VIDEO: Jake White responds to 'stupid' sour grapes comments
Bulls Director of Rugby Jake White reacted with incredulity and pique to suggestions it was ‘sour grapes’ that resulted in a citing of Stormers loose forward Willie Engelbrecht.
The citing came after the Stormers’ 37-27 Round 10 United Rugby Championship win over the Bulls in Cape Town last Friday.
The Stormers’ flank, Engelbrecht, was cleared to play after the citing attempt failed.
According to a statement by the Stormers Engelbrecht was cited by the Bulls for dangerous play.
The incident, early in the match, was when Engelbrecht cleared out Bulls flank Marco Van Staden.
The Bulls felt there was head contact in the clear-out – hence the citing.
Stormers coach John Dobson, in a statement issued on Thursday, said that a citing of this nature is quite disappointing.
“It is unfortunate to have spurious citings for incidents like this and I fear we may be on a slippery slope if this is the sort of thing teams are citing for,” Dobson’s statement read.
“We are happy that the panel dismissed this so that we maintain our good record in disciplinary hearings of this nature,” he added.
However, the acidic observation did not go down well with the Bulls’ boss, White.
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“I have just sent John Dobson a couple of messages as well,” White told @rugby365com, when asked about the suggestion that the citing was ‘spurious ‘.
White suggested that the citing was initiated by the URC Citing Commissioner, who asks teams if they would like to cite any incidents.
Teams then provide him (the citing commissioner) with the time that incidents took place in the game.
“He [Citing Commissioner] decides whether he feels there is justification,” a visibly annoyed White said.
“In this case [Engelbrecht’s tackle] this case he passed it on to the Judicial Officer, who decided with his committee it was illegal and was dangerous, but wasn’t a red card threshold.”
White told @rugby365com that he wants to put it “on the record” it has got nothing to do with being spurious or sour grapes.
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“The reality is, it was a head clash on a player in an environment where we are having so much concern on concussions etcetera.
“And if the citing guy passes it on and the committee decides that it is illegal and it is dangerous, then I want to know from you guys [the media] why wasn’t it blown, why wasn’t it penalised?
“And it was in the first minute of the game – with two TMOs and a referee.
“That is the crux of the matter for me.”
White said it is “irrelevant” whether or not people are chucking things out in public suggesting it is sour grapes by him.
“I want to know how a guy gets cleaned out on the head in the first minute of a game with two TMOs and a referee wasn’t penalised.
“We are being so conscious about head injuries and the guy that has hit on the head was out for one year with a serious, serious head injury and nearly had to give up rugby.
“It’s much more serious than some stupid comment that some guy makes about sour grapes.”
He was adamant it was not sour grapes and failed to understand why an ‘illegal’ and ‘dangerous’ clean-out was not penalised by match officials.
He also took a swipe at his Stormers counterpart, Dobson – a former owner of @rugby365com.
“I don’t want to read in articles where coaches that used to own certain websites [rugby365] can have freedom of saying whatever they feel like they can say.
“My job is to look after a player.
“If he gets cleaned out on the head and it’s illegal and it’s dangerous, then surely you have the right to cite.”
Dobson acknowledged that he had received messages from White on Friday, but declined to elaborate.