‘Newlands history wiped away’

Former Bok coach Jake White says South African rugby needs to show a greater appreciation for traditional values.

In his column for AllOutRugby, White reflects on Argentina’s third-place finish at the 2007 World Cup, and how far they have come at national and regional level since then.

‘In 2007, pundits would have expected an invitational team from Argentina to get murdered by SA’s top provincial sides. Now, they’re beating our “regional” teams,’ he wrote.

White added that he had spent some time in Argentina and seen how they held on to their rugby traditions and values.

‘In South Africa, some of the greatest players leave out the back door. Os du Randt retires and, after a short stint as the Boks scrum coach, he’s gone. Percy Montgomery was the kicking coach, and the next week he’s gone.

‘And it would be remiss of me, as a guy talking about rugby tradition, not to mention that we’re quietly going to close Newlands, one of the game’s most iconic venues, without so much as a send-off. The second oldest rugby ground in the world may have hosted its last Test and its last Super Rugby match without so much as a goodbye. We’re just going to wipe that history away without a thought.

‘One of the things I’ve never enjoyed about South African rugby is that we don’t know how to finish things in an orderly way. In New Zealand, they temporarily rename a stadium for Wyatt Crockett; our veterans almost never retire with a swansong. You can’t always get it right, but we don’t even try.

‘They understand that thinking in Argentina. Maybe that’s part of the reason the Jaguares are nine points clear of the Stormers with a game in hand.’

Full column

Photo: David Rogers/Getty Images