Cats captain Wikus van Heerden was not included in a decision by the Cats management to delay announcing their team for the vital Vodacom Super 14 encounter with the Sharks at Ellis Park on Saturday.
Van Heerden told keo.co.za that he was expecting the squad to be released, as usual, at Wednesday’s press conference, instead it was witheld from the media and he had not been told, let alone consulted, on that decision.
Despite arranging this press conference to announce the team, Cats CEO Andy Turner and coach Frans Ludeke told the assembled hacks that they would only be releasing the team on Thursday. According to Sanzar rules this is fully within their right as the names only need be made public 48 hours before kick-off.
However, van Heerden, who did not attend the meeting because he was preparing for an afternoon training session was shocked that the team had not been announced. “I’m really quite surprised that the team hasn’t been announced yet. I was expecting them to announce it today,” he told keo.co.za. “But I guess if they haven’t announced it I can’t really comment too much.”
The latest rant emerging from Cats HQ in the last few days is that the whole problem with the poor results is the players fault, yet how can they be expected perform at their peak when management seem content to keep them in the dark on relevant issues such as team announcement? It’s the little things like this you would expect a professional organisation to get right. Even if it was just to ask the captain to remain silent on the issue.
Regardless, it is certain that at least one change will be made to the Cats starting line-up, with Wylie Human who played right wing against the Reds already included in the Young Lions team for a Vodacom Cup match against the Eagles at the weekend. His place is expected to be taken by a fit-again Ashwin Willemse.
Following Springbok coach Jake White’s visit and the decision to delay the team announcement, it seems certain Human will not be the only casualty from the Reds disaster if one reads between the lines.
Turner was unavailable as he was in meetings with SA Rugby officials late on Wednesday afternoon, while Ludeke’s phone was switched off.
By Andrew Hollely