HENRIE Smith reveals his prejudice towards black rugby players by arguing for the exclusion of flank Teboho Mohoje due to a surplus of black wings in the squad (Cape Times, September 1).
This is further perpetuated by his assertion that current white squad members are more deserving and experienced than players such as Lionel Mapoe, Scarra Ntubeni and Elton Jantjies. Notwithstanding this trio being in the form of their “lives” with statistics-topping performances in the latest international Super Rugby competition and with experience building performances over the last four years since Rugby World Cup 2011.
One is left with almost disbelieving exasperation just thinking of what more must be done by these players to make the squad. Imagine how they must feel. In Smith’s own words, Elton Jantjies is a brilliant player but not as brilliant as Pollard, Lambie and Steyn. I suppose all human beings are equal; some are just more equal than others.
This brings me to Smith’s comment about Rudy Paige – it was always either going to be Paige or Jantjies. Heyneke Meyer and no other white South African coach will ever trust a black flyhalf, it seems. That position is the holy grail – their affirmation that they still “own” rugby.
The first real threat to that deeply entrenched ideal was the mercurially talented junior Springbok and World Cup winning flyhalf Isma-eel Dollie. The coaches collaborated to make sure his playing career was destroyed since he dared to be great at “their” position. Exactly the same seems to be happening to Jantjies. Remember, it was former All Black coach John Mitchell who gave him a proper extended opportunity since he was not shackled by racism.
Smith ends his letter with the now boringly stale and factually untrue rant about “the black national soccer team”. The truth is that since 1992 Bafana Bafana have chosen 39 white players, including four as captain, while the Proteas and Springboks together have only fielded 32 black Africans despite them representing more than 80 percent of the population! Moegamat Saliem