Super Rugby

Lions give Coetzee quota headache

Allister Coetzee (Gallo)
Allister Coetzee (Gallo)

Cape Town - The Lions may be the pride of South Africa right now having booked their spot in Saturday's Super Rugby final, but their success may pose a tricky selection headache for Springbok coach Allister Coetzee. 

The Lions, under coach Johan Ackermann, have been the standout South African franchise in this year's competition and proved it once more when they dismantled the defending champion Highlanders in Saturday's semi-final. 

As a result, large sections of the South African rugby community have been vocal on their desire to see Coetzee select more Lions players for the upcoming Rugby Championship. 

Elton Jantjies, Warren Whiteley, Lionel Mapoe, Faf de Klerk, Ruan Combrinck, Jaco Kriel, Franco Mostert and Julian Redelinghuys were a part of Coetzee's squad for the series against Ireland, but performances from the likes of Rohan Janse van Rensburg, Malcolm Marx and Courtnall Skosan have not gone unnoticed. 

But it becomes a bit tricky for Coetzee when one considers the transformation targets he has been given. 

By the 2019 Rugby World Cup half (50%) of the Springbok squad will need to be made up of players of colour. 

That is the non-negotiable rule laid down by government, and when one casts an eye over the Lions team at the moment they do not look like a bunch that will help Coetzee achieve those goals. 

There were just THREE players of colour in the Lions' starting line-up against the Highlanders - Jantjies, Skosan and Mapoe - while there was just ONE player of colour on the bench in the form of Howard Mnisi. 

That's a total of four out of 23 - or just over 17%.

It did not go unnoticed on social media. 

The Lions travel to Wellington for the final against the Hurricanes on Saturday. Kick-off is at 09:35 SA time.

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