What’s good for the goose…

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Lions, Original Content, Sharks on 8 Nov 2010 at 10:46
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Am I the only one detecting a wee bit of media (and fan) hypocrisy when it comes to the (latest) reported Lions “player shopping spree”? It seems that every time the Jobrug unions receives a cash injection, the assorted rugby public and media gets worked up into a frenzy about who the Lions should buy.

Picture this, if you will. Bruce Dunlop (Executive Director of Tongaat-Hullett) and Stephen Saad (Group Chief Executive of Aspen Pharmaceuticals) announce, at a joint press conference with Brian van Zyl and Rudolf Straeuli, that they are buying a 49% stake in the Sharks for a total of R100 million. As part of the announcement, they declare that the chequebook is open and that John Plumtree must tell them exactly which players he wants and they will buy them, no matter what the cost. Their first target is said to be Jacque Fourie, notwithstanding the fact that he is already tied up in a contract in Cape Town. Dunlop and Saad fly to Cape Town to have a meeting with Fourie to discuss whether he’d be open to a move.

How do you think the media would spin that one? “Sharks Poaching Reaches Staggering New Heights”… how’s that for a headline? Now you’ll know I’m not necessarily the best writer of a catchy byline, but you don’t need too much imagination to predict that the general tone would be one of indignation, of outrage even. The shady Sharks doing their underhanded deals to once more subvert the natural order of South African rugby, rape and pillage other (read more deserving) unions of their talent and claim a measure of success that, by rights, should not be theirs. The one article that I wouldn’t expect to read would be one praising the Sharks for a bold new business approach, one that was going to forever “change the landscape of the game in South African” and “about time, because for SA to be strong, we need a strong Sharks team”.

I’m sure you all see where I’m going with this one… go and do a search and replace in the above paragraph – insert “Lions” for Sharks, “Beast Mtawarira” for Jacque Fourie, and so on) and suddenly, it turns into a pretty accurate reflection of what’s been going on over the last few weeks. Forgive me for being somewhat perplexed about the media’s obsession with the Lions… it can’t be because the Joburg Union treats the media any better than other unions in the country do (just ask Walter from Lionsworld how well they cope with criticism). Why is it that every man and his dog from the Supersport commentators down to supposedly neutral writers working for big papers all seem to be prepared to look over virtually anything if it comes wrapped in red and white?

Perhaps it’s time for the Sharks to launch an all-out charm offensive, in the hope that a few big lunches and soothing sound bites from van Zyl and Straeuli can try to change some of the perceptions. The only difference, after all, between a rat and a squirrel is good marketing.


  • Love it Rob! Awesome read! And you are so right..

    Just have to say that your closing line is awesome!

  • Comment 1, posted at 08.11.10 10:50:56 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 1) : Morne deserves the credit for that one!

  • Comment 2, posted at 08.11.10 10:52:13 by robdylan Reply
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  • Too true. Everyone is mesmerized by the fact that perhaps the Lions might just be on the map again in the not too distant future. It seems you have to hit rock bottom to get a hand up from everyone.

    Rob Gumede is in the news for all the wrong reasons last week and not one article I read mentioned that he was the Lions boss?

    I trust if Brian Van Zyl or ‘Dolf has been involved the front page of the Cape Times would have been covered.

  • Comment 3, posted at 08.11.10 11:09:14 by Sportbilly Reply

  • Agree with you fully. I guess it comes down to stereotypes. Two of the three new Bok caps were players from the Sharks academy, so how is it that we can’t develop our own players. This is what happens when people hear something often enough and start to believe it.

  • Comment 4, posted at 08.11.10 11:09:52 by war1 Reply
  • @war1 (Comment 4) : all they will say is that 1)Keegan Daniel isn’t good enough and 2)he wasn’t schooled in KZN anyway so you poached him

  • Comment 5, posted at 08.11.10 11:31:47 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 5) :

    Schooling cannot come into any argument in the professional age!

    Even the schools buy players nowadays, so that argument in without grounds

  • Comment 6, posted at 08.11.10 11:36:07 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 5) : Let them say what they want, doesn’t make it true

  • Comment 7, posted at 08.11.10 11:36:41 by war1 Reply
  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 6) : Yes, all the big schools get players from all over the country.

  • Comment 8, posted at 08.11.10 11:37:56 by war1 Reply
  • @Sportbilly (Comment 3) : Bit early to say we are on track again, the proof of the pudding will be the S15, and whether or not we start to bring through some decent youngsters, as for the rest, well time will tell. There seems to be a fair amount of politics involved, but that is taboo, so we will not go there.I personally dont think too much will change, we will be that mediocre side that suprises the Sharks every now and then, but the Management at the Lions are not dynamic enough to be able to bring about to much of a change. I like the Coach they have chosen, just not sure how long he will hang around though!!

  • Comment 9, posted at 08.11.10 11:48:50 by Whindy Reply
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  • @Sportbilly (Comment 3) : Sorry I see you said Might, by the way Gumede is not the bossman, just a large shareholder!!

  • Comment 10, posted at 08.11.10 11:54:35 by Whindy Reply
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  • @Whindy (Comment 10) : I think with Mitch around and some half decent buys, the Leeus will surprise a few next year. Depth will be a worry if the age group structure aren’t in place though.

    Gumede and Ikor seem to be more involved than they initially made out if them meeting up with My Poo is to be believed.

    Big question is how long Marius Redneck will survive..

  • Comment 11, posted at 08.11.10 12:00:22 by Sportbilly Reply

  • @robdylan (Comment 2) : And Colonel Hans Landa πŸ˜›

    Great article, but I have to ask, who do the Lions actually need to buy anyone? Why not work with what they have? There are plenty of promising youngsters and former Sharks now among their ranks – why do the Cape Town thing and buy established stars (which never seems to work as well in rugby as it does in football – maybe because rugby requires a bit of heart as well as skill) when given a bit of time they can make some of their own? Is it solely to draw out those ignorant “supporters” who won’t go to watch a match that doesn’t feature a Bok?

  • Comment 12, posted at 08.11.10 12:02:03 by MerckZ Reply

  • @MerckZ (Comment 12) : I just wish the Lions would use their loot for bringing back players from overseas…

    Ernst Joubert just resigned with Sarries but he should have been a target, Schalk Brits, Brian Mujati, Etienne Reyneke, have all been through the system. Would be great to see some of them come and lend a hand to the revolution!

  • Comment 13, posted at 08.11.10 12:09:50 by Sportbilly Reply

  • @Sportbilly (Comment 13) : Ernest Joubert would be my choice to lead the Lions he did a great job before he got injured and is a natural leader, as well as a very good rugby player plays his heart out. Would be thrilled to get him back. Damn thought you said resigned, not re-signed, got me all excited!!

  • Comment 14, posted at 08.11.10 12:24:21 by Whindy Reply
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  • @Whindy (Comment 14) : Eish! Sry!

  • Comment 15, posted at 08.11.10 12:53:10 by Sportbilly Reply

  • great arti ,rob ! just hope the journo`s at sa sports illustrated will do an expose on the new money at the lions ..or will that be asking too much ?..
    wanted to get sick when i saw owen nkumane almost brought to tears (of joy) when discussing the news of the multi -mill cash injection into lions rugby (saying people at the lions have been hoping and praying for something like this ).. a gun dealer in the mix 😯 .. no thanks .. πŸ™ and the other shareholder in the news for all the wrong reasons (accusations of corruption).. 😐

  • Comment 16, posted at 08.11.10 12:55:17 by bergshark Reply

  • I just wish these guys would either openly declare their bias, or rather keep it under control whilst doing their jobs. I have never claimed to be impartial, so at least you always know what you’re going to get from me… Supersport actually owns a large chunk of the Sharks and yet the commentators’ clear personal Lions bias shines through at all times

  • Comment 17, posted at 08.11.10 13:21:34 by robdylan Reply
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  • great one to read Rob,
    and tue if i must say so :mrgreen:

  • Comment 18, posted at 08.11.10 21:27:17 by chaz Reply

  • The difference between a rat and a squirrel is a squirrel has bigger nuts.

  • Comment 19, posted at 09.11.10 09:37:14 by rhineshark Reply
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