Springbok head coach Rassie Erasmus has been heavily criticised by a trade union body in South Africa over “second-class” treatment of black players.
The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) launched an astonishing attack on Erasmus over his “discriminatory attitude and actions”.
“Rassie has been treating the black Springbok players as second-class this entire year. His starting line-up for Saturday is a reversal to white preference players‚ which exposes his attitude towards black players”, it said in a statement.
There are three black players in the starting XV to face the All Blacks in Wellington on Saturday, including captain Siya Kolisi, while Lukhanyo Am and Aphiwe Dyantyi have also been picked. On the bench there are four black players – hooker Bongi Mbonambi, who was controversially substituted in the first half against Australia, prop Tendai Mtawarira, dropped fly half Elton Jantjies and winger/full-back Cheslin Kolbe.
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That substitution of Mbonambi against Australia, which came in the aftermath of an overthrown lineout that led to Wallabies scoring a try, has also been criticised.
“The white players are given special places in the Springbok team ahead of the form black players. Francois Louw has been playing poorly, Handre Pollard has been playing poorly, and Willie le Roux has been playing poorly. Scrumhalf Faf de Klerk has been playing poorly, yet they are not substituted when there are talented form players on the bench. Mbonambi is substituted on 35 minutes which is entirely irrational and designed to undermine him. Many black players when they do get a chance on the field are played out of their positions, to deny them the prospect to bring their best skills.”
Erasmus has already stated he could be sacked as head coach if they don’t beat the All Blacks, which would be their third defeat in a row. And Cosatu believes the former Munster Director of Rugby should be removed.
“Rassie clearly cannot do both the jobs but wants to keep the director of rugby position in case he fails as the coach. He has been erratic in his choices and his game plan, refusing to take responsibility for not giving players and combinations a decent chance to build partnerships.
“Cosatu is raising this concern with SARU before it gets worse and embarrasses the whole country so that decisive action can be taken. Whilst Cosatu would encourage South Africans to support the Springboks, Rassie is pushing black South Africans away from the team with his discriminatory attitude and actions.”
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