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Banning overseas selections key to transformation

Allister Coetzee might not be the right fit for the Boks. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)
Roar Guru
14th April, 2016
63
1628 Reads

With new Springboks coach, Allister Coetzee, coming into the fold, the mandate for South African team selection has been made clear to all and sundry; the national rugby team must be 50 per cent transformed by the 2019 World Cup.

It will be unfortunate for some players, it will be completely unfair for others, but, disregarding the social conundrum it creates, the mandate to have the Springboks squad consist of 50 per cent non-white players has been agreed upon for the betterment of the country, and there is no better man to do it than Coetzee.

He has been around the South African set-up for a long time and has ushered in a large number of non-white players through the Stormers. However, selecting the Stormers is one thing. Traversing the political pitfalls of national selection is another entirely.

To this end, Coetzee could be helped by changing the boundaries of selection and following New Zealand’s example by only selecting locally-based players.

On the surface, Heyneke Meyer seemed to embrace transformation, however, his policy of selecting ageing or displaced white players from overseas flew in the face of the overall goal.

When you think of players like Fourie Du Preez or Morne Steyn, Duane Vermeulen or Schalk Brits, you think of wonderful servants of the game and exceptional players that helped South Africa to no end. However, they may also be the last generation of South African players that were able to have their cake and eat it too.

Growing up, their generation benefited from selection policies based on the effects of segregation, and they were also able to take advantage of the overseas markets to line their pockets while still being able to represent South Africa. There is a large amount of white South African players plying their trade overseas, but not such a large group of non-white players.

This is where the transformation policy can flourish. If the South African Rugby Union were to stop this selection policy, they could allow the new generation of non-white players to come through and replace the old guard.

So, here is a transformed Rugby Championship Squad of 26 players who would be quite competitive. Unfortunately, there are players like Patrick Lambie missing, but gone is the dead wood from Meyer’s reign.

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Transformed 2016 South African Squad
15. W LeRoux
14. W Gellant
13. J Kriel
12. D DeAllende
11. S Petersen
10. H Pollard
9. R Paige
8. W Whitely
7. N Carr
6. M Coetzee
5. L De Jager
4. E Eztebeth
3. T Mtawarira
2. A Strauss
1. T Nyakane

16. V Koch
17. S Ntubeni
18. C Oosthuizen
19. P Steph-Du Toit
20. S Koilisi
21. C Reinach
22. E Jantjes
23. L Mapoe

24. A Van Der Merwe
25. O Mohoje
26. C Hendricks