Our reporter on the ground in the UK this week has uncovered that far from the gentle harmonious image portrayed on most mainstream media sites, the Springbok camp is in fact rife with infighting and competitive squabbling ahead of the upcoming Northern Hemisphere tests. The trouble began in the days leading up to the team’s departure from South Africa when Jean de Villiers heard news that Willie Le Roux had been using his time off from match rugby to work on an impressive pair of sideburns.
With De Villiers stinging at the thought that his carefully managed stubble maybe upstaged by Le Roux’s sideburns, De Villiers apparently sent Le Roux a blatantly misleading SMS telling him that the flights were going to be taking off a day later than originally planned. Le Roux saw straight through this attempt at Bok tour facial hair supremacy and shared his concerns with some of the younger members of the squad. According to Coenie Oosthuizen, this sort of rivalry was going on all the time, even resulting in Coenie getting dropped when he showed de Villiers a goatee he had been working on during the off season.
Now that Bakkies Botha and Jacque Fourie are back in the squad, the situation has become even worse. On Monday, Eben Etzebeth had to report to team management that his shaving razor had been tampered with, resulting in unsightly razor burn on his neck area. De Villiers has been demanding excessive compliments from all the young players about his sideburns and only Duane Vermeulen has had the integrity to tell him that his sidechops “needed work”.
Jean De Villiers was so incensed, he vowed to ensure that Vermeulen never played a Bok match again, but Heyneke Meyer intervened and restored a bit of order.
The last straw in all of this came on Wednesday evening. De Villiers had ordered from Amazon fifteen new Gillette Sensor hand razors in order to look his best before the Welsh test, but the razors were accidentally delivered to Willie Le Roux’s hotel room instead. An all out brawl broke out when this was discovered, with things only calming down when Guthro Steenkamp swung a large fish over his head to get everyone’s attention.
With uncertainty and tension like this in the camp, we can only speculate that the Bok team might be ripe for the taking on this tour.
It’s early days, but I’ve got Springbok deja vu all over again. That feeling in the pit of your stomach that despite all of this amazing talent available to the Bok rugby team, somehow between the coaching staff and the administrators they’ve managed to screw it up – again.
You know that one where you watch the Junior World Championships and you get all excited thinking about that talent that is available to future Bok squads? You start selecting your “dream team” Springbok squad in April and start to picture a Bok team putting 50 on New Zealand. You see Heinrich Brussouw in all the glorious splendor that is his natural wonder and you think to yourself… “Yes… this can happen”.
There’s a flash of inspiration from some newcomer to the scene. A young Francois Steyn or Pat Lambie. A new looseforward capable of scrounging possession away from Richie McCaw in a Super 15 game and also capable of smuggling an entire array of donuts and cigarettes from Pollsmoor Prison. A backline player so fast, with a step so vicious…. Maybe it is the complete flyhalf. Continue Reading
Heyneke Meyer dropped a bombshell on the South African public this weekend by not picking the entire Bulls squad for the 30 man touring party to the UK.
When asked about why he made the controversial decision not to pick 30 Blue Bulls to tour, he had the following to say:
“Look, let’s be honest. With the Bulls finishing 4th out of 6 teams and when you consider that one of the teams that finished above the Bulls doesn’t even qualify to play Super Rugby next year, you must know I was under a lot of pressure to pick all thirty Bulls players to represent South Africa.
I was quite close to picking Gio Aplon and Deon Fourie, I must admit, since they are technically much better than some of the current squad, but then I was talking to my assistant coaches and one of them pointed out that Jano Vermaak once dated one of the sisters of one of the other Bulls players, so how I could leave him out? Also, Zane and Morne both have copies of those photos that were taken of me the night that Bulls won the Super Rugby title. You know, where we had the after party… with the thing… and the other thing. So I pretty much have to pick them.
But still. I can squeak in a few non-Bulls players. I mean, I am a Bulls, er, I mean Bok coach, after all. That’s my right. At least that’s what the Blue Bulls Rugby Union tells me I can do.”
Heyneke. Making a career out of pissing off Nick Mallett.