Rassie Erasmus still short of his 45% race target
Boks coach has reached 36% on average
Transformation will follow the Springboks wherever they go because of the sport's past affiliation with the apartheid regime.
While their coach Johan "Rassie" Erasmus won the hearts of the nation by picking Siyamthanda Kolisi as captain, he failed the overall transformation test.
On SuperSport's isiXhosa rugby magazine Phaka, Erasmus said his transformation target was 45%.
Sunday Times went through each 23-man match-day squad picked for the 14 Tests this year and calculations revealed Erasmus managed 36.02%.
In the Tests the Springboks played this year, the 45% target was achieved only once, in the Washington DC Test against Wales where 11 black players were fielded out of 23.
That game and the Durban Test against Argentina were one of only two instances where Erasmus picked more than 10 players of colour in matches.
In the recently concluded end-of-year tour in which the Boks played four Tests against England, Scotland, France and Wales, Erasmus picked seven players of colour out of 23 in all games to average 30.4%.
In the Rugby Championship, Erasmus picked nine players of colour out of 23 (39.1%) in the home Tests against Australia and New Zealand.
In the Australasia leg, he picked seven from 23 (30.4 %).
The Mendoza match against Argentina which the Boks lost 32-19 saw Erasmus pick nine players of colour out of 23 (39.1 %).
In the England series Erasmus picked nine (39.1%) in the first Test and stuck with eight (34.7%) for the last two Tests of the series.
An SA Rugby spokesperson said the target was 38.03% and they were happy with the progress made this season. The spokesperson also confirmed the 45% mark is in line with their transformation target.
"SA Rugby is happy with the progress that was made in transformation in 2018. A record number of debutant black players (10) were named in the season and the first black Springbok Test captain was selected," the spokesperson said.
"While we may not have reached the target an achievement of 38.3% over the course of the season represents continuing progress against a backdrop of injuries to players such as Beast Mtawarira, Oupa Mohoje, Lukhanyo Am, Warrick Gelant, Trevor Nyakane, Sbu Nkosi, Travis Ismaiel and Makazole Mapimpi.
"Transformation is not just a numbers game. It is about an attitude to transform and we believe that has been proved in 2018."