LETTER: Boks must transform

I PREDICT that the Springboks will get a whipping from Scotland and the USA in the Rugby World Cup. I’m not sure why everyone’s surprised by their loss to Japan.

When you have a white coach who would rather select a dad’s army of white players, and ignore competent young black players, that can be the only result.

Twenty-one years after democracy, we’ve seen the same in many other sports in SA. You often have a 90% white team that represents SA. Black players are in the “development team” — they’ll get there some day!

You can’t create world championships when you select a team from only 5% of the population.

The media have also been complicit in this perpetuation of white privilege. I’d love to see an analysis of the Boks’ performance under Peter de Villiers and his hammering in the media, versus the performance of the Boks under Heyneke Meyer and the kid gloves he has been treated with — until the loss to Japan, that is! A month before that loss, Business Day writer Mark Keohane justified Meyer’s team selection as finding “comfort in what he knows — white players”.

Like most sports, the administrators have failed to play their part. The political leadership, while forced to play by the rules of the game and not interfere too much, should have been more robust in the transformation debate. After all, they are the ones who hand out the Springbok jerseys.

It’s time to retire the Springbok emblem, and all it stands for.

Sunil Gopal



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