“On ne change pas une équipe qui gagne” goes the French proverb. One doesn’t change a winning team, or, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Mourad Boudjellal’s Toulon rugby team was broken and he’s fixing it.
As owner of the club and the man who pays the wages, he took a public swipe at Julian Savea; a player Boudjellal reportedly pays $1.65 million a year to score tries – which he hasn’t been doing – and a player paid to go on a month-long holiday in the middle of the season to go to Fiji for his brother’s wedding.
The owner gave Savea a public rollicking with all the French flair he could muster. It was as much about a rebuke of Julian for two of the most expensive tries ever scored as it was an apology to the Toulon fans who pay big Euros to watch Julian not score tries and their team lose each week.
Since when have New Zealand rugby players been immune to analysis and criticism? Oh, that’s right, since a fawning NZ rugby media began trading in only positives about our game and its players at the risk of being ostrascised by the gifted demagogues who run the game here.
The players earn their hugely inflated salaries on the international stage and are therefore open to plaudits and barbs from every direction - especially from the people who employ and pay them. It’s the way it should be.
The media are calling it “a public feud”. Sorry? More accurately, it is a man running a business being tested by a bung investment and using some florid language to express himself.
I Goldsmith, Bureta.