Thursday, October 6, 2011

Samoans, a disgrace to world rugby - by Greg Hurvitz

Note from blogger: this is a copy that has been removed from the following link
http://www.sportsleader.co.za/greghurvitz/2011/10/02/wildwild-west

""So we know that the Pacific Island’s rugby reputation is one of immense physicality with some decent skill in open and broken rugby. The physical side of their game is attributed to their large build.

Western Samoa have always revelled in levelling the physical playing field with the Springboks. In 1995 Joost van der Westhuizen and Andre Joubert were victims of the most heinous rugby transgressions — not much punishment was meted out in a time where on-field discipline was mostly left to the referee. In 2003 Derick Hougaard got absolutely pile-driven into the turf by Brian Lima, who built his relationship on all he offered to the game, bone-crunching (mostly illegal) body contact with opposition. But nothing like 2011 has been seen before.

The excuse of culture just does not sit with me this time around. What Western Samoa did on in New Zealand was inexcusable and a disgrace to rugby. It was abundantly clear from the outset that they had no intention of making this game a rugby skills contest but in fact they had one objective, to physically abuse as many players in white and green jerseys as possible. I wish there was a column in these useless after-match statistics for off-the-ball play. No doubt Western Samoa would have rated 100%, their only dominance in the game. Not because the Boks were physically inferior but purely because the professional world champions came to the field to stick to their plan — to play rugby. Play the ball not the man.

Western Samoa tarnished the Rugby World Cup on that day and the International Rugby Board (IRB) will be classed spineless by me, a stakeholder in the game, if they do not act against this rugby union for bringing the game into shameful disrepute. There is no place for such rugby teams in world rugby. No place for such poor role models. As the governing body the IRB should take a very firm stand against the Samoans. No more excuses of culture and this is the way they play the game. If this is the way Samoa have resolved to play the game, they should play it in their own backyard. The world-class professional outfits should not be subjected to matches where players get ruled out of the contest because of unprofessional physicality.

On the other side of the coin, the former “brutes” of world rugby, the Springboks, have displayed an impeccable disciplinary record for a very long time. The conduct of the Boks on the paddock with this so called Test rugby nation was sensational, sticking to their plan and their focus at all costs. I was happy to see Paul Williams get a red card but am horrified and disgusted that he has reportedly escaped any further punishment. I can assure you that if the situation was reversed, Heinrich Brussow would have been suspended for a few games. The IRB lacks consistency in this department and best get its house in order very smartly. They seem rather more focused on a Western Samoan’s Twitter outburst calling the ref a few names but off-the-play is tolerated as it is “how they play the game”.

I must emphasise my message to Western Samoa, you should travel back to your country of birth with your heads bowed in shame for your childish and disgraceful behaviour. To the Springboks, your professional reaction is acknowledged and long may it continue under future Bok leadership. To the IRB, wake up and smell the coffee. The disciplinary process is inconsistent and weak, get it right. You’re ruining the game I love and the team I support is far too often the victim of this.""