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Cosatu wants Heyneke Meyer fired for ‘racist choices’


TRADE union federation Cosatu has called for Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer to be fired following what they referred to as racist choices and a spate of losses suffered by the national team in the Rugby Championship.
This came a day after the federation announced that five black Bok players had approached it alleging they were being left out of the line-up by Meyer because of the colour of their skin.
Cosatu has withheld the names of the players as well as those of two white players who were also said to be disgruntled by the slow pace of transformation in elite rugby.
However, the South African Rugby Players’ Association said it was unaware of the issues raised by the anonymous black players.
Its spokesman, Nyaniso Sam, said: “None of our members came to us and they never raised these concerns with us … we don’t know if players even approached Cosatu — we are gobsmacked. The union (Cosatu) is not saying who these players are either. The players have the option of coming to us because this is their organisation.”
Cosatu said on Tuesday: “We want the coach removed and a more representative team selected that represents all the people of SA.” Its Western Cape secretary, Tony Ehrenreich, said the federation would approach the South African Rugby Union (Saru) and Sport Minister Fikile Mbalula about the matter before the start of next month’s Rugby World Cup.
Mbalula, who has been championing a “sport transformation charter”, declined to comment.
“There have been ongoing discussions regarding transformation in rugby with many players and roleplayers in rugby for a while now, and we’ve raised the issue before,” said Ehrenreich.
“A number of the in-form players at the moment are black players. The best mixed team this year was the one that performed the best in the Super 15. How can anybody justify Jean de Villiers running on with the team when he hasn’t even played himself fit to be able to play at the highest level?
“The way Meyer handled it last Saturday was to bring people on two minutes before full time; that was complete window dressing and it was unacceptable. That has brought the matter to a crisis.”
Meyer was widely criticised for dropping wing Cornal Hendricks, excluding fellow specialist Lwazi Mvovo, and opting to play 21-year-old rookie Jesse Kriel in an unfamiliar position.
The nadir came when Kriel’s opposite number, Juan Imhoff, scored a hat-trick of tries as Argentina beat the Springboks for the first time in 20 meetings.
“If he would prefer to play Jean de Villiers over an in-form player and plays players out of position so that the white players can play and keeps black players out, then clearly something’s seriously wrong,” Ehrenreich said.
“If the coach does not perform, then clearly he is not suitable for the job. Now there is a discussion about extending his contract. How can you commit to extending his contract before he delivers the goods at the World Cup?
“His contract should not be extended …”
A Saru spokesperson said: ‘‘Saru recently signed an MOU (memorandum of understanding) with government and Sascoc (South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee) on a strategic transformation plan for rugby. Our focus now is on delivering on our understanding with them.” – BDLive



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