have been gunning for De Villiers, for whatever reason, from day one. It seems they believe the media is above criticism. If he should make any reference to the media like, for example, “it seems that some of us are hard of hearing”, this is characterised as an attack on the media, and the adherents add it to their store of ammo.
For the British press, this local circus has become surprisingly useful for creating diversions and excuses and delivering “shock-horror” copy.
And every time that De Villiers says something daft, which is his style and, like the awful vuvuzela, a distinctly South African racket, the list of his original sins is rehashed with relish. Some reporters seem to have made this their vocation, driven solely by their dislike for a man who doesn’t rate us of the ink-stained fraternity. He is certainly not admired by me for taking that position but, if he wants to, that’s his business.
I still judge him on results, and please don’t tell me “substitutions!” because he did win that first Test.
At the start of the Lions tour, De Villiers apparently gave a facetious response at a press conference. The media attacked him for daring to be cheeky to a visitor they described as a highly respected English rugby writer. There have been many other coaches who have been mildly rude to rugby writers but no one dares call them to heel.
At worst, he might lack the finesse and diplomacy to tell a rugby writer to go to hell in such a way as he may relish making the trip.
For the anti-lobby, the best thing by far, however, was De Villiers reportedly condoning foul play. Did he really condone it or did he perhaps err in making a call too quickly and then floundering in his swamp of metaphors?
We can debate the rights and wrongs of his dodgy articulation forever, but if our visitors truly believe that a Springbok coach is so contemptible as to promote eye gouging, then they are as deserving of our contempt.
At least in their reporting on the issue, the British media unwittingly conceded that the only way their team could beat the Springboks was to see one of our players sent off. One of them said it quite bluntly: the failure to red card the silly Burger “cost the Lions victory”.Tweet