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.