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White must toe the line or axe will fall

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South African Rugby Union (SARU) president Oregan Hoskins has made it clear that they (SARU) will not tolerate a coach who doesn’t toe the line when it comes to team selection.

In what amounts to a threat to Bok coach Jake White over the Luke Watson saga, Hoskins said in a radio interview that the SARU leadership will not hesitate to change the coach if they are not happy with him.

This follows the acrimonious public spat between the SARU presidency – president Oregan Hoskins, deputy president Koos Basson and vice-president Mike Stofile – and the national selectors over the exclusion of Stormers captain Luke Watson from the national training squad.

Hoskins has strongly defended his decision to ride roughshod over the selection of the 46-man Springbok training squad at the weekend.

The selectors and the coach, White, have all expressed their unhappiness with the controversial manner in which Watson was added to the Bok training squad at the weekend.

However, in an interview with Darren Scott on East Coast Radio Hoskins made it clear that White will have to toe the line on Springbok selections and satisfy the SARU leadership – or the country could have a new coach for the World Cup in France in September.

Hoskins made it clear his organisation had been unhappy for more a year with the “spat” between Watson and White.

“The Luke Watson issue has been discussed by leadership on a number of occasions, and it is something that we have discussed with Jake White and the selectors over a period of more than a year,” said Hoskins.

“We indicated our concern at the relationship between the two of them, and felt it was unhealthy. It is not good for the sport when there is a spat between the player and the coach. We talk to Jake often, he comes to our board meetings to give updates, and we have indicated to him that we view it as a problem relationship.”

Asked if there could be further intervention if Watson does not make it to the whittled down squad of 30 players, Hoskins said that he hoped it would not be necessary.

“I don’t want to predict what will happen. I trust that rugby sanity and rugby sense will prevail, we must put rugby sense first.”

But Hoskins added: “If (the leadership) is not happy with the coach’s selections then we must change the coach. If the administration is not happy with situation, then it must have the coach that it prefers.”

This may suggest that SARU will force White to have Watson in his side or face the axe.

It is a very tough situation for White, who simply does not believe in the small traditional fetcher (openside) flank and prefers big, powerful loose forwards.

 

365 Digital

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