Rugby Championship

Tutu wants more black Boks

2014-08-22 13:30
Desmond Tutu (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - The Springbok rugby team should include more black players, Nobel peace prize laureate and leading anti-apartheid campaigner Desmond Tutu said on Friday.

The widely-respected former Anglican archbishop criticised what he called the "tortoise pace" at which racial integration has taken place in the national team since the end of apartheid 20 years ago.

"Particularly hurtful is the selection of black players as peripheral squad members, never given the chance to settle down and earn their spurs," he said in a letter to the Cape Times.

The straight-talking cleric's words echo a government study published in April that found South African sport remains divided two decades after white minority rule ended.

Rugby and cricket teams had to boost the number of black players threefold to reach the 50 percent representation target, according to the study.

South Africa deserved a Springbok team that was representative of the "full spectrum of the rainbow that defines us - not on the basis of quotas or affirmative action or window-dressing, but on merit and for our long-term well-being as a nation," Tutu said.

He pointed out that under apartheid's racist system Springbok rugby had symbolised the "apartness" between the white minority and the black majority.

"When our liberation came, there were many who said we should never call our team 'Springboks' again, the very name was too painful."

But, he said, former president Nelson Mandela "recognised sport's transformative and healing power, famously embracing our Rugby World Cup winners at Ellis Park in 1995".

"As a society we need to understand that embracing one another is neither a political imperative nor political correctness.

"It is a critical ingredient to affect our long-term healing," Tutu wrote.

On Saturday, the Springboks take on Argentina in Salta in the Rugby Championship.

Their starting XV will include four coloured players (Cornal Hendricks, Damian de Allende, Bryan Habana and Gurthrö Steenkamp), while the remaining 11 are white. Two (Tendai Mtawarira and Lwazi Mvovo) of the eight players on the bench are black.

Kick-off is scheduled for 21:40 (SA time).



15 Joaquin Tuculet, 14 Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Juan Martin Hernandez, 11 Manuel Montero, 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 Martin Landajo; 8 Juan Manuel Leguizamon, 7 Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, 6 Paul Matera, 5 Thomas Lavanini, 4 Mariano Galarza, 3-Ramiro Herrera 2 Agustin Creevy (captain), 1 Marcos Ayerza

Substitutes: 16 Matias Cortese, 17 Bruno Postiglioni, 18 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 19 Matias Alemanno, 20 Leonardo Senatore, 21 Tomas Cubelli, 22 Jeronimo de la Fuente, 23 Horacio Agulla

South Africa:

15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Damian de Allende, 12 Jean de Villiers (captain), 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Juan Smith, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis (vice-captain), 1 Gurthrö Steenkamp

Substitutes: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Tendai Mtawarira, 18 Frans Malherbe, 19 Bakkies Botha, 20 Marcell Coetzee, 21 Francois Hougaard, 22 Morné Steyn, 23 Lwazi Mvovo


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