Bok coach's tricky target

30 June 2015 - 02:01 By Sbu Mjikeliso

Like those before him, Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer will be under pressure to meet the SA Rugby Union's transformation targets when he names his final 31-man World Cup squad on August 31. Saru deputy president Mark Alexander said Meyer would have to be cognisant of the body's strategic transformation plan, released earlier this year.Meyer named a 49-man squad last week for this year's Rugby Championship plus two international friendlies, of whom 14 are players of colour - less than 30%.For the World Cup Saru wants the coach to have seven black players in a match-day squad of 23."Of course, the coach will have to be cognisant of that plan when announcing his World Cup squad," said Alexander."Everybody has bought into the plan. We signed an agreement with the government [regarding] the plan. It is a structured plan that has goals from now until 2019."Depending on injuries - there are no fewer than 13 players injured - Meyer should not struggle to pick nine players of colour on merit in his final World Cup squad.But that won't be without its complications. Meyer can pick a maximum of six loose forwards if he is willing to sacrifice one of six front-rowers to travel to the UK.If Duane Vermeulen, Willem Alberts and François Louw make up the back row, and Schalk Burger and Marcell Coetzee are the next best deputies, Meyer might have to choose Siya Kolisi, Teboho Mohoje or Warren Whiteley, whose selection ahead of Mohoje in a Rugby Championship match against Australia in Perth last year caused public uproar.Outside centre Jaque Fourie rescinding his retirement might also compromise Lionel Mapoe's chances, despite an outstanding Super rugby season.Saru also want the Boks to be half black by the 2019 edition in Japan - a pipe dream if the current rate of transformation persists."We need a bigger pool of black players. You need to fill the funnel because only a few will trickle out," Alexander said."We need to get the public school sports system back. We can't talk about development and not mention the school sports system, and it is dysfunctional at the moment."Currently, just a handful of former Model C schools play sport regularly."We have also identified that a lot of boys play rugby up until Craven Week, but they don't make the senior provincial team."There's a study done by the Sport Science Institute that shows the difference between the haves and the have-nots. The have-nots are physically weaker. We've established academies purely to target nutrition and access to gyms. "..

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