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South African rugby included the highest number of black Springboks in match 22s during former coach Peter de Villiers' tenure, Parliament's portfolio committee on sport heard on Tuesday.
According to a presentation to the committee by a high level SA Rugby Union (Saru) delegation, rugby's governing body, a total of 35 black Boks were selected in 2008 when De Villiers took over from World Cup winning coach Jake White.
The most black players donning the green and gold during White's tenure was 28 in the 2006 season. The number dropped to 23 last year.
Still, black representation in Springbok teams was greater than in all other forms of the professional game other than in the Vodacom Cup, the committee was told.
De Villiers, South Africa's first black Bok coach, was replaced by Heyneke Meyer earlier this year after failing to retain the World Cup last year.
It was reported earlier that Sport Minister Fikile Mbalula was set to appoint De Villiers to lead the development of rugby at school level, one of his department's new priority areas. – Sapa