Rudolph Jacobs
Rugby Journalist
2 minute read
25 May 2018
8:59 am

Ashwin Willemse really needed to find another way

Rudolph Jacobs

No-one disputes that he might have a valid grievance but was the walkout necessary?

Ashwin Willemse during the 2017 Super Rugby Season launch at SuperSport Studios, Multichoice City on February 22, 2017 in Johannesburg. Picture: Gallo Images

The happenings of the past week proved once again how we as South Africans love to shoot ourselves in the foot.

It doesn’t require a brain surgeon to work out that this is in reference to former Springbok wing Ashwin Willemse’s walking off the set during a live broadcast of SuperSport last Saturday.

ALSO READ: Nick Mallett didn’t bail on Willemse meeting, SuperSport insists

It will take a little while before the dust settles on this controversial incident and everybody seems to have an opinion.

One simply can’t be objective about the issue, subjectivity is rather in order here.

But just imagine this kind of incident happening on New Zealand’s Breakdown rugby magazine programme, which is the equivalent of our First XV programme, where former All Black legends like wing Jeff Wilson or lock Ian Jones walk out on one another.

I can’t imagine they would be so unprofessional.

Not that I believe Willemse was the only guilty party in the whole incident, after all it takes two to tango and three to make a crowd, as the saying goes.

But I believe there are different avenues to express your frustration than to do it on live television.

Not only is it embarrassing for the individual involved but also for the employer and to the game of rugby in general.

With Willemse and his co-analysts Nick Mallett and Naas Botha all three former Boks, there has to be mutual respect and a code of honour which is a Bok ritual when first pulling on the jersey.

Now obviously there has been some kind of frustration building in Willemse for some time, but all employers have a grievance procedure which is designed to deal with issues such as these.

It should have been private domain and not become the talking point of almost every single South African.

And this comes at a time when new national coach Rassie Erasmus is doing his best to restore SA’s image in world rugby which has taken quite a few setbacks over the last few years.

The priority should remain to lift the national team from the sixth position they currently hold in the world rankings and not get involved in petty personal issues like we witnessed on live television last weekend.

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