Cape Town – Former Western Province and Sharks flyhalf Tim Swiel believes there are enough talented black players in South African rugby to dispel the notion of ‘quota player’.
Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus has picked a record number (7) of black African players in his starting XV for Saturday’s Test against England in Johannesburg.
Erasmus’ mandate is to take a Springbok team to next year’s Rugby World Cup in Japan that is 50% black, a target that is achievable, Swiel feels.
Swiel currently plies his trade at English club Harlequins and spoke exclusively to Sport24 this week ahead of South Africa’s three-Test series against England.
“In terms of transformation targets, the beauty is that the national coach can now pick players entirely on merit,” Swiel said.
“The bottom line is that the South African rugby system now boasts top quality black players. I believe the black players in the team are there on merit and there are no quota players.”
Despite picking England as favourites for the series, Swiel added that he “has a good feeling” about Erasmus’ tenure.
“We have seen the good work Rassie did with Munster in 18 months and also what he achieved at the Stormers during his stint in the Cape. If he manages the players effectively as individuals, I believe the Springboks can do really well.
“As the Springboks have been such a powerhouse over the years, it’s actually sad to have seen their decline. I have taken some flak from my British team-mates and they have asked me why the Boks have slid to seventh in the World Rugby rankings. If SA Rugby can sort out the politics and get the player management right, I believe the Springboks can be a world force again.”
Saturday’s Test at Ellis Park is scheduled for 17:05.
Willie le Roux, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11
Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7
Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Franco Mostert, 4 RG
Snyman, 3 Trevor Nyakane/Wilco Louw, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Tendai
Substitutes: 16 Akker van der Merwe, 17 Steven Kitshoff,
18 Wilco Louw/Thomas du Toit, 19 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 20 Sikhumbuzo
Notshe, 21 Ivan van Zyl, 22 Elton Jantjies, 23 Warrick Gelant
Elliot Daly, 14 Jonny May, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Owen Farrell (captain),
11 Mike Brown, 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Tom
Curry, 6 Chris Robshaw, 5 Nick Isiekwe, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2
Jamie George, 1 Mako Vunipola
Substitutes: 16 Luke Cowan-Dickie,
17 Joe Marler, 18 Harry Williams, 19 Brad Shields, 20 Nathan Hughes, 21
Ben Spencer, 22 Piers Francis, 23 Denny Solomona