Springbok Rugby Going backwards (Ons boer agteruit)
We are so spoilt with the amount of sport available to us. Sports nutters like me, have Super rugby, club rugby, Vodacom Cup rugby, IPL cricket (although I am not a fan), England vs. West Indies test cricket, PSL and English Premiership, the 8 Nations tournament in Cape Town and so many other local events we can pay attention to.
Due to this, I have not really paid any attention to Heyneke Meyer and his Springbok Squads. On Friday I saw a billboard about Siya Kolisi not being in a 42 man squad which was selected. I did not pay much attention to it and thought well the young man still had lots of time. Also we are so blessed with loose forwards that whoever got selected must surely deserve it. Earlier in the season, I was sceptical about all the hype around Marcelle Coetzee. But I must confess, the 20 year old Sharks man is playing fantastic rugby and he surely deserved his call up, went through my mind.
That was until this morning. Running on the treadmill in gym like I do most mornings, there I noticed the bearded Josh Strauss appearing on the treadmill TV screen. Hold on I thought. Siya was overlooked for this guy. Something must be wrong here I thought. If ever there was a rugby player who is scamming the public with his ability it must be this Josh Strauss fella. The only thing which make him stand out is that beautiful beard of his. Before he moved to Johannesburg he was just another club player here in Cape Town. That could be the reason why I never noticed him when he played for NNK. He did not have that beard back then.
But this is not about Josh Strauss. He looks a very likeable guy and I am sure he is. This is about Heyneke Meyer and his way of thinking. Here in this beautiful country of ours, we have everybody who thinks he or she is important mouthing off about the lack of black players in representative rugby teams. Here is Siya Kolisi, a diamond in the making, who is excelling at the traditional Springbok power game being overlooked. How serious is Heyneke Meyer and SARU about transformation?
I have nothing against Odwa or Akona Ndugane or Zane Kirschner, but to have awarded them Springbok caps and not recognise Siya in an expanded 42 man squad border on the ridiculous. This young man has the potential to have a bigger impact on the support of this great game than Bob Skinstad had in 1999. Do you remember how Bob attracted female fans to Newlands?
Now imagine how many fans Siya will attract from the townships? Come on Heyneke get with the programme. The Y2K paranoia have come and gone. Why are you giving us Fourie du Preez and if it was not for an IRB ruling on drug testing, we would’ve had Victor Matfield too.
Please be serious about attracting black people to this game by selecting credible black players. There are many guys worthy of their places in our representative sides and they will never disgrace any team. When Schalk Burger cried of injured in the very first game of the super rugby season, the prophets of doom were already consigning the Stormers chances to the scrap heap. But Siya already confounded those critics.
Having left him out of a 42 man squad Heyneke has made me sceptical about his time as Bok coach. I have that feeling our rugby is moving backwards and SARU’s silence on this is scary. Where are you Mr Hoskins? Have you gone to Morne du Plessis and Anton Rupert for advice on the statement you will soon issue?