The Springbok management have released a statement refuting claims that Solly Tyibilika is a quota player.
Jake White has gone on the defensive, denying he intended to insult Tyibilika when defending Luke Watson’s continued omission. White, as was reported by every news agency and publication in attendance at the press conference, said he had to be sensitive to the transformation issue when discussing Tyibilika’s inclusion.
Now the Bok management want to forget that was ever mentioned. The quote caused huge unhappiness within the squad and Tyibilika is known to have confronted the management about the quote.
With the bumbling Boks you would have expected nothing less than a stuff up in trying to address the issue. In a poorly put together statement the convener of selectors Peter Jooste is used as the buffer between White and the media, with Jooste saying White was misrepresented. In the SARU statement no mention is made of White ever mentioning transformation.
So we must assume that every single news agency got it wrong and reported it inaccurately. Keo.co.za did a web search and every agency carried exactly the same quote. Someone’s telling a pork pie and we know who it is!
Tyibilika’s stats were purred over in the statement. Five tests and no defeats. In those 3 tries. Jooste said Tyibilika had been a member of the squad for the last two years and was rewarded for this with his inclusion in the side on Saturday. He said the media should be questioning the Sharks, who refuse to select Tyibilika in their senior side and could not find a place for him in the Vodacom Cup Wildebeest team.
What Jooste does not mention is the Sharks have been questioned and they have been frank. They don’t think he is good enough to make their team. They feel they have better players and it certainly is not a race thing when you see just how many black and coloured players have represented the Sharks since Dick Muir took over.
The statement, ill-timed, only adds to the issue. White should never have used the word transformation in trying to deflect attention off probable selections. Let’s be honest, how the hell can a coach defend having picked a 32 year-old Andre Snyman and Gaffie du Toit as his two wingers if he had transformation issues?
And to say Watson was overlooked because of the need for transformation is an insult to anyone who has followed the Watson saga over the last two years. White has picked a number of white flankers, with Wikus van Heerden and Pierre Spies the latest to have made it, despite the supposed need for transformation.
It is just another of those contradictions. What White should be trying to explain is the following. At that same press conference he said Watson had not played in his structure and had never worked with the team in the last two years. He could not bring him in, he argued. Well Butch James’s exposure to the team has been one week in Bloemfontein in May this year. In the last two years that’s how much time James has spent getting to know the Bok systems. But that seems to be okay for White.
It’s a case of if you need an excuse you will find one. If you need a justification you will find one.
I said it yesterday, everytime these guys open their mouths at the moment they embarrass themselves.
This latest press statement only adds to the farce. Tyibilika is there because of transformation, but the application of this transformation is once again skewed. If White had identified correctly, then black players would be in the team on merit and no white player would suffer. The best black player would be there because he is better than the best white player in that position and vice versa.
But please Mr Jooste and Mr White don’t try and tell the South African public that at the moment Solly Tyibilika is the best openside flanker in South Africa. He has not played for two months. And he has never been the best opensider in the country when he played.
Don’t continue to insult the SA rugby public. You’d think the lack of effort in the 49-0 drubbing in Brisbane was insult enough.