By Mark Keohane and Dale Granger
Luke Watson will captain the Springboks next year and Peter de Villiers will become the country's first black national rugby coach if a plan to "Africanise" Springbok rugby succeeds.
And to complete the takeover and end 100 years of white dominance in South African rugby, the transformation objective is that the first 2008 Bok team will include 10 black and coloured players in the starting XV.
The leadership is resigned to the fact that the plan cannot be instituted for this year's World Cup in France in September, but that change must be forced by next year.
South African Rugby Union (Saru) deputy president Mike Stofile and Bok team manager Zola Yeye have emerged as the most influential decision-makers among rugby's black leadership. Both men also want incumbent Bok coach Jake White and captain John Smit booted out after the World Cup.
White, appointed Bok coach in 2004, was offered the chance to continue as Bok coach after the 2007 World Cup if he embraced Watson's selection and greater black team representation. The offer was made in behind-the-scenes negotiations before the start of the international season.
White has consistently refused to pick Watson on what he claims are rugby grounds, but Watson and rugby's black leadership have argued it is because White was anti the player's family political history.
White dismissed the claims as rubbish and confirmed he had been offered a future in South African rugby if he invested in Watson as a regular through to the 2007 World Cup and beyond.
White told The Independent on Saturday on Friday that lawyer Brian Biebuyck had tried to broker a deal between himself, the Watson family and the game's leadership.
"Brian (Biebuyck) has represented me for the last four years and of late also represents the Watson family business. In a meeting with me, he said he spoke on behalf of the Watson family and rugby's influential leadership. The message was that if I wanted a future in South African rugby beyond the World Cup, I had to include Watson in the Bok team and pick him for the World Cup.
"I told Brian I would get back to him, but before I could give him an answer, the decision was taken out of my hands and I was forced by the Saru leadership to include the player anyway," said White. He no longer uses Biebuyck as his lawyer. "We still enjoy a good relationship, but because of conflict of interest there is no longer a business relationship."
At the time of the Biebuyck meeting, (Luke) Watson severed his relationship with agent Craig Livingstone because of "potential future conflict". Livingstone also represents White.
The game's black leadership are said to be fed up with the slow pace of transformation at national level, and believe Watson and De Villiers complement the ideals of transformation.
De Villiers, coach of the Emerging Springboks, told The Independent on Saturday he was good enough to coach the Boks, and said his coaching record at under-21 level was better than White's. He also insisted Watson would be the first name on his team sheet if he were made coach, and maintained he would immediately transform the Bok team.
"I won a World Cup away from home and lost in a final away from home. Jake won his at home and came fourth away from home.
"I have no problem with the transformation requirements. My record at under-19, under-21 and provincial level speaks for itself. Other coaches pick black players in their squad, but don't play them. That's where I am different. I pick the players and trust them by playing them. They trust the reason why I have picked them."
De Villiers said he would meet a requirement of 10 black African and coloured players in a Bok starting XV, and added rugby supporters would have to accept transformation was bigger than Test results.
"There will be pain (in results) but it is something we must go through to transform the team. It would be an honour for me to coach the Boks."
De Villiers said Watson was a natural choice as Bok captain.
"Victor Matfield would be an option because he is respected all over for his ability as a player, but Luke was my captain with the under-21s. He would be the first name on to my team sheet. He is an inspirational and dynamic leader and a great player."
The plan to thrust Watson into a pioneering role as captain of a new-look Bok team has been plotted for the last six months. The black leadership believes Watson represents the new South Africa because of his family's apartheid struggle credentials. His father, Cheeky Watson, refused a possible Springbok cap in the 1970s because he refused to play in whites-only rugby.
It is also felt that Watson is acceptable to white and black supporters in South Africa.