From what I saw when John Mitchell was in charge at the Lions was that players were selected irrespective of colour and were dropped irrespective of colour.
Many South Africans say that to coach South Africa the coach needs to understand South Africa first. Why? I don’t see how this better equips you to coach a national team.
I think understanding South Africa takes a lifetime, an amount of time no foreign coach has, to quickly catch up on. I also think understanding South Africa could hamper a coach’s natural instincts to select and to teach.
Not understanding South Africa would probably be the best way to not discriminate against anyone. As far as a foreign coach will be concerned, is that a player is a player, without concerning himself with the player’s background.
Rugby is about getting 15 players to beat 15 players from another team, let’s not over-complicate it. South African rugby needs to be successful so that as transformation happens, these players can come into a system that will reward them.
South Africa is not looking to maintain standards, it has to be looking to vastly improve standards as South Africa are falling further and further behind the standards that are currently being set by New Zealand. This is why I fear SARU is on the wrong track with all the talk of Allister Coetzee being appointed as Springbok coach. Allister Coetzee’s coaching credentials irrespective of the colour of his skin do not qualify him to continue as a Superrugby coach let alone become Springbok coach.
SARU are ignoring what a foreign coach could potentially achieve in moving transformation along. SARU should consider that without a successful Springbok team, who is going to pay SARU’s wages?
I would strongly oppose the appointment of Allister Coetzee and I feel that if that is SARU’s idea of a best suited candidate then I think they are living inside a very small bubble which will pop.
Transformation is important but it is also important to remember that rugby is very, very important to white South Africans, who are citizens of the Rainbow Nation. Rugby is part of their history and part of their culture. So they must not be forgotten or dismissed to achieve transformation. It is unfair to the nation to appoint a sub-standard coach.
Whatever way SARU try dress it up, if they appoint Allister Coetzee it will be because he has a dark skin not because he got there on merit. South Africa needs bold decisions that consider people from all parts of the community and how they will be affected, yes this includes white people.