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07 Jun 2018 10:12
Against Wales last weekend there were 11 players of colour in the matchday 23 while that number has been met again for Saturday's clash against England in Johannesburg. (Andrew Surma/Nur Pho)
He is only two games into his Springbok coaching career, but already Rassie Erasmus has taken significant steps in facilitating transformation in the national team.
Erasmus has been set a target of ensuring that at least 45% of his team selections in 2018 are players of colour, while the expectation from government is that at least 50% of the squad that travels to the World Cup in Japan next year must be players of colour.
Against Wales last weekend, there were 11 players of colour in the matchday 23 while that number has been met again for Saturday’s clash against England in Johannesburg.
That number might drop down to 10 if Trevor Nyakane is ruled out with injury, but so far Erasmus is ticking the right boxes.
READ MORE: Jake urges Rassie to pick predominantly black side to face Wales
Erasmus has also picked Siya Kolisi as South Africa’s first black Test captain.
When asked if it was tricky to select a team with transformation targets in mind, Erasmus said the planning over the past few months had made it easy.
“It was really not difficult. We have been following these players in Super Rugby closely and were in contact with them and their coaches,” he said.
“There was a lot we worked on with winning in mind and with building squad depth and transformation in mind.
“It wasn’t something that we had to sort out last week, we’ve been doing this for the past four or five months. I’m very comfortable with the way we had to select the team.”
Erasmus added that his selection of Kolisi as captain was based solely on merit.
READ MORE: Erasmus: Kolisi captain appointment had nothing to do with Willemse walkout
“He is humble, quiet, physical and he does his thing on his own,” Erasmus said.
“I’m really excited about what Siya can offer us ... he can be very proud.”
Kick-off on Saturday is at 17:05.
15 Willie le Roux, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Franco Mostert, 4 RG Snyman, 3 Trevor Nyakane/Wilco Louw, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Substitutes: 16 Akker van der Merwe, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Wilco Louw/Thomas du Toit, 19 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21 Ivan van Zyl, 22 Elton Jantjies, 23 Warrick Gelant.
15 Elliot Daly, 14 Jonny May, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Owen Farrell (captain), 11 Mike Brown, 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Tom Curry, 6 Chris Robshaw, 5 Nick Isiekwe, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Jamie George, 1 Mako Vunipola
Substitutes: 16 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17 Joe Marler, 18 Harry Williams, 19 Brad Shields, 20 Nathan Hughes, 21 Ben Spencer, 22 Piers Francis, 23 Denny Solomona. — Sport24
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