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Five black Springbok players have approached Cosatu to take up issues such as being sidelined in matches, the trade federation said on Monday.


Jenna Etheridge, News24

Western Cape Cosatu chairperson Motlatsi Tsubane said two white Springboks had also “put their weight behind the matter” and felt not enough had been 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 said.

He said the players were afraid to speak out for fear of being victimised.

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

The Springboks lost 37-25 to Argentina in their final Rugby Championship Test in Durban on Saturday.

Cosatu provincial secretary Tony Ehrenreich insisted that a more racially representative team be chosen for the next Test against Argentina in Buenos Aires on Saturday.

Here are the list of players of colour who played in 2015 tests:
(Name, Tests, Minutes)
Beast Mtawarira 3 – 182
Trevor Nyakane 2 – 36
Oupa Mohoje 1 – 10
Siya Kolisi 1 – 18
Bryan Habana 3 – 240
Lwazi Mvovo 2 – 29
Damin de Allende 3 – 240
JP Pietersen 1 – 80 (injured)
Cornal Hendricks 1 – 80
Lionel Mapoe 1 – 2 –

Cosatu’s press statement reads as followed:

The lack of black players in SA rugby teams have reached a crisis, with the latest choices of the team that lost to the Argentinians over the weekend. The team only had 2 black South African players in the starting line up. No other team could possibly perform worse than this team and we insist that a more representative team be picked for the next game against Argentinia. The performance next week of the mixed team should then lay to rest once and for all the obvious advantages of picking mixed teams. When we have clearly seen that the most mixed team [Stormers] had performed the best of all the SA teams in the Super 15 competition.

The coach played many of the white players out of their positions as he put them into specialist positions, where clearly there were black players available. When he does bring in a few black players, the quality of play changed; but too little too late. This adds insult to injury as the coach ignores the form players of the year as well as the form teams of the year in favour of his personal preferences. This Coach does not have the National interest at heart and demonstrates a sense of arrogance in disregarding the interest of the majority of South Africans, by treating SA rugby as his private fiefdom.

This coach has been the worst performing coach of all time over this tournament and yet not a word is spoken about this. When Coach De Villiers led the team the white establishment was quick to criticise him, yet there is a deafening silence now. There is a white cabal who still tries to control the Rugby team and who gets to play in it. They must be told in no uncertain terms that this Springbok team belongs to all South Africans and should reflect all South Africans.

There is a practice of reverse affirmative action in Rugby, where certain positions are still maintained for the white players. This maintenance and control of the white establishment is reflected in who gets the most lucrative contracts and who gets to continue on in the sport in leadership and administrative positions. Black Players have come to Cosatu to take up these issues for them, as they are often victimised when they raise it with the Rugby association. The Rugby establishment defends the privileged position of white players and the Captain Jean De Villiers is an example of this. Any other player anywhere else in the world would have to play himself back into the team after such a long absence, yet he gets to just walk back into the team, when he is clearly not the form player.

Cosatu calls on the Minister and the leadership of Rugby to stop pandering to this racist white interest represented and led by the Coach. We want the Coach removed and a more representative team selected that represents all the people of South Africa.  We need to get the nation behind the team and we certainly have a difficulty supporting a white team, when there are so many black players who are the form players in so many positions, excluded.  

This Rugby World Cup, Cosatu and the democratic sporting fraternity will take a stand against white control, domination and manipulation of the Rugby squad. We will make the issue about the exclusion of black players an International campaign to expose how certain sectors of South Africa refuses to transform, in line with the National ambition.  

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46 COMMENTS

  1. @BC:

    Shit flying on News24 comments. Apart from the usual dimwitted racist remarks, there are a great many supporters for the moaners who would also like to lynch Heyneke.

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  2. Only in South Africa!

    There are a fair few white players that should also feel aggrieved about not get starts, bench spots or any game time.

    Only two players of colour in the squad have not got a game… far more white players carrying tackle bags… and this was an abbreviated 4N with two of the 3 against the best two teams in the world!

    This is exactly why there should have been a few Bok ‘A’ side and Emerging Bok games this year (and every year) a-la NZ…

    This is either a beat-up by politicians, a few selfish/disillusioned players (perhaps outside the squad even)… or more than likely greedy agents pushing their own agenda’s…

    There goes any chance of a ‘united’ team…

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  3. @bryce_in_oz:

    Five token minutes at the end of a game only to be dropped for the next one is not really “getting game time”.

    For instance, Elton Jantjies was probably the form flyhalf of all the SA sides during super rugby and he did not even get some splinters on the bench. All the while Heyneke persists with his 9 / 10 combination although we have lost all our tests so far this season.

    Lionel Mapoe was one of the better 13’s for the SA sides, and yet he does not even get a proper opportunity of the bench, just a token few minutes only to be dropped for the next test.

    Guys like Ntubeni and Kolisis could be adding huge value to WP at the moment, and yet they are kept as token players of colour in the extended squad with Heyneke never in a million years planning on giving them a proper go.

    Along with guys like Lambie and Schalk Brits,I can just imagine the frustration levels in the extended squad. Carrying tackle bags for close on a month now with no chance of ever playing must be spirit crushing to the extreme.

    Rememebr at the start of the season Heyneke said that he wants to give everyone in the extended group some playing time, that did not last long.

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  4. @Craven:

    If you think a player like Kolisi was being kept there as a ‘token’ player you’re bullshitting yourself mate… you are also bullshitting yourself if you think there is zero ‘tokenism’ in RSA sport. One injury in training camp away from home the day before the test and they would have been up to the plate… hence you have such large squads…

    For every black player you can name that got zero game time… there were equal amounts of white players in the same boat…

    This was the 4N and ONLY three tests and the selectors were always going to try and play what they felt were their best teams with a few slots in here and there results depending… race would have bugger all to do with it…

    I didn’t see anyone making noise that fringe players like Faulkner or Kerevi or Dennis or Toby Smith et al did not get any game time whatsoever… nor did I see anyone bitching about the likes of McCalman or Crotty or Cane or Perenara only getting a handful of minutes before the whistle.

    This is either a political beat-up or a few real delusional muppets (possibly being spurred on by their agents)!

    One look at who has come out to bring this all to air… namely Tony Ehrenreich probably says it all… for those that know his history…

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  5. @Jacques: @bryce_in_oz: Tony is a snake. I just have to say it. He is a scum. This story better be true, I mean he is vile. I have to say too in HM’s defense he was trying to get continuity and felt maybe the lack of trust in the other players. Like you say Bryce, while some of the black players are being ignored there are the likes of Lambie, Faf, Mostert who have had good SR seasons but ignored or usurped by the likes of PSDT. I don’t think its racial, i mean they will have to prove me wrong. I do think something is amiss in this situation!

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  6. If only such rigorous aesthetic considerations were applied to the WC uniforms perhaps those cursed gold arm hoops would have been re-styled to not look so hideous or left off all together!

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  7. On Ehrenreich you are correct: he is WORSE than DavidS’s
    green vaginal discharge.
    Bitterbek extreme, always causing extreme shit.

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  8. @bryce_in_oz: Every time i hear Tony Ehrenreich speak i get gastro, its the craziest thing.

    If its true that the players approached Cosatu then im bitterly disappointed in them, there are other means of doing it, surely thats in the Springbok code.

    Although, like i may have mentioned a little while back I chatted to one of the guys who hadnt been selected for the World XV game, I asked him about how his injury was coming along and he seemed annoyed and said ” im fine, im not injured at all” while all week HM was telling the world about the injury

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  9. This has very little to do with non white players not getting gametime and much more with Cosatu struggling to find meaning in what they do after much criticism was thrown at them and they lost power with the rise of amcu

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  10. I suggested an in-depth story to Mail&Guardian:
    “It may be worth your while to do an in-depth about the money spent on black
    rugby development, the pathetic state of the fields, gymnasiums,
    scrumming machines, club houses and the rest.”

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  11. Bit disappointed SARU did bugger-all to support their head coaching team with their statement, dunno why I expected them to though…

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  12. @bryce_in_oz:

    Jeez Bryce, are you seriously comparing non playing guys in the Ausie and NZ squads with black players in SA? Did you completely forgotten the history and the pressure on SARU to transform?

    It is hugely unfortunate that Heyneke will be the guy in charge when this seems to be coming to a head, but at some stage the chickens had to come home to roost.

    Anyway, there are obviously unhappy players, and rightly or wrongly, they have decided to raise their voices. And nothing you can say or do will change the fact that shits about to go down.

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  13. Heyneke could conceivably, at some stage, have picked a run-on team like this:

    1. Tendai
    2. Bismarck
    3. Trevor
    4. Eben
    5. Lood
    6. Kolisi
    7. Coetzee
    8. Schalk
    9. Ruan
    10. Jantjies
    11. Habana
    12. Damian
    13. Mapoe
    14. Mvovo / JP / Cornal
    15. Kirchener

    A Bok team with 9 players of colour starting. I am sure they would not have done any worse against Argentina?

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  14. “And nothing you can say or do will change the fact that shits about to go down”

    Seriously? That doesn’t even warrant a response past this punctuation mark.

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  15. @bryce_in_oz:

    SARU has a very good relationship with government and department sport and recreation on the subject of transformation. In fact, SARU is one of the very few federations with a solid, measurable plan.

    No need to respond to COSATU’s claims.

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  16. @bryce_in_oz:

    What I am trying to say is, you coming on here pointing to white players not getting playing time as well, Ausie and Kiwi players not getting playing time as well, shows just how far removed you seem to be from the realities of what is happening in SA.

    When players feel the need to, rightly or wrongly, go outside the rugby fraternity to complain, you must know that the situation is now beyond where reasonable comments can remedy the situation.

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  17. @Morné:

    Morne, if that is so, why on earth do we still sit with a situation where the Bok coach has only a handful of non-white players to choose his team from, 20 years down the line? How can we still have super rugby squads like the Bulls this season, where they seem to have almost no players of colour in their game day squads at stages?

    How is SARU’s measurements looking then? I am not trying to be funny here, but genuinely concerned that the perception is out there when looking at our rugby teams, that black players are getting lost somewhere along a line?

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  18. @Craven:

    At some stage?

    Which stage?

    Bok team having lost two tests on the trot (well three) and facing the wooden spoon with the injury list at it’s most dire…

    Turn it up mate… at the very most ‘I’ would have started with Lambie, shifted JDV to wing to keep the centre pairing combo, brought in Scarra (only because they badly need a third hooker with some test time) and perhaps Jantjes giving Pollard a break…

    And I could give two shits what any player (who thinks he deserves to be in the side) and politicians think…

    That would have made it double the amount of players of colour that PDV had in his RWC final side… if ‘someone’ were to be counting…

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  19. @Morné:

    They did respond… just a bit more succinctly than I would have liked… but in hindsight why start a media argument with a muppet like Tony Ehrenreich…

    Their response in the media was…

    “””SARU recently signed an MOU [Memorandum of Understanding] with the government and SASCOC on a strategic transformation plan for rugby,” a SARU spokesman told rugby365 in response to the COSATU outburst.

    “Our focus now is on delivering on our understanding with them and we will continue to engage with sports leadership in the country on our progress.”””

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  20. @Craven:

    You’re 100% correct mate… it does show just how far removed I am from the realities in RSA…

    However I will never accept that a sports team, particularly test team, is forced by any government to select players on the basis of a racial quota.

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  21. @Craven:

    Bok coach can only select on players who are being prepared professionally at lower levels (Super Rugby).

    Super Rugby coaches can only select player who are being prepared professionally at lower levels (Currie Cup, Vodacom Cup).

    And so I can go on and on and on…

    But that is a simple excuse to a very complex problem.

    Black players are getting lost in the system, you are quite right, but for no other reason any other player gets lost.

    Here is an idea of what we sit with in reality.

    In the Youth Weeks (specifically Grant Khomo and Craven Week) you have 440 players (or just less than 400 if you discount Nam and Zim) that take part every year.

    Over 50% of those players come from just 50 schools.

    Now this is a very important point.

    If close to 300 kids in these weeks (which is part of the ‘system’ in which players are first identified) only comes from 50 schools (all in metropolitan areas) what does that tell you?

    I don’t think I need to tell you which schools these are, or their ‘standing’ and the type of kid (or parent) that can afford to send their kids to these schools.

    Remember, out of about 28 000 schools you have around 5000 (conservatively) that plays rugby. (I won’t get into how this number is drastically dropping).

    Out of the 5000 I would guess about 1000 plays in structured leagues, yet, only 50 produce the majority of players to ‘the system’.

    So the problems you sit with in a) producing players, is that the schools who do produce them:

    * Are concentrated to urban areas
    * Traditionally expensive

    b) To compound this more and more schools are stopping rugby altogether (along with all other physical education) and c) the outlying, rural (platteland) schools where you will find the gems are struggling just to get a playable field going, let alone teachers who are still willing to coach.

    It is a social, geographical, cultural and economical problem that contributes to what you see at the end (Super Rugby and Boks).

    Unions struggle to send 50/50 transformed teams to Craven Weeks! Yet some unions or groups expect this at Super Rugby or Bok level? Where the hell do you find them?

    Of course more can be done, and more is being done to revive rugby in rural/platteland areas and schools, but this responsibility extends beyond just SARU, because to get kids to take up the game is a lot more than just proper coaching…

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  22. @Morné:

    Just while you are here…

    Would you have any inkling on why there is no longer a Bok ‘A’ side or an Emerging Bok side playing at least a few games each year… whether that be in a lower tier test competition or incoming mid-week test sides or at the very least against each other… a-la the Junior AB’s, Maori AB’s and now NZ Barbarians…

    Obviously I can understand the financial implications of sending a team touring… but the positives of having another 50 (outside of the Bok squad) or so top tier professionals being kept in Bok structure loops must surely outweigh the negatives as can be seen with players like Milner Skudder to name but many that came through those same ranks to start for the AB’s…

    -More avenues to train/gauge/test fringe players and up-n-comers without having to cap them
    -From an RSA perspective potentially keeping fringe players thinking twice about following the money overseas as they are in the loop
    -Not to mention the benefits of playing more fringe players of colour for development and I’m ashamed to say from an ‘appeasement’ perspective…
    -Enable more seamless transitioning into the Bok side as structures, combinations, game-plans, ethos are already there with guys ready to take the next step up whether that be through form or injury…

    England have the Saxons, Ireland have the same and the Australian ‘A’ side will be getting back into games next year… potentially re-entry into the Pac Nations Cup…

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  23. What slimy, disingenuous, manipulative cherry picking assholes these Cosatu guys are >sad

    Why anyone in their right mind still wants to coach rugby in RSA is beyond me…..

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  24. @Sasori: from the most prestigious job in the game to coaches being scared of it surely? It remains the highest honor but its added pressures surely make it more difficult with how these fools want to meddle.

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  25. @Morné:

    Thanks Morne, really appreciate the effort of typing that.

    Can you, if you have time, divulge how SARU aims to meet the targets they have set for themselves taking all of this into account?

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  26. @Craven:

    Well given the challenges as mentioned briefly above, the focus has to shift to capacity building and participation with a focus on the rural/platteland schools.

    A small example is the EPD programmes we have started, there are 4, but EPD 1 for instance focuses on U15/U16 players.

    We have launched a scouting programme with unions where we developed an app which union scouts use to capture players from these outlying areas, guys we will more often than not never see.

    App works simple, you sit with it next to the field and punch basic details of the player into the tablet or phone and once you are in an area with connectivity again, it synchs to our database.

    Like I said, they focus on the rural/platteland areas because we know a kid in the metro, big school areas, if good enough, will somehow get noticed or into the system automatically.

    We are looking for best 5 in each position but there is a strong focus on generic black players to be identified (at least 3).

    I must explain this though because it is important to understand that any talented player will get on the system. For example, if any union identifies 5 hookers and the first four are all white, the number of 5 identified players will increase to 7. We therefore know how far the first, second or third generic black player is (skills, conditioning, etc) from the best player.

    So while the formula in its simplest form will look like this:

    1. generic black
    2. generic black
    3. generic black
    4. white
    5. white

    It could well look like this:

    1. white
    2. white
    3. generic black
    4. white
    5. white
    6. generic black
    7. generic black

    So while we will always identify the best 3 black players, we never lose site of the other players who are also noticed and get into the system. But we also know who our best 3 (and how they rate or rank) generic black players per position are.

    If you get this from all 14 unions, you have a pretty broad base of players.

    The system however was also developed that it gives us a breakdown of players, and their rank, per position from a national perspective.

    So as the guys carry on scouting, we can pro-actively pick up we have a problem in a certain position and inform our scouts and unions to, for example, look out for left locks because we are very thin in that department.

    This year alone we scouted 350 players in two months only.

    Players once scouted is then ‘confirmed’. This simply means that a senior scout, or union development manager, confirms the talent of the kid according to what the scout initially listed. If he agrees, the player now becomes ‘active’. Once active this player is followed during his normal league games, from which we also video his games.

    The videos of the players along with all their ratings (from the scout to senior scout or union manager) is all captured on our system.

    The High Performance coaching group then reviews all the ratings, and also watches the video footage of the player in games. A final call is then made by them as to the ranking of players on a national database for that specific age-group.

    Our target is 75 players per age group (basically top 5 in each position). Once we have these 75, they are all invited to a camp for a week. During this camp they are assessed in about 10 000 areas including conditioning, skills, position specific skills, medical, nutrition, psychological, etc, etc.

    Not only the players, but most of the coaches (from these schools) also attend where we work intensively with them to upskill them.

    Following this, and based on assessments, players (and coaches) are given programmes to follow. They are tracked (by the scouts) during their league games the following year (next age group) to ensure they maintain, improve. Where needed, we intervene directly with players.

    We have a camp for each age-group each year, this group of 75 is then adjusted where some fall out, and some new ones come in.

    It is not perfect, but it is something.

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  27. @Morné:

    I must also mention, although we focus on the top 75, the 300 odd that have been ‘scouted’ are never out of the system.

    We have built in a monitoring system where the player, and his parents/guardians can update his details (basic conditioning) and have access to our elite player programmes/drills/etc. They complete self-assessments and a bunch of other things.

    So if player A misses out on 75 for this year, but the player that made it falls out of the programme for what ever reason, he has the best chance (if he followed the programmes) to get in.

    Most importantly, we never lose track of their development and movements.

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  28. @Morné:

    Jeez, that is a lot you guys are doing, and with the challenges present, it seems a good way to get around some of the problems. Love how the coaches are also pulled in, can only assist with them maybe unearthing more talent in their area in future.

    And thanks again for taking the trouble to type this, I wasn’t aware of half of the things you guys are doing. Very good work.

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  29. @Morné:

    Really impressive Morne. Keep up the good work. And I will definitely help spread the word – as you say, people need to be informed before they just spew crap. At least spew informed crap!

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