Have I missed something here with the Brits inclusion in the Stormers 22 man squad for the biggest game of the season to date?
This controversy started when the Stormers lost loose forwards Duane Vermeulen and Pieter Louw with injury and South African under-20 player Siya Kolisi (who was apparently injured when mugged near his Cape Town home last weekend). I can here Pat Lam saying ‘So what’! – sit down Pat and tell Mr Hickey to calm down as well…..and Pat can you answer that phone it’s Ewen, tell him to get in line I’m busy at the minute.
Firstly, well done to Mr Coetzee for coming up with such a ridiculous request that if it had come across my desk or just about any other desk in world rugby it would have been laughed out of the office – and quickly followed up with a swift ‘Don’t be so cheeky’ email and a stern phone call – but not our brothers at SANZAR, somehow they have aloud this sham to happen – and as I hear the laughter in the air and the typewriters blazing away – I know we haven’t heard the end of it.
SANZAR rubber stamped Brits’ inclusion on the proviso that he doesn’t play hooker and that he can only be employed as a loose forward – which again seems absolutely bizarre.
My biggest concern is not with Brits scoring the winning try in extra time against the Crusaders at Newlands on Saturday and then repeating the feat the following week up in Brisbane. Or Brits holding SANZAR’s new trophy above is head, for me that just makes good copy and I say well done to him and the Stormers management.
My real concern is the confidence of the other 14 Super rugby franchises in SANZAR being totally lost. They (SANZAR) have left the door wide open by setting this precedent. If I was Pat Lam, Chris Hickey or Ewen McKenzie I would be spitting sparks at this decision. All season they have been ravaged by injury in key positions and have somewhat blindly been forced to dig within their squads, wider training groups, club rugby and just about anywhere inside their franchise to find replacements. They have been very creative and self-sufficient and must be applauded for these efforts.
This weekend the sight of seventh choice lock Chris Lowrey in the Blues scrum on Saturday night in the other semi-final should have the SANZAR rubber stamp brigade squirming in their comfy chairs.
Chris Hickey must also look back and think ‘What was I thinking’? as he reflects on the efforts of John Ulugia last weekend in the play-offs when he could not hit a barn door while he contemplated if to bring on Elvis Taione who had never played any Super rugby to oppose Keven Mealamu.
In short Schalk Brits has no place in this year’s 2011 Superugby competition. He turned his back on this competition as soon as he headed off for the bright lights of Southsafricarcens sorry Saracens several seasons back.
While it’s neither his fault nor the fault of the Stormers team or Stormers administration, SANZAR have made an absolute fool of themselves with this decision and could end up with egg on their face – if not this weekend or next, then maybe next season.
SANZAR do have a difficult job administering a competition between three different countries, countries that all have their own agendas and reasons for doing things. However they have got this one horribly wrong and I do feel sorry for all those coaches and administrators that have been misled this season into thinking that they couldn’t bring in ‘Ring-In’s’ – seemed all they had to do was ask.Tweet