Protecting his turf: Waratahs mascot Tah Man. Photo: Supplied
Waratahs mascot Tah Man has weighed into the controversy over Brumby Jack's presence at the Super Rugby semi-final, declaring Allianz Stadium a showpony-free zone this weekend.
As the Brumbies and Waratahs tried desperately to defuse the furore surrounding Brumby Jack's sideline "ban", the high-strung NSW mascot could not help fanning the fire. "I love animals and horses but I'm not a fan of showponies," Tah Man told Fairfax Media.
Meanwhile, it emerged on Wednesday that the Brumbies themselves had been guilty of going to great lengths to protect their home-ground advantage. A spokesman confirmed Tah Man was denied access to Canberra Stadium in 2011, which worked against them when giant NSW second-rower Sitaleki Timani crossed for the match-winning try in the 80th minute.
Outcast: Brumby Jack has been relegated to the stands with the supporters this weekend. Photo: Jay Cronan
That fact alone should quell a potential Brumbies supporters' revolt on Saturday. But if not, Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie provided another reason to dismiss the controversy as horseplay. McKenzie confirmed the Waratahs had denied sideline access to Brumby Jack before, in a regular season match during his reign.
"This debate's actually happened before, so I'm familiar with it," McKenzie said. "Brumby Jack was consigned to the grandstand then, so there's some consistency. He'll do his best from the grandstand. That's what happens when you travel, you don't get all the mod-cons."