Lone ‘independent’ voice vindicated

Dale Granger’s revelation in Wellington that Jake White was being forced to pick a certain number of African black players has been vindicated with White’s letter to his bosses telling them to front up on the transformation issue around selection.

When White explained Solly Tyibilika’s inclusion against the All Blacks as part of transformation, Granger recorded it and wrote the story that Tyibilika had been picked ahead of other opensiders because he was black. Granger had earlier written a sympathetic piece in defence of White because of the complexities in picking teams.

White and the Bok management made a poor attempt to back-track, alleging they had never said it. This was due to pressure from within the South African Rugby Union.

At the time White’s contract was scrutinised and discussed by SARU’s bosses on three fronts: results, transformation and media. The coach was told he was failing in all three areas.

Granger was made a victim on the tour with this website aware that Granger’s working colleague Peter Bills — the Independent Newspaper’s global rugby correspondent — even reporting Granger to his newspaper bosses in Ireland for supposed ‘irresponsible’ journalism.

Granger defended his piece and the accuracy of it. The word from Ireland was that he back off and give White some space last week.

White was given space, while news was spread within the team that Granger would be ordered home for showing a ‘lack of professional etiquette’ to the Boks. It was outrageous that Granger was not simply told to continue to call the tour as it evolved.

Now a week later White has confirmed he sent a letter to his bosses demanding them to inform the public about the transformation issue within the team and the restrictions White is under whenever he picks a Bok team. He effectively has confirmed Granger’s writing of a week earlier.

The letter was leaked to the SABC from within SARU. Keo.co.za knows who leaked the letter and the intention was to further put pressure on White ahead of the test match.

This is just another example of those within the organisation willing White to fail. At the President’s Council meeting a month ago, White’s proposal for a contract extension found favour with not one of the 14 provincial presidents. The word after that meeting was that they wanted the Bok coach out.

When the government’s portfolio committee attacked White in the media for an alleged lack of transformation, nowhere did SARU support the coach by way of a public statement.

The Bok coach was also denied the services of a team manager and given a communications manager he did not believe was competent to do the job. The media chaos around the tour is vindication of White’s worst fears.

The Bok coach has made many mistakes this year and is feeling the pressure of three successive defeats. But he is also feeling the pressure of not being backed within his organisation. He and Granger may not realise it but they have plenty in common on this tour. Both seem to be fighting the opposition as much as they are battling their own organisation.