In light of the recent announcement made by the South African sports ministry and keeping inline with the new South African selection policy based on race and quota fulfillment over ability, we at the Sport Freak took it on ourselves to play the role of
Springbok South African All Black selector to see what a South African national team will likely look like if, or rather when, South African politicians cum rugby experts get their way.
The Selection criteria? Simple, pick a team representative of the demographics of South Africa, choosing competence where possible but above all else ensuring quotas are met.
Before we start we would like to make it clear, that the aim of this post is not to bad mouth any players, the aim of the post is to highlight the ridiculous selection policy enforced by the South African rugby union. We will refrain from unnecessarily bad mouthing players, instead we will be giving constructive criticism where we see fit. So without further redue we bring to you, the South African All Blacks.
The South African All Black Rugby Team
Although the cries of “Beeeaaaasssstttt” has slowly started to subside across stadiums across the world, the converted Zimbabwean international still packs some serious punch. Say what you like about the “Beast” but there is no denying the Beast always gives a 100% whenever he steps on the field. Born on 1 August 1985 Tendai Mtawarira will be 35 come Japan 2019, still young enough for a Prop forward, and we are glad to announce that this is a selection based on merit.
A big favourite amongst the Newlands crowd, Scarra plays some decent rugby. Despite being selected for the Springbok end of year tour in 2013 Scarra is yet to make his Springbok debut however, at the age of only 25 there is still plenty of time to groom Scarra into the next Bismarck for the future. Although we are big Scarra fans, we have to add there are a number of better hookers than Scarra in South Africa at the moment.
He is a big boy and he loves to eat, perhaps a little to much as his love for food has landed him in hot water in the past however, Trevor is an excellent scrummager and a good ball carrier, the next “Beast” of sorts. His only problem? His fitness, whenever the camera lens zooms in on Trevor after 20-minutes of play, it looks like he is about to pass out, however, despite this we believe Trevor deserves his Springbok colours and his fitness is something which can be improved however he will need to play his part aswell.
At only 23-years of age Marvin Orie has some serious potential. Marvin was selected to lead the Baby Boks (U/21 Springboks) to the 2013 World Cup but sadly suffered a freakish accident where he broke his leg which ruled him out for the tournament. Marvin Orie made a good recovery over the near 2-year period since his injury and got rewarded with his 1st Super Rugby cap in 2014 against the Stormers. At the time of writing Orie has earned 4 Super Rugby caps for the Bulls so far. There is no denying Orie is a serious talent, one can just hope he doesn’t sit and rot on the bench for the Bulls.
This made for a tricky selection considering Hilton Roberts is already 29-years old, so we were faced with the conundrum to pick a young inexperienced lock or to go for the safer selection, finding comfort in the fact that you know what you will get with Lobberts. We went for the latter and that is why Hilton Lobberts currently finds himself in our South African All Black side.
Who is Hilton Lobberts many may ask? Well dear readers you might be surprised to know that the Cheetahs lock has a Springbok cap behind his name which he earned in 2006 at only the age of 20, when he came on as a replacement.
Lobberts has certainly been around the block and has a wealth of experience with different franchises, but there in lies his problem, he has failed to make the lock position his own at anyone of the 3 franchises he has played for. An average player who showed signs of promise but failed to live up to potential, our first selection based purely on race.
Siya Kolisi has done well to make a name for himself, having made the most of the opportunities which has come his way, who would ever forget that try saving tackle he made against New Zealand at Ellis Park in 2015, or the brilliant individual try he scored against the Lions in Super Rugby 2016, round 8. Here it is again just in case you missed it.
There is no denying Siya Kolisi is a good player, and his selection is warranted, the problem? As good as Siya Kolisi is South African rugby is blessed with so many world class flankers, and as good as Siya is, we believe there are better flankers in the Republic.
Tall, fast and strong Oupa Mohoje ticks many of the boxes required for an openside flanker. At only 25-years old Oupa still has plenty of time to build on his already extensive experience and improve as a player. Perhaps the strongest asset Oupa has is the fact that he is a utility forward of sorts, being able to cover lock, flanker and number 8. Oupa currently has 8 Springbok caps to his name, and there is no denying he certainly deserves his Springbok colours, but…again there are currently better flankers in South Africa than Mohoje.
Nizaam Carr made his Stormers debut in 2012 and has since gone on to win well in excess of 50 caps for the Stormers. Struggling to really standout at the early part of his career it was not until 2014 that Nizaam Carr really came into his own experiencing a dream season in 2014 and rightfully earning his first South African cap in the same year on the South African end of year tour.
Unfortunately for Carr, live is not always a fair game, and he suffered an injury at the pinnacle of his career, Carr managed to bounce back from the injury but has never quite been the same player since then, however, being only 25-years old Carr still has plenty of time to get back into the South African setup. Especially since Allister Coetzee is now the new Springbok coach, a person whom he shares a very good relationship with.
Not everyone’s cup of tea South African rugby supporters has mixed feelings about Paige however there is no denying the man is talented, although his decision making leaves a lot to be desired at time, often kicking the ball away when he should have passed or the other way round.
With that being said Paige also has moments of brilliance which has earned him 2 Springbok caps thus far. We believe it is fair to say the downfall of Paige is his inconsistency, and there are certainly better scrumhalves in South Africa at the moment.
What a career this man has had until this far, Elton Jantjies has gone from hero to zero and then back to hero. Jantjies enjoyed a superb Super Rugby season in 2011 which earned him his single Springbok cap in 2012.
Sadly in the same year Jantjies father, who was also his mentor, tragically succumbed to a bee sting, being only 22 at the time Jantjies life and career started spinning out of control. When the Lions got relegated from the Super Rugby tournament in 2013 Jantjies got transferred to the Stormers on loan from the Lions where he had a horrid Super Rugby season, with his own team’s supporters often booing him.
Jantjies took a small break from the game before rejoining the Lions on the bench under the new Johan Ackermann regime, who should get a lot of credit for Jantjies revival. Jantjies enjoyed a dream 2015 Super Rugby season, and when he was not selected for the Springboks 2015 World Cup campaign South African politicians, and especially the Sports minister, Fikile Mbalula started crying racist, which shows just how little they actually know about the game.
As good as Jantjies was during the 2015 season, experts unanimously agreed he was not yet ready to make an international return. So far Jantjies form has continued to improve in 2016 and he is currently frontrunner to become the next Springbok flyhalf in 2016.
What do we at the Sport Freak think about Jantjies? We have nothing against the man and certainly think he is a very talented player but in the same breath Jantjies has developed a reputation to crack when the pressure is on him not a characteristic you want for your national flyhalf.
It feels like Juan De Jongh has been playing forever, yet we were quite surprised to find out he is only 28-years old. DeJongh, who is also the Stormers vice captain, has made more than 80 appearances so far for the Stormers and has also won 14 test caps and been included in 2 Barbarian teams, an impressive feat for a man only 28-years old.
With that being said at 28, by now we have seen the best of Juan De Jongh his game is unlikely to change much or get better from here on in and that is a problem, although reliable and consistent he is far from world class and there are currently better centres in South African rugby than Juan De Jongh.
Fast, versatile and physical Mapoe is one of the Lions primary weapons on attack. Mapoe is a good player originally coming from the 7’s circuit Mapoe also has the skills to back up his pace. At 27 Mapoe won his first Springbok cap last year, in 2015, and still has plenty of rugby left in him. A good player, but the best centre in the country? Debatable.
Being one of the fastest players in international rugby Mvovo certainly deserves each of his 15 Springbok caps he has earned until this far. With that being said raw pace is not all that is required for a world class winger and there are certain areas of Mvovo’s game which he needs to work on, but overall a good selection.
Hendricks came bursting onto the international rugby arena during last year’s Rugby Championship, like Mvovo, Hendricks is blessed with some raw pace and is generally considered a good finisher. With that being said Hendricks has one huge weakness which opposition teams, especially the All Blacks, have managed to exploit and that is his defence. Who will ever forget the numerous bulldozing runs Julian Savea had over Hendricks during last years Rugby Championship? A good player, but his selection is based on the fact that there is no one else rather than Hendricks being the best.
Small but brave is how we will describe Kolbe, he is also likely to win your team more than a few penalties for high tackles since he is so small, it is hard for the taller forwards to go low on him, especially when he is trying to duck under tackles. There is no denying Kolbe is talented and has his moments of brilliance. However, unfortunately for Kolbe physic is not on his side and at just 1.70m and 78kg he is not build for international rugby, but will make for a brilliant quota inclusion.
The team above is certainly not a bad team, and many of the players discussed above deserves their selection purely based on merit. The fact that we can select a South African team purely based on players of colour, who could be good enough to compete with some of the best teams in the world serves as proof that South African rugby is well and truly transformed, and it is time for the ridiculous quota system to be scrapped.
Furthermore we find the quota system currently used in South African rugby extremely disrespectful towards both black and white players in South African rugby.
For players of colour it sends a message that they are not really good enough and only got selected because of the colour of their skin, even though in many cases it is not true. The thought will no doubt linger in these players subconscious and it can wreak havoc on such a player’s confidence.
While for white players it takes away their constitutional right and discriminates against them, since opportunities are taken away from them, simply because of the colour of their skin, that is not on in a post Apartheid South Africa where it has now been more than 25-years since the fall of apartheid.
The IRB should realise the above and follow their own rules on racial discrimination by banning South African rugby from the international arena until the racist and discriminatory selection policy has been done away with.
You can help support the Sport Freak’s cause and bring this matter to the International Rugby Board’s attention by signing our petition we have set up. The petition Email will get send to Brett Gosper CEO of World Rugby and the PA of South Africa’s Sport Minister.