So the IRB have handed SARU and the Boks a “slap on the wrist” fine and made some vague, unenforceable threats about banning us from the 2011 World Cup if we misbehave again. What a stupid, stupid affair this whole thing has been.
Let me begin by reiterating what I said at the time. What on earth did we think was going to happen when we wore armbands criticising the IRB in an event run under the auspices of that same body? It’s like going into your neighbours garden and poking his pitbull with a stick, for goodness sake. Sure, we all know that the IRB is nothing but a big bully, but we’re playing in their sandpit, for goodness sake and their rules are ALWAYS going to apply. Challenging them openly is just stupid, because there’s only ever going to be one winner.
That’s not to say, not for an instant, that I don’t think the IRB citing process is a farce and a disgrace. It is the biggest load of inconsistent bollocks I’ve ever seen in my life, mirrored only by SARU’s ape-like imitation of it at domestic level. It needs to be changed, but that change will only come if we find a way to work within the structures, instead of alienating ourselves from the rest of the rugby world every chance we get.
We are very quick to cling to the old excuses, like “The IRB doesn’t like us because we always win (snork snork!)”, but the reality of the situation is that the All Blacks stuff the home nations far more regularly than we do, yet are thick as thieves with the ruling body – as are the Australians. I’m not sure exactly what the root cause is of this unhappiness and animosity, but it is real and it manifests in various ways, not the least of which is our complete inability to win the right to host another World Cup. It’s also pretty clear that the judiciary process is biased against South African players – but until we get our own house in order and take strong action against players, like Schalk Burger, who have clearly transgressed, we have no moral high ground to defend whatsoever.
Perhaps it’s time we found some different people to represent our interests to those controlling the game. Regan Hoskins, Andy Marinos and the like have done nothing to earn the respect of those from whom we seek favours and are perceived as uppity and arrogant – petulant children who will take more than they have given. Maybe we need to send some quieter men who have made far bigger strides in their time in the game and have earned respect through actions, rather than words. Morné du Plessis, Gary Teichmann, Mark Andrews, Francois Pienaar – where are these men now? It’s time to South Africa and the Springboks were held in high regard by the IRB again, just as we were in the days of Danie Craven.Tweet