School quotas are out

2014-08-21 00:00

SOUTH African Rugby Union (Saru) president Oregan Hoskins has given the rugby fraternity some clarity on the future of quotas, especially at schoolboy level.

Speaking at the first of a series of transformation lectures at UKZN on Tuesday night, Hoskins said there “is no need to have quotas at school level”.

“Teams are more than representative after looking at recent youth rugby tournaments,” he said.

He did not comment on the pressures from South African Federation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) or government in terms of the number of black sports people in national teams.

He was more concerned about the number of players of colour playing in U19 and U21 provincial teams.

“That is that glass ceiling I refer to. Provinces must give opportunities to black players at those levels,” said Hoskins.

The Saru president said he had presented a plan to national Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula this week that has “buy-in from all 14 provincial rugby unions”.

Although Hoskins was mum on the document, which should be published soon, he did say it set out targets for unions to meet in terms of the players of colour selected in older age groups. That can be tied to the quota enforced in this year’s Vodacom Cup competition where unions picked seven players of colour in the match day 22 with at least two being forwards.

“The problem is there is an abundance of black players falling by the wayside,” he said.

However he emphasised these players should be picked solely on merit, but needed the opportunity in higher age-groups.

Hoskins could not say if unions would be reprimanded for not adhering to the guidelines set out in the document, but held the agreement with the unions in good faith.

He said the document had a three-year plan to guide transformation at unions so promising players of colour can push into senior set-ups after standing out in junior tournaments like the U13, Grant Khomo and Craven weeks.

He pointed to the Springbok senior side with the likes of Lwazi Mvovo, JP Pietersen and Tendai Mtawarira, while acknowledging the latter was born in Zimbabwe.

“These guys have made it there on merit and nobody can say they have not,” he said.

He hit home that promising young black players were just not featuring in provincial sides after school.

“The glass ceiling at senior levels exists must be broken,” he said.

However, he believes progress had been made, citing the selection of Tera Mtembu as the first black captain of the Sharks as proof if players were good enough, they can make it to the highest levels.

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