Anorak News | Plastic Brits: Why does the Daily Mail love big blond South African Mouritz Botha?

Plastic Brits: Why does the Daily Mail love big blond South African Mouritz Botha?

by | 12th, March 2012

MOURITZ Botha (born in South Africa)was in the England team that beat France in Paris. So too was Manu Tuilagi – he was born in Somoa. Neither of them have been called Plastic Brits by the Daily Mail.

As the Mail says:

Manu Tuilagi set England on their way to a storming victory here yesterday that may confirm Stuart Lancaster in the head coach’s job. The 20-year-old centre scored a sensational long-range try in the 13th minute to ignite a performance that the interim coach claimed has ‘put the pride back’ in the nation’s rugby after the disastrous World Cup.

The Mail then turns to athletics:

Imports take GB to medal record

The Mail calls then Plastic Brits. Plastic being an insult, rather than testament to durability:

In addition to a women’s 4×400 metres team containing US-born Shana Cox winning gold, there was silver for the men’s 4x400m team and bronzes for pole vaulter Holly Bleasdale, long jumper Shara Proctor and Andrew Osagie in the 800m.

Five of the medals were won by athletes who transferred their allegiance to the British cause since 2008.

Martin Samuel write in his Mail column:

Hypocrites, xenophobes, plastic patriots, we’ve been called a few names this week for daring to question Great Britain’s competitors of convenience. UK Athletics says we’re banned. Although they didn’t say it directly to us, at first. They told the cheerleaders. Almost dropped their pom-poms, some of them.

Meanwhile, you may recall that the Daily Mail did not bring up the subject to Plastic Brits when talking to Mouritz Botha, the South African who qualifies on residency grounds.

Back in the Daily Mail officers doubtless red and white pom-pom were being dropped when the paper interviews Both in Febraury 2012:

Mouritz Botha calls it a ‘long road’. It has certainly been a convoluted one — his painstaking journey from Vryheid, Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa to the England team via part-time rugby and asbestos-stripping in Bedford. Not the most conventional background. When the 30-year-old Saracens lock came through the full 80 minutes of his adopted country’s 13-6 RBS Six Nations victory over Scotland at Murrayfield last Saturday, it marked another giant stride towards personal fulfilment.

He has had to take more strides than most. From rejection in his native South Africa for being too small, to redundancy and relegation in his first year living in this country, Botha is not one of those players whose elevation to Test status appeared pre-ordained from a young age.


Mouritz has not had a magic carpet ride to the top, he is a late developer and that means he appreciates his opportunity even more. He has earned it and he leaves nothing on the field.

In sport, consistency is the watchword. If only it were the same in journalism…

Posted: 12th, March 2012 | In: Key Posts, Sports Comment | TrackBack | Permalink