Bok test farce

Keo, in his Business Day column, writes ticket prices should be slashed in half for the two matches against an England D team.

It is a disgrace that the two England matches in SA are being recognised as Tests. Even more scandalous is that the South African public will be charged top dollar to see the Springboks whip chumps who have been asked to tour in the guise of reigning world champs.

Springbok coach Jake White has stated he will play his strongest team to score psychological points ahead of September’s World Cup rematch with the best of the English. Anyone who believes this is an idiot. White, by saying it, asks for ridicule.

South Africa can gain nothing from the two-match farce against an England squad missing its 45 best options. White will benefit in that he can claim two Test wins against a traditional Test nation. It will statistically help him when he fights for an extension of his national contract.

But the Boks can’t benefit and neither can world rugby. If the Boks win by 70 points it will be meaningless.

If they win by less, England can claim a moral victory.

The Boks are the ones on a hiding to nothing — not those Poms who, as London Sunday Times rugby correspondent Stephen Jones wrote, will wear the English Test jersey for the first and last time.

Those Englishmen touring are “the dispensables”. It is what the international game has been reduced to, all in the name of misguided professionalism and the thirst for cash. Sponsors are cheating the public by selling this series as Test rugby. Even more despicable is that the International Rugby Football Board is cheating the sponsor by allowing the matches to be played as Tests.

The South African Rugby Union could make a statement to the rest of the world and show that in this country we refuse to tolerate such sporting fraud. Saru can refuse to recognise the game as an official Test and they can cut the ticket prices by 50%.

Saru has the most fantastic opportunity to take this negative and turn it into a major winner for those who still believe in the ethos of Test rugby. But you know as well as I do that they won’t do that because that would require innovation. It would mean Saru being viewed globally as a leader. Instead the South African custodians of Test rugby will remain limp followers.

The Test matches will go ahead, the fraudulent selling of Test rugby will be further encouraged and the game’s administration will be the ones laughing at the fools who pay full price to watch an A team play a D team.

Ask yourself if you are one of the fools who will be served a pie instead of caviar later this month and willingly pay caviar prices for your pie?

If you are, then don’t ever complain about the price of a Test match ticket in this country.

The public are the big losers, but only a minority will see it that way. Too many will pay the entrance fee to witness a mismatch they know SA will win.

The simplistic argument of “I don’t care who they pick, they are England” can only lead to heartache at the World Cup when a full-strength England team may just embarrass the Boks.

I can just hear the outpouring in Paris should this happen as all those simpletons who believed the lie of the May Tests ask how a team the Boks beat by 70 in May could beat the Boks in September. The same simpletons will then call the Boks chokers and pay another R120 for a beer in an Irish Pub in Paris.

What they won’t admit is the England the Boks play at the World Cup is not the England they will play in May. I say this with certainty because if these simpletons did, then Saru would have to give away tickets to get anyone to watch in Bloemfontein and Pretoria. No one would be buying into the farce. As it is ticket sales are doing very nicely, thank you. And Test rugby is supposedly alive and healthy.

Long live the clever administration which promotes this as Test rugby. Long live the idiots who pay to keep this administration operational by attending the matches. Long live Test rugby as we now know it because Test rugby as it should be — when the best play the best — is dead.