JOHANNESBURG – Saturday night’s first Springbok squad announcement of 2018 will be discussed in the SuperSport studio by former Boks Victor Matfield and Breyton Paulse after the channel removed pundits Ashwin Willemse, Nick Mallett and Naas Botha.
Mallett, Botha and Willemse – whose bosses at SuperSport and MultiChoice said earlier in the week may be back in studio together this weekend – have been taken off air following Willemse's on-air walkout last Saturday.
Matfield, Paulse and presenter Xola Ntshinga will discuss Saturday’s Super Rugby action, which includes the local derby at Newlands between the Stormers and the Lions.
The 40-man Bok squad for the June Tests against Wales and England will be released at 7pm.
Last Saturday, Willemse walked off the SuperSport set during a live broadcast. The 2007 World Cup winner spoke of being labelled “a quota player” and “refused to be patronised by two individuals who played in the apartheid, segregated era”.
Willemse said he had been glad what happened occurred on live television so viewers could see he “can’t work with people who undermine other people”.
Willemse, Mallett and Botha, along with last Saturday’s studio presenter Motshidisi Mohono, producers and directors, met with their employers on Monday to invesigate the matter.
SuperSport chief executive Gideon Khobane said discussions were robust, yet couldn’t understand why Willemse, Mallett and Botha would be unable to work together again.
Khobane added the matter was not racially motivated.
“We have had discussions this week with all parties in an effort to resolve this matter amicably and expeditiously, (but) despite good progress initially, the matter has not been resolved,” SuperSport said in a statement.
“We have therefore decided to instruct an independent senior counsel, Advocate Vincent Maleka, to chair a review of the incident that occurred and to make recommendations to our management.
“Pending the outcome, the three presenters will not appear on air. None of them have been suspended and they will continue to be remunerated in terms of their contracts.”
Maleka has been asked to make his findings and recommendations by Monday, June 11.