Race row about to hit South Africa’s Springboks

A new headache has emerged for South Africa’s Springboks after five black players
contacted the South African Trade Union Cosatu in order to take up issues about
being sidelined and not selected.

Earlier this year at the start of the season the South African Rugby Union launched the Strategic Transformation
Plan (STP) which aims to have non-whites making up half of all domestic and
national teams by 2019.

As part of the STP at least two of the seven non-whites in the 2015 squads
must be black Africans, the South African Rugby Union (SARU) said, distinguishing
them from players of mixed race who have long played a role in Springbok teams.

The Springboks came last in the Rugby Championship and have suffered four straight
defeats and used mainly white players which does not fall in line with the Transformation

In the current team Zimbabwe-born black African prop Tendai ‘The Beast’ Mtawarira
has been a long-serving first choice player and 2007 World Rugby Player of the
Year Bryan Habana is a mixed race player. Winger Cornal Hendriks is a mixed race player
but he was replaced by centre Jesse Kriel on the wing for the Argentina match.

On the replacements bench for Argentina the Trevor Nyakane, Siya Kolisi and
Lwazi Mvovo were the only non white players which brings the total to five non
white players in the current team instead of the required seven.

Up and coming flank Teboho ‘Oupa’ Mohoje has made a number of appearances for
South Africa but is regularly replaced by first choices Willem Alberts and Francois

Western Cape Cosatu chairperson Motlatsi Tsubane said that two white Springbok
players had also “put their weight behind the matter” as they felt
not enough was being done to transform the team.

“Unfortunately for obvious reasons we are not in a position to give names
because, at the end of the day, we still have to sit down and engage with them
so they can give a clear overview of what is happening,” Tsubane told
News 24.

Tsubane said that the Springbok players who had approached the Union were afraid
to speak out fear of being victimised.

“In the days to come, we are going to set up a meeting with them.”

Cosatu provincial secretary Tony Ehrenreich has insisted that a more racially
representative team is selected for the Test against Argentina in Buenos Aires
on Saturday.

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