PRO14

Cheetahs boss: Dweba comments 'disappointing'

Joseph Dweba (Gallo)
Joseph Dweba (Gallo)

Cheetahs CEO Harold Verster says he was "shocked" when he read hooker Joseph Dweba's scathing comments about the union in the media. 

Dweba, who has been at the Cheetahs since 2015 but last week signed a deal that will see him join Bordeaux-Begles in France, made headlines in South Africa on Tuesday when, in an interview with the Rugby Pass website, he criticised the union for offering him a "s*****" contract earlier in his playing days while he also slammed former coach Rory Duncan over his lack of game time during the 2017/18 PRO14 season. 

Dweba has since spoken to all parties, saying he was misinterpreted in the interview. 

"Me and Rory had a chat yesterday and I told him that's how I felt at that time," Dweba told Sport24 via WhatsApp on Tuesday.

"As a youngster, I also wanted the opportunity to showcase myself in the PRO14. We put everything to rest, so we are all good."

Dweba was firmly behind Torsten van Jaarsveld in the pecking order that season, while Duncan also had the promising Jacques du Toit in the mix. 

"The minute I saw the story, I picked up the phone and phoned Joseph," Duncan said from Worcester.

"I told him I had seen the comments and the first thing he told me was that it had been misinterpreted.

"He was frustrated at the time and I understand that. Going into the campaign he was a 22-year-old who was extremely ambitious, and he sat behind Torsten.

"Joseph and I cleared the air and he said he didn't want the comments to come out like that. He just wanted to express his frustrations."

Verster, meanwhile, says that the Cheetahs would be addressing the issue with their players, further encouraging them to be open in coming forward with any issues they may have. 

"I was very disappointed because I have looked after Joseph very specifically," Verster said. 

"He has had some challenges. I sorted his contracts, I sorted some other benefits for him, and we upped his salary to where, now even with Frans Steyn and Ruan Pienaar here, he would have been the second highest earner if he had stayed.

"He had some challenges in the past with previous coaches and so on, but we were very good to him in the past 18 months or so, so I was shocked."

Dweba had also picked up the phone to call Verster when the story broke. 

"He called me and said it was misinterpreted and he thanked me for everything, but the bad news is out and the perception is wrong," said Verster. 

"We took care of him.

"I think it was a terrible thing to do and I think he burnt bridges, not just with us."

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