It seems that despite SARU’s assurances to the contrary, Beast Mtawarira may yet be ruled out of tomorrow night’s game against the French on the basis that, according to South African Law he is not (nor has ever been) eligible to represent the Springboks.
Now, we’re not going to get into a political argument here, but the simple administrative ineptitude on both sides of the fence is frankly staggering. It beggars belief that, two years and 19 test appearances later, it could suddenly come to light that a player actually never was eligible in the first place. It would appear that there’s a pretty clear law preventing anyone without a South African passport from playing for a representative team. Why did SARU not know about this? How come this wasn’t pointed out before Beats’s FIRST test, rather than his TWENTIETH?
Whether you agree with the legislation or not, fact is, it’s law and you don’t actually have much of a choice when it comes to picking which laws you’d like to follow. Pretty much an all-or-nothing thing, laws. The IRB can come up with their own regulations, sure, but a player will obviously need to comply with the stricter requirement when a country’s laws do not correspond with the IRB’s. It is SARU’s responsibility to ensure that their own selection policies are in line with the law of the land and trying to sneak in a back-door citizenship application (as they are reported to have done) rather than tackling the issue head on at the correct time is very much in line with the general shambles we have come to expect from them.
That Beast wasn’t immediately made an honorary citizen after what he did to Gethin Jenkins in the first Lions test is an even greater travesty, but I digress.
So poor old Beast looks likely to be the unwitting victim here of a stunning piece of administrative bungling that may well bring down the curtain on his international career before it even started. Gotta love the way we treat our national icons, don’t you?Tweet