Bok luggage pilfered Down Under

The Springboks’ Tri-Nations campaign in Australasia got off to a bumpy start when captain Bobby Skinstad and coach Jake White discovered, on landing in Sydney on Thursday, that they had become the victims of crime.

The Springbok team, who will face the Wallabies in Sydney on June 7 and New Zealand in Christchurch a week later in Tri-Nations encounters, found a hostile army of journalists awaiting them at the airport.

However, for the captain and coach of the Boks there was another unpleasant surprise Down Under, as they soon discovered that Skinstad was without his laptop computer, camera and cell phone, while White’s bag had been cut open.

It was not immediately known if he had lost anything.

“My bag was not cut, but I’ve lost several items,” Skinstad told the Johannesburg-based Beeld newspaper.

The storm over the South Africa’s choice to send a ‘B-Team’ down under for the Tri-Nations tour of Australasia had not yet died down and the Springboks were not completely prepared for the welcome they received.

Although no news conference was scheduled, media representatives were waiting for the Boks, who had no chance of slipping into the country unseen, as the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) had provided details of the team’s arrival.

After the long flight across eight time zones, White and Skinstad were unable to grab their luggage trolleys and escape the flashing cameras and unfriendly faces at the Kingston Smith Airport.

White was forced, again, to explain his decision to leave 20 of his leading players at home.

“I say again, this is our best team if you take into account exhaustion and injuries,” White replied when he was asked whether his selection had discredited the game.

“I am sure the players will acquit themselves well,” he told the media scrum, in reference to next week’s match at the Telstra Stadium. “I think it will still be an even battle.”

When asked whether the selection of the team was an insult to Australian rugby, Skinstad declined to comment.

Springbok Media Manager Vusi Kama brought the ‘interview’ to an end, which, according to at least one television news bulletin, was an act of White being ‘gagged’.

ARU CEO John O’Neill has threatened that he will consider claiming compensation from SA rugby should the union make a loss because of poor ticket sales.

 

365 Digital

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