Quota Systems: Are they necessary or is SARU just using them to apiece parliament?

David van der Merwe shares with SA Sports Blog his opinion on the new Quota system SARU have implemented.


After SARU announced it’s new quota system for the 2014 Vodacom Cup, many have spoken out about it. Peter de Villiers had this to say in an interview with BBC Sport:

“It’s the worst decision they could make. Everybody will believe that these players will be picked because people are looking out for them.”

“They (SARU) make people believe they care about who is coming through the system – but they only do that to tick some boxes.

“They like to report these things but you don’t see the difference in reality.

“It’s not the first time they have tried to put these things in place and they have never worked.

“It will only ever work if there is a transformation period in people’s hearts.

“If there isn’t I think they are wasting their time.”
Oregan Hoskins had this to say:

“We saw the negatives of that, but we must acknowledge the valid criticism that since the quota system has been scrapped, we have gone backwards in terms of black players in the system. We have to do something drastic to rectify this decline or we would be failing ourselves as a system.

“We will be opening ourselves up to outside intervention. Quotas were scrapped 10 years ago and there was a lot of negativity around the system then. But we have to be brutally honest with ourselves and say that since scrapping quotas, our transformation drive has declined inexplicably and we have to capture that decline. We simply cannot allow it to continue,” said Hoskins

Now two things can be taken from Hoskins’ statement. Either the Quota system has never worked. It only forced coaches and selectors to select players on skin colour and not on merit. Therefore the decline in players from a certain group after the systems are scrapped.

Personally I believe that all it does is create further friction and does not really account for transformation. If a player is good enough to play he will be selected no matter the colour of his skin or his ethnic background. Bryan Habana, Breyton Paulse, Siya Kolisi, Beast and Trevor Nyakane is but a few players that came through the system without a quota requirement being in place.

What makes them different from the rest? I believe it is their talent and ability. In other words merit. Once a player is selected only because a coach or selector is forced to select him you will see other players sarting to leave the system and look to play elsewhere. We already have a problem in keeping top class players, both black and white, in South Africa and now wer want to force the issue even further.

I agree with De Villiers that a quota system is not needed. That is if development of the game at grassroots level is done properly. Instead of trying to force the issue at provincial level, maybe SARU should do more to assist schools to develop players. And I’m not talking about a clinic here and there. Proper support and guidance.

I’m all for transformation but it should not be something that is forced. That in itself takes us back to where we were during apartheid. We will select players based on skin colour and due to political interference. We all saw what that did to our rugby and country. We should not have it happen again.


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