Is Div right about race bias?

20 September 2012 - 02:06

Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer's selection of eight black players in seven tests drew criticism from his predecessor, Peter de Villiers, when he was interviewed on Ballz radio.

"We are turning a lot of black people against ourselves by making the team white," said De Viliers, who picked 14 black players in 2008, his first year as Bok coach.

"We're turning all the black support against the Springboks. Wherever I go I hear people talking negatively about the Springboks."

De Villiers told the radio station that "nobody will talk about these things, but I just have to".

"We need to know in what country we live."

Meyer has handed out 26 caps to seven black players so far this year.

The most caps went to regulars Bryan Habana and Tendai Mtawarira (seven each). The others are JP Pietersen (three before he was injured), Zane Kirchner (five), Gio Aplon (one) and Lwazi Mvovo (three). Juan de Jongh and Elton Jantjies were called up, but not used.

De Villiers questioned why Aplon, De Jongh, Siya Kolisi and Chiliboy Ralepelle were not given a chance by Meyer. Kolisi and Ralepelle are both injured.

Aplon played in the third test against England and De Jongh was on the bench against the All Blacks last week.

Aplon started just three tests in 2011 (one of which was against Namibia at the World Cup), De Jongh two (he came off the bench twice at the World Cup against Fiji and Namibia), and Ralepelle none (all three of his appearances last year were off the bench, including one against Namibia at the World Cup).

In Meyer's first game in charge against England in Durban he selected four black players in the starting lineup - Habana, Pietersen, Mtawarira and Kirchner.