Bok coach Rassie Erasmus believes SA rugby’s long-term transformation goal remains on track.
Heading into 2019, South African rugby’s transformation target will be raised from 45 to 50%. It’s a subject that remains a big talking point in South African sport. Erasmus took the opportunity to discuss the topic in an interview with SuperSport’s Matt Pearce.
Erasmus said he was willing to accept criticism for failing to meet the 45% target this year, but explained that he would not ‘cheapen transformation’ by simply picking players to make up the numbers.
‘There was a target of 45% for this year, and next year there’s a target of 50%. I didn’t meet that first target, but let me explain. It’s a number that’s there because otherwise you can just find excuses … This is about really transforming, changing the environment and providing equal opportunities.
‘When you look at the team this year, we had guys like Beast [Mtawarira], Warrick [Gelant], Lukhanyo [Am] and [Makazole] Mapimpi who got injured, but you then can’t just cheapen transformation … For example, if a black hooker gets injured and you have to replace him with a white hooker, then you don’t want to be forced to replace a white winger with a black winger [just to meet the numbers].
‘If you do that, that’s when people become upset because you’re now taking one guy off and bringing in another just for the numbers.’
Erasmus added that it was essential to take a long-term vision into consideration.
‘It’s about providing guys with exposure slowly, and there are a whole host of [black] players who we feel will be ready in the years to come. I’ll take the blame if one of my KPIs wasn’t achieved [in 2018], but I look at the depth we’ve created and I believe that when we go to the World Cup there will be the necessary numbers to take to the World Cup.
‘I think the transformation goal has been achieved, maybe not the number, but the goal. I’m not going to cheapen transformation because the numbers couldn’t be reached.’
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