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Rugby | Springboks

Select deserving black players - Mantashe



Black players should be selected for the Springboks if they are good enough to play at international level, ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe said on Wednesday.

"The situation is the coaches select the basic minimum black players in the team and relax thereafter and overlook good players," Mantashe said.

"Why do we wait until there are no other players? The attitude is that coaches think this is a white sport and they meet the basic amount of players."

Mantashe, an ardent rugby supporter, said it seemed like Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer was reluctant to select black players that deserved a place in the side.

"My view is that the new coach is not keen on putting black players in the team, even those that have proven they are the best."

He said there were enough talented black players that Meyer could select on merit alone, and there was something wrong if players such as talented flyhalf Elton Jantjies were relegated to the bench.

Sharks wing Mwazi Mvovo and Stormers flanker Siya Kolisi also deserved a spot in the team, according to Mantashe.

Jantjies made his debut for the Springboks in their Rugby Championship match against Australia in Pretoria in October.

The young pivot had been part of the national set-up since 2010 but had to wait almost three years to get a run in the green-and-gold.

He was given an extended run against New Zealand at FNB Stadium, in their final match of this season's southern hemisphere competition, after he replaced first-choice flyhalf Johan Goosen early in the match.

Jantjies was nevertheless overlooked for this weekend's clash against Ireland for the first match of their end-of-year tour.

In-form Sharks player Pat Lambie will now wear the number 10 jersey while Morne Steyn was selected on the bench.

Mantashe said he believed Meyer had too much confidence in Steyn, with talented youngsters waiting in the wings.

Meyer could also do better by selecting younger players to take his team forward to the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England.

Western Province coach Allister Coetzee demonstrated what could be achieved, according to Mantashe, when faith was placed in younger players.

"Look at the Western Province team that won the Currie Cup," he said.

"He (Coetzee) showed faith and confidence in young players and they delivered. The national coach must do the same."

Meyer would help the country if he gave these players an opportunity to play for the Springboks.

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