Cape Town - Former Springbok prop Ollie le Roux has voiced his concerns about the strength of rugby in South Africa.
Le Roux, who played 54 Tests for the Springboks between 1994 and 2002, was speaking to the Irish Independent in Bloemfontein last week when he discussed a wide range of topics.
In the interview he hit out at national coach Allister Coetzee, who he believes “knows nothing about the Springboks” and also gave reasons why he feels the standard of rugby in South Africa is not what it once was.
Ranked fifth in the official World Rugby rankings, the Springboks are still among the top teams in the world, but lag behind their traditional foes New Zealand.
The All Blacks have won 11 of the last 12 Tests against their arch-rivals.
South Africa’s weak economy and government-enforced transformation policy have led to a player outflux to overseas clubs which leaves Le Roux concerned.
"If you look at our national side, there is really some players there who are just not good enough - white players and black players," Le Roux said.
"It's not a colour thing for me, I don't care if they pick a whole black team, just pick the best. What happens is a lot of our players think they're being victimised. If you have a 60/40 chance as a white guy, you're not going to get the chance.”
According to Le Roux, the player exodus has led to a watered-down Currie Cup, as well as having an impact on South Africa's Super Rugby teams.
"We've got 350 players who could probably play Super Rugby playing in Europe. When I came up, you came in as a youngster, bulletproof and the next minute the ‘okes’ would be hurting you," Le Roux said.
"The big guys would give you a hiding when you needed it, they'd teach you and make you hard. Now, those guys are in Europe, Currie Cup has become an Under-23 competition. The youngsters think they're good, but they lack that older generation to teach them the ropes.”
READ Ollie le Roux's full interview with the Irish Independent