Ashwin Willemse walks off SuperSport set after clash with Nick Mallett, Naas Botha
Former Springbok wing Ashwin Willemse 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.”
Presenter Motshidisi Mohono said: “Well, that’s unfortunate, because the match was going so well, and so was our conversation.”
Willemse has not yet responded to requests for comment from IOL Sport.
SuperSport posted on Twitter: “SuperSport is aware of the on-air incident and is looking into the matter. SuperSport views this incident in a serious light - we will conduct a full investigation and interview all relevant individuals.”
* This story has been updated.@ashfakmohamed
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