'Whatever Damian Willemse earns, he deserves'
Stormers coach John Dobson and Western Province Professional Rugby (Pty) Ltd board Chairman Ebrahim took exception to inaccurate media reports on player salaries, which impacted team morale.
As part of a wider media briefing – in which they also addressed issues around the Western Province Rugby Football Union finances and World Rugby Player of the Year Pieter-Steph du Toit’s future – the duo took to task media outlets that they believe overstepped their bounds.
Rasool said he was ‘not happy’ with the way in which some media had “crossed the ethical line” with their speculation on players’ salaries.
Like Dobson, Rasool was particularly incensed about the reporting around the salary of utility back Damian Willemse.
“There is a line that is crossed when you do that [speculate about salaries] and get it wrong,” the WPPR boss said.
“It has implications for the players and it has implications for the cohesion of the squad.”
Dobson suggested the media went down a “very dangerous road” with some of their reporting on the Willemse salary issue.
He said he felt they have done “very well” with retaining the players they did, but added that they are still about 15 percent below the salary cap – dismissing the notion that they had been ‘reckless’ in their recruiting.
“We can’t be throwing the money – that has been alluded to – at all these players [if we are that far below the salary cap],” the Stormers coach said.
Dobson added that what has been published on Willemse – the reported near ZAR5-million salary – has been “considerably way off”.
* (Article continues below video – Dobson speaks about the Willemse saga)
“His cost to WPRFU is considerably less than that.
“The total [of his salary] – including the PONI [SA Rugby] contribution doesn’t come anywhere near what has been reported.
“It is a very dangerous road to go down.”
He said Willemse is committed to the cause and sometimes trains too much.
“Whatever Damian Willemse earns, he deserves,” the coach said.
Dobson also revealed that while Willemse turned down an offer from “elsewhere” – reported to be the Bulls – it was also not the astronomical amount mentioned in some media reports.
“I am very happy with the squad we have retained and in no way or at any stage has it been together through reckless use of the chequebook.”
* Below is the full video of the extended media briefing. Warning in is over 40 minutes long!