The Aussie media has slammed Jake White after he denied his players had intentionally tried to pull out George Smith’s dreadlocks in the past.
Joe van Niekerk this week told the Cape Argus that the South African team recently had a competition where the player who finished with one of Smith’s dreadlocks would receive $100.
When asked by the Sydney Morning Herald if he was surprised by Van Niekerk’s recollection, White replied: “I don’t believe that story. It’s a story which has been made up. It’s not a myth … just made up. I would never condone such behaviour. The reality is that [Springbok winger] Akona Ndungane has dreadlocks as well, and I’d hate someone to pull his hair.”
Earlier John Smit had said that the story was “ludicrous … that’s what a second- or third-tier team would try to do”.
Smit also refuted claims that the Boks were a dirty side.
“Only history can speak for itself,” he said. “We haven’t had an incident with regards to dirty play for quite some time, especially since Jake’s been the coach. So it’s something we are proud of in our side. We do like to play a hard game of rugby, but we don’t need to get dirty at this level. It’s not something in our make-up.”
The Aussie media were quick to point out that last November, Smit was suspended and heavily criticised for a dangerous elbow charge against France which was described as “at best reckless”.