Rugby Championship News

ARU bemoans Bok ‘betrayal’





The Australian Rugby Union (ARU) on Wednesday expressed in the strongest terms its disappointment at the decision of its South African counterparts (SA Rugby Union – SARU) to rest a number of its first string players ahead of the July 7 Tri-Nations Test match in Sydney.

The latest attack comes just hours before the three SANZAR countries (South Africa, New Zealand and Australia) were due to meet in a teleconference call to thrash out the decision by SA Rugby (the commercial arm of SARU) to rest 20-odd of their top players.

Despite the pending meeting, indications are that SA Rugby won’t back down from its original decision to send a weakened squad to Australasia.

The ARU, in a statement issued on Wednesday, slammed the decision and called it a “betrayal”.

However, the ARU also said it is fully confident the rugby community will be out in full force to farewell the Wallabies ahead of the Rugby World Cup and give retiring Test legends George Gregan and Stephen Larkham the Australian send-offs they so rightly deserve.

It will be Larkham’s 100th Test.

The ARU issued a letter on Tuesday to both the president of SARU (Oregan Hoskins) and chairman of SA Rugby (Jonathan Stones), expressing its “anger” and “sense of betrayal” over the announcement of the squad being sent to Australia.

“The ARU does consider this a betrayal, as we ensured our best possible squad was sent to compete against South Africa in Cape Town this month,” said ARU Chairman Peter McGrath.

The agreement among Tri-Nations Unions requires them all to make their best players available for the Tri-Nations Series.

“To send a less than top line squad is insulting, not only to the spirit of the Tri-Nations competition, but more importantly the Australian and South African rugby faithful, both here and abroad,” McGrath said.

“The SARU was more than happy to cash-in on the quality of the Wallabies squad we sent this month to South Africa.

“This has obviously not been reciprocated.”

The SARU has responded to the ARU letter, justifying its stance on the advice of a sports scientist who made the assessment that if the identified non-injured Springboks players were sent on tour, they might as well not bother going to the World Cup.

“While not for a second under-estimating the significance of the Rugby World Cup to any nation, the Tri-Nations has for 12 years now been considered one of the premier competitions in international rugby,” McGrath added.

The SARU has assured the ARU its touring team for the July 7 Test in Sydney will be a competitive one and that the chosen party represents a selection boasting a number of players with substantial international experience.

“One thing is for sure, we know the Australian Rugby public will not allow this to undermine the significance of the Wallabies’ last home appearance before the Rugby World Cup, nor the send-offs for two of the greats, George and Stephen,” Peter McGrath concluded.
365 Digital

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.