Cape Town - A former black rugby player has taken exception to Jake White’s suggestion of picking a predominantly black Springbok team to face Wales.
White made headlines this week when he suggested via a column for the All Out Rugby website that Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus should pick a predominantly black team when the Boks open their 2018 season with a Test against Wales in Washington DC on June 2.
Thando Manana, a former Bulls loose forward who played three tour matches for the Springboks, told Netwerk24 that White’s proposal was “short-sighted”.
“It’s White’s opinion, but what he’s actually saying is that these (black) players only have enough value to play in a meaningless Test, which actually is a money-making scheme for SA Rugby. I’m not impressed with the thought-process," Manana said.
Manana added: “Yes, we have to give black players opportunities, but why in a Test without meaning? I take exception when he says that black players are only good enough to play in meaningless matches. Then we might as well send a black team to go and play against Italy and Argentina... it will be a dark day if that happened.”
A week after the Wales game, the Boks will play England in a three-Test series and due to the short turnaround, White believes Erasmus should select two different teams.
"If I was the Bok coach, I’d look to pick a team against Wales that is made up of local players with a special emphasis on those that count towards the transformation targets," White wrote earlier this week.
"Siya Kolisi would potentially captain a side that featured Tendai Mtawarira, Chiliboy Ralepelle, Trevor Nyakane, Marvin Orie, Lood de Jager, Thembelani Bholi, Nizaam Carr, Embrose Papier, Damian Willemse, Raymond Rhule, Damian de Allende, Lionel Mapoe, Ruan Combrinck and Warrick Gelant."
White added: "This team would serve the dual purpose of banking transformation credits to create selection breathing room for the England series, and would also give all of these players a chance to put their hand up on the international stage. Some people might see this as a throwaway selection but I would pick this team to win based on the fact that these players are good enough to battle the best of Australia and New Zealand almost every week during Super Rugby."
South Africa's first Test against England is scheduled for June 9 at Ellis Park in Johannesburg, with Tests in Bloemfontein (Free State Stadium, June 16) and Cape Town (Newlands, June 23) to follow.
Visit the All Out Rugby to view White's line-up for the first Test against England