Cape Town - Former Springbok scrumhalf Joost van der Westhuizen has predicted a bleak future for Springbok rugby.
A tweet sent out on Friday by Van der Westhuizen appeared to warn those in charge of SA Rugby that they are damaging the Springbok brand.
Van der Westhuizen, who is suffering from the terminal Motor Neuron Disease, appears to be upset at the off-field issues around the Springbok team in recent times.
Van der Westhuizen tweeted:
Remember this tweet. The big sponsors pulled out. The Coach resigned. They know what's coming. #thebeginningoftheend of Springbok rugby.— Joostvdwesthuizen (@9Joost) December 4, 2015
What exactly Van der Westhuizen is upset about is not known, but it's not too hard to speculate.
The Springboks endured a torrid 2015 season, losing all three of their Rugby Championship matches, including a first ever loss to Argentina.
They also suffered an embarrassing defeat to Japan at the Rugby World Cup, before progressing to the semi-finals where the All Blacks ended their title chances.
The Boks suffered a further blow last month when two key sponsors - Absa and BMW - ended their allegiances with the team, while coach Heyneke Meyer last week indicated that he will not re-apply for his position when his contract expires at the end of the year.
Following Meyer’s resignation, SARU held a press conference at its headquarters in Plattekloof on Friday where president Oregan Hoskins addressed journalists.
There Hoskins made it clear that whoever comes in as new coach will have transformation as his most important task, with SARU aiming for the Springbok team to be made up of 50% black players by 2019.
"Whoever wants to apply for the job needs to know that transformation is going to be on top of his agenda, or else he shouldn’t apply," Hoskins emphasised.
"We as an organisation are going to have to be much, much harder than we’ve ever been. We don’t have another opportunity. We’ve signed an agreement with the sports governing body in the country (SASCOC) and the ministry and we believe in it. So as a sport we need to go forward with that in mind."
While for the moment there will be no specific quota system in place, there will be severe pressure on the next coach to select more black players.
The 44-year-old Van der Westhuizen played 89 Tests for the Springboks between 1993 and 2003.
He scored a then-Springbok record 38 tries and is widely regarded as one of the game’s finest-ever scrumhalves.