Springbok captain Siya Kolisi says he doesn’t believe former president Nelson Mandela would have supported the quota system.
In 2019, the Bok team will be expected to be 50% black, according to SA Rugby’s Strategic Transformation Plan.
In 2018, the target of 45% was met only once in 14 Tests – when the Boks played Wales in Washington DC – and the team finished the season with an average black player representation of 39%.
In an interview with Kyodo News during a visit to Tokyo in December, Kolisi was asked for his thoughts on Mandela and the quota system.
‘I don’t think he would have supported that,’ Kolisi said. ‘You shouldn’t put a number on something like that … I wouldn’t want to be picked because of my skin colour.
‘All he cared about was a better South Africa.’
Meanwhile, Kolisi welcomed the news that the Boks will play Japan on 6 September at Kumagaya Rugby Ground in a World Cup warm-up match.
‘Coming here to this side of the world will help as we get used to the temperature and things around here,’ he said.
It will also give the Boks a chance to gain revenge for their shock 34-32 loss to Japan at the 2015 World Cup.
‘It was a tough day for us as a team and it still hurts even now. But you have to give credit to Japan, they played really well,’ said Kolisi, who came off the bench as a substitute.
‘You could see they really wanted the win and they were smart. We never thought it would happen, but it did, because they were really good on the day.
‘It shook us a bit and it woke us up. It made us realise we had to be at our best at all times because at the World Cup, it’s all on the day. Reputations count for nothing.’
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