SuperSport rugby analyst and former Springbok wing Ashwin Willemse walked off set on live TV in protest against an alleged patronising attitude of fellow analysts Naas Botha and Nick Mallett.
Botha and Mallett are former Springboks, with Botha having captained the Springboks.
Sport24 reported that Willemse spoke of being labelled a “quota player” and refused to be “patrionised by two individuals who played in an apartheid / segregated era”.
Sport 24 further reported Willemse as saying he “can’t work with people who undermine other people” and that he was “glad it happened on live TV so that people can see”.
Ashwin Willemse (born 8 September 1981 in Caledon, Cape Province) is a retired South African rugby union player. He played at wing for the national team, the Springboks. He was one of the outstanding performers during the 2003 season.
His pace, speed and power contributed to him being selected for his test debut against Scotland and he did not look back. He was included in the South Africa 2003 Rugby World Cup squad and scored a spectacular solo try against Samoa.
Ashwin’s achievements of 2003 are confirmed by the fact that he scooped the top three awards at the annual SA Rugby function – Player of the Year, Most Promising Player of the Year and Players’ Player of the Year.
Willemse was badly injured for most of the 2004-2006 seasons. However, he was selected for the Springbok squad during the 2007 international season and Tri nations, and was selected for the 2007 Rugby World Cup squad.
He subsequently retired from international rugby stating “there are no controversial issues around my decision at all. I love the team, and the guys are exceptional. It was such a breath of fresh air being able to return to the Lions after some time overseas last year, and it has been so exciting. I have been able to play the best rugby of my career with the Lions, and I will miss each and every one of my teammates. The time, however, has come for me to move onto the next phase of my life”.
In 2012, he launched GreenSmile Foundation with former Springbok rugby player Breyton Paulse. It is dedicated to helping educate and create better opportunities for children from socio-economic hardships. On 7 September 2012, he had a son named Africa Blue-Skye with his life partner Michelle Tasic.