Durban - Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer has responded to the unrest engulfing Springbok rugby this week after five black players reportedly approached trade union Cosatu to voice concerns over the lack of transformation in the side.
Meyer was in Durban on Wednesday announcing his team for this Saturday’s trip to Argentina, but it wasn’t long before he was asked to comment on the Cosatu claims.
“A lot of the players came out and supported us. You’re always going to get players that are unhappy if they don’t play,” Meyer said.
“A guy like Steven Kitshoff really wants to play. He deserves the chance and he hasn’t had a chance. A guy Jan Serfontein was our starting centre and nobody writes about that.
“I don’t look at colour, I look at the best players. I’m totally committed to transformation and I have a great relationship with my players.”
Meyer added that certain players within the squad had backed him since the Cosatu claims first emerged on Monday.
“A lot of them came to me and said ‘coach, it’s not true what’s in the papers ... we stand by you, we know exactly where we stand.’ I’m there for them,” said Meyer.
“We’re all South Africans and we’re all there as a team to do the best for our country. We have to back each other in this country as players.”
Meyer started the press briefing on Wednesday with a brief prepared statement after what has been a tough few days for him.
“They say that sport or rugby builds character. It doesn’t build character, it reveals character. When I took the job I said it’s not about me, this job is bigger than the individual,” he said.
“The most important thing for me is to keep my integrity. I know there is a lot of criticism. I don’t have any excuses and I know where the public comes from. There is a lot of negativity and I understand that, but like I said from the start ... I’m going to keep my integrity and that’s more important to me than just winning.”