Super Rugby

Willemse, Mallett don't have to agree - SuperSport

Ashwin Willemse (Gallo)
Ashwin Willemse (Gallo)

Cape Town - Ashwin Willemse and Nick Mallett do not have to agree when talking rugby, says SuperSport CEO Gideon Khobane.

READ: SuperSport, MultiChoice: No racism in Willemse drama

In fact, it is better if they don't. 

"What we've always encouraged on our platform is for all our panellists to engage in robust debate," Khobane explained on Monday.

"They don't have to agree ... that's the point of having three or four panellists ... to get different views."

That may be the case, but the disagreements reached a new level on Saturday when Willemse walked off  a live SuperSport broadcast, saying that he could no longer work with Mallett and Naas Botha, who he felt were patronising.

That moment has led to an outburst from the South African rugby public, with race-fuelled responses to the incident dominating social media. 

All of the relevant parties met in Johannesburg on Monday and, while they did not reach an agreement of exactly how things unfolded on Saturday, Khobane said it was important to give the three men some space. 

"All three of them need a bit of time to reflect on what happened," he said.

"You can imagine that the past 48 hours has been a crazy whirlwind. They haven’t been able to sleep and eat and engage with their families.

"They each want a bit of time to instrospect to find out exactly what caused what happened.

"We don’t want to force anybody to divulge what they are feeling inside because it’s a very emotional issue." 

Watch the press conference below. Please note, sound only starts 1:50 into the video.

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