Jake White’s book presents the perfect case for holding the custodians of sport accountable for their (often dubious) curatorship.
It is obviously untenable that Hoskins could be let off the hook for his speech made to the Bok team (whilst handing out their jerseys), on the eve of their game against the world champions, in which he admitted to the Boks:
- he was a victim of Apartheid
- as such he had supported the All Blacks in matches against the Boks
Naturally, this presents a personal ethos incompatible with his position in SA Rugby management. It is the sort of thing on a CV that would disqualify an applicant. So why did he even apply?
In this scenario, how can anyone expect this sort of person bringing their personal background into play, to contribute positively or supportively to the South African side? He has clearly admitted to subverting sport, and as it turns out in White’s book, the idea seems to have been to subvert and score political points all along, as though the Springbok rugby teams were a newspaper, not a bunch of professional sportsmen, and they were being used to convey personal political messages back to the South African public.
Rugby loving South Africans were truly blessed to have someone who not only loves and knows the game, but also demonstrated a stubbornly loyalty to the sport because of this. He also did his best to transform the side, not artificially, but using the good players he could find. But management was impatient, irrational and apparently disconnected to the game. White had to resist political opportunists who constantly took the ANC and the president’s name in vain. Ironically enough, when White decided to see the president himself to find out what was happening,and what he needed to do, he was threatened by Hoskin’s et al that he would lose his job and his chance to go to the World Cup. Crazy!
This further demonstrates not only a personal agenda on the part of Hoskins’, but a double agenda. One agenda seemingly for the ‘disadvantaged’ (thus a political agenda) and the other, based on settling personal issues.
Interestingly, the Watson saga further demonstrates how easily political will could be forced over the Boks, despite Whites’ integrity and work ethic. The good news is that the sponsors, the media (hopefully) and the South Africa public, en mass, are now savvy as to how these political machinations are brought about. One hopes they will not miss a beat, and that both the press and public will not allow political interference, not allow the perpetrators of this interference, to get away it any longer. SARU management, you have been warned. This does beg the question: with their hands tied in terms of ostensible political point scoring, what exactly will the likes of Stofile and Hoskins do at SARU for kicks, as one assumes they were never there for the love of the game?
White Vs All Blacks
The great pity is that White did not get to see his dream realized, and it is a dream all rugby loving South Africans dream: to beat the All Blacks in New Zealand. Unfortunately, Jake White will never get his chance to do this, something he admits is his greatest regret. It’s also a cogent reminder why we ought never to not let SARU management forget who SA rugby really belongs to...