Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus emphasised on Tuesday that the transformation target of 50% for 2019 is over the course of the season and that it does not necessarily mean that 50% players of colour will be selected for the World Cup group for Japan.
“It’s 50% on average. We might be over that when we select the World Cup squad, and we might be under it. What’s important is that we average 50% over the whole Test season.”
He said that they were on track to achieve that goal.
Erasmus said that they didn’t make the target of 45% for last year. That was disappointing. However, he pointed out that there were a lot of success stories with players of colour last year and referred to winger Aphiwe Dyantyi in particular.
He said that a lot of players had been given opportunities and that there was now a bigger pool of players of colour to draw from in the months to the World Cup selection.
Erasmus pointed out that more qualify players of colour are coming to the fore, but cautioned that injuries could haven effect on the transformation numbers if not targets.
♦ The national coach also said that about 80% of the Springbok World Cup squad has already been identified, but that injuries and form may force his hand in the five months remaining in the lead-up to the tournament in Japan.
He also made it clear that he aimed to win the shortened (one-round) Rugby Championship, limited to just one test against each of the other three teams in the series.
The team for each of the tests will therefore be picked with that in mind and he is therefore expected to kick-off with his best possible team against Australia at Ellis Park. It is regarded as a most important test, while the match-up with the All Blacks in Wellington could determine the attitude and self-belief of his players. They face New Zealand in the first match in Japan.