Bok stand-off over treatment of Smith

2007-12-01 00:00

The Springbok camp has been rocked by dissension and a stand-off between some management and players in the build-up to today’s final match of the year against the Barbarians at Twickenham.

Management members have played it down, but it is believed there was a major row between loose-forward Juan Smith and manager Zola Yeye, which led to Yeye calling for disciplinary action against the player.

This followed an incident at a training session involving IRB World Player of the Year Bryan Habana. The wing was apparently asked before a training session by a South African advocate to sign an autograph. Habana told the man that he would do it after the practice as he was about to start training.

Habana forgot in his rush to the bus after the session to comply with the request, and Yeye was consulted on this. After Yeye tackled Habana on the issue, it is believed that Smith jumped in to defend his team-mate and there was a heated debate.

There were rumours during the course of yesterday that the Bok senior players may call a strike today in protest against the way Smith was treated and there were objections to talk of an internal disciplinary action against the star player.

Yeye denied that it was a major issue, and told reporters the whole affair was a storm in a teacup.

“It is far-fetched, it has been blown out of all proportion,” said Yeye.

The manager did not confirm or deny if disciplinary proceedings were instituted against Smith.

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