Springbok captain Siya Kolisi says Nelson Mandela would not have supported a “quota” system but insists that transformation is working in rugby.
Kolisi was appointed as the national rugby team’s first black captain last year and wears the famous No 6 jersey made famous when Madiba inspired the Boks to win the 1995 World Cup.
And on a commercial trip to Japan in December, Siya made it clear that there is a difference between quotas and transforming the game in post-apartheid South Africa.
He tells Kyodo News: “I don’t think he [Mandela] would have supported that, but I don’t know him. You shouldn’t put a number on stuff like that. If you want to talk about transformation, you have got to start there [at a grassroots level].
“Imagine I hadn’t gone to an English school. I wouldn’t have eaten properly, I wouldn’t have grown properly and I wouldn’t have had the preparation that the other boys did.
“It’s tough. Maybe in the Currie Cup you can try guys out and push people in and see how they do, but you can’t just [pick somebody in the Bok side because of his colour].
“In South Africa, it’s tough because we want results and transformation. The talent is there, it’s just about nurturing it.
“I wouldn’t want to be picked because of my skin colour because that surely wouldn’t be good for the team and the guys around you would know.”