THIS week’s column concerns itself with South Africa, with some good news and not-so-good news.
The good news is that Country Firsts will be embarking on a tour to South Africa immediately after the NRL grand final. The side, picked from those playing in NSW Country, will take on an invitational selection on October 12 and the South African Rhinos a week later.
Both games will be in the Johannesburg/Pretoria area. Former NSW back rower David Barnhill will be coach.
“We went to the commission and said that we should be the team that tours the developing countries,” said CRL chief executive Terry Quinn.
“We went to Samoa last year and we applied for funding for this tour and got it. We don’t really know what we’re walking into, though.”
What the Country boys will be walking into is a disgraceful example of bigotry aimed at our game by the South African Olympic Committee.
The committee and the South African government refuses to recognise rugby league as a separate sport to rugby union. But one regional sports body did recently affiliate with the SARL.
This prompted a warning from the Olympic Council to all regional sports bodies not to affiliate with rugby league – despite the fact the council’s own bylaws stipulate they should recognise sports that the Commonwealth Games movement acknowledges, of which we are one.
The man who wrote the letter is one Tubby Reddy, who is apparently already a controversial figure in South African sport.
“The member currently recognised by SASCOC is the South African Rugby Union (SARU). As such, all applications relating to the sport are to be directed to the organisation’s National Sports Federation.
“Accordingly, members are to confirm that they have taken note of the provisions contained in SASCOC’s Articles of Association, will immediately rectify any purported violation.”
Far and Wide would like to think the RLIF could get involved in correcting this ridiculous situation – a publically funded body not recognising a distinction between sports that has existed since 1895.
ORIGIN I tonight is going live into Perth on GEM for the first time tonight, a big boost for the game in WA.
A recent roadshow coaching excursion into the Pilbara was also a massive success with local coaches staggered by the interest created among kids.
Well done WARL. Now they just need an NRL team!
Filed for: RUGBY LEAGUE WEEK