Australian media likened the Bok press conference in Sydney to an audience with the Marx Brothers as the Bok coaching staff continued to stumble in their communication with the outside world.
Greg Growden, writing in the Sydney Morning Herald, mocked the fact that the Boks tried to bluff the media into believing they struggle because they’re unfit and play too many matches.
Other zaniness, wrote Growden, included a statement that they were in line to beat the Wallabies at Telstra Stadium on Saturday, even though 49-0 losers when they last met, and that they wished they could rest players because Australia and New Zealand did. This confounded everyone, as the Wallabies don’t rest players.
Springboks gatherings are always weird affairs, said Growden, before adding: “But they don’t get any crazier than yesterday’s at their Brighton Beach team hotel when the media were called to the penthouse. Penthouse? It was more the size of the outhouse, with the media scrum trying to cram into an area slightly bigger than a telephone booth. Television crews climbed over journalists to get vantage points. Springboks officials were almost sitting in the laps of scribes, who were packed in like sardines.
“It was shambolic, which was not surprising, considering the Springboks do not have a team manager in Australia.”
Gert Smal and Allister Coetzee were in the firing line and by all accounts it was a comedy show.
Coetzee tried to explain Jake White’s earlier comments that his players were not test match fit. “They [Australia and New Zealand] manage their Super 14 players when their international players come back differently to what we do,” Coetzee said. “We know how their contracting system works. Jake has been fighting for getting more of a say in conditioning, and where you want to rest your players.”
Many in the room were confused, especially one French scribe, who vigorously shook his head, later arguing European players were involved in almost twice as many games as their southern counterparts.
Growden continued: There was also some great fist-banging by Smal, when asked if Australia’s loss to New Zealand gave them hope of beating the Wallabies.
“Absolutely,” Smal said. “We’re not here to fill up numbers. We’re here to win the competition. There’s always weaknesses that you always try to isolate, and play sometimes to their strengths where they don’t expect it. Sometimes you play to their weaknesses as well.
“That’s why they’re called Test matches. It is because it is to test you as an individual, your character and you as the team.”
Ah, just another day down under for the bumbling Boks.