Aussies demand inclusion of top Boks
25 Jun 2007
The ARU will look to overturn Saru’s decision to rest key players in the away leg of the Tri-Nations.
With the World Cup less than three months away, Springbok coach Jake White believes his top players need a rest after a demanding Super 14 season and five weeks of Test rugby. But Australian Rugby Union chairman Peter McGrath slammed the omission of these stars, and said Saru guaranteed this would not occur.
“We had previously sought, and received, an assurance that they would be sending their best available Test team,” said McGrath.
“We recognise that the rugby public has purchased tickets for this match in good faith and would feel betrayed by this decision by the South Africans. The ARU understands their outrage.”
The Aussie administration will now push for the the inclusion of the likes of Victor Matfield and Schalk Burger for next week’s Test in Sydney.
“We are seeking an urgent meeting of SANZAR to overturn this decision [the partnership body governing South African, New Zealand and Australian Rugby]. The agreement between us clearly calls for each nation to field its best team and with Saru’s decision this is clearly not the case.
“On behalf of the fans, those people who in good faith bought tickets to the Wallabies Test against South Africa in Sydney on 7 July, we will pursue this issue and seek to get the decision reversed.”
McGrath was unsympathetic to White’s reasons for leaving his best at home and believes they have no excuse given the set outline at the beginning of the season.
“It may be a Rugby World Cup year and the Springboks may have played five Tests in a row but we face the same situation. We all knew the Test schedule well in advance, we all knew about the Rugby World Cup,” he said.
Wallaby coach John Connolly was also disappointed with the Bok selections and although he lauded South Africa’s depth, he also highlighted the financial impact of omitting key players.
“Even though South Africa have great depth, it is an issue for rugby in terms of credibility,” Connolly told RugbyHeaven.
“People buy tickets on the basis they are going to see the best side. Leaving 20 or 30 players out of the Super 14, and major changes to Test teams, can create a problem.
“When you make two or three changes, I don’t have a problem with that. But when 10, 15, 20 players are left out, then it becomes an issue for the game. We saw what happened with the New Zealand teams in the Super 14 this year when they left players out. And the Kiwis have been doing this with their northern hemisphere tours for a while.”