JJ Harmse

Good luck Peter!

2008-01-10 12:10

JJ Harmse

So Oregan Hoskins wants to be honest with the country. In doing so, he admitted on Wednesday that the selection of Peter de Villiers as the new Springbok coach was "not entirely made for rugby reasons".

"We as an organisation have made the appointment and have taken into account the issue of transformation very, very seriously. I don't think that tarnishes Peter - I'm just being honest with our country," Hoskins was quoted in the media.

So, he admitted that transformation was an issue and then - incredibly - added that he believed there should be a position for Heyneke Meyer in his organisation, in all likelihood director of coaching. He then went on about Meyer's abilities and that he should not be lost to SA Rugby.

What I would like to know from Mr Hoskins is how honest he was with Meyer?

If transformation was going to be such a big part of the process, why on earth did no one tell Meyer? What chance would any white coach have if the selection process was going "to take into account the issue of transformation very, very seriously"?


No use for Hoskins to try and be honest with "the country" if he cannot be straight with one of the best coaches he has ever seen in his life. I have no doubt in my mind that Meyer would have pulled out of the race if he knew transformation was going to be taken "very, very seriously".

For now, Meyer must feel particularly bitter that he was used by SA Rugby as the token white candidate in the process.

And what about Allister Coetzee and Chester Williams, Mr Hoskins?

Let us not forget, Coetzee was part of the Rugby World Cup-winning team and should not be lost to the system either. However, maybe his alliance with Jake White is too close for comfort of those at SA Rugby who could not wait for White's contract to expire.

And Williams? Well, he never had a chance, did he? Not only was he lean on credentials, but also represented the 'other side' of rugby.

Remember, Williams became a Springbok as a member of the Federation, who were regarded as 'sell-outs' by those who believed that there should be no normal sport in an abnormal society. Ironically, today SA Rugby is heavily populated by those who believed in that doctrine and played their sport under the old Saru-banner.

Free of politics

It is just a pity that they did not heed to the doctrine when it came to appoint one of their own. Is appointing a rugby coach on grounds of other issues as well and not rugby decisions alone, not also acting abnormal in a normal society?

I thought the old Saru fought liberation in rugby to free the game of politics. Yet, they fall back to that when it suits them.

With the appointment of De Villiers, the take-over of rugby by the former Saru is now complete. De Villiers, Sevens coach Paul Treu, Under-20 coach Eric Sauls and the SA Schools coach, Ezzard Alexander, all played their rugby under the old Saru banner. Add to that senior officials at Newlands like Herman Msimela, Mervin Green and Hilton Adonis. Not to mention Hoskins of course.

But give the old Saru guys credit. At least they learned something from the days were they had to play their rugby in atrocious conditions and facilities. Standing together, either as a team, a community or a group of people remains a core principle in survival or, for that matter, success.


Those who are unhappy about Meyer not being appointed, ask yourselves how much some of his 'own group of people' resisted when it became clear that rugby knowledge was not going to determine the outcome of what was suppose to be a rugby decision. Did any white presidents 'sell-out' in order to be nominated for deputy president or being allocated a Test match for his union? Just follow the press in the next couple of months and the answer will be clear.

Oh yes, Mr Hoskins, on that point of honesty. Maybe we could get the results of the voting process. We would like to know who voted for Meyer and who voted for De Villiers. The process was transparent, was it not? We just want it to be accountable as well, please!

Congratulations to Peter de Villiers. He stated a long time ago that he wanted the job and certainly worked hard to stay in the game when he was sidelined in so many ways. Strangely unemployed in the main stream of rugby, he paid his dues in numerous ways and now has landed the top job.

By the way, please don't suggest that De Villiers is "similar to White". Maybe they are, but just remember, SA Rugby could not wait to get rid of White quickly enough!

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