Mains: Select Bok team on merit

Former All Blacks and Cats coach Laurie Mains says the Springboks’ days of being 'top competitors are over' because of South African rugby's quota system.

Half of the Bok team will have to be made up of players of colour by 2019, according to SA Rugby's Strategic Transformation Plan. SA Rugby insists this is a target and not a quota system.

Mains, who coached the Cats in 2000 and 2001, says the Boks should be selected on merit as players of colour have been given enough time to develop.

'When I coached over there I could see the reason for it [a quota system],' Mains told 'It was a genuine attempt to create opportunities for the black and coloured players and I respected that, because there hadn’t been big numbers of them.

'And the reality now is that they’ve had plenty of time to develop. The ones that are playing at the top level now are getting the advantage of what happened in the late 90s, early 2000s, when they first brought in this system at Currie Cup level.

'It no longer needs to be there, it should now revert back to the best players get selected because all of the players in South Africa in the last 15 to 18 years have had opportunity to develop.

'It should go back to straight merit selection and then we would have a world power in South Africa again.

'You can’t go on forever favouring the position of one colour against another.

'While I supported the original decision for the quota system, it’s had long enough now for it to all even out, which it has, and it should be straight-out merit selection now.'

Photo: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images

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Simon Borchardt