Cape Town – Jake White’s suggestion of picking a predominantly black Springbok team to face Wales is a “sharp idea”, but it would unfortunately mean a following a “racist policy”.
That is the view of former Springbok prop Ollie le Roux.
Le Roux was responding after White suggested via a column for the All Out Rugby website that Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus should pick a predominantly black team when the Boks open their 2018 season with a Test against Wales in Washington DC.
The Boks are then due to play England in a three-Test series starting a week later and due to the short turnaround, White believes Erasmus should select two different teams for the Wales clash and the first match against England.
“If I was the Bok coach, I’d look to pick a team against Wales that is made up of local players with a special emphasis on those that count towards the transformation targets,” White wrote.
“Siya Kolisi would potentially captain a side that featured Tendai Mtawarira, Chiliboy Ralepelle, Trevor Nyakane, Marvin Orie, Lood de Jager, Thembelani Bholi, Nizaam Carr, Embrose Papier, Damian Willemse, Raymond Rhule, Damian de Allende, Lionel Mapoe, Ruan Combrinck and Warrick Gelant.”
White added: “This team would serve the dual purpose of banking transformation credits to create selection breathing room for the England series, and would also give all of these players a chance to put their hand up on the international stage. Some people might see this as a throwaway selection but I would pick this team to win based on the fact that these players are good enough to battle the best of Australia and New Zealand almost every week during Super Rugby.”
Le Roux, who played 54 Tests for the Boks between 1994 and 2002, told Netwerk24 that he understood White’s plan, but said “that is a racist policy”.
“It is a very sharp idea when he says we should give more guys exposure. I understand what he wants to achieve, but there’s only one problem: the one team is white and the other team is black. What he’s actually saying is that the black team is weaker than the white one,” Le Roux said.
Le Roux added that a Test player should be picked on merit.
“And on merit we can pick a very good team, one that is representative.”
South Africa’s first Test against England is scheduled for June 9 at Ellis Park in Johannesburg, with Tests in Bloemfontein (Free State Stadium, June 16) and Cape Town (Newlands, June 23) to follow.