Jake: Solly’s better than Luke

Luke Watson is not good enough to play for the Springboks, according to coach Jake White.

Speaking to Pretoria News rugby writer Brenden Nel, White explained why he had not picked SA’s form openside flanker in the Vodacom Super 14 and Absa Currie Cup.

“I’ve known Luke as a youngster and I’ve watched him play,” said White. “I’ve watched him play, but I don’t think at this stage that he is better than what we have in the team. He has done well for Western Province this year, he is a leader and we are continuing to watch him. At this point in time, we think we have better and the guys we have in the system at this point in time have shown they can do the job.”

A massive controversy errupted on the overseas leg of the Vodacom Tri-Nations, when White was quoted by several media agencies as saying that he could not pick Watson because of transformation reasons.

“You can quote me correctly this time because I was misquoted there at the time by a journalist,” said White. “We had a team selection and people there ask me why he [Tyibilika] didn’t play much rugby. I can’t control that because I have to be sensitive to the national setup.

“Solly had played five Tests and scored three tries. He had been part of my team for three years. I was then asked why I don’t bring someone else in and I said to bring someone else in [Watson] above Solly, what message am I sending? We all have demands about transformation and we have to be sensitive to that.

“It was then compared to Butch [James] playing above Meyer [Bosman] when he arrived, but that was different. I wasn’t being sensitive to Meyer, but being sensitive to the fact that in our country it would be seen as a much bigger slap in Solly’s face than it would be to Meyer [because Tyibilika's black]. That’s the reality of the country we live in.”

Keo.co.za compared the reporting of Jake’s quotes in New Zealand regarding Tyibilika to what he has just said now and it amounts to the same thing. What he is saying here is if Tyibilika was white he would have had no problem bringing in another white player ahead of him in New Zealand, but if Bosman was black he would not have flown over Butch James and picked him ahead of Bosman.

That is what Argus rugby writer Dale Granger reported a month ago — that Solly Tyibilika is playing because he is black. White has just said that again and there can be no misrepresentation of his quote because he has emphasised the point by saying it would have been a bigger slap in the face of a black guy than a white guy.

Another example of Jake trying to talk himself out of the dwang but just stepping deeper into it.