Boshoff takes a stand

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Currie Cup, Original Content, Other SA Teams on 12 Jul 2011 at 09:22
Tagged with : , , , ,

No-nonsense new Leopards coach Leon Boshoff has taken a stand is imposing a booze-ban on his players. While many will raise an eyebrow at this development (especially coming hot on the heels of Pine Pienaar’s somewhat out-of-context quotes about Bulls players and Twitter) I find myself admiring the new coach for having the balls to take a hard line in this regard.

“I said that booze is out if you want to play professional rugby. You can drink again when you retire. You won’t be here if you drink.”

Those are the words that the former Lions hooker is reported as saying to his squad and while many will feel that he’s going overboard, while clinging desperately to the “boys will be boys” and “what’s wrong with a beer after the game?” rhetoric, I believe that those sentiments are relics of the bygone amateur era. Fact is, professional rugby is hard. The demands that are placed on a player’s body, week in and week out, are extreme and the threat of serious injury is never far away. Competition for places is fierce, with a huge number of promising players competing for the relatively few professional contracts available and I feel that any player who is not 100% committed to the task at hand becomes a liability, to himself, to his coach and to his team. While drinking alcohol in moderation clearly doesn’t pose a problem for people in most walks of life, there are few who can sensibly argue that it improves any aspect of a professional sportsman’s performance.

Boshoff would not be imposing this ban unless he felt that there was an established “drinking culture” within his squad that needs to be rooted out and the fact is that many of the guys in his squad have ended up there after failing to make the step up within bigger unions. The difference between success and failure can be pretty small when you’re trying to get selected in Pretoria, Cape Town or Durban and I know of at least four promising young players who have had Sharks contract extensions denied as a direct result of the perception that their “partying” (read drinking) is a bigger priority in their lives than their rugby is. I cannot imagine that the tolerance of such things at the Bulls or Stormers would be any higher. Players – particularly the younger ones – need to understand the consequences of the decisions they make and I feel need to be made aware of exactly how much of a privilege it is to hold a professional contract – even if it’s with the Leopards.

Credit to Boshoff, then, for laying down his own rules in black and white. Far too many other coaches will judge players according to criteria that aren’t clearly communicated up-front, but I feel that if the players know where they stand right from the outset, they have the option to leave if they can’t abide by the rules. I don’t think that giving up booze is too much to ask of a professional rugby player, to whom you are paying thousands every month as well as covering their not inconsiderable medical expenses, but any players who disagree will, I’m sure, be flooded with other offers when they reveal that they couldn’t cut it at the Leopards because they weren’t prepared to give up drinking…


  • I say well done. Potch is a student town. Lots of partys, lots of braais, cheap beer and brandewyn all over the place. I know, I spent 4 drunken years there studying! (lovely place all said).

    But yes, the Institute there has a reputation of guys going big with the dop, so I’d guess the Leopards are the same. It’s not too much to ask for a professional sportsman to abstain. It can only help them.

  • Comment 1, posted at 12.07.11 09:26:56 by PTAShark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • Yep, if you are pulling a nice rugby playing salary then its not too much to ask.Not like the booze is going anywhere.

  • Comment 2, posted at 12.07.11 09:27:22 by Clayton(PJLD) Reply
  • @PTAShark (Comment 1) : Snap

  • Comment 3, posted at 12.07.11 09:27:51 by Clayton(PJLD) Reply
  • Good luck to the Leopards. I hope they continue to avoid relegation. They form a vital part of junior rugby in SA, so it’s good that their senior team can continue to offer the opportunity to fast-trackers to play against the best Currie Cup sides.

  • Comment 4, posted at 12.07.11 09:41:00 by beet Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • Nothing wrong with a bit of carbo loading… 😈 😆

  • Comment 5, posted at 12.07.11 09:48:20 by Ice Reply
    Competition Winner Ice
  • @Ice (Comment 5) : Finishing stone last does suck though

  • Comment 6, posted at 12.07.11 10:02:24 by Clayton(PJLD) Reply
  • @PTAShark (Comment 1) : with you on that.
    Had 4 yrs there as well.
    The temptation for these guys will be tough to overcome though imo… There’s not really much to do in Potch over the weekends than going to the clubs.

  • Comment 7, posted at 12.07.11 10:05:03 by SharksRTB Reply

  • @Clayton(PJLD) (Comment 6) : Perhaps THAT’s why there’s a need for a booze limitation! The more I drink, the more I forget! 😆

  • Comment 8, posted at 12.07.11 10:06:44 by Ice Reply
    Competition Winner Ice
  • @SharksRTB (Comment 7) : I’m sure there are gyms they could go to… or roads they could run along 🙂

  • Comment 9, posted at 12.07.11 10:08:04 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @SharksRTB (Comment 7) : I agree….hopefully they have the discipline…I dont know hey…

  • Comment 10, posted at 12.07.11 10:09:21 by Ice Reply
    Competition Winner Ice
  • @robdylan (Comment 9) : All roads in Potch leads to “Die bult”… 😉

  • Comment 11, posted at 12.07.11 10:09:55 by Ice Reply
    Competition Winner Ice
  • I agree don’t drink and play rugby it leeds to….

  • Comment 12, posted at 12.07.11 10:10:19 by Mutley Reply
  • @Clayton(PJLD) (Comment 6) : YIP!!!

    I think the guy is doing the right thing. Sure the players are still going to have a beer with a mate at home, but they won’t be arriving at practise looking like they’ve been dragged backwards through a thorn bush.

  • Comment 13, posted at 12.07.11 10:11:08 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @SharksRTB (Comment 7) : And you can still go to a club, you just don’t HAVE to drink to enjoy yourself.

  • Comment 14, posted at 12.07.11 10:13:06 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 13) : I think thats just the problem…either you drink or you dont – who is gonna watch over them when they have a drink with a mate at home? i am sure you were young once.. 😈 One drink in my student days normally ended up a huge party till 4 o clock in the morning in the Losscrum pub @ LC De Villiers…and that the day before a final exam… 😳

  • Comment 15, posted at 12.07.11 10:14:07 by Ice Reply
    Competition Winner Ice
  • @Ice (Comment 15) : I was young but was also a dedicated athlete and when I had 1 beer or was the designated driver then that is the way it stayed.

    That said. When there was nothing to train for then it was very seldom only 1 beer. 😛

  • Comment 16, posted at 12.07.11 10:17:43 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @SharksRTB (Comment 7) : Instead of drinking and going to the clubs on the weekend they should be doing what they are paid to do – play rugby! Rest of the week they should put a few more hours in at the gym or on the training field to improve their skills.

    However I don’t see the youngsters giving up their booze to easily especially when they go to their friend’s parties… the rest I’ll leave to the imagination.

  • Comment 17, posted at 12.07.11 10:21:34 by The Sharks Sharkie Reply
    The Sharks Sharkie
  • Would it be terrible if I admit I hope the Leopards gets relegated and Boland lands a spot in the top 8!
    That way I`ll have another venue to watch some shark matches next year hehehe 😈

  • Comment 18, posted at 12.07.11 10:38:03 by Original Pierre Reply
    Original Pierre
  • @Original Pierre (Comment 18) : 😛

  • Comment 19, posted at 12.07.11 10:39:45 by Clayton(PJLD) Reply
  • Bravo Boshoff!

  • Comment 20, posted at 12.07.11 11:15:40 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @Original Pierre (Comment 18) : I miss my outings to Wellington too. They were normally played on Friday afternoons and often in wet weather in front of a majority partisan away crowd (Sharks supporters) Maybe the Boland got relegated on purpose just so that they wouldnt have to face the crazy Sharks crowd at their home ground.

  • Comment 21, posted at 12.07.11 11:32:59 by Salmonoid Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • I do like when someone puts their foot down, I can only guess this comes from a few to many on a to regular basis. A decision of no drinking does not come from having a one beer every now and then with a braai 😉

  • Comment 22, posted at 12.07.11 11:35:10 by franshark Reply
  • Nah, I have a different view on this.

    A professional (read responsible) culture is instilled within any union from the top down, not forced down.

    Sure set team rules and discipline within that context if people overstep the line, but forcing bans which extends beyond your career into your personal life? Not a chance.

  • Comment 23, posted at 12.07.11 11:38:19 by Morné Reply
  • @Original Pierre (Comment 18) : It won’t be terrible except for the fact that it will only be a TOP6 from next season. 😉

  • Comment 24, posted at 12.07.11 11:40:11 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • Unless they’re replacing the booze with gummy-berry-juice, there’s no point. Won’t make any difference. 🙄

  • Comment 25, posted at 12.07.11 11:44:10 by McLovin Reply

  • It must have been a problem. If it wasn’t a problem then I think the poor Leopards players are in for an unhappy time with their new coach.

  • Comment 26, posted at 12.07.11 11:45:33 by Salmonoid Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • @Salmonoid (Comment 26) : And if it was a problem they are going to be even more miserable. 🙂

  • Comment 27, posted at 12.07.11 11:53:52 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @Salmonoid (Comment 21) : Hehehe I was part of that ” hugely partisan Sharks crowd ” !

    @KSA Shark © (Comment 24) : sigh . . worse luck! 👿

  • Comment 28, posted at 12.07.11 12:09:48 by Original Pierre Reply
    Original Pierre
  • Wait does this go for the fans as well

  • Comment 29, posted at 12.07.11 12:11:02 by Mutley Reply

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