Riddle me this: Where to now, South Africa?

24 10 2007

Riddler?  One-eyed All Black fan!What now for the ‘Boks?

Well… the Springboks are newly crowned world champions. They are saluting this triumph as a result which will bring a nation torn apart by racism together. However, something sinister is brewing in the form of a proposal for a race based selection policy by the South African government: a proposal which will see a South African side consisting of at least 80% black players to reflect the black proportion of the South African citizens is well in the pipeline and could see the South African team reduced to a shell of a side they currently are. That is 18 of 22 players in the South African side which will be black and just 4 white players.Jake White, the current coach, has been most outspoken against this, with pressure being applied on him to include more black players throughout his current tenure. Despite the fact he is now a national hero after guiding the ‘Boks to the world cup, he won’t be re-SAappointed.
He has made it clear what he thinks of the SA government policy and as a coach he has told them players are picked on merit regardless of colour. Having won the world cup he has proven his point. Will his government listen?

To an outside observer what they are proposing here is pure lunacy. Why would you take an instrument of such hope and inspiration to a nation and rip it apart like they are proposing. The pride the Springboks bring to their nation, both black and white.

If they do go ahead with these plans what becomes of the Springboks? They need 18 players who are black to make up the composition of the Springbok side. They might be able to have a semi competitive backline but what about the forwards? They barely have any black forwards. Their scrum will go from being one of the best in the world to one of the worst.

What of the current Springbok players who are white. With only four spots up for grabs, I can’t see too many sticking around. Mass exoduses to the lucrative club rugby scene of Europe could follow. Some might even head the way of Australia and New Zealand. We all know Australia need a major boost in their forwards. They could find themselves with a glut of world class forwards wanting to play for Australia.

The ramifications for competitions like the Super 14 and Tri Nations will be felt. SA SpringboksThe ‘Boks, once a powerful force, will be a whipping boy for Australia and New Zealand, and the only games of relevance in the tri-nations will be the Bledisloe Cup encounters. And what of the Super 14 sides? Will the same 80% black law be enforced? This proposal by the South African government can only do harm and might do irreparable damage to South African rugby. Hopefully they will see the light and leave the Springboks alone. As an entity is has shown itself to be a source of great hope and a great ambassador of South Africa. To destroy it for the sake of political showboating would be disgraceful.

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Editor’s note (Don): seems a lil’ bit like a Riddler site at the mo’! Seriously tho’, a very salient point at the moment… My own thoughts on this and the state of rugby will be up at the end of the week… ]

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10 responses

24 10 2007
Aaron Becker

Taking PC a bit far. Hows this for an idea: PICK THE BEST PLAYERS!

24 10 2007
the riddler

Just like to mention before someone points it out that the number will be 10 coloured or black players in the Springboks in 2008. Whether this quota figure rises or not in the future needs to be ascertained

25 10 2007
kip

Actually all good points. I’m not sure about the whipping boys as watching the Currie Cup shows some very good black forwards but certainly less competititve.

No the real problem is the impact on the white youth. Bokruggafan intermittentlly posts on Yahoo helps run youth teams in SA and he is very disillusioned by events and the disillusionment of young players.

Maybe the WC win will help.

kip

25 10 2007
brumbygg9

Let me first qualify by stating that these are views of an observer from the outside only –
I think there has been a tendency for the old white boys network to dominate the game in SA. After they were first accepted back into the international rugby fold, rugby was probably the last bastion of apartheid. This has gradually changed over the years, although I believe that the SARFU continues to push the envelope with regards to proportional representation. Pick the best side available to play on a given day and you have done the right thing by your team. England now has a massive Asian population, but you do not see any Asian players (correct me if I am wrong) in the English team (nor in soccer), yet there is no outcry for proportional representation there. What England does have is a number of Asian cricketers. South Africa has a large number of colored or black players playing for the national soccer team because they are the best players available. Given time, colored and black rugby players will play for the Boks becasue they are the best players in their position, much as Bryan Habana is clearly the best winger in SA.
As for being the whipping boys of the tri-nations I think Australia is about to go through a period of adjustment and struggle as we lose some key persaonnel. I don’t think we will see Bill on our side of the Tasman for a while.

25 10 2007
siteab » Blog Archive » Riddle me this: Where to now, South Africa?

[…] the full story here Filed under: […]

26 10 2007
eric

There are really a lot of parallels here and the lack of black players in Major League Baseball; if they want more black players at the top level it would seem to me that’s something that starts with player development at the youth level… not something you can just fix with a quota.

26 10 2007
Aaron Becker

Less black players in MLB is part cultural now days, and partly due to baseball taking a back seat to football & basketball.

27 10 2007
Cal

Rhodesia Zimbabwe did the same thing with their cricket team… You have to admire them though for sticking to their policy despite being the whipping boys (or it might be because there are hardly any whites left there).

28 10 2007
josh

This idea is stupid! They should be picked on their standard of rugby they play! NOT the colour of their skin!

5 02 2008
Women\'s WC

Women\’s WC

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