Aussie media lash Boks
16 Jul 2006
Australain rugby writer Greg Growden described Jake White’s post-match press conference as embarrassing.
Growden, in the Sydney Morning Herald, writes that no coach can blame a referee when his team has taken 49 points.
“That’s why the churlish behaviour of South African coach Jake White during Saturday night’s press conference was so embarrassing. After presiding over his nation’s biggest Test loss to Australia he virtually blamed it all on New Zealand referee Paul Honiss. I was left wondering whether I was watching an episode of The Twilight Zone as White and his skipper John Smit repeatedly brought up how they had been unfairly treated by Honiss.
“Were they serious, or was it just a diversion to camouflage the glaring fact they are struggling big time and are in charge of a rabble? Forget about reality and that the Boks played like a sixth-grade subbies team, whose only real interest in being there on the day is for the after-match keg.
“That didn’t matter. In the weird world that is South African rugby, despite a procession of tries scored against them, they believed they had been dudded, and it was time to tell a disbelieving world. Without prompting, White started with: “Honiss blew poorly tonight.” And over the next 10 minutes kept turning the focus back to the referee.
“Just as ridiculous was White’s repeated references to the similarities between South Africa’s fate on Saturday night and that of the 1998 England side, which was smacked 76-0 by Australia. White argued that South Africa, when their tribe of injured players return, will bounce back after adversity like England and be a threat in the World Cup.
“One big difference, Jake. It took England five years after that match to win a World Cup – not the year-and-a-half that you are hoping for.
“Then again one is accustomed to wacky behaviour at Springboks press conferences. On Friday, we watched them go into denial when White basically called one of his players – Joe van Niekerk – a liar. As unconvincing was White trying to deny a story that a few years ago the Springboks players had a competition that rewarded the player who was able to pluck one of Wallaby George Smith’s dreadlocks with $100.
“While numerous South African players have admitted the story is right, and van Niekerk explained it all in the Cape Argus, as far as White was concerned it was “made up”. Yeah, right. Get real, Springboks. As the old saying goes – you may look like a fool. But you don’t like being treated like a fool.”