Kiwi scribe: Transformation will weaken Springboks

Siya Kolisi (Photo supplied by SA Rugby)
Siya Kolisi (Photo supplied by SA Rugby)

Cape Town - The Springboks side will weaken when they implement quotas at next year's Rugby World Cup in Japan. 

That is the view of New Zealand-based columnist Mark Reason, writing on the Stuff.co.nz website.

In his column, Reason points to the fact that the Boks' team by 2019, as per the Strategic Objective in SA Rugby's Transformation Plan, is to increase black participation to 50% of the match-day 23-man squad.

That amounts to 11 - or 12 - players of colour in any line-up announced by coach Rassie Erasmus at next year's tournament.

To date this year, the Boks have fallen short of that target with 11 (for the very first Test against Wales in Washington DC being the highest and 8 for the Boks' thrilling win over the All Blacks in Wellington being the lowest).

Erasmus is on record as as stating that transformation is one of his key performance areas as national coach. 

According to Reason's reasoning, Erasmus will not be able to reach his transformation targets without weakening his side. 

He points to Malcolm Marx, Duane Vermeulen, Faf de Klerk, Handre Pollard and Willie le Roux - all white players - as the spine of the team.

Having to pick those five players, Reason says, would make achieving the transformation targets all the more difficult. 

"There is no way he can do that, without significantly weakening the South African team, based on player form and performance this season," Reason wrote.

"So you might as well tell Jesse Kriel, Pieter-Steph du Toit and Steven Kitshoff that they will be scarcely needed in Japan. Kriel was identified by Brendan Venter as South Africa's best defender and the other two had huge games against New Zealand. No matter."

Meanwhile, Reason added that Bok captain Siya Kolisi could become one of the most important figures in South African rugby history. 

"Imagine what it would do for black rugby in the country if the Springboks won the World Cup under the leadership of Siya Kolisi. It would be a transformative moment akin to Nelson Mandela wearing the Springboks shirt in an attempt to found the Rainbow Nation," he wrote, adding that at present he still viewed rugby in South Africa as a sport dominated by whites. 

"Even now I don't see that unity when I look into a South African rugby crowd. When Kolisi looks into the crowd he says he sees people of all races and classes. Maybe, but it's nowhere near proportionally representative. It still looks like a white man's game. Maybe they should bring in quotas for the crowds." 

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