New Zealand Sevens team ungracious in defeat

2014-08-01 00:00

CAPE TOWN — A high-profile New Zealand pundit has suggested his country’s sevens team were less than gracious losers to gold medallists South Africa in the Commonwealth Games.

The Blitsbokke won the Glasgow final 17-12 last weekend, ending a monopoly on the title by the Sevens All Blacks stretching back to the introduction of the sport to the Games in 1998.

But New Zealand Herald national newspaper sports columnist Chris Rattue was not impressed by the New Zealanders’ conduct in defeat in a piece headlined “Excuses, excuses from bad losers” yesterday.

“The sights and sounds of our national rugby teams struggling in defeat are rare but well worth the wait for those who like to study the innuendo style of excuse-making,” wrote Rattue.

“One thing you don’t hear at times like these is genuine praise for opponents, of being beaten fair and square: New Zealand rugby expects and often gets the world to fall at its brilliant feet, but doesn’t give back.

“South Africa were outstanding at the Games, with players such as Cecil Afrika and Seabelo Senatla setting the tournament alight. The country should be asking why it can’t incorporate more of this attitude and spark into the 15s, where they insist on retaining tactical Neanderthals like Jake White.”

He said the Blitsbokke made the silver medallists look “clunky and undisciplined” in the showpiece.

“The television commentators — including the brief All Black Simon Mannix, who coaches in Ireland — had no trouble spotting South Africa’s superiority. But hell hath no escape clauses like a beaten NZ rugby team; come the final whistle and the usual verbal gymnastics applied.

“Captain DJ Forbes mentioned that sevens was a fickle game, something that doesn’t get such airtime when New Zealand are playing well.

“Legendary coach [Gordon] Tietjens and Forbes were on the same whiteboard message, pointing out that there were nine New Zealand newcomers to the Commonwealth Games arena. Excuses, excuses.

“New Zealand has an outstanding record in all rugby, and it is one to be proud of and treasured. But a more obvious generous spirit to match wouldn’t go amiss.”

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