GAVIN RICH: Boks don’t have a doping culture, but schools do

GAVIN RICH: Boks don’t have a doping culture, but schools do 🔒

17.11.2019

GAVIN RICH: Boks don’t have a doping culture, but schools do 🔒

That the Irish media intended to focus on SA rugby’s supposed steroids problem was obvious from the first week of the World Cup tournament

Aphiwe Dyantyi. Picture: GERHARD DURAAN/ BACKPAGEPIX

The Boks were expecting the scrutiny to intensify on that, and other extraneous (in strictly rugby terms) issues such as the cloud hanging at the time over Eben Etzebeth, once the knockouts arrived. For there was an expectation that a quarterfinal meeting with Ireland was in their future.

When the Irish media followed up the opening week’s questioning by pitching in some numbers at a media conference in Nagoya the next week, a place far away from where Ireland were playing their next game, it did suggest the fears of a concerted Irish media effort to deflect the Boks were well founded.

So history will reflect that the Bok-Ireland quarterfinal that the Irish were building up to for two years never happened, and with the exception of Francis, the rest of the Irish acknowledged the Boks’ World Cup win, and some of them welcomed it.

There was a Bok player, Aphiwe Dyantyi, who tested positive in the build-up to the World Cup. But, as Bok assistant coach Matt Proudfoot pointed out in that first week’s questioning, wasn’t the fact that Dyantyi was tested positive and left out of the squad proof enough that SA rugby, at professional level, does take the drug problem seriously?

What needs to be addressed is what gives rise to this problem, which is the increasing over-professionalisation of the country’s school rugby, and the pressure that is brought to bear by parents and coaches on schoolboys to win and succeed at all costs.

There are many parents pushing kids towards a mirage, and schools who build their reputations about the success of their rugby teams aren’t helping the situation.

Read more: Business Day

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