Quotas and the effect on South African rugby will forever be a point of discussion in South Africa.
On the right of the political spectrum, we will always find those that will claim, rightly so, that quotas resulted in a lot of talented white rugby players left South Africa looking for deserved opportunities all over the world, a right that they were denied in South Africa.
On the left of the spectrum, we will always find those that will never accept nor acknowledge the talent of white kids UNTIL all the kids of colour had the same exposure that the privileged whites and again rightly so. However, this group seems to be happy to lower standards and accept mediocracy just to get revenge for the sins of the white population.
Happily, I can report that an ever-increasing part of the population is willing to take hands and work to make South African Rugby the best in the world again. We and I include myself in this grouping, accepted the need for quotas and every other measure that was put in place to advance the careers of talented kids of colour. We, although striving for excellence will do anything to help and promote rugby in less fortunate communities and celebrate those kids breaking free from their circumstances and becoming household names. We like winning.
And this brings me to the u/20 Academy squad that was announced yesterday. Top juniors named in SA Rugby Academy Squad (Click to Read). 45 Names were included of which 19 is white and 26 of colour and amazingly all 45 is South Africans.
If I had to pick a starting lineup 8 would be of colour with only 7 white, all on merit. Admittingly those on the right could pick 15 white players while those on the left will pick 15 kids of colour, also on merit and I would not want to call the game between those two teams. It will be very close.
Accepting that this is according to the press release received from SARU a development camp, myself have some "serious" questions regarding players not invited.
I would have included two u/19 stars from 2018 that was still playing schoolboy rugby. Michael Amiras and yes a boy of colour Keegan Johannes. Just take them with for 2 weeks and work with them, please.
I saw Dylan Schwartz last weekend and he has added some centimetres to his already impressive frame. This kid must be 192 cm tall and will be, and was a brilliant inside centre. Maybe it is time that time is spent with this boy to sort out the problems that are keeping the powers to be from selecting him.
Adrian Alberts has captain written all over him, and if included in the u/20 side of this year will help a lot if and when he leads the side in the 2021 u/20 World Championship.
And then the players that are screaming for selection is JJ Kotze, Mark Snyman, Ruan Viviers, Liam du Toit, Boeta Chamberlain and Janco van Heyningen. Hoekom, why, sei, hobaneng, kungani en @*&&&*(@tog.
Kwagga van Niekerk? Kwagga has left and his new home is Scotland, and although some will agree and others will disagree with his decision, he is gone. It must be said that he had a brilliant game for the u/20 Scotland team against Italy last night and is already becoming a hero over there. If somebody was tackled the South Africa way in Scotland, you were Kwagga'd, I was told.
Hopefully, the sevens' stars currently in training squads will also be included.
And that is my 2 cent, my apologies Theo, 2 Rand on the squad invited. A squad that lacks tall timber with plenty of brilliance at the back. A squad that apart from one or two players lack "hond" up front, South African players need to be feared again. A squad which favours the taller loose forwards with some lightning-fast backs. A squad who's defence will not be feared if the coaches do not do something drastic. A brilliant squad that could bring home the u/20 World Championship trophy, where it belongs.
Back to the heading of this article, "Could This Squad Spell The End Of Quotas?" Unfortunately, I do not believe that the "right" has realised the worth and the talent of the players of colour, ensuring selection without quotas AND unfortunately, the "left" is still the majority in numbers whom will use hate and sympathy to keep quotas in place. Fortunately, the "we" group is growing and possibly, not during my life I am 86 after all, quotas will die a dignified but deserved death. Let the boys play.