PRETORIA – Former Springbok wing Ashwin Willemse lost his cool and walked off the set of a live SuperSport TV broadcast on Saturday night after a verbal clash with Nick Mallett and Naas Botha.
It is unclear what angered Willemse, who was a fellow analyst for the Super Rugby match between the Lions and the Brumbies, to such an extent that he decided to leave the studio while on air.
In video clips posted on social media, Willemse mentioned that he was “not going to be patronised by two individuals who played in apartheid”, referring to Mallett and Botha, who were Springboks in the 1980s.
“You see, I think it’s important for me because you know, I’ve played this game for a long time, like all of us here,” Willemse said.
“And as a player, I was labelled a quota player for a long time. I worked hard to earn my own respect in this game.
“So, I’m not going to be patronised by two individuals who played in apartheid – a segregated era – and come and want to undermine…
“So, I think for me, I’ve had my fair share. I can’t work with people that undermine other people. And you can sit and you can laugh about it (I’m not laughing about it, says Mallett), but you know exactly what happened.
“And it’s fine, it’s fine. I don’t mind being ridiculous. I’m glad it happens on air so that people can see, (Ash) because you two sit here – no, it’s fine.”
when #AshwinWillemse ‘s name come up RESPECK it! Thats how you stand up for yourself! … it’s clear from the footage offensive remarks were made and instead of nodding his head and smiling Ashwin stood up for whats right. Give that guy his own show. Love him!
— Aisha Baker (@bakedonline) May 19, 2018
This is both fantastic and tragic because Mallet and Naas needed to be called out, but @Ashwinwillemse is precisely the kind of person we need in that studio – a black rugby man who can speak his mind because he isn't dependent on a Supersport salary. #ASHWINWILLEMSE pic.twitter.com/YhWFIlRZNW
— RSA Minister Of Sport 2034 (@Chulu_Mac) May 19, 2018