Cape Town - Former Test prop Ollie le Roux insists he is not a racist, but stands by comments he made about Springbok coach Allister Coetzee.
Le Roux, who played 54 Tests for the Springboks between 1994 and 2002, made headlines last week when he insisted Coetzee was not fit for the national coaching job.
In an interview with the Irish Independent, Le Roux hit out at Coetzee and said the Springboks should be coached by someone who had played for the team.
"What does Allister Coetzee know about Springboks? Nothing. He's got no right to even mention the word Springbok, because he's not a Springbok. He's got no right to even have an opinion about the Springboks,” Le Roux said in an interview with the Irish publication.
Le Roux’s comments irked many, especially given the fact that Coetzee was unable to represent the Springboks as a player during the apartheid era.
There are also several international coaches who achieved success without playing Test rugby themselves.
Examples include Rugby World Cup-winning coaches Bob Dwyer (Australia), Kitch Christie and Jake White (both South Africa) and Graham Henry and Steve Hansen (New Zealand).
“Le Roux told Netwerk24 that his comments about Coetzee was not personal and should also not be viewed as racist.
“I don’t see colour on the rugby field... he (Coetzee) is just not strong enough as head coach. It’s also not right that he’s being hung out to dry.”
According to Le Roux, coaches like Rassie Erasmus and Johan Ackermann would do a much better job with the Springboks.
He also stands by his point that the coach should have played Test rugby himself.
“I don’t care how many video games you have played or how many books you have read, I want someone who’s been there," Le Roux said.
Le Roux suggested that SA Rugby should invest in “high performance centres” to breed skilful rugby players from all racial groups - which will help with transformation.